Instead Of Showing Financials As Promised, Orioles CEO John Angelos Offers Three Minutes Of Deranged Horse Shit
12:31 PM EDT on March 31, 2023
Baltimore Orioles chairman and CEO John Angelos owes the public a clarifying look at his team's books. Not because of a court ruling or any custom or mandate in baseball or Baltimore. Because he said he would! Back in January, while bullying a reporter from The Athletic for daring to ask a question about his feckless and tight-fisted stewardship, Angelos pledged to "show you the financials of the Orioles. I’ll show you the governance of the Orioles. I’ll show you everything you want to know, and I’ll [answer] all your questions." Angelos gave himself a deadline of "next week," which would've had him opening up for a closer inspection of his team's business in late January. Needless to say, it is late March.
No one who is not a toddler should've ever seriously expected Angelos—or, for that matter, any other member of the class of sports franchise owners—to willingly expose their business details to public scrutiny, even in cases where access to those details is promised in ill-advised fits of bluster. The Orioles simply waved off Angelos's pledge without a comment as his self-imposed deadline came and went in late January. In February, Angelos spoke to Baltimore media from the team's spring training in Florida, and reset both the nature of the pledge and the deadline, saying that he would provide "a full picture of the business" before the end of spring training, but that he would no longer be willing to "pull out the payrolls and show you everything financially." And, of course, spring training ended without Angelos making his second self-imposed deadline. The closest anyone has gotten to a "full picture of the business" of the Baltimore Orioles came last week, when Forbes issued its annual analysis of baseball’s finances, which showed that the job Angelos and general manager Mike Elias did to strip the 2022 Orioles down to the lowest team payroll in all of baseball had the effect of making the Orioles the most profitable outfit in the sport. Nice work.
It was Angelos himself who made a purity test out of this matter, knotting opened financial and governance documents to a big boastful commitment to corporate transparency and public accountability, and positioning the offer as a statement of his personal connection to the city of Baltimore. My advice to any business owner who has things to hide in their books is to avoid boasting that public access to those books will be how people know you are a stand-up guy running a stand-up operation. When you renege on the offer, pretty much by definition you are announcing that you are up to no good.
Angelos's pledge came up again Thursday, when the slimy CEO made a rare appearance on WJZ-FM radio, timed to Opening Day. Inside Access hosts Jason La Canfora and Ken Weinman asked Angelos whether he still intends to open his books for public scrutiny. Angelos's rambling response is all slippery misdirection, flinging up unrelated matters ranging from the Baltimore Sun, the ongoing sale efforts of the Washington Commanders and Washington Nationals, and his status as a Baltimore homeowner, like a threatened horned lizard spraying blood at a potential predator.
"Hey, you know, that's, that's uh—it's an interesting concept, and I saw that my good friends from The Baltimore Sun wanted to weigh in on that today. When the hedge fund that owns The Baltimore Sun, based in New York City, wants to open their books, I guess we'll take a look at that."
"You know, it's difficult for me to understand what that fascination is. I will say this: There are a lot of teams in the Baltimore/Washington metropolitan area that are for sale. We might be the only one that's not. And I might be the only control person and managing partner that is a Maryland resident, pays taxes in Baltimore city and in the state of Maryland and has spent every day of my life living inside the city. Not just in the state, not just in the metro area, but in the city. So I don't know that I need to be answering those kinds of questions from the Sun. I mean, they're not even owned by anybody from Baltimore or Maryland. And the [Baltimore] Banner is, uh—I don't have a relationship with the Banner, but I do know Stewart Bainum, who's a local guy, has driven that."
"It's about time people in Baltimore supported people in Baltimore. I don't know how really, effectively the Baltimore Sun speaks for the people of Baltimore. They certainly don't speak for me, and I'm as transparent as transparent gets. You don't just measure that on one issue like that. It's just really silly stuff, and I don't see them asking the Nationals or the Ravens or any of those other teams to open their books."
The stuff with the Sun is particularly sleazy and cherry-picked. It was not the Sun or anyone associated with the Sun who prompted Angelos to offer up his team's financials. All anyone at the Sun did to enter this story was publish an article Wednesday noting that Angelos had failed to meet the second of two self-imposed deadlines, which is certainly a matter of interest to the readership of the Baltimore Sun. But Angelos is desperate for a lifeline, and attacking the compromised and wicked media is now the entire playbook for besieged parasitic shitheads.
Momentarily stunned by Angelos's obfuscation but not quite to the point of silence, the show's hosts reframed the question, asking whether Angelos considered the matter closed or whether he still might "provide some sort of inkling into how the sausage is made." Angelos resumed his insane rambling:
"I can't, I mean, I don't know many companies that do that, that look at how the sausage is made, and the league probably does have some issues. But again, we should be judged on our won-loss record, we should be judged on our community impact. Our community impact is huge: 75 million people in 30 years, visitors in downtown Baltimore, is pretty big. As you guys may have seen, we've generated over a half-a-billion dollars of impact in Florida, and we've drawn a million people. So, I wouldn't say I'd multiply that times 75, but I'd multiply it by a lot of orders of magnitude. And the last thing is, we should be measured by how much we drive all of our profits back into the product on the field. And I think Mike Elias, Brandon Hyde, and this partnership group—of all local people—have done that. So I think that's how you're measured, not by sort of silly, kind of one-dimensional or two-dimensional ideas of, show us your profits. Is the ownership group of the Baltimore Sun going to show us their profits? I don't know."
If any of this were being offered in good faith, one might point out, also in good faith, that "how much we drive all of our profits back into the product"—once again a criteria for judgment offered up unprompted by John Angelos as ultimate and unimpeachable—is precisely why one might be interested in taking a closer look at the financials of the Baltimore Orioles. But since it is all cynically formulated to give Angelos cover for not meeting his own freely made deadlines for fulfilling his own freely made commitment, it is instead sufficient to point out that this man is a fucking moron.