The state’s top public official was out in Owings Mills on Monday, reliving college football memories, catching passes from Lamar Jackson and sitting in a golf cart with Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti.
But as big a football fan as Gov. Wes Moore is (he played receiver at Johns Hopkins), the future of baseball in Baltimore is the bigger question.
During an appearance at the Ravens’ training facility, Moore promised that the Baltimore Orioles will follow in the steps of the state’s football team and secure their long-term future at Camden Yards: “We are gonna get this deal done.”
Moore released a public statement with Orioles owner John Angelos last month saying both sides were “determined to make it happen, and soon.” Moore didn’t go into specifics about what is holding up the deal, which Angelos had originally publicly speculated might be done by the All-Star break in July.
“I’ve been a CEO for a long time before I became the governor, and if there’s one thing that I know, it’s I don’t negotiate in public,” Moore said. “We’ve been speaking very close in private. And I know I’m incredibly encouraged that we will get to a deal, and there’s going to be baseball in Baltimore for generations to come.”
The current lease, which the Orioles declined an option on earlier this year, ends on Dec. 31.
The governor’s confident assertions come in the wake of some skepticism by other state officials. In a public meeting last month, state treasurer Dereck Davis said there was “too much foot-dragging” on a long-term deal (he later toned down his rhetoric in subsequent interviews). William Cole, a Maryland Stadium Authority board member, said in the closing moments of a public meeting that he was “perplexed” a deal hadn’t been executed yet.
Moore has outlined a united front with Angelos and the Orioles, including a joint appearance in Atlanta to tour Truist Park as a potential model for the Orioles’ touted “live, work, play” objective for Camden Yards. Once the Orioles agree to a long-term deal, they’ll be eligible for $600 million in public funds.
“The negotiations have been good, and there is a core belief that this is about what we need to do to create a winner on the field,” Moore said. “But also I’m committed to making sure that this is a win for Baltimore, and that this is a win for the state of Maryland.”
The Ravens came to a deal with the MSA in the closing days of Moore’s predecessor, Larry Hogan, agreeing to a 15-year deal with two five-year options. The Ravens are expected to use $600 million in public funds to renovate M&T Bank Stadium, their home field since 1998.
Moore attended Monday’s camp session, in part, to speak to the Ozzie Newsome Scholars — HBCU students receiving scholarships from a foundation created by team owner Bisciotti and his wife Renee in honor of longtime team executive Newsome. Moore called Newsome, the first Black general manager in the NFL, one of his “heroes,” and said the Ravens’ community impact is the kind of partnerships the state hopes to drive in its sports teams.
“This is an organization that is fully committed to making sure we are building and rebuilding and supporting Baltimore and the state of Maryland in a really powerful way,” Moore said. “And so knowing that the focus right now is what’s gonna be happening on the field, and also, what are we gonna do to replenish it, to make sure we’re strengthening Baltimore, we’re strengthening the state of Maryland.”
This story has been updated to correctly identify former Gov. Larry Hogan.