Thank goodness he finally saw the light.

For the better part of the year, it seemed like John Angelos thought he was saddled with an onerous family heirloom. He inherited the family Ferrari but bristled at the upkeep. Finally, he realized it just needed some new parts and a lot of tinkering in the garage.

Of course Angelos and the Baltimore Orioles agreed to a lease to stay another 30 years at Camden Yards. It’s the only thing that made sense.

The timing of Friday’s ambush announcement on the Camden Yards jumbotron said a lot. The Orioles were zeroing in on 100 wins for the first time since 1980, a milestone number for the team’s thrilling turnaround this season. They were on the cusp of clinching a division title in the AL East, an unforgiving pack that the team has pulled ahead of despite one of the lowest payrolls in the league.

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The Orioles might have the best front office executive, the best manager and the best rookie in baseball this year. They’re one of the MLB’s youngest teams and have its best farm system — it’s not hard to see how the franchise could be competing for the World Series for the next four or five seasons.

You know what winning teams do? Draw fans. Get TV ratings. Stir excitement.

Make money.

The picture of the Orioles that the 56-year-old Angelos presented to the New York Times never really made sense. He hemmed and hawed about the “existential” nature of pro baseball in a town that has supported it for nearly seven full decades as Major League Baseball rakes in billions of dollars. As his team led the AL East, he openly talked about tough decisions he’d have to make to sign players to long-term deals. “We’re going to have to raise the prices here — dramatically,” he told the Times, ignoring that the Orioles’ best players remain under team control for years to come.

The morose navel-gazing made you wonder: Hey dude, are you watching these games?

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The Orioles are as exciting as they’ve been in years, and unlike the last competitive era, this one is highly structured to keep humming through at least 2026, based on the contract structures of the young core. When fans see Gunnar Henderson chase a grounder down the line, or Adley Rutschman belt a homer into the night, or Grayson Rodriguez whip a 100 mph fastball through the zone, they can be reasonably confident they’ll be watching them for years in orange and black.

With baseball’s revenue sharing system, the Orioles make a ton of money, even as Angelos was lamenting the grim state of his finances. The Orioles were worth less than $200 million when Peter Angelos bought them, and they are worth billions now — and they own the larger share of the network that broadcasts both their games and the Nationals’. They cost a lot to run, but there’s a reason wealthy people line up to buy franchises when they become available: They’re extremely profitable.

Even if he wanted to turn around and move the franchise to Nashville, Tennessee (and he’s said several times that wasn’t his intention), MLB would have stood in his way thanks to the $600 million in public bonds that Maryland had already approved pending a new leaseother markets have struggled to raise half as much. He was never getting a friendlier face to sit across the table than Gov. Wes Moore. The Orioles waited until Moore was in office before getting down to brass tacks, and he and Angelos are friends.

All the while, through months of uncertainty, a thought that occurred to everyone in Baltimore finally arrived to Angelos last: John, what are you waiting for?

In the coming days and weeks, we’ll inevitably learn about the twists and turns that state leaders and Orioles officials once hoped would get done in July, and how they made a comeback in the late innings with just a few months to go. But it’s more interesting to wonder when Angelos himself began to see the team as something besides a drag on his checkbook.

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Maybe it was when the team ended its playoff drought for the first time in seven years, its 20-somethings pouring beer and champagne on each other in glee. Angelos allowed himself to get caught up in that moment, taking swigs from the Homer Hose and telling The Banner at the time that the Orioles would definitely sign on for 30 more years: “That’s a given,” he said.

It’s nice to know that his words weren’t just fueled by the champagne splashing around the clubhouse that night — that he would finally back them.

It’s comforting to see that Angelos finally sees what we all see: a team that Baltimore can again be proud of.

Kyle joined The Baltimore Banner in 2023 as a sports columnist. He previously covered the L.A. Lakers for The Orange County Register and myriad sports at The Salt Lake Tribune. He’s a Mt. Hebron High and University of Maryland alum.

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