SEATTLE — The months have flown by, the expiration date looms ever nearer and the self-stylized “All-Star break gift” that Orioles chairman John Angelos promised still hasn’t arrived.
The Orioles’ lease at Camden Yards expires at the end of this year, but for all the uncertainty that surrounds the situation, Major League Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred hasn’t changed his stance since December, the last time he publicly commented on the long-term future of the Baltimore franchise.
“My view on the future of the Orioles in Baltimore hasn’t changed,” Manfred told reporters Tuesday ahead of the All-Star Game. “I have every confidence there will be a resolution on that lease issue. They’ll stay in Baltimore.”
Manfred largely echoed what he said at the MLB Winter Meetings in December, when he noted that “as long as I have this job, I think you can count on the fact the Orioles are going to be in Baltimore.” At the time, in legal documents of the lawsuit between brothers Louis and John Angelos, sons of Orioles majority owner Peter Angelos, there was speculation that John Angelos might seek to move the team. Nashville was viewed as a possible destination.
The anxiety around the Orioles’ future in Baltimore expanded once they declined the five-year option in February, although Angelos and state officials emphasized at the time they had opted against the option to work on a long-term deal instead.
During spring training in February, on a visit to the team’s training site in Sarasota, Florida, Angelos put a tentative deadline on when that new lease might be finished: “I’d love to have that [lease] as an All-Star break gift for everybody, really, in the community.”
At the time, Angelos called the renewing of the Orioles’ lease at Camden Yards a “minor sidelight.”
His main focus revolved around discussions between the city, state and team to rejuvenate the surrounding area at Camden Yards. He’s touted a “live, work, play” idea that, according to Angelos, could use Atlanta’s Battery as an example (Angelos and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore visited Atlanta in February for a tour).
Currently, the Maryland Stadium Authority owns the stadiums and nearby parking lots. The stadium is surrounded by businesses, restaurants and homes, so it is unclear what the redevelopment would entail. The Orioles and Angelos haven’t discussed any specifics for their plans.
The latest development came last week, with Politico reporting that the Orioles have hired lobbyists in a bid to secure federal funding for infrastructure improvements, part of the team’s plans to overhaul the franchise’s ballpark and surrounding areas.
That would be in addition to the $600 million the state has set aside for the Orioles to receive for stadium improvements once a new lease is signed. The Ravens, who agreed to a new lease well before their original 2027 expiration, have already outlined stadium improvements they plan to make with their $600 million from the state.
Also on Tuesday, USA TODAY baseball writer Bob Nightengale reported Camden Yards was “expected to also be on the shortlist” to host the 2025 All-Star game, along with Atlanta, Toronto and Chicago’s Wrigley Field. Orioles officials declined to comment when asked if the team has made a bid for the game, which Baltimore has not hosted since Oriole Park at Camden Yard’s second season 30 years ago.