Sports have occupied a large portion of Maryland Gov. Wes Moore’s time during his first year in office. From finalizing a new lease for the Orioles at Camden Yards to shotgunning beers with fans outside M&T Bank Stadium, Moore, a former wide receiver the Johns Hopkins University, has been attentive to the state’s teams.

Moore appeared Thursday on the season premiere of The Adam Jones Podcast, which started with The Banner in 2022. Moore joined Former Orioles All-Star Adam Jones and media personality Jerry Coleman to discuss the drawn-out lease negotiations, the sale of the Orioles to a group led by billionaire David Rubenstein and more. Here were the biggest takeaways from the conversation.

Moore was ‘damn glad’ new lease was signed before sale

When asked whether he had any prior knowledge of a sale before it was reported by The Baltimore Banner and others, Moore repeated what he said previously: He was not told about the deal.

“The conversations that were taking place about the sale, they were not happening where I was being made aware of or anyone in the state was being made aware of,” Moore said. He later added: “[W]e did deserve more transparency. We deserved more honesty about what was taking place.”

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But Moore was quick to mention that the new lease at Oriole Park at Camden Yards ensured the team could not up and leave, regardless of ownership.

“No matter who the owner is, no matter who the ownership group is, they’re the Baltimore Orioles,” Moore said. They will never be the Nashville Orioles. They will never be the Toledo Orioles. They’re the Baltimore Orioles.

“When I heard the owner was changing, I was like, ‘Great, fantastic. We’ll just have Oriole baseball winning World Series no matter who the ownership group is.’ So I was happy because I felt like the deal that we crafted, that there was a reason why we did it and it showed itself.”

Memorandum of understanding was key to getting lease signed

When the Orioles announced the team, the state and the stadium authority had “agreed to a deal that will keep the Orioles in Baltimore and at Camden Yards for at least the next 30 years,” many thought the deal was done.

It wasn’t. The announcement was merely acknowledging a nonbinding memorandum of understanding. After this fact came to light, many fans felt misled.

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While Moore conceded he perhaps “should’ve been clear” in his message, he believes the MOU was still necessary for pushing the lease across the finish line.

“It was the first time publicly and in writing that the Orioles said, ‘We’re here for 30 [years],’” Moore said. “That was a big, big deal because they had not heard the Orioles say that before. It was constantly this game of cat-and-mouse where the state kept on losing. And I was like, ‘We ain’t losing.’”

State wanted to avoid a situation like that in Washington

In December 2023, while the twists and turns of the Orioles’ dramatic lease negotiations were playing out in Baltimore and Annapolis, the nation’s capital was experiencing the kind of crisis Moore was hoping to avoid.

Ted Leonsis, the founder, chairman and CEO of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, announced his intentions to relocate the Washington Wizards and Capitals out of the city and into the Potomac Yard neighborhood in Alexandria, Virginia. But recently, the likelihood of such a move has come into question after pushback from Virginia legislature.

Moore digressed during an answer on the Orioles’ lease negotiations to point out how his counterpart in Virginia has so far failed to follow through with his proclamation.

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“[Virginia Gov.] Glenn Youngkin gets up there and has this big whole press conference signing an MOU and people are cheering and all this kind of stuff and then the deal completely falls apart,” Moore said. “So the difference between our deal and what happened with Virginia and Glenn Youngkin was I actually closed the deal. He wasn’t able to.”

Moore believes new ownership will spend

Few know David Rubenstein’s intentions for the Orioles’ payroll — though Moore said he’d had “a lot of very good conversations” with the billionaire — but the governor believes the new ownership group will be willing to open up the checkbook.

“We also have an ownership group who’s gonna make sure these players don’t go anywhere, that top talent stays in Baltimore and top talent comes to Baltimore,” Moore said. “That is a winning mentality that I think is getting everybody very, very excited about what it’s hoping to accomplish in the long term.”

That guarantees nothing, but it’s certainly music to Orioles fans’ ears as they eagerly await possible extensions with Baltimore’s young stars such as Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson and Grayson Rodriguez. It also represents a dramatic shift in tone around the team, considering only six months ago, Angelos cast cold water on the possibility of retaining such players.

Camden Yards’ naming rights not expected to be sold soon

The Baltimore Banner reported this week that the Orioles had a deal with global investment management firm T. Rowe Price to change the name of the ballpark, but the deal fell through due to the team’s sale.

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Now that the organization is in the hands of new ownership, Moore doesn’t see the naming rights being sold any time soon.

“I think the team has those rights for a while,” Moore said. “I don’t ever see that changing. But even if I do, I know that that’s still gonna be Birdland no matter what.”

Due to an editing error, an earlier version of this story incorrectly described Adam Jones as an Orioles Hall of Famer.

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