Walk into any bar in Baltimore and randomly shout the name “Angelos.” Chances are someone within earshot will have some sort of visceral thoughts on the family that own a majority of the Orioles. Same as Steinbrenner in The Bronx or Buss in Los Angeles. The Angelos family patriarch, Peter, is 93. Team CEO, son John Angelos, is also the president and chief operating officer for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), which airs the O’s games locally. John Angelos’ brother, Louis, sued John and their mother, Georgia Angelos, for control of the Orioles last June.
For the first time since the lawsuit was filed, John Angelos was made available to reporters on Monday, which was also Martin Luther King Jr. Day. His rare public appearance came alongside Baltimore’s mayor, Brandon Scott, as the team pledged $5 million to the CollegeBound Foundation, a nonprofit that helps Baltimore’s youth attain college degrees. And with the Orioles’ lease with the Maryland Stadium Authority expiring at the end of this year, there are plenty of questions for the family to answer publicly. Enter The Athletic’s Dan Connolly, a fixture on the Orioles’ beat for around 20 years, and someone the Angelos family should know like the back of their hands if they read coverage of their beloved team.
At a press conference where John Angelos selected the time and date, he’d be an idiot not to know questions on the team were coming. Showing your face at an event designed to tout something in front of reporters and television cameras is never pure public relations in the professional sports world. After all, the Angelos family’s tenure atop the Orioles will celebrate its 30th anniversary this year. So, not sure when the next chance will come, if one does, to ask John about his state of affairs, Connolly posited a lengthy, but fair, question on the Angelos family and the Orioles’ long-term future in Baltimore. Connolly also directed a question at Scott on how he felt about setting up charitable events like the Orioles’ donation with a sale of the team forthcoming.
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What happened next was a pure deflection from Angelos, as if his preparation to answer questions from the media had all failed. He invoked MLK and said the questions were inappropriate at a press conference he called. Reporters never choose the dates or times of media availability. Beat writers are at the will of the teams they cover. When they make players, coaches, and team leaders available is wholeheartedly up to the representatives of the school or franchise. Connolly didn’t curse, make any personal attack, or even take a stern tone with Angelos. He stated facts and asked a series of questions diehard baseball fans would love to know the answer to. Connolly serves his readership and being their eyes, ears, and megaphone is part of his job.
Connolly states an Orioles spokesperson confirmed media members who cover the ceremony and the team would get to ask Angelos questions at the conclusion of the event. This wasn’t a paparazzi situation or an informal or unsuitable setting to hold those in power accountable. Chairs were set up for the media in front of where Angelos and Scott spoke. If Angelos went rouge and decided to try to make an example out of Connolly for asking him a detailed question at his first media appearance not attached to bringing a music legend to Camden Yards in more than four years, it was less successful than Walter Mondale’s 1984 Presidential campaign.
I’m not going to share large parts of Angelos’ response. The full video is included above for your viewing pleasure. And to be honest, the four-minute word vomit sounds more disconnected from reality each time. Calling someone “out of touch” in the context Angelos used it was beyond comprehension. Touting the farm system and the team’s 2022 turnaround, without a fact-checker, doesn’t distract from how he went out of his way to namedrop MLK and said Connolly’s questions were unfit for that day. Even though Angelos knew he’d have to answer questions on a federal holiday.
It’s just another day of a person in power trying to avoid accountability for their actions or believing they’re above the general flow of life. Talk about out-of-touch behavior. And Scott never got a word in. The best part about Angelos’ response about being “very transparent” was offering to show reporters the Orioles’ finances and governance decisions. That would be quite the reversal from how the organization has been run. Baltimore’s sports media would eat that up. I doubt Angelos stays true to that decree. And as expected, that would be far from his candid projection. It’d be more of the same from the Orioles, who’ve won two playoff series since 1998.