By Paul Gessler

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Orioles Chairman and Chief Executive Officer John Angelos is pushing back against speculation about the Major League Baseball team’s future in Baltimore.

Angelos told Orioles fans on Monday that the team is not leaving Baltimore.

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“As I have said before, as long as Fort McHenry is standing watch over the Inner Harbor, the Orioles will remain in Baltimore,” Angelos said in a statement in response to a lawsuit filed by his brother Louis that suggests the team could be moved.

As first reported by The Baltimore Banner, Louis Angelos sued his mother and older brother Thursday in Baltimore County Circuit Court, accusing his brother of taking over the team—in defiance of his father’s wishes for his sons to share the franchise—and hinting that John Angelos could sell or move the team to Nashville.

“John intends to maintain absolute control over the Orioles—to manage, to sell, or, if he chooses, to move to Tennessee (where he has a home and where his wife’s career is headquartered)—without having to answer to anyone,” the suit says, according to the report.

In his statement Monday, John Angelos dismissed that suggestion and pointed to his family’s long history in Baltimore. Angelos said his mother, who was born and raised in Baltimore and attended Eastern High School, and his father devoted their lives to helping the city, including keeping the baseball team in Baltimore.

“For them, as for me, the Orioles will forever play at Oriole Park, and at no time ever have we contemplated anything different,” Angelos’ statement said in part.

Louis Angelos’ lawsuit alleges that the brothers have been at odds since their father, Peter, became ill in October 2017 and appointed his wife and sons as co-trustees of a trust governing the family fortune, including the franchise, the Banner reports.

The lawsuit alleges that Georgia Angelos began exploring a sale of the franchise, but John Angelos squashed those plans in 2020. Despite speculating about the Orioles’ future, the suit contains no allegations that John Angelos has plans of moving them.

Babe Ruth Birthplace Executive Director Shawn Herne said he thinks the statement is sincere and that fans should not worry.

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“This is a family conflict that is playing itself out in the public eye, unfortunately,” Orioles fan Michael Burton said.

One fan noted that the conversation is “scary” because Baltimore has lost a team in the past.

“I think anyone that was around in 1984 when the Colts left town are thinking, ‘Yeah, we’ve heard this before.,” Burton said.

In mid April, Gov. Larry Hogan signed into law a measure authorizing the Orioles to borrow up to $600 million for upgrades to its ballpark, Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Last year, the Maryland State Authority signed a two-year extension to the team’s lease at Camden Yards, which was set to expire at the end of 2021.

John Angelos pointed to those moves in his statement, saying he wanted to provide assurances to the team, front office, fans and the entire Baltimore community that the Orioles will “never leave.”

“Since I was appointed Chairman and CEO according to my parents’ expressed wishes, and voted as the control person for the team by the 30 Major League Clubs, I have taken significant steps to ensure that our beloved franchise’s future remains in Charm City. Just two months ago we celebrated the Maryland General Assembly passing a bill promising to put $1.2 billion into reinvesting and reimagining the Camden Yards Sports Complex, which includes Oriole Park, ensuring the team will continue to play right here in downtown Baltimore for generations to come,” he said.

Angelos said he shares Maryland’s commitment to keeping the team in Baltimore, and that he looks forward to generating another $10 billion in economic impact for the city and state and welcoming another 70 million people to downtown Baltimore “over the next 30 years and beyond.”

“There is nothing uncertain about the future of the Baltimore Orioles,” he said.

But that won’t stop some Orioles fans from feeling uncertain about that promise.

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“We aren’t financial investors but we are emotionally invested in this club and I think that’s why everybody is sensitive,” Burton said.

Paul Gessler