Taking charge of the Orioles, John Angelos emerges from his father’s shadow into a harsh spotlight

Back earlier than he was in cost, John Angelos wrote prolonged missives complaining to “ownership” about being underpaid, underappreciated and surrounded by “rank incompetence” and “insane business practices.” He would provide concepts and evaluation to “the supreme authority,” Angelos wrote on Feb. 3, 2010, solely to be “met with dismissal or combativeness and personal attacks on my shortcomings and alleged ulterior motives.”

He wrote once more six days later, in keeping with a lawsuit that excerpted the messages, concluding, “it is clear to me that I am not best served by remaining in a day-to-day management role.”

John Angelos is way from the one disgruntled worker ever to vent to administration, however in his case, the “ownership” and “supreme authority” he was railing towards was not only a boss however his father, Peter Angelos.

Today, John Angelos holds the identical chairman and CEO title as soon as held by his father, the 94-year-old Orioles proprietor and authorized titan who has been incapacitated by sickness for the previous 5 years. Perhaps John is now discovering simply how heavy lies the crown that he as soon as chafed beneath.

Amid a magical season for the division-winning Orioles, a gifted, joyful staff that has captured Baltimore’s long-suffering coronary heart, Angelos has drawn hearth as he emerges from his father’s lengthy shadow.

The affect Peter Angelos wielded in Baltimore is probably matched solely by his devotion to it, main an traders group to purchase the staff in 1993 for a then-record $173 million to revive it to native possession. But that usually will get overshadowed by how he micromanaged the staff throughout 14 straight shedding seasons.

That’s one thing his 56-year-old son has pointedly averted, giving Mike Elias, who was employed as common supervisor in 2018, free rein to rebuild the staff, the fruits of that are as clear because the Orioles’ 101-61 file.

And but, when John Angelos ought to be using this cresting wave, he’s as an alternative proven a propensity for getting in his personal method: There was the unprompted and unkept promise to open the staff’s monetary books. The suspension of a broadcaster for referring precisely to the O’s earlier losses. The ill-timed warning that the ballclub wouldn’t have the ability to signal its younger stars long run with out elevating costs “dramatically.”

Even final week, on the evening the O’s clinched the extremely aggressive American League East division, he jumped onto the scoreboard midgame to announce a deal to maintain the staff at Camden Yards for 30 years, which turned out to be extra aspirational than legally binding. And definitely not a lease that may unlock $600 million in public bond cash for enhancements for the state-built and -owned Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

Yet for all of the angst he generated this 12 months, the staff’s exceptional turnaround, doubtless baseball’s finest story this season, has maybe saved Angelos from even harsher criticism. The deeper the staff will get into the postseason, the extra is forgiven and even forgotten.

And ought to the staff make it to the World Series? That may propel John Angelos to an unfamiliar place — out from beneath the eclipse of a father, who for all his self-made wealth and success, by no means managed to get the Orioles to that elusive mountaintop.

On Saturday, because the staff opens the AL Division Series in a metropolis awash in orange, the focus will shine ever brighter on John Angelos.

While his profile has grown together with the staff’s rise and his father’s exit from public view, few know a lot in regards to the man who now heads the Orioles, the native establishment that instructions so massive a share of the state’s emotional vitality and its public funds.

Part of that’s his personal reticence. Despite incessantly describing himself as “transparent,” he tends to refuse media interviews, and will be guarded in speech, usually pausing to compose his ideas. But behind the scenes, and in prolonged texts that he dictates by the screenful, a stunning quantity of anger and aggrievement can emerge, say those that have been on the receiving finish.

Taking on his father’s mantle was by no means going to be straightforward, given Peter Angelos’ singular drive, demanding persona and reluctance to share energy. At his legislation agency, he was the only companion and the opposite attorneys his workers; on the Warehouse — the O’s workplaces at Camden Yards — his was the ultimate phrase.

“I do think that John believes he has something to prove,” former Maryland Stadium Authority Chairman Thomas Kelso stated.

Kelso negotiated extensively with Angelos on a stadium lease till Gov. Wes Moore took workplace in January, and determined towards reappointing him.

“I like John personally. He’s very smart and he has lots of creative ideas,” Kelso stated. “It’s just that I don’t think he’s prepared by life experience and training to be the frontman and a spokesperson.”

Angelos declined quite a few requests over the previous a number of months to be interviewed for this text, and didn’t reply to particular questions despatched through texts and emails.

His management position is probably one he was by no means meant to have, or was skilled for by his father.

“Peter didn’t delegate well,” stated Kenneth Feinberg, a lawyer and mediator who oversaw the 9/11 victims fund and an in depth buddy of the Angelos household. “I advised Peter for a variety of years it’s a must to know the right way to go the baton to the sons. You need to have the transition plan in place.

“He didn’t provide a clear blueprint.”

Instead, when Peter Angelos may not deal with his many-tentacled enterprise pursuits, his household ended up in a bruising authorized battle. Louis Angelos, 54, an legal professional who has been managing his father’s legislation agency, sued his older brother and mom Georgia in June 2022, saying John made an influence seize for the staff and different property, fairly than abiding by their ailing father’s want that they work collectively to handle them. Georgia, 81, countersued Lou, however the circumstances had been settled in February beneath phrases that stay secret.

It was Baltimore’s personal “Succession” drama, the offspring at battle, struggling to show worthy of the inheritance. Like the HBO present’s getting older magnate Logan Roy, Peter Angelos constructed his personal fortune, beginning a agency shortly after graduating from evening legislation college in 1961 that in the end received billions of {dollars} on behalf of these harmed by asbestos and tobacco. Like Kendall Roy, John Angelos’ prominence derives from being his father’s son, inheriting a platform he wouldn’t have in any other case.

Although Peter’s spouse has claimed he by no means meant for the household to stay within the baseball enterprise, John promotes massive concepts for the Orioles and the town and believes he can information the staff successfully and keep away from the upheaval of an possession change. He has sought to broaden his affect properly past baseball and, like a public official, usually talks of serving to redevelop the town’s downtown and uplifting Baltimore’s youth via social packages.

“Like his father, John has a deep and abiding commitment to the Orioles and the city,” stated Alan Rifkin, an adjunct sports activities legislation professor and former Orioles legal professional.

The tensions together with his father, in keeping with Louis Angelos’ swimsuit, stemmed from John’s failure to go the bar and be a part of the authorized career that Peter thought-about his highest calling.

The household dynamic led to what one former staff worker described as “constant power struggles” between the 2, with John assigning one thing, just for Peter to overrule him.

Things got here to a head in 2009, the swimsuit stated, when John stormed out of a gathering and the membership’s day-to-day operations over his father’s refusal to think about spring coaching websites in Arizona, which Peter thought was too inaccessible for the fan base.

But by 2017, his well being failing, in keeping with the swimsuit, the elder Angelos requested his prodigal son to return to the ballclub.

For all their variations, there are those that see a via line from Peter to John.

Peter grew up in Highlandtown, the son of a Greek immigrant tavern proprietor, attended the general public Patterson Park High School and discovered to field within the previous Baltimore Athletic Association.

John grew up in Roland Park, the son of a profitable legal professional, and attended the personal Gilman prep college the place he received state titles in wrestling.

Their shared combativeness got here to outline them into maturity.

When John Angelos derailed a January occasion with Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott to argue with a reporter who requested about his household’s authorized battle, it got here as no shock to not less than one former wrestling teammate, who remembered him as intensely pushed, “a super hard-nose, tough-ass Greek kid.”

“His competitiveness and will to win stood out,” stated one other former Gilman wrestler, Henry Franklin.

The occasion, meant to herald the Orioles’ $5 million donation to the CollegeBound Foundation, was one thing of a harangue with Angelos telling the reporter it could be inappropriate to ask about staff funds on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and to “get some perspective on life.”

In the top, he may need defeated himself, promising to open the staff’s funds to the information media “next week,” one thing that not solely he hasn’t fulfilled, however that frequently will get thrown again at him.

Former teammates bear in mind bonding with him over the agony of constructing weight for matches — he competed at 107 and 115 kilos — and say he had friendships past the staff.

Classmate Steve Ciccarone described him as “a generous guy, a feisty athlete and very fun to be with.” He recalled the chums celebrating commencement by piling right into a automotive for a raucous weekend at a farm on the Eastern Shore, and sharing “an awesome meal” at Shane’s, the flowery Haussner-esque restaurant in Timonium that Peter Angelos owned on the time.

John Angelos went on to Duke University, the place a freshman listing confirmed him to be curious about politics and softball, and he graduated in 1989. He acquired a legislation diploma from the University of Baltimore Law School.

Despite his standing because the proprietor’s son and a staff official, he was not “one of these blue-blood Baltimore people who didn’t interact with people outside their bubble,” stated Cristen Pascucci, a buddy of greater than 20 years.

Pascucci, who beforehand labored in public affairs and now could be a Kentucky-based activist for girls’s maternity rights, stated she and Angelos met via their overlapping social circles. While they didn’t date, she stated they bonded over a shared love of basic and unbiased films and the variety of Baltimore’s neighborhoods.

But he additionally at all times has been exceedingly personal, Pascucci stated, and certainly, different pals didn’t return calls searching for remark.

In truth, Pascucci stated, he’s so protecting of his personal life, she didn’t be taught he had gotten married till afterward.

Angelos is married to Margaret Valentine, who had been a singer-songwriter. While he usually describes himself as a lifelong Baltimore resident, he and Margaret owned a few properties in her native Saratoga Springs, New York, earlier than shifting to the Nashville, Tennessee, space as her musical focus shifted from efficiency to administration. When in Baltimore, they reside in a harborside condominium.

A longtime music fan, John Angelos has added musical programming to Camden Yards, a turnaround from his father, who questioned whether or not live shows made financial sense and didn’t need to let the ballpark “become some kind of honky tonk for various and sundry rock ‘n’ roll bands.”

In February at spring coaching, music was the very first thing that got here to thoughts when he described how his duties directed him away from the sector.

”First, I’ve to do the live shows,” Angelos stated. “Then, we have to do the PPP,” referring to the public-private partnership with the state, together with the lease on Oriole Park. “And we’ve got to perform as these guys are performing on the field, meaning Brandon [Hyde, the Orioles’ manager] and Mike [Elias] and the team and the players.”

Shortly after the acquisition of the Orioles, Peter Angelos introduced each sons into the entrance workplace. Unsurprisingly, a number of the baseball professionals bristled over the perceived nepotism and that “the boys,” as they had been identified, seemingly had extra affect with “the old man” than they did.

It was a tumultuous time each throughout the Warehouse and past. There was a lot palace intrigue, and a string of managers and executives handed via a seemingly revolving door.

Baseball gamers went on strike in 1994, and Peter Angelos, ever the champion of union employees whether or not they toiled in metal mills, shipyards or the baseball diamond, refused to go together with MLB’s plan to make use of alternative gamers.

Long-term, it was unclear what he envisioned for the staff, or his household’s position in it.

Marty Conway, a former MLB and Orioles advertising and marketing government whose tenure in Baltimore preceded the 1993 buy of the staff, stated it was generally identified “within the baseball community” that Peter by no means meant for his sons to succeed him.

In her lawsuit, Georgia Angelos claimed her husband thought the staff ought to be bought after his demise, though he left the choice as much as her. But John has asserted himself because the staff’s chief not less than for now, and in 2020, Major League Baseball staff homeowners accredited him because the Orioles’ “control person,” the chief liable for the staff.

Peter Angelos stated early in his possession of the staff that he would fairly his sons went on to do “more important” work as legal professionals, as baseball was simply “fun and games.”

Perhaps he had a change of coronary heart within the intervening years, as each sons remained concerned in numerous capacities, interviewing candidates for prime jobs and dealing with myriad particulars concerned within the advanced group.

For all the inner drama, there have been excessive factors for the staff, from Cal Ripken Jr. breaking Lou Gehrig’s streak when he performed his 2,131st consecutive sport in 1995 to the O’s historic sport in Cuba in 1999, the primary American staff to play within the nation since Fidel Castro’s communist revolution.

By then, John Angelos, who had held the title of “chairman’s representative,” additionally had been named the staff’s government vp, making him the quantity three within the group.

Rick Schaeffer, Baltimore-based legal professional who was instrumental in getting his buddy Peter Angelos curious about taking part in in Cuba, stated he sensed John’s “fealty” to his father.

“Basically, he really did just want to help his dad do something he wanted to do, something nobody else had done,” Schaeffer stated of the Cuba journey.

In 2005, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, or MASN, was created within the wake of the Montreal Expos relocating to Washington because the Nationals and slicing into the Orioles’ historic market. John grew to become CEO of the community, which broadcasts each groups’ video games.

His work on the monetary facet of baseball has led him to bemoan, repeatedly and at nice size, how tough it’s, relative to the NFL, for small-market groups just like the Orioles to compete towards bigger, richer franchises.

These days, now firmly in cost, John Angelos reminds a number of the mercurial father with whom he as soon as tangled.

According to his brother’s lawsuit and people acquainted with Peter Angelos’ companies, he has let go a number of workers members and associates loyal to his father and sought to place his personal stamp on operations — altering, for instance, accountants and distributors.

They level to the August suspension of affable MASN broadcaster Kevin Brown, reportedly for citing team-provided statistics in regards to the O’s earlier struggles, which roiled the sports activities speak world for days with out official remark from the staff.

The incident drew comparisons to how the a lot admired play-by-play announcer Jon Miller was let go in 1996, with Peter Angelos saying he thought an O’s broadcaster ought to “bleed” for the staff.

Then there was final week’s midgame announcement that the staff and the State of Maryland had agreed to a deal maintaining the Orioles at Camden Yards for not less than 30 years.

The deal, broadly misinterpreted as a brand new lease or extension of the one expiring Dec. 31, blindsided members of Orioles workers. The staff had no official launch ready. A spokeswoman, contacted after the very fact, stated she solely may “confirm the accuracy” of the announcement.

The subsequent morning, the state and the staff clarified the deal was a nonbinding memorandum of understanding, laying out potential phrases.

Much as his father was near political figures, so too has John Angelos developed friendships with their successors. Scott, usually in brightly coloured staff gear, is a frequent visitor within the Camden Yards proprietor’s field, which affords an expansive view of the sector beneath.

There, company which have included politicians, lobbyists, public relations consultants and media members mingle in a setting that, aside from the new canine, popcorn and baseball sport taking part in out entrance, could possibly be a reception in Annapolis or Washington.

Angelos, often dressed casually, strikes across the two-level suite, chatting with VIPs, and never typically partaking in fist-pumping or different shows of fan help.

Angelos has nurtured a friendship with the governor, who gushes in regards to the Orioles and has referenced the Orioles’ successful methods in his political fundraising appeals. Moore and Angelos appeared collectively on the videoboard final week, celebrating what proved to be a step towards a brand new lease. Six innings later, the Orioles clinched the AL East, their third division title within the Angelos household’s three many years proudly owning the staff.

Emails, obtained by The Baltimore Sun beneath a public information request, present a heat relationship, with the 2 discussing the potential for assembly up on Martha’s Vineyard over the summer time, and the excitement surrounding the younger staff.

“Yesterday was extraordinary, and I am so excited to have you as not just a friend, but a partner in this work,” Moore wrote Angelos after throwing out the ceremonial first pitch of the house opener towards the New York Yankees in April.

Moore featured Angelos in his 2020 guide with former Sun reporter Erica L. Green, “Five Days: The Fiery Reckoning of an American City,” in regards to the unrest following the police-custody demise of Freddie Gray. Moore was amongst these taken with Angelos’ 21-tweet thread April 25, 2015, after rising protests downtown over Gray’s demise prompted site visitors congestion round Camden Yards.

Angelos known as it an “inconvenience at a ball game irrelevant in light of the needless suffering government is inflicting upon ordinary Americans,” and occurring lengthily about how the unrest in Baltimore stemmed from the financial devastation introduced on by a “political elite” that despatched jobs overseas.

It was nearly unprecedented for a professional sports activities exec to talk out that method, however par for the Angelos household’s politically progressive course. Peter Angelos is a onetime Baltimore City Council member who subsequently ran unsuccessfully for council president and, on the town’s first racially built-in ticket, for mayor.

While he has not run for workplace, a ballot of unknown provenance floated John Angelos’ title earlier this 12 months as a candidate for U.S. Senate.

The friendship between Angelos and Moore will certainly be examined within the coming months as they endeavor to show the memorandum of understanding right into a last lease earlier than the present one expires Dec. 31.

Moore has been key within the lease negotiations, supporting Angelos’ imaginative and prescient of redeveloping the realm across the ballpark right into a live-work-play district akin to The Battery, the Atlanta Braves’ suburban residence that the 2 visited earlier this 12 months.

Angelos stated in February that he hoped to ship a brand new settlement as an “All-Star break gift,” however that time-frame got here and went very similar to his January promise to open the staff books “next week.” A second self-imposed deadline to debate the staff’s financials “before spring training is over” equally handed regardless of Angelos declaring, “When I say something … I’m gonna do it. I’m not gonna say it and walk away from it.”

Conway, the advertising and marketing government, known as these “unforced errors.”

“It’s kind of an undisciplined thing that I think, when you look at it, comes from not being in the spotlight on a regular basis and not understanding that your words have meaning beyond the venue that you’re in,” he stated.

Angelos unnecessarily raised points that followers in any other case wouldn’t fear about, Conway stated.

“They don’t really care about the lease unless it’s not being signed,” he stated. “They don’t really care about the profitability of the team unless there’s some question about it.”

Until a lease is signed, followers are left to stress over the staff’s future.

In late summer time of 2022, Kelso stated he let John Angelos know the NFL’s Ravens had been near updating their lease. According to Kelso, Angelos — who has a penchant for arriving late for conferences and scheduled calls — stated he would ship over an Orioles time period sheet within the subsequent week. The doc, a precursor to a lease, by no means arrived.

While it’s uncommon for MLB groups to relocate, Louis Angelos’ swimsuit recommended his brother’s consolidation of management may enable him to maneuver the Orioles, maybe to his adopted metropolis of Nashville, which is among the many cities hankering for a staff.

That is one thing that neither John Angelos, nor the followers, the town, state or MLB say they need.

For now, the household seems to be in an unloading mode, with components of Peter Angelos’ in depth actual property portfolio having been bought or in the marketplace, and the legislation agency beneath conservatorship, which may result in a sale. In this 12 months’s staff media information, Louis Angelos’ title and picture, which used to run alongside that of his father and brother, didn’t seem on the partnership group’s web page.

The household, in the meantime, retreated again behind the wall of privateness they assiduously maintained earlier than the lawsuits aired their bitter quarrels.

Some near the household shudder to assume how the household patriarch would have reacted to all this, the sheer rage that erupted because the fits had been being litigated, the lingering wounds between the once-close brothers.

“I’ve found over the years the most difficult disputes to resolve are those involving family,” stated Feinberg, the mediator.

He added, although, that nobody ought to underestimate Georgia Angelos’ capacity to restore the injury.

“She’s formidable,” Feinberg stated, “and she loves her sons.”

While comparisons are inevitable, John Angelos doesn’t say a lot publicly about his father, neither to acknowledge the shoulders he stands on, nor to focus on his totally different method.

But, like his father, he doesn’t lack confidence or the idea that he ought to be in cost for a very long time.

“I’m here for the long haul,” John Angelos stated in February. “There is totally no plan to alter the partnership group or to alter the managing partnership construction that we have now.

“I think we want to see this through.”

Baltimore Sun reporter Hayes Gardner contributed to this text.