A grand welcome for Rubenstein as new Orioles owner

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Luke Jones and Nestor discuss the takeover of the Orioles franchise by the ownership group of David Rubenstein and hope for the future of a better era for Baltimore baseball, downtown and the long-suffering fans in Birdland.


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Luke Jones, Nestor J. Aparicio

Nestor J. Aparicio  00:01

Welcome home we are wn St. am 1570, Towson, Baltimore and Baltimore positive. We have been discussing the aftermath of the Key Bridge tragedies. I was in Florida with Luke Jones. Luke Jones is about to join us here to discuss baseball and opening day and lots and lots things that certainly you and I spent the day together on Tuesday, but we’re gonna be spending some Fridays together at fade Lee’s downtown I’m wearing my Costa shirt because Costas is on the peninsula. That is now literally the road to nowhere, right like and it’s going to be that way for years to come. We’re all trying to settle in on that and I want to get down there we’re gonna support them as we record this on Wednesday night, but we’re gonna be there on April 9, kicking off the Maryland crabcake tour. We’re gonna probably start a little earlier in the morning at two o’clock the Orioles play the Red Sox. I’m going to summon Luke Jones to Dundalk that day not only talk baseball, we’re gonna watch the game the Orioles playing the Red Sox two o’clock and put it on the bar go old school in Dundalk on April 9 and sport cost this with our Maryland crab cake tour. I’ll have lottery tickets to give away. And we’ll probably have a whole lot more clarity by April 9 on all issues of the Key Bridge will certainly have clarity on the issues of the Orioles and not on the Ravens who ran for me in the middle of the night. You see Eric the cost of remind him that he ran for me. What’s the shotty the other night? Luke joins me now. I look man it’s opening day. The weather. You know by the time people hear this, the game might be Friday. I don’t know, right? We got to talk Key Bridge before we do anything. I’m seven hours into doing radio without you because you didn’t want to get out of bed early in the morning after six days. I’m running around and civic tragedies and Peter Angelos died and began opening day all day Thursday or maybe not there. I don’t know. But you and I, I ran you ragged you ran yourself ragged at the NFL owners meetings. We’ll talk about all of that. We’re going to get to all of that. We’re going to talk about opening day rosters and Corbin burns and the angels and probably Otani betting. I don’t think we’ve talked about that. We talked about everything, but it was sort of just had ballparks and in cars and rides and all that stuff. i The Cambridge thing. I want to give you some oxygen because they say you’re from Pennsylvania but deep down your family’s East Baltimore.

Luke Jones  02:18

Yeah, I mean, you know, my dad grew up in Essex, my aunt lived over on that side of town, my grandparents lived there. You know, we’ve talked about establishments on that side of town, like Costas in, for example, that I’ve certainly enjoyed over the years. And I mean, you just, I mean, the tragedy itself, the the individuals who lost their lives, you know, what this is going to mean for the city and so much, so many challenges it’s going to create, as it goes without saying, but I mean, for me, I mean, you think of visuals of Baltimore, and I’m not going to say the Key Bridge was at the top of the list, but it’s certainly ranked up there. Right. I mean, you’re talking about something that, you know, is Baltimore, and especially that side of town, and, and I can think of being on boats, with relatives, and going under the Key Bridge, you know, over the years, different times, you know, on family outings and whatnot. And, I mean, I don’t have anything overly profound to say Nestor about it that hasn’t been offered by so many thoughtful individuals over these last recent days. But, you know, my thoughts are with anyone directly impacted, and specifically the families of those who lost their lives. But I mean, it’s just, you know, it’s sad. It’s sad, and it’s one of those, you know, when we were waking up very early Tuesday morning, as I was getting ready to head over to the last day of the NFL owners meetings and to see the images on social media to see the coverage on cable news, you know, a national story, while not being at home not being in the Greater Baltimore area at that point in time. It’s just very, very sad, very shocking. It’s bring challenges in the coming days, weeks, months, and even years, potentially, but I think we know this is a very resilient area. And I’d like to think that from a long term perspective, Baltimore will come out more than okay in the long run, but boy, it definitely hurts. There’s no question. Well,

Nestor J. Aparicio  04:28

we’ll be out of Costas, April 9, we were talking to real baseball. I don’t know what kind of start we expect them to get off to. We don’t know how the weather is. But I do know that at 1235. On Wednesday afternoon, when I was literally talking about the life of Peter angelos, literally we were discussing Peter angelos, his life and his legacy. My phone went off with you sending the Baltimore positive text that David Rubenstein had had purchased the Orioles that had been unanimously approved by Major League Baseball On the bridge, the national anthem, our role in the arrow in the national anthem, and their role in the Orioles and everything we’ve ever known. The Orioles to be for the last 31 years is about to change dramatically. And for that I am. I’m just glad to be alive. I mean like literally to see this. And to see, as I’ve said several times, and I’ll say this to David Rubenstein. When I meet him. There’s pure potentiality here, you know for what it can become. Same thing with the Key Bridge. There’s potentiality here. I began my day with Bill coal. I wish I had my coal roofing copy. I’m usually having coffee when I’m with you. At this point I’m having I’ve cried three times on the air today. Jana Marie got me going Tom Lovera got me going let Raskin got me going about my uncle Norman. Ride me across the Key Bridge is a little boy. And the baseball thing when this national anthem is played, when Cal Ripken comes out in waves and says I’m a part of this, which obviously was very important to Rubenstein even talking about that on Tuesday night. In the first words, he said, you know, all that being said, there’s a there’s something really crazy about this week, this is going to be an all timer kind of a week, whether they get the game off and good conditions back at this as the game gets punted on by the time people hear this, whatever happens here, something’s about to happen that we’re all going to report on here at wn St. You’re going to be on the inside I might be wherever I am, that’s going to hopefully hopefully feel different than the way it was.

Luke Jones  06:49

No question. And there’s a lot of excitement, you know, through some of the obvious challenges this week. Opening Day always brings optimism, you know, whether the team’s coming off of a 100 Win 101 Win season or some of these 100 last season’s there’s still always that a certain feeling about opening day. So I think that’s going to be good. You know, as you mentioned, whether and all that it’s going to happen, whether it’s Thursday, Friday, whatever. But there’s just so much optimism there. And we’ve talked about this for two months. I mean, the idea that to literally as you and I are speaking in real time right now, two months ago, this hadn’t been reported just yet. Certainly it was in the works at that point, but it hadn’t become public knowledge. And to think how quickly this has moved, I think speaks to the excitement of it. I think it speaks to Major League Baseball wanting to be turning the page as it relates to Orioles ownership and the Angelo’s family and all that. But there’s just, you know, and I wrote it the when this news initially broke, and when the Orioles made the initial announcement that this had been agreed to printable pending baseball approval, which came on Wednesday, it’s, it’s been able to dream of of the bar being elevated, not just a little bit, but substantially. And that’s exciting when you’re talking about where this team is on the field right now. And I think for all the words that we’re going to hear from from the new ownership group, hearing hearing statement, that flat out says, We want to advance a world class professional sports agenda with eyes on returning a World Series trophy to Baltimore. Now, I can think back to various times, even times when things were good over the last decade, and I’m gonna say the last decade plus because that’s what I’ve been covering the team. But I can remember Dan, do cat talking about competitive baseball, the postseason. I can remember John Angelo’s at a couple points, you know, where he wasn’t necessarily saying something to embarrass himself, but just talking about the team in general talking about being competitive, and talking about the playoffs. But I, I always felt like there was a reluctance to say the words World Series at different points from those in leadership in this organization. And that’s not to say it never came up. But there was just always something to that. And maybe it’s because it’s something I haven’t seen in my lifetime, other than when I was literally a two week old infant, when the Orioles last won the World Series, but to hear the new owner, you know, someone in this position of power and influence and the control person for the Orioles to say that he has eyes on returning this franchise to a World Series for the first time in over 40 years. I mean, that’s exciting. Now,

Nestor J. Aparicio  09:35

not to interrupt, but I think the most important thing that I saw here, professionalism, integrity, excellence, and a fierce desire to win games, but let’s start with professionalism and integrity. Those are two things that you know, again, Peters, Peter, Peter has been dead five days, professionalism and integrity, professionalism and Integrity after the other billionaire owner ran down a dark hallway away from me with with his general manager when they saw me professionalism and integrity, that’s all. And accountability. I’ll throw that in there. He feels like he’s already accountable. He’s out in front of it right, like, so. I am. That’s the part that’s going to create the excellence and the ability to win games, the professionalism and the integrity were always lacking. And at heart, they didn’t win for 40 years. So professionally, on top of everything else, you got to be great at a lot of things and a lot of things you got to be lucky and all that, but professionalism and integrity, that’s going to see you through, that’s gonna see you through, that’s gonna see Steve Ashati through the foreign Thirteen’s in the five and twelves. And it’s gonna see this owner here through maybe a championship, maybe some disappointments, probably not probably, definitely some disappointments in sports, you’re not going to win every year, you there’s going to be good and bad, but professionalism and integrity. Can I trust you? And are you giving me a real effort? And are you giving me an honest effort? And as Charlie Ekman would say, I want to invoke his name today, are your right guy, leader, or your right guy. Because if you’re a right guy, you have professionalism and integrity. And the excellence comes after that it always has in my life.

Luke Jones  11:24

Yeah, I mean, I sit and look, at the end of the day, we’re talking about words, you know, whether we’re talking about the statement that he already knows and Rubenstein pulled out, or we’re talking about the press conference interviews he’s going to do, you know, here at the very beginning, you know, as, as his, you know, his tenure is just beginning. Ultimately, the proofs going to be in the pudding and actions speak louder than words. But I think where he is at such an advantage is on the field with where things are, that certainly helps. Now, we’ve talked about the other challenges, TV ticket sales, cultivating business partnerships in the local community, all those stadium renovations, I mean, obviously, there’s already with some of the initial press that he’s done, the ground lease issue, and what’s going to become of that, and clearly, that’s something he’s interested in doing. And we heard plenty of that from John angelos, what’s going to make sense in terms of what’s feasible, you know, what can be done that’s financially responsible, but also done in a way that shows some vision and some development and things that could be very positive for the Camden yard sports complex, but we know that there are challenges to that, as far as space constraints and parking. And when all that same things we were talking about with John Angeles, just you’re hoping with a new group in place goes back to what you were just saying integrity and professionalism and being forthcoming about things and transparency, and hey, you know, what’s your vision here? And how can it happen? And how can this all mesh together to make to be something that makes the best profitable for the ownership group, but it goes back to being a good steward and stewardship and making sure that this is going to make sense for not just Orioles fans, but for the city and the states. So there’s so much there. But I think he’s, he’s, they’re coming in at a time where there are challenges, no doubt, but they’ve got a lot going for them. And that’s because of the work that Mike Elias and his group and, you know, the baseball operations side have done over the last five years. So it’s really exciting. There are a lot of questions that need to be asked. And I think it’s very clear, we’re not going to get answers to them right away. You know, I think this is going to be something that over the next six months to maybe two years, we’ll start to really get a vision about what this group is all about. But in the meantime, again, raising the bar, you know, being in a spot where you can dare to dream about this being great. And I’ve used the example to you over and over again, and I’ll continue to because I think it’s not a perfect comparison, but I think it’s an appropriate comparison. I’ll continue to go back to the St. Louis Cardinals. I mean, this is where Mike Elias and SigmaTel have originated now they they came from the Cardinals to the Astros a years and years ago but St. Louis is not a big market St. Louis as a city has its challenges. You know, and um, you know, it’s Midwest versus the East Coast. I’m not trying to say that they’re identical twins with Baltimore by any stretch of the imagination but I think you have a market you have a city that is not the Yankees is not the Mets is not the Los Angeles Dodgers. Is not the Boston Red Sox. Well, it’s not the Philadelphia Phillies in terms of market size, but you see what can be done when you have good ownership, good baseball ops, a good vision of what you want to do on the field and off I mean, St. Louis baseball as a baseball city, it’s it’s rapid tation speaks for itself over the years, and you look at the success they’ve had over the last 20 years. And that, that is with a payroll that’s been competitive, and at times has been up, you’re kind of in that top 10 range. At times, it’s been a little bit lower than that. But spending that makes sense, coupled with a good farm system and a commitment to player development and using your resources wisely. Their results over the last two decades speak for themselves. So that’s where I’ve looked at this thing and said if there’s something the Orioles could aspire to, and again, I’m I understand you think big picture in terms of a lot of the the aspects off the field, but it all relates to what happens on the field, ultimately, I mean, it’s a give take in that regard. But I see a franchise like that that’s had the success. They’ve had multiple championships, so many playoff appearances over the last 20 years. I see no reason why the Orioles now with a new ownership group in place that you hope will follow through with all the things we’re seeing in the initial statements, that this thing could be great. And this thing could be great for a long time. And I mean, for you consider not just the last 30 years under the Angelo’s family. But you know, even going back to the late 80s and early 90s. Before then, I mean, it’s been a long time since the Orioles have been viewed as one of the model organizations and Major League Baseball, you go back to the early 80s. I mean, 40 years at this point. So just to even be having this conversation with these thoughts of what they can aspire to become coupled with where they already are going on the field right now. I mean, it’s just it’s really exciting. And I think anyone who cares about Baltimore is, you know, whether you’re a huge baseball person or whether you’re more on the casual side of that, I mean, it’s tough not to look at this thing and say, well, there’s there is a great opportunity here. But there are a lot of issues that they are going to have to take care of here over the next couple of years.

Nestor J. Aparicio  17:01

He is Luke Jones. He is a Baltimore Luke, you know, I see this 11am press conference I literally looked at I’m not on their press releases. And I see that there’s been a press release. We’ve been here working all day. And talking to and seeing so many quotes from Rubenstein seeing all of the early social media and look we’re an hour into this this happened an hour as we’re speaking there will be more words more things I’m sure you know, the situation the Key Bridge or city was in the state of emergency isn’t a state of emergency, we transportation and all sorts of issues going on here. And the weather and but this is something that has been in the works for months. And it’s we’ve waited a lifetime for all of this stuff. And then there’s the hope on the field right then there’s the last minute picking up a guy that’s won some games in October to add to the edge of the roster that take all of that drama out of Jackson holiday and you know, who’s making the team and you know, Kolten Wong, and like all of these baseball things that will sit underneath of this, there’s a little less oxygen for all that. It’s like, well, if you lose on opening day, no big deal, whatever. This is gonna be a really, really good baseball team, whether they win or lose on opening day, this week, next week, whatever the massive thing will probably be screwed up for a while. I might not even get a press pass back. I don’t know. I don’t know how any of this is going to go but I do know the baseball team is going to go be good at it and the baseball team every day for baseball people they’re going to roll the ball out there and this guy came in I mean 48 hours after the biggest tragedy in the history of the city right? Like I mean there’s just a lot of weird stuff now Ripken trying to get a nourisher for a press conference and this and that amongst all of it, but the long play for the baseball team is this is good they’re they’re into something here that’s a Daily Drama that can really bring people together at a time when this in a way the Angeles family could never react and react well to the to Freddie Gray right we’ve had this thing happen with the bridge now that the team has some daylight here that they’re going to have the stage maybe that’s why the the cost and Bharati ran from the other night hey the stage is the Orioles now for a while because it really is the stage is the Oreos for a while

Luke Jones  19:21

it is and I mean we’re still What about a month away from the draft which we know that’s a tentpole event for the NFL and in turn with the Ravens but I mean the Orioles have a great opportunity here let’s let’s start with the schedule just on a very basic level I won’t go into it too deep too deep here but angels then three with Kansas City then they go to Pittsburgh for three then they go to the Red Sox for three which I don’t


Nestor J. Aparicio  19:41

know if that’s for the worst teams in the in the sport

Luke Jones  19:44

literally right. And look I’m not saying the Red Sox gonna lose 98 games but I think you pull them most people most people think they’re gonna be last place in the alleys and you know, we’ll see what happens. I mean, it’s not as though the Al least each team has some question marks You know, even the Orioles in the race, you were right at the top of the division last year, but then, you know, Milwaukee, Minnesota, so it does pick up a little bit as the month goes on. But yeah, I just I just rattled off those first 12 games. I mean, the Orioles have a chance here to, yeah, I’m not saying go 12 No. But if you win four series, you’re you know, you’re off to a nine and three, eight and four kind of start. I mean, right off the bat, boom, there you go, you’re, you’re probably in first place at that point in time. And just you’re off to a good start. If they don’t get off to that start. It doesn’t mean the season’s over or it’s a panic. But it is an opportunity here, especially with what you’re talking about some of the just the feelings of everything that’s happened this week that is much bigger, much, much, much, much, much more important than baseball. But sports are an escape, right sports are released. I mean, this is a chance for the Orioles when there was already so much optimism. But now you have a real life event and a tragedy here impacting the community. This is an opportunity for them to get off to a good start and give people something to be even more excited about. And I think that’s going to be so much fun. I mean, see even seeing Corbin burns start opening day when you talk about having a legitimate ace, you know, for the first time since Mike Mussina, at least in terms of how He’s regarded, arguably the best pitcher in the National League over the last four or five years. So, I mean, there’s so much excitement. I mean, there’s questions and you mentioned some of the roster stuff. And, you know, when’s Jackson holiday gonna arrive? We’ll see. Certainly, that’s gonna be a watch for the first couple months of the season. And what about the rest of the rotation? Where’s Kyle? Bradish Where’s John means? bullpen? You know, I’ve talked a lot about the bullpen. I don’t love this bullpen if I’m being totally honest. But there are other aspects of this team to really really love and to really be optimistic about and I was even looking at this as I’m kind of working on some beginning of the season writing at Baltimore positive.com I think for every question that you might have about the Orioles look at the race I mean, I mean they traded glass now. Their rotation injuries from last year they are still dealing with the effects the Wonder Franco saga and whether he’s ever going to play for them again, let alone anytime soon. Blue Jays, Toronto. What’s the best thing you can say about their offseason? Okay, they got Justin Turner, but probably the thing you’d say they were most known for is they tried to get Shohei Otani but they didn’t get them. Yankees okay, they got Juan Soto great. They got Marcus Stroman but Garrett Cole’s on the shelf, they have all these old guys at this point that they’re looking to bounce back from. They’ve got a good ceiling, but their floor, as we saw last year is still pretty low, you know, relative to the Yankees anyway. And we already mentioned Boston. So even if you’re of the opinion, and this is where I do Lean right now. I mean, the Orioles haven’t won haven’t had 100 win seasons back to back since what 79 and 1980. I think it’s a tall order to win 100 game. So I mean, captain obvious statement there, I get it. So even if I don’t necessarily see this team winning 101 games again, or 103, games 94 wins, you know, looking at this division or 95 wins, with how competitive it is. But also, with none of these teams being flawless or perfect. You know, I think that still could very easily win this division. So I still like the Orioles to win the division. But, you know, there are some question marks and a lot of that, for me falls on the pitching side. So that’s okay. Other teams in the division have questions too. So buckle up. It’s the start of a long season, as we mentioned, you hope to get off to a good start here, given the schedule, but it’s a long, long season, they can go 10 Into and the rest of the year not go great. Or they could go five and five, and then they’re awesome after that. I mean, it’s it really is baseball. So it’ll be fun. Yeah, I mean, right, exactly. I mean, it’s just, there’s such a sense of and again, especially on the heels of what’s happened this week in Baltimore, there’s just such a sense of excitement and optimism. And for me again, even when the Orioles were good over the last year going back to the Duke cat and Buck era, going back to this time last year with the optimism as far as coming off of the good second half of 22 that they had, there was always the caveat of what what about ownership? What about when they’re ready to go out and augment this roster? Is ownership going to have the willingness, the wherewithal, the intestinal fortitude, the integrity, whatever you want to, you know, however you wanted to frame it, to go out and make this thing. Good to Great. And now it’s an unknown. Again, we don’t know what this is going to look like ultimately But knowing what it’s looked like for the last 30 years, I don’t know how you can’t look at this and be really, really excited about the possibilities surrounding the Baltimore Orioles even with some of the questions and challenges that certainly need to be addressed. More so off the field at this point in time. Here’s

Nestor J. Aparicio  25:17

what Jones is Baltimore, Luke will have plenty plenty plenty more to say about the Key Bridge tragedy plenty more to say about the Orioles plenty more to say about new ownership. And probably a whole lot less to say about Peter Angelos and John Angelos and free the birds and the Peter principles which I ran the other day, people were asking why because I was on a plane and the Key Bridge fell and it was last chance to sort of run it it was planned. So if you were offended by that, my apologies. I don’t aim to offend I just do put that on my tombstone. But in the in the end with Peter Angelos. We talked about it the other day, and this new thing will feel like a new thing right away and, and the healing part of what sports can be in baseball. I hope it sort of comes to life in some way here in the coming weeks and months. As we rally together over the Key Bridge tragedies and really rally around the new owner and who at least from the front side, and we’re on two hours and 13 minutes past the wn S T text that came to me on Wednesday afternoon talking about professionalism and integrity. And you know, I prayed a long time for this Luke Jones. So we’re we’re on to a new day and I’ll see you at Camden Yards. I am Nestor we are wn st am 15 70,000 Baltimore. We never stop talking Baltimore.

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