What did John Angelos tell The New York Times and why?

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Longtime New York Times sportswriter Tyler Kepner tells Nestor about his story and recent visit with Orioles owner John Angelos and what the owner’s son wants from Maryland tax payers for the future of Baltimore baseball.


orioles, years, baseball, baltimore, team, vision, franchises, new york times, john, fans, spending, ken rosenthal, elias, sitting, young, win, money, athletic, parking lots, george


Tyler Kepner, Nestor Aparicio

Nestor Aparicio  00:01

W n s t, Towson, Baltimore. And Baltimore positive we’re positively taking the show on the road. We’re gonna be Pappas next Tuesday with an aroma county executive Stuart fitness all brought to you by our friends at the Maryland lottery I’ll be giving away the Ravens scratch offs beginning on the 15th. That faith is I still have some 50th anniversary scratch offs, as well as our friends when donation. 866 90 days should take care of that we’re celebrating 25 years here of doing this. It’s been a lot of bad baseball that I’ve had here over 25 years since 1998. When we took over wn SD, this guy I’ve been reading for years and years and years. He’s got a long Philly history and lineage as a fan. But he’s been in the space of covering major league baseball for a long, long time at the New York Times. He’s made the transition over the wall to the athletic I think this week, but his story on John Angelos and Tyler Kepner. I’ll tell you this, John angelos, don’t spend time with me. Yeah, you know, so he must love those new york times worse. Look, it was clearly from his perspective, some sort of planted story to get together to get together with you to make it look good or get his story out in a way that he doesn’t feel the Baltimore banner, the examiner can do it. I was shocked to see it. I didn’t know you were here. How are you? It’s baseball season. We’re first place. We should be talking about that. Right?

Tyler Kepner  01:19

Yeah, it’s been a great season for the Orioles. Man. It’s, you know, it was it got a little preview last year when I started to make some real progress. And yeah, this year has been very exciting. Yeah, try to watch them. When I can. I was down there for that med series. And that was a lot of fun. So yeah, it’s it’s great to see the revival down there.

Nestor Aparicio  01:37

Give me a peel back the onion for how the story happened because John Angeles doesn’t talk to anybody. And when he does, it’s, he’s usually quite embarrassing as Jeff’s Rebeck, your, you know, your former comrade, I should say, because he’s not the or you’re not to retreat back. Excuse me, Dan Connolly. I’m mixing up sports at this point. Dan Connolly got chewed on by him on Martin Luther King Day, which was, I mean, every time John has spoken, and I’ve witnessed this for 30 years, it’s just he’s an introvert. Let’s start with that. I don’t think he’s at all comfortable with fame famous being in front of things, leading things. It’s always a little awkward with him, but you came in, did you know him at all?

Tyler Kepner  02:17

No, I had never had never met him. But, you know, we talked in early in the season when they were in New York, you know, spent a little time just kind of getting to know him a little bit. And but just you know, just for background, just kind of a casual thing. And then And then yeah, you know, went down there in August and sat within the dugout for about an hour and, you know, saw him up in the suite and just kind of got the got a little bit of a feel for him. And certainly he you know, he wanted to talk about the the ballpark project and get his his vision out there. And, you know, so So yeah, I wrote the story.

Nestor Aparicio  02:57

Is there any point where you got a vision of what that is going to look like other than over the hill and what they did in Atlanta, or what they’re doing in Chicago, what they didn’t Sandy, like, there’s been no blueprint for this. And I listen, I came back from the beach. I was with every politician in the state last week talking about this. They’re all talking to me about it. But the tunnel underneath of the land is really problematic in regard to what you can build. Obviously, the parody clause with Steve Bashaud He’s beyond problematic, obviously asking for $300 million more, that doesn’t exist that would have to go to Steve as problematic. But then there’s the what happens to 4000 parking spots. That’s the big shot he’s been promised of open air. So there’s all of this and I love the vision and I live here and I love it and I’ve been to Atlanta I’ve been to these places where I’ve seen what Bob crafted in the parking lot up in Foxborough. So I see these larger than life projects. I just I haven’t seen the project. I love that he’s thinking that way.

Tyler Kepner  03:56

Right? Yeah. I mean, it’s, he’s, you can you can think and plan and dream on whatever you want. And then there’s the reality of trying to get it accomplished. And and you could write, you could write volumes on all the particular difficulties and all the clauses and all the just all the political stuff that you’ve got to navigate. But

Nestor Aparicio  04:22

in this case, there’s just not a lot of land. I mean, that’s, I guess my Well,

Tyler Kepner  04:25

yeah, I mean, but they they talk about the parking lots, but then, you know, because there’s plenty of parking in downtown Baltimore. Maybe you know, Angeles’s mind. You don’t need all those parking lots, but they were the Ravens want them and then they’ve got to have, they’ve got to have them there in the contract. And if not, you know, you’re gonna have to figure out a way. So again, that’s what I mean. There’s so many particulars that you could spend, you know, several articles worth just going through all the little particulars. So and that’s not for me to figure out for him to figure out if he wanted to share his vision. I thought it was important to you know, get get him On the Record talking about the issue as he sees it, and then as far as working out all the details and stuff, that, you know, that’s, that’s up to him, I’m I’m I wasn’t gonna explain all the ins and outs of everything, you know, all the all the little details get and won’t get lost in the weeds? Well, you weren’t there to question him in that way. Right. Like what question whatever I wanted. I mean, I could ask them whatever I wanted. But but, you know, we talked a lot. I mean, you know, we you can’t you can’t fit everything into the story. But yeah, I mean, you know, he’s, like he wanted this is the only point that the Orioles are going to have any kind of option at all to, to expand on the Camden Yards. footprint, right? This is the only you know, they’re between leases, essentially. So this is the time when he can, he can lay out is vision and try to get something done. The public private partnership, the words that they use a lot. So this is this is the time when he when he wants to try to push that. And, you know, I’ll see, you know, we’ll all see what if the governor and the Ravens and everybody can figure it out. And it seems a little bit of a long shot. But you know, you can understand why they why they want it because, you know, they’d like to get more revenue streams and do it in a way that theoretically could, you know, could be a win win.

Nestor Aparicio  06:25

Underpinning all this. It’s just 30 years of his father owning the team. The lawsuit with suing all of the partners of Major League Baseball, pretty much pissing everybody off. My understanding is there’s not a lot of relationship between John Angelos and most people in Major League Baseball in any way. That but Bill Cole was on earlier from coal roofing and he brought this point up and I thought this was interesting that John is sort of speaking for all the owners, right? Like this is the way we’re going to need to do it in Milwaukee. This is the way that the next round, it’s almost like when Lamar was trying to get the quarterback deal here. He’s setting paving the way for everyone else that’s coming after him. John, coming to the New York Times and spending time with you and saying, This is the vision and poor mouthing from the fans perspective, certainly the timing. This week of this, your story’s been a bombshell for Orioles fans here, just sort of in the oh, he’s not going to pay Raj mean, he’s not going to pay Henderson, he’s crying poor. And then you start to do the math on all the shared revenue. And it starts to look like they brought in about $300 million in revenue that we don’t see in hotdogs or empty bodies in the stadium from revenue streams, bam, shared revenue, TV, national TV, all the that that comes in, for him to say we can’t afford this sitting on a $60 million payroll. It is interesting that he’s sort of the the now dog to get a great deal done that may pave the way and may make the other owners who don’t like him very much more happy in the end that he is speaking for baseball, that it can’t just be about sky boxes and tickets anymore for us to be able to survive against the big bad Yankees and the Red Sox.

Tyler Kepner  08:04

Yeah, I mean, certainly teams have a lot of revenue streams and the value of the the value of the franchises and it’s not cash on hand, but certainly it’s like, you know, you’re sitting on an asset that’s worth billions. So, you know, theoretically, if you ever wanted to sell it, you know, you you’d make a ton of money. So, you know, he talked about showing, you know, if I were to show you the financials, which is what he told Dan back in January, she promised to shut down the fund right? I mean, yeah, it was it was essentially the same idea the same concept of hey, if only you could see these and back then he said he would but he didn’t obviously,

Nestor Aparicio  08:45

did you ask him to show him or no or did you even did you bring that up? I

Tyler Kepner  08:49

know I know where that’s going right? empty empty promises but you know, but it’s this idea that boy if only if only you could see what I see then you would know just how hard it is. So I you know, I don’t I don’t know I mean all I know is I look around I see all the other pretty much all the other franchises really at least signing one or two guys long term not that it’s easy right? I mean, you know, you got to find a deal that fits both sides and everything but like in Cleveland, they got Jose Ramirez for a long time and Tampa they have wonder Franco Not that that’s you know, that’s its own can of worms right now.

Nestor Aparicio  09:33

Well, that is the new model the new models letting Manny Machado get away the first time right. Yeah,

Tyler Kepner  09:37

I mean, you know, San Diego with tatties, JR And the Braves with all of their guys and Corbin Carroll and Arizona and Cincinnati signed some guys even so you know that’s that’s what teams are doing and the Orioles haven’t done that with anybody yet. And so that to me was was what interested me in the story because, you know, ballpark politics are what they are. They go on in every city. It’s not so Super interesting until it’s something really gets done or there’s something shovel on the ground sort of thing I’ve been, I’ve experienced that with the whole Oakland situation, wherever there was like a pivot point, you know, the A’s would want to do some, some some big story and get their vision out there. But it was just sort of like nothing ever nothing ever happened. And it kind of kind of boring after a while until they said, You know what we’re going to, we’re going to Vegas, for sure. And then it becomes interesting. So the point is, what really interested me about the Orioles is that they’ve got this great young team, and how do they see it? How do they see their long term future here, and that is the ability to keep these guys and you know, it’s interesting, from a, from an neutral observers perspective, and it’s frustrating from an Oreo fan perspective to see that they’re sort of self image now is with the small market teams, you know, with the Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Oakland, Tampa. Crowd, Cleveland. And so, you know, I kind of had had imagined Baltimore and I think Oriole fans probably too, is more of a normal middle market, you know, not not, not New York or LA, certainly, but also not Tampa. And I think, you know, if you’re going to have a Tampa model, then you’re not really going to keep these guys and you’re going to you’re going to have a very low payroll, perpetually and a lot of turnover.

Nestor Aparicio  11:24

Well, the other part of this is that he owes the learner family a lot of money, right? And the entanglement that I’ve covered every day, Tyler for 18 years, you know, since the thing was birthed in 2005. And the Washington Post was screaming at the trust, and it happened and they were playing games in San Juan, that the Nationals happened. And Peter hate Peter sat with me once in his life for hours and drank. And I have it all on tape. And one of the real deep conversations was Why don’t believe in baseball and Washington, why that’ll make us like the Bay Area, we’ll have to pour teams. Now that was before pacbell was built in San Francisco and all that we go back to 1997. So I’ve been I am the historian and all of this, and I’m dying to know how this is going to turn out in the end, everybody has told me that the Angelo’s family is gonna get forced out of the ownership here. And that the Nashville thing that his brother alleged in the lawsuit last year, that’s a weird vision unto itself, because Cumberland County gave the Titans $2 billion, there would be no money there for baseball, in that case, but watching Oakland, and you’ve covered this Oakland thing as to what Oakland eventually will do, and they don’t know baseball franchises, right? We know that. But that could open a real can of worms, that John would keep his eye on the real value of his franchise, which cannot be maximized in an empty parking lot in Baltimore.

Tyler Kepner  12:49

Right, I mean, you know, in Nashville, as you as you point out, it’s not like they have a ready made baseball stadium. It’s not like, you know, the real stalking horse many years ago was tampo, because they built that stadium. And it was just sitting there empty, and Nashville doesn’t have that yet. And so but you know, you see teams now sort of hinting every time there’s a stadium thing now just just even just the beginnings of one, whether it’s Milwaukee or the White Sox, or, or the Orioles, you know, you start here at Nashville, and obviously, you know, John has a home down there and everything. So people get get worried. And obviously, the scars of the of the Colts from many years ago, you know, never go away. But I don’t get I didn’t get for a moment. Any incentive insinuation or any, any suggestion that, you know, they were going to leave Baltimore, it was just sort of like, well, can we? Can we make this vision work here in Baltimore? And if not, then, you know, then then what, then you don’t get to keep the players as long or you choose not to keep the players as long you know, that that’s that that’s the big, that’s the big issue, right is is whether it’s a choice or whether it’s in necessity, and it’s something that’s really hard to hard to know for sure. But I think, you know, there’s a strong case that you could make that you know, you sign these guys and then and then hope that you keep winning and then then you make more money and then everybody’s happy and maybe you run maybe you do run some losses a little bit, but for you could always gain those back if you want to sell the team. So, you know, he came out and said he does not want to run losses. And that’s no that’s not that’s not really what a what a fan base wants to hear that again. It’s not like spending money guarantees anything look at the Mets and Yankees this year. Look at the Padres this year. So you know, there’s a lot of different ways to do it. But certainly, if you’re just falling in love with this young team, you’d like to know that you can you you’ll have these guys to root for for a while.

Nestor Aparicio  14:59

Oh Captain wrote the piece in The New York Times, he’ll be writing lots of pieces in the athletic and out on the website for the athletic. And you can follow him out on social media, longtime baseball insider spending time with John. That’s what I’ve, I’ve literally never spent two minutes with John John has always declined to even shake my hand over 32 years going back to spring trainings in 9697, when he was involved in signing Sid Fernandez and Chris Saibot. The see in his mind when he speaks to you, does he does he feel like he’s going to own the team 10 years from now, does he speak in those terms of the team will always be his?

Tyler Kepner  15:36

Yeah, I mean, you know, I didn’t, I didn’t get any sense that that he was interested in in unloading it. Fair enough, you know, but I didn’t ask him that question directly, you know, 10 years from now, where do you see yourself or 20 years from now? Where do you see yourself, but I do think this is the kind of thing where it’s tied up in wanting to build, wanting to have a legacy, you know, wanting to do something, obviously, to make more money. But wanting to have something where you can point at point to and say, you know, I did, I did this, this was my, this, this was a vision that I had along with other people. And we made it work, you know, make the evolving Camden Yards from where it was at the forefront of the of everything that every owner in every sport wanted to sort of catching up to now what every owner in every sport wants, which is this little city within the city, whether it’s feasible or not, they got to figure that out. But I think he’d like he’d like that to be, you know, something, something of a legacy, where you can have something that you can point to win or lose that, that everybody likes. And also along with that make it easier to keep this winning team going. I think it’s all connected in his mind and his vision, which is you get you get this ballpark village sort of thing. You get more revenues, it’s good for the community, and therefore the team has a better chance to stay good for a while. I don’t know if again, that’s that’s for other people to figure out if that works. But that’s, that’s the way they’re presenting it.

Nestor Aparicio  17:21

A rare visit with John Angelo send us some insight. You can go read the piece at the New York Times, I highly encourage that. It angered a lot of fans about money and about spending money and not running losses. How I’ll say this, I’ve written a book on Peter, the Peter principles you can go check out and I did a lot of research on this 10 years ago, when the team got good again, like the book show Walter Aaron, oh, 12 and 13. I sat with the people who knew and Peter ran awful losses, like in 2001 234. Before mass and happen. He was chewing on 25 $40 million a year that he literally was pulling out of the law firm of Peter angelos, Peter G Angelo’s to pay David Siggy Jeff cone on it Sydney Ponsoldt during that era, that he lost the he was losing his ass and passing and and the nationals are what really saved him at that point financially, because he couldn’t save himself because he made so many enemies in the city.

Tyler Kepner  18:20

Yeah, well, that’s interesting. And it’s understandable. And you know, we’ve seen it in New York, you know, where the son takes over for his his father, your house, Steinbrenner taking over for George and yes, the Yankees still spend a lot of money, but they don’t operate in the same way that they did when George was here. And that’s a conscious decision by how to not repeat the mistakes of his father who, you know, for all the sanitized. You know, versions of George that we hear now, you know, George was kind of crazy. I mean, he fire in 80s. Just look at what he didn’t. He was he was he was nuts. He fired everybody. There was no consistency of vision. They traded all young guys in past us. It took Jean Michel to, you know, when George was gone for a few years to kind of get things under control. And then even then it got kind of you know, I was still running away that he didn’t like so the point is pretty much right. Yeah, the point the point is that sometimes when the son takes over, he is very conscious of the mistakes or, or the troubles that his father may have had and wanting to avoid them. So maybe that is where the the idea of being more fiscally within your means, so to speak, comes from

Nestor Aparicio  19:31

Tyler Kepner covers real baseball. And we haven’t talked at all about the first place Orioles and 30 games over 500 and whether they can be caught whether they have enough pitching and whether they did enough in the trading deadline, which is also a financial issue for the Orioles as to whether they can be good enough and whether they will be attractive enough for Verlander er shares are at the trading deadline. They weren’t. Where are you on the team and Flaherty? And you know guys coming back and means and do they have enough pitching and can they be good enough to win a tournament in October?

Tyler Kepner  20:00

Yeah, I think, you know, I think the Royals showed a few years ago that any team can win, you know, regardless of your payroll, you know, that’s that’s a model that that could maybe work. I mean, you could Cano and Batista if they if they, you know, protect all the leads and save all the games that they that they should then you know they’ve got a good shot I mean certainly they can they can hit and and Flaherty is is a big wildcard. I mean, he’s always had like, great talent. I mean, I think the Orioles have seen already just, you know, the good and the bad, he can have some starts where he’s, he’s great. And somewhere he’s like, you know, who is this guy? So you know that that’s sort of a high risk, high reward guy. And if you get the good side of him, you know, that that that can go a long way. So can they win? I mean, anybody can win. I don’t know if they’d be the favorites. Because we haven’t seen it. But you know, I think we’ve all seen certain teams that are young I mean, remember the oh three Marlins coming in with with very little experience and just shocking the world or the Oh, two angels. They weren’t young necessarily, but they had no playoff experience. So sometimes experience can be overrated. But boy, I can’t wait. I mean, it’s been a long time since the Orioles have made a serious run. I mean, they got to the LCS in 14 but didn’t win any games so I could see it. I mean, because young players they they they can surprise you and because we’ve never seen what they can do on that stage. I’d like it if they had a little more veteran influence in there. But you know, I take my chances with that group.

Nestor Aparicio  21:36

The alias things fascinating for me having had some geniuses around here like Pat Gillick, and even on the football side with Ozzie Newsome in regard to turning water into wine. The plan was to really stink and stink badly and they did and there aren’t a whole lot of franchises that could ever or should ever be bragging about how many one ones they have because one ones don’t come easy but then then they have to bear fruit and certainly not just the one ones here whether it’s you know, the cows errs or the late first round guys that they they’ve they’re geniuses in some way about baseball and you have spent a lifetime chasing these people who think they’re geniuses are spent a lot of money in the case of the Yankees buying things this has been a different way to grow it Elias is has really proven something here to get this team on the on the cusp of doing something that we haven’t seen around here. This is the greatest gathering of young oral talent of not just my lifetime in history, the franchise.

Tyler Kepner  22:32

Yeah, and there’s more to come, right I mean, you know, there’s there’s a lot of waves of, of of talent still percolating down below. So you know, that’s the hope that that you can keep this thing rolling not just for one group of guys, but for one plus and then you know, so So that’s that’s the one thing about this is that you know, I know that it’s really natural to think about the long term future and to worry about the viability of keeping everybody together and all that but this this this run is kind of just starting and you’re gonna have a few years anyway where you don’t really have to worry about that too much. So you know, I can’t tell if a fan base how to feel but it’s probably best to just be just be in the moment with these dudes and just be excited and love them because they are fun and to see the you know, the birdbath out there and to see the way that that city comes alive it’s such a great American baseball city with a great tradition and the smart fans in an amazing setting. So I mean it’s it’s it’s great and Elias to your point is a really smart guy you know he learned a lot from the good and the bad from from Houston and most of it was really good the thing about Houston is that they were doing things that that nobody else was really doing they were way on the cutting edge of a lot of stuff and now the rest of the caught up to them so the question is what you know where are the where can the Orioles distinguish themselves the way Houston distinguish itself in player development particularly so that’s the stuff that’s going on down below he had a lot of infrastructure stuff that he had to modernize and get up to speed and I think they’ve done that he’s done a fantastic job then it just the question is now you know, you can gather all the talent, but you know, it’s it’s putting it together and getting a good cohesive group. And they they do seem to have that so you know, definitely he’s he’s been great

Nestor Aparicio  24:38

title captain and I’ve been in many rooms together but we’ve never like sort of formally met although we were together back in 83 at the vet, I remember it in October. I’ve seen your pictures as well as I got to share my picture of the fanatic and the Oriole bird feuding at second base and 33rd street that I took from the dugout you know overtop looking at Pete Rose and and all those guys I hope that we have a World Series here in Oh, that’s seven eight weeks and that I can buy you a crab cake proper crab cake know that Philadelphia crab frog was the real meat and it Kepner. Alright. So we will continue to keep the orange flame burning down here in the thoughts of postseason baseball. It’s almost pinch me. I mean, it’s August and we’re not even talking football here. Unprecedented. It’s 25 years, man. The whole city’s a little upside down about all of this with Lamar and the Orioles. It’s been fun around here after the plague brother.

Tyler Kepner  25:30

That’s great. That’s great. It should be you know you love seeing it. And boy, wouldn’t it be something that have 40 years later to have another Phillies Orioles? World Series? Man I’d I’d signed up for that. That’d be that’d be a lot of fun, easy travel and some some really vivid memories for those of us who were little guys maybe back in 83, but who still remember very well,

Nestor Aparicio  25:53

you and I can camp out halfway in North Dakota and go tax free. And we’ll do that. They’re joining us here from the New York Times now with the athletic I guess, folks, we’ll be finding you over there any shout out you want to give to the athletic I know you’ve been a reader for a long time.

Tyler Kepner  26:07

Yeah, I love it. I’m really excited to you know, to be going over there. I mean, it’s it’s, it’s like getting caught up to an all star team. You know, I mean, I my favorite sports writer, growing up and even still now is is Jason Stark. He’s like he’s a good friend and a mentor to me and just to be on the same team with with Jason and Ken Rosenthal, and just so many great beat writers and national guys and editors and columnists, it’s it’s gonna be a lot of fun. I know they don’t, you know, they don’t cover every team every day but they cover a lot of teams every day and they cover the sport the way nobody else does. And I’ll start saying we’ve said today because I started mid September and I can’t wait it’s it’s the place to be as far as I’m concerned for. For for sports writers today.

Nestor Aparicio  26:57

Brother as a kid I was at the side of Tim Kurkjian and Richard justice and Ken Rosenthal very much Ken Rosenthal. And when you mentioned Jayson Stark, I mean, he did my show before game three of the 1993 World Series from the carpet down on the vet when I was doing radio 30 years ago so you know all these years later to have all of y’all gathered with bunting in Baltimore under a starlet October night. Let a kid dream tie we’ll take care of yourself. Thanks for the time really appreciate the insights you know, John doesn’t sit with anybody. So him spending time with you. It means a lot that you would spend some time with us and at least tell our fans you know a little bit about what’s going on because we’re all trying to figure it out, man.

Tyler Kepner  27:37

Yeah, yeah. Well, thanks a lot. It’s it’s awesome to see the Orioles back and, and alive right now. And you know, yeah, I mean, you name your show, right? Positive. I try to stay positive about it. You know, remember, a lot of this is politics. This is just trying to get what you want when you can get it. And you know, I I think Mike I mean, I trust Mike Elias has vision in the you know, the fact that this is a very good situation they have gone and they’re going to want to keep it business wise and baseball wise, going for a while.

Nestor Aparicio  28:12

The interesting thing that I’ll be chronicling whether they win or lose is Elias has to go down the hallway and get money from John at some point for players at some point. He hasn’t had to do that yet. He you know, he set a budget. It’s all cheap. It’s all on, you know, we’re gonna we’re gonna scout we’re gonna scout at some point, they’re gonna have to pay somebody and make decisions on that. And that’s, that’s really where the decision making of John Angelos begins to have a character find him out on the interwebs find him at the athletic final for a limited time at the New York Times. Make sure you find that piece of him sitting with John Angelos that has been circulating on social media. I’m at the Pappas next Tuesday the 29th and around the county executive Steuart Pittman will join us we’re celebrating 50 years of the Maryland lottery 25 years of Baltimore positive in conjunction with our friends at WIN donation 866 90 nation I am Nestor we are wn st am 1570, Towson Baltimore. We never stop talking Baltimore pass

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