There were two MLB franchises – – the Angels and the Nationals – – that went up for sale in the last year or so and neither one sold. There were rumors that the Angelos family might sell the Orioles, but there was no overt search for a buyer or any other public announcement of the franchise being available. However, news this week comes that a group of folks headed by David Rubenstein (one of the founders of the Carlyle Group) will buy a 40% interest in the Orioles and take over management responsibility for the club. The buyers’ group will also hold an option to buy the rest of the team at some future date. Based on the purchase of this 40% stake, the Orioles’ franchise is valued at $1.7B.
The deal is not final simply because any transaction of this sort needs the approval of the other MLB owners and there is a committee of the owners that specifically looks at purchase agreements to convince themselves that the prospective owners meet two criteria:
- The prospective owners’ financing arrangements and financial strength are adequate for them to run the franchise.
- The prospective owners as a group “pass the smell test” such that the MLB owners as a whole are comfortable with them joining their club.
Along with David Rubenstein (net worth of $3.8B), there are other partners who bring financial resources to the party including:
- Michael Arougheti – – founder of a private equity firm, net worth of $1.3B
- Michael Bloomberg – – net worth of $96.3B
Rubenstein is a Baltimore native and is well known in the city. Other recognizable figures in his consortium are:
- Grant Hill
- Cal Ripken, Jr.
- Kurt Schmoke – – former Mayor of Baltimore.
It is difficult for me to find fault with this group of prospective buyers particularly since there is a significant degree of “native Baltimore flavor” in the group indicating stability for the franchise in that location.
Sticking with baseball here, a friend sent along this piece of trivia:
- There are 28 players who have hit 500 homeruns or more in baseball history. Of those 28 sluggers, only 3 have also won 10 Gold Glove Awards over the course of their career.
- Name them … [Answer below. For the record, I got two of the three but that’s all]
One more baseball item here … The Washington Nationals signed free agent Joey Gallo to a one-year deal. The Washington Post labeled him as “big swinging”; that is one way to look at it. Consider:
- Gallo has been in the major leagues for 9 seasons; the first 6.5 seasons were with the Rangers.
- Since 2021, he has been with four different teams (Rangers, Yankees, Dodgers and Twins).
- The last time he hit over .199 for a full season was in 2018.
- In all 9 seasons in MLB, he has averaged more than 1 strikeout per game played.
- Only twice in his career has Gallo recorded a Walk-to-Strikeout Ratio” greater than 0.5.
Let’s make today a completely baseball day … The new Hall of Fame Class for 2024 will have three player inductees:
- Adrian Beltré
- Todd Helton
- Joe Mauer
Last year the inductees were:
- Fred McGriff
- Scott Rolen
I don’t mean to be the grumpy old guy in the neighborhood who yells at kids to stay off my lawn, but it really does seem as if the Hall of Fame is trending toward the Hall of Very Good Players. None of the five names above make me stop and say, “Wow!” All five of those players were very good and were strong contributors to their teams but that is as far as I want to go in terms of making them part of elite baseball history. I mentioned a week or so ago that the Hall of Fame itself has some financial problems and the induction ceremonies every summer provide revenue to the institution. In that sense, it is better to have a 2024 Class for the Hall of Fame than to let the dates for the ceremony come and go with nothing on tap. But these last two classes do not inspire me at all.
The answer to the trivia question above is:
- Willie Mays (I got that one)
- Mike Schmidt (I got that one)
- Ken Griffey Jr. (I did not get that one)
Finally, since I mentioned Kurt Schmoke – former Baltimore mayor – above, I had the opportunity once to spend an hour or so in a round-table discussion with him. He began his opening remarks to our group with a great introduction that I have used many times – – with attribution of course:
“A speech – – to be immortal – – need not be eternal.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports……..