The Orioles plan to remain rooted in Baltimore for the long haul. On Monday, club leadership took measures toward assuring fans of that.
Indirectly addressing reports the team could soon be up for sale, Orioles GM/executive vice president Mike Elias wrote a 716-word letter emailed to season-ticket holders on Monday. It came two days after the Baltimore Sun published a report indicating potential bidders were expecting the team to hit the open market. Elias’ letter did not specifically reference the story.
“With aspects of uncertainty that float around there about our franchise from time to time, we thought it was the right time for the fans to hear from me, to know the level of commitment that exists across all corners of our organization to reviving winning baseball in Baltimore,” Elias said on a Zoom call with reporters on Monday. “To getting back to the point where we’re bringing 75 million fans through the city, as has been done here over the last 25 years or so.”
The letter reads, in full:
When I joined the club as General Manager in November of 2018, it marked the beginning of a journey to build the next great chapter of Orioles baseball, a journey that is driven by the tremendous support of fans like you.
I grew up in the region, visited Camden Yards with my family, and admired the 2012 to 2016 run when the Orioles won more games over those five seasons than any other American League team. After years of working in MLB as a scout, scouting director, and developer of Major League talent, I received the chance to join the storied franchise that I loved, and I was all in.
Two years later, while there is still work to be done, our talented baseball operations team -- with your support -- has made significant strides as we build a foundation that will ensure renewed success for years to come. We have worked diligently to accelerate the player development system; invest in the club's international scouting presence in the Caribbean, Asia, and worldwide; and expand the team's analytics department. After 22 months, I am proud to report to you that MLB Pipeline ranks our farm system eighth-best in baseball in developing talent, and we are now full of top-tier prospects that we believe will soon make their way to Camden Yards.
Our historic franchise has been a pillar of the Baltimore community for more than half a century, and our partnership group -- consisting entirely of hometown, Maryland natives who act as stewards of this community's ballclub -- is committed to building upon that lasting legacy for the next generation and providing our baseball operations department with the most modern technology and other resources necessary to build a championship-caliber team and return back to our recent winning ways.
Orioles Chairman & CEO John Angelos stated in the summer of 2019 that the Orioles will remain in Baltimore for "as long as Fort McHenry is standing watch over the Inner Harbor." I signed on as your GM to amplify that vision by making it our entire organization's mission to assemble a baseball executive team that features some of the best talent in the industry, including Brandon Hyde, Sig Mejdal, Matt Blood, Eve Rosenbaum, and Koby Perez, among so many others, who are responsible for building one of the best player development programs in professional sports.
The Orioles Senior Leadership Team that manages the club's business operations -- made up of six veteran executives, each of whom has worked in MLB for many decades -- possess a combined 100-plus years of experience in the sports industry, and we are all committed to winning games, bringing fans back downtown to Camden Yards, and rebuilding our community.
Despite the difficult circumstances created by the COVID-19 pandemic, Major League Baseball successfully completed the 2020 season right through to an exciting World Series, and that achievement should be credited to the diligent efforts of the great people on and off the field, led by Commissioner Manfred, the MLB Players Association, and the stewards of all 30 MLB Clubs. This would not have been possible without all of the front office management and staff, medical personnel, athletic trainers, conditioning coaches, interns, volunteers, and world class athletes on our front lines who made the 2020 season a reality. Most of all, that success is a tribute to the members of every baseball community, from Maryland to California, that -- like so many years in the past -- gave their time and support in this most challenging year to sustain the game of baseball here in Baltimore and across our nation, now and long into the future.
While we know this year has brought about a great deal of uncertainty, please rest assured that there is nothing uncertain about the future of your Orioles in Baltimore, or of the organizational commitment of our Chairman and CEO, the partnership group, the Senior Leadership Team, our entire professional staff, and our 26-man team to stay the course for decades to come as we succeed on and off the field in leading the way for our Baltimore community.
The future of Birdland is bright, and the Senior Leadership Team and I are looking forward to sharing the next phase of this journey with you as we bring winning baseball back to Charm City.