New Orioles ownership is defining what the next chapter will be

The “Next Chapter” has begun! Go O's!
Los Angeles Angels v Baltimore Orioles
Los Angeles Angels v Baltimore Orioles / Greg Fiume/GettyImages

There was a palpable energy in the air on Opening Day 2024 as the boys of summer returned to Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Sure, the team crushed the Ohtani-less Los Angeles Angels 11-3 behind a dominant start by newly acquired ace Corbin Burnes, but there was more to it.

On March 27th, just the day before, the other MLB owners approved the sale of the O’s to the new ownership group led by Baltimore native — and lifelong Orioles fan — David Rubenstein. And just like that, a fresh spring breeze blew into OPACY and gave new hope to the fans, players and the organization alike.

As Birds Watcher contributor Eric Cole noted, “It is definitely a brand new era for the Orioles under their new owners.”

As per his social media posts on X, Rubenstein was everywhere at the ballpark on Opening Day: greeting fans — including Super Fan Bruce Myers, who has attended 50 O's opening games — and waving his rally towel; honoring workers from the MDTA who’d saved lives by swiftly shutting down the Francis Scott Key Bridge; chatting with Orioles legends like Jim Palmer and Cal Ripken Jr.; and, hosting esteemed Maryland leaders, including Governor Wes Moore.

What does the “next chapter” in Orioles history look like?

As the great wartime British Prime Minister, Winston Churchill, said in a speech to Parliament in 1948: “Those who do not learn history are doomed to repeat it. History never repeats itself. Every single historical moment is distinct from those past.  However, we must learn from our mistakes so that we do not run the risk of repeating them.”

The renowned American writer and humorist Mark Twain was more succinct: “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme.” He was implying that history does have a recurring theme, and in order to avoid repeating the same mistakes, a critical approach — steeped in an understanding of history — is necessary to avoid dooming yourself to failure.

The message from the new Orioles ownership is also crystal clear: “Our job is to build on these accomplishments to advance a world-class professional sports agenda — with eyes on returning a World Series trophy to Baltimore.” Sounds like this Rubenstein guy knows a thing or two about mission statements, and on how to lead successful organizations in accomplishing big goals.

Of course, the 74-year old who grew up playing little league in Baltimore has had success as a lawyer, businessman, philanthropist, media personality and now sports team owner over his storied career. He’s accumulated a personal fortune estimated by Forbes magazine at $3.9 billion, and appears committed to giving back to the community that gave him so much growing up.

He sees owning the Orioles as a great civic duty, and after such resounding success in his life, he clearly revels in the opportunity to give back to the City of Baltimore and the great State of Maryland. An opening statement after the Orioles sale was approved by MLB noted, “I want the Baltimore community and Orioles fans everywhere to know that we will work our hardest to deliver for you with professionalism, integrity, excellence, and a fierce desire to win games.” Again, the man has game.

As we’d noted in a recent piece on the potential for an Orioles dynasty in the making, “Not only do [Rubenstein] and his partners have the financial firepower to invest in the organization… his baseball consciousness was likely formed in the glory days of his youth, when the O’s won the 1966 and 1970 World Series with stars like Hall of Famers Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Luis Aparicio and Jim Palmer.” The new owner was 17 and 21 years old, respectively, for those titles.

It’s clear he’s speaking from his heart and is driven by the memories of his youth, a history that he does want to repeat and deliver on by returning a World Series championship(s) to Baltimore. This is legacy building time for Rubenstein, a chance to leave his mark on the great sports history of Baltimore.

There are great modern era models to build upon and improve, as pioneered by organizations like the Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers and Atlanta Braves. They’ve all focused on building through the draft and international signings, locking up a young core to long-term contracts, and then complementing their rosters with leaders and talent upgrades via trades and free agency.

The building blocks are all there for Orioles in 2024 and beyond

The Orioles clearly have the building blocks needed to create a dynasty at OPACY: a top-rated farm system that has already developed the core of the current roster, with a stacked pipeline of MLB-ready talent; lots of room to extend that core to long-term contracts, given payroll capacity thanks to only one guaranteed contract beyond 2024 (and that’s only Felix Bautista’s $1 million AAV); and a willingness from new ownership to not meddle, and to trust the front office under General Manager Mike Elias and on-field leadership under manager Brandon Hyde.

Fans across MLB are notably impressed with the early example the O’s new ownership is setting. Ask fans in long-suffering cities like Toronto, Detroit, Pittsburgh, Kansas City, Miami, Milwaukee and Seattle what they admire about this new group, and you’ll hear comments about how committed they appear to be about returning postseason glory to their city, and how engaged they are so far at OPACY, both with fans and with the community.

And let’s not forget it’s now been 41 years since the last Orioles World Series title in 1983, which also marks their most recent Fall Classic appearance. That’s the fourth-longest World Series appearance drought in baseball, trailing only the Brewers (1982), Pirates (1979), and Mariners, who’ve never won since they started as an expansion franchise in 1977.

Rubenstein feels your pain, O’s fans; he’s one of us. He lives and breathes in the knowledge that the City of Baltimore hasn't witnessed an MLB playoff game win since the 3-0 series sweep of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Division Series in 2014, now 10 long years ago. Thankfully, the “Next Chapter” has begun! Go O's!