The Baltimore Orioles have made many headlines in the 2023 season. They are in first place in the highly competitive American League east and have the best record in the junior circuit. Their rebuild is officially over and the young talent on the team is blossoming into stars. Despite all of the good things happening with this team, the owner, John Angelos, continues to make headlines for all the wrong reasons.
Throughout the history of baseball, young players have been compared to veterans and veterans to former players for several reasons. People like to use comparisons to project how a younger player's career might turn out, or to compare players of different generations to see who was better. But why limit the comparisons to just players? This got me thinking; what baseball owner does John Angelos remind me of?
John Angelos is still a problem in the Orioles organization
The first name that came to my mind was Rachel Phelps. For those of you who need a reminder, Rachel Phelps was the name of the character played by the late Margaret Whitton in the 1989 baseball classic Major League and the 1994 sequel, Major League II. Phelps was the owner of the then Cleveland Indians in the movies. While the thought was initially just for humor, the more I thought about it, the more I realized the comparison has validity.
Angelos and Phelps took control of their respective teams from a relative
Phelps was the wife of the owner of the Indians and was able to take over when her husband died. While Phelps quickly became the undisputed owner of the team after her husband's death, John went through a very public legal dispute to gain control of the Orioles.
John's father, Peter Angelos, purchased the Orioles 30 years ago but has been in declining health and is no longer able to handle running the team. John and his brother, Louis Angelos, filed lawsuits against each other after the 2022 season battling for ownership responsibilities and were ultimately able to settle the matter out of court.
Angelos and Phelps were at least rumored to want to relocate their teams
Phelps made it clear that she did not like the city of Cleveland and preferred the climate of Miami. She intended to drive down attendance so low that the league would allow her to move the team. One thing that Louis claimed in his lawsuit against brother John in the lawsuit was that John intended to move the Orioles to Tennessee.
John quickly denied the claim that he intended to move the Orioles and there's no evidence to prove otherwise, but it should be noted that John does reside in Tennessee and has declined a $600 million offer to renew the lease for Oriole Park at Camden Yards.
Angelos and Phelps believed their teams would not succeed
While watching the movie Major League, the audience is able to get information that most people do not get in real life. Phelps makes it clear that she wanted to bring in players that were bad enough to finish "dead last" and drive fans away. The Orioles have obviously not brought in players to play poorly but Angelos' confidence in the players the Orioles do have was made clear over the offseason. After a successful 2022 campaign, the Orioles were relatively quiet in the offseason.
Angelos was then quoted in an interview by Nathan Ruiz of the Baltimore Sun saying, "We have a very young team that's overachieved and overperformed...", implying that he did not believe the O's were capable of repeating the success they had achieved. While the Indians used the scantily clad picture of Phelps as motivation to fuel their run to the division title, I'm sure the O's have used more traditional means of motivation.
Both teams played in Baltimore
Obviously, the Orioles play in Baltimore. They have since 1954 and hopefully they always will. Even though Major League was centered around the Cleveland Indians, much of the game action in the first movie was filmed in Memorial Stadium.
Hopefully Angelos and Phelps will soon have a few more things in common. For starters, the Indians won their division in the original movie over the rival New York Yankees. While the Yankees haven't been the Orioles biggest competitor this season, a division title would still be great for this young O's team. Secondly, Phelps eventually sold her team due to their success. Maybe the Orioles can play so well and have enough success that Angelos will sell the team. It may not be the likeliest of scenarios, but we can always dream.