Amidst a myriad of questions about the Houston Astros and their cheating scandal, Rob Manfred also answered a question about the future of the Orioles on, and off, the field.
The Orioles have won just 101 combined games over the last two seasons and aren’t expected to compete in 2020 either. But with new executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias in the second year of a rebuild, optimism is slowly growing in Baltimore.
That includes, as it turns out, from the commissioner of baseball.
“I have spent a considerable amount of time with the Angelos family during this offseason," Manfred said. “I think the family is committed to making baseball as good as it can possibly be in Baltimore. I think they’re excited about (executive vice president/general manager) Mike Elias and his team and their ability to make the franchise as competitive as possible, so I’m not quite as pessimistic as far as attendance in Baltimore. I think there is a good future for baseball in Baltimore."
Last season, the Orioles averaged 16,347 fans per home game, 28th out of 30 teams, ahead of only Tampa Bay and Miami. As a whole, the Orioles had 1,307,807 fans come to Camden Yards in 2019.
In 2018, the numbers weren’t much better. The Orioles drew an average of 20,053 fans per home game — 26th in the MLB — and a total of 1,564,192 fans.
Manfred also addressed the MASN situation, an issue he hopes both the Orioles and Nationals will be able to resolve eventually.
“There’s a sum of money that is due and owing," he said. "There’s some legal issues surrounding those payments that need to be resolved and I’m hopeful that once those back payments get made, we’ll get into a regular process for setting rights fees for both clubs and moving forward in a more business-like way.”
For now, things in Baltimore look bleak. But there’s growing hope that greener pastures are right around the corner.
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