FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. -- Largely overshadowed by the more publicized installation of general manager Frank Wren and his front office entourage, John Angelos has graduated to Orioles executive vice president, making him the club's third-ranking official behind his father, majority owner and chairman Peter Angelos, and chief operating officer Joe Foss.
The move places John Angelos in charge of day-to-day administrative operations, a role formerly held exclusively by Foss.
In turn, Foss will be freed to assume a more strategic role, handling the team's dealings with Major League Baseball, its protracted search for a new spring training site and the owner's downtown hotel project. Foss also was heavily involved in Peter Angelos' attempt to buy the Washington Redskins. He and John Angelos also will help the owner determine fiscal policy.
Angelos, 31, was designated as "chairman's representative" until last October, when his father asked that he assume a more active role in the team's daily operation. It was during the same period that Wren arrived as successor to Pat Gillick and imported Bruce Manno as assistant general manager, Tony DeMacio as director of scouting and promoted coordinator of minor-league instruction Tom Trebelhorn to director of player development. At the time the club also announced the promotion of executive director of marketing and broadcasting Mike Lehr, special liaison Lou Kousouris and chief financial officer Robert Ames to vice presidents.
"We thought for the sake of internal clarity we should have some titles, but it really wasn't that much of a change in the way we were doing business," John Angelos said.
Describing the move as a "gradual transition," the Orioles opted not to issue a formal announcement regarding Angelos' position. "It's not that we're downplaying it; we don't think it's that much of an issue. I'm not that caught up in titles," Angelos said.
The idea was initially broached by the senior Angelos to Foss last spring. Foss soon received a title change from vice chairman of business and finance to chief financial officer. A decision was made at the same time regarding John Angelos, but was not implemented until after the season.
John, the older of Peter Angelos' two sons, becomes one of the game's youngest high-ranking officials, status he prefers be categorized as neither a positive nor negative.
"I think it's better to judge the individuals in whatever their capacity by the results rather than any preconceived notions about age, background or experience," Angelos said. "That should be applied not just to the business guys, but the baseball guys as well."
Angelos, a Baltimore native, earned an undergraduate degree from Duke in 1989 and his law degree from the University of Baltimore. He previously has been involved in negotiations between the organization and its contractors and also worked part-time in ticketing, sales and ballpark operations. Angelos' new role calls for him to deal directly with the heads of marketing, publishing, public relations, sales and ticketing.
John Angelos' increased involvement with the team suggests greater distance between the majority owner and details of the club's daily operation. Though Peter Angelos' younger son, Louis, organized the recent excursion to explore a possible exhibition game against a Cuban all-star team, he has only tangential contact with the club.
"Peter is clearly the CEO," Foss said. "He is consulted on every major decision, whether it be a major player signing, ticket prices or strategy or a media contract. But on day-to-day matters, he's not involved and hasn't been. He doesn't want to be."
The younger Angelos said his role is confined to business matters. Any suggestions that he and his brother exert influence over on-field personnel matters are "made entirely of whole cloth," Foss said.
"That's not my sphere, nor do I want it to be," said John Angelos.
Angelos denies any notion of one day assuming the general manager's chair, a theory advanced by critics during the palace intrigue surrounding Gillick and former assistant general manager Kevin Malone's three-year term.
"I don't think [critics] were unfair to me personally or those with the same last name. I thought they were unfair on principle," Angelos said. "I think it's unfair to represent anything about people until you've met those people. It's unfair to characterize people as 'kids,' 'children' or 'Rotisserie players' when they know nothing about them."
Pub Date: 3/01/99