Orioles executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias reiterated Monday morning in a wide-ranging letter emailed to fans that the organization intends to build a winner in Baltimore.
Referencing comments from CEO and Chairman John Angelos made in September 2019 that the team will be in Baltimore “as long as Fort McHenry is standing watch over the Inner Harbor,” Elias echoed that intent.
“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,” Elias wrote, “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 letter comes after, in Elias' second season as GM, the Orioles went 25-35 in a campaign shortened to 60 games because of the coronavirus pandemic. It also came days after The Baltimore Sun reported that bidders for the team are lining up should the Angelos family decide to sell it.
Speaking to reporters Monday afternoon, Elias, who grew up in the region in Alexandria, Virginia, said part of the impetus for the letter was the beginning of the offseason.
“But also, with aspects of uncertainty that float around out there about our franchise from time to time, we thought it was the right time for the fans to hear from me,” Elias said, “to know the level of commitment that exists across all corners of our organization, to reviving winning baseball in Baltimore and downtown Baltimore, 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.”
He also noted the difficulties facing them on and off the field. Three of their opposing American League teams reached the playoffs, with the Tampa Bay Rays making the World Series.
“We’re gonna have a fight on our hands, but we’re gonna get there,” Elias said.
In the letter, Elias also detailed the organizational growth since he was hired in November 2018, pointing to a budding farm system, increased involvement in the international scouting market and the expansion of the team’s analytics department. He praised Major League Baseball’s ability to complete the 2020 campaign amid the pandemic, giving credit to communities “from Maryland to California.”
“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,” Elias wrote.
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“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.”