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Oriole Owner Says Team Will Stay in Baltimore

February 22, 1987|Associated Press

Baltimore Oriole owner Edward Bennett Williams says he has never demanded the city build a new sports complex for his team and dismisses talk that he would take the team elsewhere without one.

In an interview with Baltimore Sun columnist Bob Maisel, Williams said he has no plans to take his team out of Baltimore.

"I came in and promised that if Baltimore supported the team, I would never entertain thoughts of moving it," Williams told the columnist. "Well, I've never complained about the support or threatened to leave. I am 100 percent satisfied with the support we get."

Gov. William Donald Schaefer has endorsed a $201 million plan by the Maryland Stadium Authority calling for construction of a new baseball stadium immediately and eventually a separate stadium for a National Football League expansion team.

"Number one," Williams was quoted as saying, "I have never asked anyone to build me a new stadium. I think the flight of (Baltimore Colts owner Robert) Irsay precipitated most of the stadium talk. I would love to have a new stadium downtown, but I am definitely not holding the city ransom to get it."

Williams said he wanted a one-year lease with the city for use of Memorial Stadium because of a clause requiring him to split proceeds evenly with the city.

"I went into the agreement with the my eyes open and I'm satisfied with it. But suppose down the road I were to want to sell the franchise. I don't think any buyer in his right mind would touch it if he knew he would be saddled with a long-term lease in an old stadium with that kind of clause written into it."

Williams also said he would welcome a new stadium but denied demanding a replacement for the old stadium that had been used for both baseball and football.

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