MLB Opening Day 2024: Opening Day in Baltimore marks a momentous celebration of a new day

BALTIMORE — The orange wave of 45,000 rose in unison, earlier than a pitch had even been thrown, to honor the arrival of a wry, bespectacled, 74-year-old billionaire.

Optimism is a weird beast.

Opening Day 2024 at Camden Yards was greater than a celebration; it was a coronation, a reminder of a wonderful previous and a glimpse at an exhilarating future. For a franchise that has been a punchline for a lot of the twenty first century, a corporation sputtering alongside in disarray, the unfettered positivity of Thursday afternoon was a special universe.

Beneath an overcast, early-spring sky, the defending AL East champion Orioles pulverized the visiting Los Angeles Angels by a rating of 11 to three. The crown jewel of Baltimore’s offseason, 2021 NL Cy Younger winner Corbin Burnes, delivered an 11-strikeout masterpiece. Face of the franchise Adley Rutschman tallied two hits and two RBI. Franchise veterans Anthony Santander and Cedric Mullins each homered. It seemed like 2012, gave the impression of 1983 and felt like 1966.

However the contest itself was virtually secondary on at the present time. The pregame ceremonies, filled with the accompanying pomp and circumstance, carried extra heft and buzz than normal. A few of that was merely the results of a 101-win staff with the perfect farm system in baseball returning house to a stadium filled with rowdy followers. However the added positivity was additionally attributable to the presence of the aforementioned billionaire: David Rubenstein, the brand-spanking-new controlling proprietor of the Baltimore Orioles.

Rubenstein, 74, was formally launched Thursday morning, lower than 24 hours after the membership introduced that his possession group had been unanimously permitted by MLB’s different 29 house owners. When his title was talked about throughout pregame introductions, the sold-out crowd responded with a standing ovation. The group doled out applause as soon as once more when Rubenstein strolled to the mound to ship the ball for the primary pitch to Aubree Singletary, the daughter of a metropolis postal employee. The symbolism was evident, as Rubenstein, who grew up in northwest Baltimore, is the son of a metropolis postal employee.

“I actually wish to give again to Baltimore in a modest approach,” stated the person who bought the membership for $1.725 billion. “My expression of appreciation for all that Baltimore has completed for me through the years and for my household. So I grew up right here. I used to be educated right here. My dad and mom grew up right here. They have been educated right here. My dad and mom are buried right here. And I can be buried right here. And I actually wish to say to Baltimore: It is a new day, a brand new chapter.”

Despite the fact that the information that the personal fairness magnate and native Baltimoron was set to buy his hometown staff had been public for months, Rubenstein’s presence in and round Camden Yards on Thursday represented the dawning of a brand new day.

Hours earlier than a packed home erupted with an ear-splitting “O” through the nationwide anthem, Rubenstein spoke to the media and assembled visitors at a midmorning information convention. Clad in a navy blazer, a pair of unironed, pleated khaki slacks, navy Ugg sneakers and a black-and-orange, diagonal-striped tie with the Oriole chook emblazoned at its blade, the person who as soon as spent $21.3 million on a duplicate of the Magna Carta struck an informal and understated determine.

After an introduction from Maryland governor Wes Moore, Rubenstein addressed these gathered — which included Baltimore mayor Brandon Scott, Senator Ben Cardin and Orioles Corridor of Famers Cal Ripken Jr. and Eddie Murray — with an even-keeled optimism.

“I hope what can occur is: The Orioles can … by beautifying town, by recovering the sort of greatness that it had in 1966 or ‘70 or ‘73, we are able to win a World Sequence once more. However to do this requires all people to tug collectively.”

It was clear to all assembled that they have been watching a person who is aware of methods to work a room. Rubenstein spoke for about 10 minutes — with none notes — and lined a wide selection of matters whereas specializing in the larger image. He spontaneously referred to as upon Ripken, who’s a part of the brand new possession group, and GM Mike Elias, each unprepared, to offer a number of remarks. Rubenstein additionally used the previous as a harbinger of the long run, repeatedly referencing his recollections of watching juggernaut Orioles groups run rampant by the American League and wishing to return his boyhood membership to perennial prominence. He even made a self-deprecating joke in regards to the evils of personal fairness.

However greater than something, Rubenstein targeted on restoring the connection between his metropolis and his staff. The previous 30 years of Orioles possession below Peter Angelos — notably the previous 5 below his son John — have been tumultuous and weird. They oversaw a normal decaying of the Orioles’ relevance within the Attraction Metropolis and past. Now it’s clear, from day one, that Rubeinstein’s high precedence is to reestablish the Orioles as an establishment, a technique that’s prone to embody upgrades to the outdated however charming-as-ever confines of Camden Yards.

Any one who has donated as a lot cash as Rubenstein has is an individual who cares deeply in regards to the idea of legacy, about being remembered for what you allow behind. His buy of his beloved Orioles — about whom he displayed a formidable historic data on the MASN broadcast — is an enormous swing to offer again to town that crafted him into one of the vital profitable businessmen in America.

However it’ll take time for Rubenstein to make his mark on the Orioles. Neither Rome nor Camden Yards was inbuilt a day. And it’s one factor to precise a dedication to this franchise; it’s one other factor completely to again that up with funding within the roster, within the stadium and within the group as an entire. Nonetheless, it was obvious Thursday that the Orioles’ new proprietor is a severe tactician, a gifted communicator and a revered chief. And in contrast to together with his direct predecessor, John Angelos, it’s clear why Rubenstein was capable of construct himself into such a profitable businessman.

Earlier than the Orioles took the sphere, Rubenstein briefly spoke to the gamers within the clubhouse. Requested to explain the character of the brand new proprietor’s speech, Rutschman, the staff’s voice and famous person, responded with only a few phrases: “positivity and optimism.”

About an hour after the ultimate out, with the stadium vacant and the jubilant followers lengthy gone, a ray of daylight burst by the clouds from past the house plate grandstand. The in any other case upbeat afternoon had been spent completely below a dreary, grayscale sky. However as the sunshine danced dramatically on the edges of the buildings past the outfield fence, it created a shimmering sheen on a sliver of the Baltimore skyline.

On the finish of a brand new day, a heat glow.

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