Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer, one of the Orioles' most ardent supporters said in a press conference he is pleased that prominent Washington area attorney Edward Bennett Williams has purchased the team and pledged to keep it in Baltimore,
"The anxiety is now over," the mayor said. "We've been worried about the team's ownership for three years. Now that we know who owns the team we will ask fans to continue."
For several months Schaefer had hopem the Orioles' principal owner, Jerold C. Hoffgerger, would sell the team to a group of prominent Baltimore businessmen, headed bu investment counselor F. Barton Harvey Jr.
Schaefer thanked Harvey and his group for their concern and hard work." He added, "I firmly believe that Hoffberger would have sold (the Orioles) to the local business group if they had come up with the money ( $12 million) two months earlier. But as a matter of nonor and as a businessman ge couldn't go back to the group after geginning negotiations with Mr. Williams,"
The mayor added that he is satisfied with the commitment made by American League President Lee MacPhail, Hoffberger and Williams to keep the Orioles in Bal!imore and daid he's glad Williams hives in Maryland (Potomac).
"I see no reason for the Orioles to have to move," Schaefer added. "I don't know how there could be a f Hoffberger and Williams that the Orioles will stay in Baltimore.
"Mr. Williams is a man of integrity and honor."
Schaefer added that he will continue to press Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes for $1 million annually for the contrnued renovation of Merorial Stadium, adding that he would ask Williams what improvements he feels are needed amd "try to take care of them."
The major interest for Oriole fans was not who bought their American League Eastern Division-leading Orioles, but whether the new owner would try to move the team to another city. Most of the speculation centered around the Orioles playing at least a partial schedule in Washington.
"If the people Washington want to adopt a baseball team they should gather by the busloads and go to Oakland and fill the empty seats in the Coliseum and watch the A's," said Oriole fan Charles Golrdon, a clerk in a local hospital.
"Nobody goes baseball games in Washington," he added. "Washington has already wasted two good baseball teams so I don't see why they need to mess up another perfectly good team. I don't care who owns them, just as long as they stay in Baltimore."
The feelings of many Oirole fans center around the possibiliy of their playing 13 preseason or regular season games in Washington next seaspm gdon Clark, a sporting goods store owner in Baltimore, did not take the same hark-line stance as Gordon.
"There's nothing wrong with the O's playing 13 games in Wahsington," Clark said as he stood in the Memorial Stadium ticket office line to purchase seats for next week's Milwaukee-Baltimore series. "It really doesn't matter to me who owns the club as long as they operate in much the same manner Hoffberger did. I like the way he ran the organization."
Scores of people stood in the ticket office in a driving rainstorm, discussing the change in wonership while waiting to purchase tickets for the New York series, also next week.
John Ripper, who was soaked from head to toes, said he does not mind the possibility of sharing the Orioles for a few games.
"If they do play some games in D.C. it shouls improve the Orioles' drawing power from more areas. It sounds like a pretty good idea to me, but 13 games is enough. The people of Washington want a team but they have to prove their support. We support our team."
Cab driver Dennis Johnson said playing even one single game in Washington is a terrible idea. "I want my team," he said emphatically. Thirteen is 13 games too many as far as I'm concerned. When the Birds are winning, everbody here is happy, business is better and I have some of the best baseball conversation in the world with my reders. Keep them here. I sure hope that new owner koesn't move them anywhere. That's a long drive and a lot of gas to Washingtong."