Remember when people laughed at the Orioles hiring Dan Duquette?

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Maybe they didn’t laugh, actually. I mean, Duquette had success in Boston and was a well-respected guy when he was hired by the Orioles following the 2011 season. But he wasn’t the Orioles first choice. Indeed, many bright people in the game — GM prospects — were said to run away from the job because no one thought that living and working with Orioles owner Peter Angelos was compatible with success. Duquette got the job partially by default and partially because, after close to a decade out of the GM’s seat, there weren’t likely to be too many other offers to run a team coming along.

And the people who ran away from the job were probably smart to do so at the time, based on the Orioles’ recent track record. There was no reason to expect that they were given a free of a hand to do what needed to be done to fix the team. To overhaul the player development system that had been profoundly lacking in recent years.  To deal with Peter Angelos and his impatience.

But Duquette managed it. He remade the scouting operations and made a commitment to Latin America with a lot of help from some old hands he knew in Boston. He didn’t make a ton of big splash moves — you figure Angelos still has veto power — but almost all of the smaller moves he’s made have worked out well. He and Buck Showalter crafted a good bullpen that helped the O’s make the 2012 playoffs. He managed to wrangle together the depth which helped the Orioles weather the loss of two of its biggest players to injury for most of the year and another to ineffectiveness and then a drug suspension.

There are a lot of heroes on this Orioles team. Small-scale heroes, as it’s a team of depth and overall quality, not megastars. But maybe the biggest one is the guy no one really figured could turn this thing around, and certainly not as quickly as he did.

Good job, Dan Duquette.

No lease extension, but O’s and governor tout partnership

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The Baltimore Orioles and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore announced a joint commitment to what they called a “multi-decade, public-private partnership” to revitalize the Camden Yards sports complex.

The statement from the team and the state’s new governor came Wednesday, the deadline for the Orioles to exercise a one-time, five-year extension to their lease at Camden Yards. The team was not planning to exercise that option, according to a person with knowledge of the decision. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the club hadn’t announced its decision.

With no extension, the lease is set to expire at the end of this year, but the team and the Maryland Stadium Authority can keep negotiating. Wednesday’s joint release seemed to be an attempt to calm any nerves in Baltimore about the team’s future.

“I am looking forward to continuing to collaborate with Governor Moore, his administration, and the Maryland Stadium Authority in order to bring to Baltimore the modern, sustainable, and electrifying sports and entertainment destination the state of Maryland deserves,” Orioles CEO John Angelos said.

“We greatly appreciate Governor Moore’s vision and commitment as we seize the tremendous opportunity to redefine the paradigm of what a Major League Baseball venue represents and thereby revitalize downtown Baltimore. It is my hope and expectation that, together with Governor Moore and the new members and new chairman of the MSA board, we can again fully realize the potential of Camden Yards to serve as a catalyst for Baltimore’s second renaissance.”

Republican Larry Hogan, the state’s previous governor, signed a bill last year increasing bond authorization for M&T Bank Stadium, home of the Baltimore Ravens, and Camden Yards. The measure allowed borrowing of up to $600 million for each stadium.

“When Camden Yards opened 30 years ago, the Baltimore Orioles revolutionized baseball and set the bar for the fan experience,” Moore, a Democrat, said Wednesday. “We share the commitment of the Orioles organization to ensuring that the team is playing in a world-class facility at Camden Yards for decades to come and are excited to advance our public-private partnership.”

Angelos recently reaffirmed that the Orioles would stay in Baltimore, although he dressed down a reporter who asked for more clarity on the future of the team’s ownership situation. Angelos was sued last year by his brother Lou, who claimed John Angelos seized control of the Orioles at his expense.