Diner Guy To 'Boogie' With The Birds?

June 18, 1991|By Founder of Merry-Go-Round chain considers buying Baltimore team.Jon Morgan | Founder of Merry-Go-Round chain considers buying Baltimore team.Jon Morgan,Evening Sun Staff

Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass, a former Baltimorean, businessman and a model for a character in the movie "Diner," is exploring the possibility of buying the Orioles.

Weinglass revealed his interest last night on a sports talk show on WCAO-AM radio hosted by Stan "The Fan" Charles.

Weinglass was unavailable for comment this morning, but an assistant in his Joppa office said, "This is very much in the preliminary stages. He's interested, but he's got a lot of research to do."

New York investor Eli S. Jacobs, who owns the controlling share of the Orioles, is considering selling the baseball team he bought in 1989. He has hired an investment banker to appraise some offers.

Weinglass, 49, the founder and vice chairman of Merry-Go-Round Enterprises Inc. of Joppa, now lives in Aspen, Colo. He told The Sun yesterday that he has contacted Jacobs' investment banker, J.P. Morgan Inc. of New York, and is waiting to get some financial reports on the team.

When he sees those documents, he will decide what he thinks the team is worth and whether to make an offer, he said. Some estimates have put the value of the team as high as $120 million.

In a statement that will no doubt be received with glee by fans, Weinglass said, "I know, up front, we'd have to spend some money for new players."

The Orioles have one of the lowest player payrolls in baseball, something that is blamed by some fans for the team's poor performance. The team is tied for last place in the American League's East division.

Weinglass said he would want to be the majority owner of the team but would consider investments by other executives at Merry-Go-Round.

Weinglass grew up in Baltimore with moviemaker Barry Levinson and was the model for a character in Levinson's 1982 movie "Diner."

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