Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who learned the Baltimore Orioles were for sale when he read about it in the morning newspaper about two weeks ago, suggested last night that he is disappointed that the news did not come to him directly from the team's principal owner, Eli S. Jacobs.
"It would have been right for him to pick up the phone and say, 'I going to sell,' " the governor said. "Inasmuch as the state has such an investment in the Orioles -- we're building the [new] stadium, what we've done to accommodate Mr. Jacobs -- you'd think he at least would have called.
"He owes me no obligation to do that -- none whatsoever. On the other side, my word to our people has been, 'Anything [the Orioles] want, you give.' There have been some recent things his team wanted, and we did it."
Schaefer, who returned to Maryland last night from a 13-day trade mission to the Far East, said at the airport that he hadn't spoken to Jacobs since the owner announced his intentions to consider offers for the team in an article published June 6 by The Washington Post. But the governor said he hoped to meet with Jacobs in the next week to ask him about the reports and to satisfy himself that Jacobs truly is interested in selling his 87 percent share of the baseball team.
"As far as I am concerned, he is not selling the team. He hasn't told me that," Schaefer said.
"I am going to ask him, 'Are you going to sell the team? And I am going to say, 'OK, if you are going to sell it, can we help you find somebody to buy it?' " Schaefer said, referring to his proposed meeting with the Orioles' principal owner.
Neither Jacobs nor his spokesman could not be reached for comment last night.
Schaefer, who led a delegation of state officials to Japan and Singapore, has been kept abreast of recent developments surrounding the sale of the Orioles, including the highly publicized announcement by Baltimore-born Leonard "Boogie" Weinglass that he may bid for the team with his boyhood pal, movie director Barry Levinson. The governor's staff faxed several articles about Weinglass' overture to him during the trip.
Schaefer said he knew little about Weinglass "other than he's a very successful businessman."
He said he knows and admires Weinglass' potential minority partner -- "I welcome Barry Levinson."
As for Jacobs, Schaefer said that when he sat down with the Orioles' principal owner, he would ask why the Orioles are for sale and try to persuade him to reconsider.
"I'll ask, 'Has something happened? Is there a reason?' If it is a financial reason, it is nobody's business. But maybe the business community didn't do this. Or I didn't do that. Or the mayor didn't do something."