William Donald Schaefer Governor of Maryland

March 29, 1992

For years, William Donald Schaefer has been listening to critics of the new ballpark complain about everything from the project's high costs to the decision to build in downtown Baltimore. He's convinced stadium opponents will be hard to find on Opening Day.

"When that place opens, everybody will be yelling, 'I was for it!' " the governor said.

Schaefer has been the stadium's best friend for a long time. As mayor of Baltimore, he publicly embraced the idea of a new downtown ballpark. As governor, he made the project a top priority, waging an all-out campaign to pass a stadium financing package.

There were pockets of resistance. Neighbors balked at the prospect of a 48,000-seat ballpark sprouting up in their back yards. Some legislators questioned whether the state should be building a new facility when the old one, Memorial Stadium, showed no signs of falling down.

Through it all, Schaefer pressed on, confident that only by building a new stadium for the Orioles would the state be able to obtain the security of a long-term lease with the team. In 1984, Schaefer learned how valuable a good lease could be when a Baltimore football team left town in moving vans.

"After the Colts moved, the loss of the Orioles was always in my mind," the governor said. "The city of Baltimore couldn't stand the loss of the Orioles. The state of Maryland could not."

Now that the ballpark is nearly finished, Schaefer says he is not spending any time patting himself on the back for his contribution. He hints that nobody else is, either.

"I've been hit so hard lately," he said. "Anyway, it's done. It's done."

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