Orioles are exploring partnership with Maryland minor-league group

September 12, 1996|By FROM STAFF REPORTS

Are the Orioles headed for a partnership with their Maryland-based minor-league affiliates?

Peter Kirk, whose Maryland Baseball Limited Partnership owns two Orioles farm clubs (Bowie and Frederick) and a Montreal Expos affiliate (Delmarva) that might become a third, said yesterday that the parent club and his group "have had some discussions the last few weeks about a joint venture."

"It would be interesting not only to have the system close to home, but to be partners with the Orioles. It would have to be tied to the Triple-A team."

Kirk's group is considered a front-runner to land one of two new Triple-A franchises to be created because of the next major-league expansion. But he will not accept that franchise if the team is not affiliated with the Orioles.

"We're short of final negotiations," he said. "But there has been enough interest on everyone's part to talk seriously about what a partnership would involve."

Major-league teams owning all or a minority share in their affiliates is not new. The latest example came in Durham, N.C., which reapplied for a Triple-A franchise after the soon-to-be parent Tampa Bay team agreed to underwrite 25 percent of the start-up costs.

Pub Date: 9/12/96

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