Before Tuesday’s scheduled game at Nationals Park, Orioles Manager Buck Showalter uttered an adjective rarely applied to Baltimore team owner Peter Angelos, at least in the context of his baseball dealings.
“You realize how big of an area this was for the Orioles,” Showalter said when asked about the split crowd of Nats and O’s fans at Monday’s game. “Our owner was kind enough to let them have a team here. I understand that a lot of people that are here are people that used to come over to Baltimore.”
Kind enough, huh? His charitable contributions aside, Angelos is one of the most reviled owners in sports, even among his own team’s fan base. (A colleague reported seeing a fan in an Orioles jersey with “IHATEANGELOS” across the back at Tuesday’s game.) Nationals fans have good reason to despise Angelos after he opposed putting a team in the District for years and only “let them have a team here” after MLB agreed to a farce of a TV deal that benefited him.
Grantland’s Jonah Keri summed up the terms of deal as part of a larger feature on the Orioles earlier this year:
In 2005, MLB and Angelos worked out a deal allowing the Nationals to operate in D.C. in exchange for a new local TV deal that overwhelmingly favored the Orioles. In July 2006, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network launched a full-time sports programming slate headlined by O’s and Nats games. The terms dictated that each franchise would receive the same amount in rights fees, but that Baltimore would control a 90 percent share of MASN and any MASN-owned spinoff networks at the start; the Nationals would pick up an additional 1 percent stake each year after an initial two-year wait, until eventually reaching a 33 percent cap. Angelos got his lopsided deal, while the Nationals, who play in the nation’s seventh-biggest market, got screwed.
Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported in May that a panel of baseball officials will decide the annual rights fee that the Nationals will receive from MASN, but there is no timetable for a decision to be made.
During his weekly appearance with the Junkies on 106.7 The Fan, Nationals Manager Matt Williams was asked how annoying it is to see so much orange in the crowd when the Orioles play at Nationals Park.
“You know, it’s different for me because I haven’t been a part of it,” Williams said. “I think it’s great. I think it’s a good rivalry. I think all of those things are great. I can learn from experience, being a Giant for many years, and the Dodger-Giant rivalry. It happened a little bit at both of those parks, too. But hey, the Oriole fans are long-standing, rabid fans. They love their team. They’ve got great history and they travel. That’s good for them. We hope to win some games, and create fans ourselves. We’re a little bit younger than the Oriole organization in these parts, so we want to get there one day ourselves, that our fans travel with us and there are more of them in some parks than home fans.”
(Thanks to Nats Enquirer.)