Former Secretary of the Treasury William E. Simon said yesterday he has not decided whether the Baltimore Orioles would play some games in Washington should be he be able to buy the club.
"Why agonize over that until I find out if there are serious talks going on between us," Simon said of his conversations with Jerold C. Haffberger, the Orioles' principal owner.
"I'm going to have to think a lot about the various options available, I'm approaching this with an open mind," he continued. "Right now, I'm thinking of terms of playing ball in Baltimore, but I have a lot of things to consider."
Simon said he expects to meet with Hoffberger possibly in early January.
The Tereasury secretary under presidents Nixon and Ford said he is acting "on my own" and not on behalf of a group of prospective buyers. He also said he has "not made a firm offer yet for the club.
Simon declined to say how much money may be involved or to give an assessment of how close he is to reaching an agreement with Hoffberger.
However, he told the Baltimore Sun that, "From the general conversations I've had with Mr. Hoffberger, I think we're in broad agreement on the whole situation.
"I can't get more specific because we haven't gotten specific. I've learned from the government that you have conversations and meaningful discussions and when two people talk about them, they could mean two different things."
Simon told the Sun he expects to reach a conclusion with Hoffberger one way or another on a sale at the post-Christmas meeting.
"We've talked long enough. Now let's get down to nut-cracking time," Somon said. "We're going to get together after Christmas and I expect to get things resolved. I don't like to beat around the bush and neither does Jerry. Thet's not the way I do business. It has reached the point where that (meeting) will be it, one way or another."
Simon said he hoped to have a contract ready for Hoffberger to sign at the meetings and "hinted," the Sun reported, that other people were involved with him or might be in the future.
Hoffberger has confirmed that he has had conversations with Simon, but indicated last week that a deal was not imminent.
The Orioles can break their lease with Memorial Stadium by notifying Baltimore's recreation and parks department of that intent by June 30. If the club does not exercise that option, the lease is automatically renewed for two years.
Under their current lease, the Orioles can play 11 home games away from Memorial Stadium. There has been pressure from some circles in major league baseball to play those games at RFK Stadium in Washington.
Advocates of placing another club in Washington, which lost the Senators after the 1971 season, believe that those 11 games eventually would lead to more games and, possibly, the permenent transfer of the Orioles to RFK.