The Baltimore Orioles' new owner, Edward Bennett Williams, said yesterday that a proposed $22-million renovation of the city's Memorial Stadium will benefit the football Colts, but do "absolutely nothing" for his team.
"I've already told the governor that (the improvement plan) did absolutely nothing for the Orioles," Williams said, referring to his meeting last week with Maryland Gov. Harry Hughes.
"if it benefits the Colts, fine," Williams continued. "As far as the Orioles are concerned, we have been totally excluded in the benefits proposed."
The plan, drafted by state and city officials, was designed to appease Colt owner Robert Irsay, who has been threatening to move his team elsewhere unless major improvements are made to the stadium.
The plan calls for the bulk of the $22 million to be spent adding 13,900 seats in the end zone -- the outfield for baseball -- to bring the capacity up to almost 66,000 seats; the construction of 50 loge boxes and improvements to locker rooms, offices and meeting-restaurant areas.
"i don't feel I have any part in those discussions (about improvements)," Williams said."They have been betwwen Mr. Irsay, the mayor and the govenor. All the improvments being proposed are improvements which benefit the Colts.".
"I have no interest in additional seats," he added. "There's almost $20 million going for seats we don't need. They would be useless to us. They're way out in the outfield.
"When I looked at the proposals, as I recall, I think only 2 percent of the money would benefit the Orioles.
"They recommended some improvements in the locker room facilities and some improvements in the offices over there which are very, very inadequate. Our major problems are access, egress and parking. And the lavatory facilities are abysmal."
Asked if he planned any further conversations with the governor about the proposals, Williams repeated that 'hughes was aware of his position.
Any improvements would require approval by the state legislature and favorable action could hinge on both teams signing long-term contracts. Neither team has made such a commitment so far.
Williams, in the past, has talked about his desire to build a baseball-only stadium in the Maryland suburbs between Baltimore and Washington.
Asked about that prospect last night, he replied, "I think, naturally, it would be ideal to have a baseball-only stadim which would be brand new. Whether it will come to pass, I don't know. There are a lot of probelms that we're still exploring.
"i'm still new to this," he said in an interview on his first official day as owner of the American League chamions.