From The Washington Post:
Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos acknowledged publicly today that he is willing to strike a deal with Major League Baseball to allow the Montreal Expos to move to Washington if certain conditions are met.
“Those conditions are the preservation of the franchise, the protection of the asset and the safety of the revenue stream,” Angelos said this morning. “If those ingredients are present, an agreement can be struck.”
How does he intend to accomplish this, we might ask. A logical question. Will it be through the incompetent iron fist with which he’s run the Orioles for more than a decade? What about protecting the asset? Wearing that Orioles uniform is enough, I guess, since Angelos doesn’t seem to bother with who is wearing that uniform. Will it be by signing Barry Bonds, as Orioles fans amusingly seem to propose every off-season? And the safety of the revenue stream? That sounds a lot like the crazy folks who believe the Federal Government can’t decrease taxes because then it won’t generate enough revenue to cover expenses. Operating a business isn’t only about the revenue side of the income statement. Incurring costs in a prudent manner also makes sense. I assume the Orioles are a business, which means that it’s not entitled to a minimum revenue stream from the residents of Washington (and Baltimore).
The solution is simple: put a good team on the field, with a good atmosphere and reward fan loyalty with a commitment to winning from ownership/management. What a concept… (Are you listening, Dan Snyder?)
That’s too easy a solution, of course. Consider the likely outcome:
Major League Baseball President Robert A. DuPuy is scheduled to meet with Angelos today to resume discussions on financial compensation for the Orioles. DuPuy and Angelos, who met for several hours on Friday, are expected to discuss a regional sports network that would televise both the Orioles and the Washington team’s games and be owned by both franchises. Under the proposed discussions, the Orioles would receive the greater share of revenue, according to baseball sources familiar with the proposed package.
Baseball also is believed to be proposing that it will guarantee the amount of annual revenue that the Orioles earn, as well as the team’s value, according to two sources familiar with the talks. Under the proposal, Major League Baseball would make up any shortfall if the Orioles’ annual revenue falls below an agreed upon threshold, according to sources.
There’s a term for this: greenmail. We don’t look fondly upon the corporate thieves who mastered the art in the 80’s, so why should Major League Baseball encourage it now? The worst part of this debacle is that it encourages Peter Angelos to continue his Napolean complex, feeling like he runs the most important franchise in the most important city and that fans should feel honored to have the privilege of rooting for the Orioles. (Are you listening, Dan Snyder? You have the first two, but you need some serious reflection on the privilege thing. Your equation is reversed.)
Those of us in the D.C. area know that we’re not Baltimore residents. We want and deserve our own team. (I liberally use the term “we” and “our” when I mean to imply that I want the Expos to move to D.C. so that the Phillies will play here 9 or 10 times every summer. But I’ll still go see the
Expos Senators because Scott Rolen will come here, even though the right team traded him away like a moron ripping up the winning lottery ticket because it was only $35 million instead of $75 million. Not that I’m still bitter or anything foolish like that.)
Since this seems like an inevitability now, I’ll close with the obvious: for those of you who support one of the other 28 teams in Major League Baseball, enjoy paying your
corporate welfare higher ticket prices because your team’s owner is about to bow down before a bully. It probably won’t matter to fans of the Evil Empire™ New York Yankees, but it might to the fans in Cincinnati and St. Louis, where baseball is more religion than business. I’m just saying…