Being Thrift with mounting debt and wringing the Belle with an insurance policy

August 16, 2017 | Nestor Aparicio

Bud Selig in February 2002.

“I welcome the opportunity to serve the game at this pivotal juncture,” Angelos said. “I am hopeful that my experience as an attorney and as a club owner will help contribute to a successful outcome at the bargaining table.”

Angelos joined new MLB president Bob Dupuy, MLB executive vice president of labor Rob Manfred, outside legal counsel Howard Ganz and Chicago Cubs general manager Andy MacPhail in an attempt to negotiate a new CBA and keep labor peace – something that had been nearly impossible over three decades of dealing with the players and the union.

“Peter knows the issues inside and out and will do anything he can to reach an agreement that restores competitive balance to the game,” Selig said.

Angelos brought a wealth of background in labor negotiations to the table on behalf of the same ownership group he infuriated during the 1994 work stoppage, when he refused to field replacement players in the spring of 1995 and took several personal stabs at Selig and all of the MLB owners regarding their philosophies, competence and execution. Now, with yet another round of talks leading up to a August 30 deadline, it was Angelos who became a “hawk” on behalf of his partners to keep salaries in check throughout the sport and to keep competitive balance in line by imposing a salary tax on the richest clubs in the sport.

“You all know that in the last five or six years there has been an unbelievable increase in the salary levels that individual clubs are paid not through individual players, although that is the case also, but in the total amounts that these clubs are paid annually to their complement of players,” Angelos said. “We believe it’s time to get this spiraling payroll situation under some control, but remember, nobody is obliged to stay within that $100 million (limit).”

Angelos, who was now losing money every year as a MLB owner, became a believer in holding down costs and had a huge investment and dangling money sunk into the Orioles. His insolence in the Mussina negotiation was a part of that. Losing money was another reality. He bought the team in 1994 for $172 million (it also came with $41 million in cash so that original number is truly inflated) and had never made a penny from the club. Instead, he was annually writing huge checks so the team could make payroll, effectively lending the club money at every turn in an attempt to win. By the time Selig asked Angelos to come aboard, Angelos had sunk well over $100 million of his own money into team expenses over the first 8 years and it had become a personal mission on his part to find a solution that would allow his team to compete with the Yankees without him having to write personal checks each year to keep the team solvent.

Angelos had plenty of first-hand experience dealing with the MLBPA on many counts and he had another key agenda item: keeping a baseball franchise out of Washington, D.C. Selig had threatened to contract the Minnesota Twins and the Montreal Expos during