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MASN Money For Dummies (Part 3): Angelos was bleeding cash when Nats money came

Posted on 19 January 2016 by Nestor Aparicio

 

 

 

 

 

Those who complain don’t know the ins and outs of what’s going on. They have their own lives to lead, their own problems to deal with. And they are not going to become acquainted with what our economics are, and you can’t expect them to.”

Peter G. Angelos, May 2006

                                                                                 (as told to PressBox via Q&A)

 

 

THE SINCERE HOPE OF PETER G. Angelos is that you’re too dumb to figure this stuff out and too bored to read all of this vital information about where the money comes from. Especially now that Chris Davis has signed a long-term contract, which isn’t a blip on the radar of the finances of the franchise when you do the real math, many fans somehow believe that it was an incredible stretch to find the money to pay him.

Here’s the truth: knowing the facts about how much money the MASN tree is printing for Angelos and his family certainly doesn’t reflect well upon his legacy or commitment to winning. Especially when you consider that the team has been an abject failure on the field in 18 of the 22 seasons under this ownership group.

I love how Chris Davis said “we want to continue a tradition of winning here in Baltimore.” Spoken like a babe in arms. It’s kinda nice that he thinks that but that’s far from the truth. The Orioles haven’t “won” anything under the reign of Peter G. Angelos.

But Mr. Angelos has made a LOT of money – and after he lost a LOT of money.

But to understand the money – and where it came from and where it’s going – is to understand the Orioles’ offseason budgeting and what they’re trying to do on the field. From Chris Davis to Matt Wieters to Darren O’Day, it’s the money that funds the players.

As Buck Showalter said at the winter meetings on December 8th from Nashville on MLB Network TV: “We have plenty of money.”

Today, we’ll examine the history of Major League Baseball and the Baltimore Orioles ownership group and the birth of MASN and the Washington Nationals and how this nuclear war for the biggest pile of television money in local sports history began.

In the Fall of 2004, Peter G. Angelos, as usual, was preparing for war – this time with his partners over the concept of baseball in the nation’s capital. Realizing that commissioner Bud Selig and the owners of the 29 other MLB teams, who collectively had purchased the Montreal Expos, were hell bent on moving that franchise to Washington, D.C., John Angelos issued an internal memo cutting all expenses.

Of course, some saw this as a sign that he was about to sell the Orioles to local money manager Chip Mason.

“The mere issuance of a memorandum suggesting potential savings in a greater degree in efficiency of operations does not suggest that the enterprise being reviewed is for sale,” Angelos told The Baltimore Sun. “To suggest otherwise is absurd and clearly erroneous.”

The team had just invested $121.5 million into contracts for Miguel Tejada, Javy Lopez, Rafael Palmeiro and Sidney Ponson. “The millions recently spent on player acquisitions hardly suggest we’re on a cost-cutting crusade,” Angelos told the local newspaper. “On the contrary, we are moving forward aggressively to produce a very competitive and winning team for our fans both this year and in the years ahead.”

At this point, Angelos was very quietly hemorrhaging money by the tens of millions. In the early days, he bragged about the Orioles making money to The Baltimore Sun.

Seven years earlier, Angelos sat with me at The Barn in March 1997 on WLG-AM 1360 and went through a lengthy diatribe about how baseball could never work with two teams – one in Baltimore and one in Washington, D.C. (and at that point Northern Virginia seemed a far more likely destination). But he also told me that the Orioles lost $4 million the previous year – and that’s when they were selling 3.6 million tickets and winning.

Feel free to listen to that conversation here:

This Chapter 3 of my MASN Money For Dummies series will be brief because I’ve already written this part of the Angelos journey as Chapter 12 of The Peter Principles, a book I’ve been writing about the ownership of Peter G. Angelos.

I would cut and paste it here, but just click here and continue reading the history of how this MASN money gravy train began with the poor negotiation tactics of Bud Selig to deal with the likes of Peter Angelos. It’s now 12 years later and nothing is really solved except that the money is flowing in by the tens of millions every month via your cable television bill and MLB and the Nationals, along with owner Ted Lerner, haven’t figured out a way to extract their “fair share.”

In 1994, Angelos said about Selig during the MLB owners dispute with the Major League Baseball Players Association: “He is a very successful automobile dealer. What makes him think he has the abilities to do what he is trying to do here is beyond my comprehension!”

Angelos infuriated every partner in Major League Baseball in 1994. In 2002, he came back to save the day as a lead negotiator – and olive branch Democrat who curried favor with the Players’ Association – for Selig and his MLB partners. But at every turn he made it very clear that any notion of a team anywhere near Washington or Northern Virginia would never be acceptable under any condition.

Angelos lobbied many times and in many ways to keep baseball out of Washington, D.C. long before 2004.

“It isn’t that we would deny the people that live in those areas the recreational pursuit of baseball. We think baseball is a great game for everybody. But when we look at the experience of Boston, Philadelphia, Oakland, San Francisco – Boston and Philadelphia and St. Louis had two ballclubs. The history of baseball dictates that you can’t put two teams that close together. We are opposing that. We think Orioles baseball is plenty good enough for us as well as the people in the Washington suburbs and we thank them for that support and we want to retain that support.”

At the 2004 All Star Game in Houston, it appeared that Bud Selig was still unsure of the future of the Expos.

“I will not do anything to make Peter Angelos unhappy,” Selig told The New York Times.

It’s interesting to do the research and see the local media’s role in garnering the Washington Nationals for the nation’s capital. The Washington Post played as big of a role in the franchise and ballpark as it …

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Arena wins as CAA tourney host, even if Towson and “the FM station” didn’t

Posted on 10 March 2014 by Drew Forrester

Thoughts from the weekend…sports and stuff.

> Hats off to Towson University for a terrific basketball season (make that two in a row, actually) that came to an untimely end with yesterday’s 75-71 loss to William & Mary in the CAA semi-finals.  It’s tough to beat a team three times in one season, particularly when that team is good, which W&M is, for sure.  Easy to say now, since Towson isn’t going to get the chance, but I don’t think they would have gotten by Delaware tonight even if things would have worked out for them against the Tribe.

> The Arena’s debut as the home of the CAA tournament turned out to be a modest success, I thought.  The Saturday ticket price of $50.00 (basically an “all-day” pass) was too high, but it’s tough to sell the building on a per-game basis so a one-time price is the easiest way to do it.  They need to work on that for next year.  I thought the crowds on Saturday and Sunday were decent.  Again, for a first-time effort, I gave all of it a passing grade.  There are two years remaining on the original “deal” to bring the tournament to Baltimore — it can only get better from here. I’ll say this about Baltimore hosting the event: Inside the building, it felt like something big was going on.  Lots of pomp and circumstance.  It “looked the part”.

> As is almost always the case anytime something local is going on, WNST was the clear “radio winner” in terms of covering the CAA tournament on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  We had staffers (plural) on site all weekend, blogging, tweeting, etc.  It was a laughable ass kicking on Saturday for the Towson-JMU game.  We had FOUR folks from WNST there, live, covering the FIRST-EVER CAA tournament game in Baltimore for Towson University, while the FM station in town had ZERO people there.  They call themselves “Baltimore’s local sports leader” in station promotional spots, and then not one person from their station covered the biggest college basketball game in Charm City.  Yesterday, ONE poor soul from the FM station did venture in for the Towson-William and Mary game.  Probably got time-and-a-half.

> It will really get interesting later on this year when 105.7 and/or 1300 AM start broadcasting Towson football and basketball and WNST “out-covers” those two affiliates at the games…like we always do.  All hell’s gonna break loose over at CBS Radio when they start telling their on-air folks, “You know, now that we carry the games, the Towson Athletics people are hoping we’ll cover the teams. So…you guys really SHOULD go over to their home games and act interested.”  I bet there will be lots of weekend sore throats running through the building next Fall and Winter.  As Bart Scott once said:  “Can’t Wait!”

> Patrick Reed won his 3rd PGA TOUR event in his last 14 starts on Sunday by capturing the biggest win of his career, the World Golf Championships event at Doral in Miami.  The top 50 players in the world were ALL in the field and Reed each of them, yet he evidently ruffled some feathers by saying in his post-round presser, “I’m a top five player in the world.”  Twitter and sports sites everywhere where aghast with Reed’s “arrogance”.  Arrogance?  He  has 3 wins in the last eight months.  He beat everyone like a drum in college at Augusta State.  He’s a stud.  What’s he supposed to say afterwards, “I was lucky”?  This is like the “Flacco/I’m the best” quote that got our quarterback in hot water two years ago.  He was asked where he felt he ranked.  He said, “I think I’m the best.”  If someone from The Sun or Baltimore Magazine or some other publication asked me to rank the sports radio hosts in Baltimore, I’d answer it by saying, “You mean, rank everyone who’s behind me?  Sure, I’ll tell you who’s #2, #3, #4, and so on.”  Patrick Reed just beat the best 50 players in the world.  I think he can place himself just about wherever he wants on his own list of top 5 players in the world.

> I attended a “Cluster Mission” at my church on Sunday evening.  It’s basically a gathering of people from four or five area churches who all sign up for a 3-night session at one of the churches.  It turns out that Immaculate Heart of Mary on Putty Hill and Loch Raven Blvd. – where I attend – hosted this first Cluster Mission with last night being the first of the three sessions.  Father Jack Mattimore was the featured Priest last night and in his discussion with all of us, he shared a story about the importance of friendship and said, “Interestingly enough, sheep don’t follow the shepherd — sheep are attracted to other sheep.  They get herded together by their desire to be with one another.  The shepherd is just there to chase any who happen to get wayward back to the flock.  Sheep follow sheep.”  He then went on to say, “So, I’d ask each of you to invite some of your “sheep” to Monday night’s Cluster Mission here at IHM.  Just invite your friends.  They might come out.  They might not.  But at least invite them and see if any want to come with you.”  So, that’s what I’m doing now.  If you’re reading this, you’re a friend.  Come on out tonight at 7pm to IHM for night two of the Cluster Mission.  It’s free.  It runs until 9pm.  They have FREE babysitting, too!  You’ll find me in there somewhere and we can talk about the Orioles afterwards.  I’m not sure if you heard or not, but they’re going to the World Series this year.

 

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Part 3: Which Baltimore sports media entities suck? Here’s my report card…

Posted on 23 October 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

It’s been nearly three years since I started publicly examining the “State of Baltimore Sports Media” at WNST.net. As I predicted, the way you get your local sports news, information and analysis has seamlessly changed and now sits in the palm of your hands.

Three years ago when I wrote this in depth look at where the Baltimore sports media universe was heading, Twitter was truly at the dawn of its existence. The ability of mobile devices was far more limited and far less distributed. And the access to the genie of instant information in the palms of our hands that we’ve quickly become accustomed to will never go backward into the narrow bottle of the limited access of newspapers, television and radio waves.

Today, I will examine the current state of the Baltimore sports media experience and as much as many local journalists like to give “report cards” on the Ravens every Sunday night and Monday morning, I’m sure some folks will get their feelings hurt today.

I’ll tell you what I think about our competitors and the intentions of their bosses and their corporate, money-making media machines. Honesty. Candidly. Openly. As usual…

And, we’d love to hear what you think here in our “2012 State Of Baltimore Sports Media Survey” here.

One lucky survey entrant will win a trip next weekend to Cleveland on our Miller Lite Orange Roadtrip powered by Jiffy Lube.

As I’ve said over the past month, we’re trying to make WNST.net better every minute of every day so that we can be your primary source of Baltimore sports news and information on your mobile device.

Examining the Baltimore sports media business is the most important thing I do on a daily basis and while I rarely write about this stuff, it’s been my life’s mission to improve your experience as a local sports fan.

I find it almost hilarious and/or pathetic that anyone would listen to the radio station that calls itself  “The Fan” when the entire concept was drawn up in a board room in New York and never factors the actual “fans” into the equation when they assembled their corporate radio station team.

But competition is good. It sets the bar. At WNST.net, we’ve never ducked the obvious or taken Baltimore sports fans for granted – we know you’re judging us and comparing us every day because you utilize more than one outlet for your sports media consumption on a daily basis in 2012.

But we’re always striving to the be the FIRST place you go to get Baltimore sports information on your IPhone, Droid or mobile device.

In an effort to encourage you to give your feedback on the local Baltimore sports media scene, it’s only fair that I file my own report card.

So, who are the competitors and players on the local scene and where do you turn when breaking news happens in Baltimore?

My general overview of this is candidly clear: Baltimore is a lazy market on the new media end. I know how hard we work at WNST.net and I know what our resources are. I know the strengths and weaknesses of all of our competitors in the marketplace and many of the assembled group of “journalists” in the market have either been on my team, interviewed to be on my team or have cross-pollinated in something I’ve touched because I’ve been doing Baltimore sports media longer than virtually anyone in the marketplace.

My journey began almost 29 years ago in January 1984 at age 15 when Baltimore had three newspapers, three TV stations and a handful of AM radio stations that did local sports of any kind.

In 2012, there has been a mass fracturing in the way and convenience in which we consume media so many of the entities have “loose ends” in their coverage or holes in the strategy. Some of their portals to garner attention, feedback and building a trusted community of information are very old world and “lazy” for my tastes.

And before I begin defecating on all of our competitors – and that will be prevalent below – no less than two of these fossilized radio stations have the arrogance to call themselves “the only station that matters.”

It’s hilarious. And the truth is that WNST.net is kicking all of their asses in the only place that really matters – the internet and on your mobile device via instant access.

Here’s a report card from two weeks ago via Twitter:

Some will get their feelings hurt, but if you click to Page 2 you’ll see what I think of our “competition” at WNST.net…

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Season of “Moneyball” begins for Angelos, Duquette, Buck & Orioles of 2012

Posted on 13 July 2012 by Nestor Aparicio

The second half of the Baltimore Orioles’ re-awakening 2012 season is about to begin and the local baseball fans are a bit befuddled by it all.

As a Baltimore sports fan, I’m never allergic to exciting wins and a 12-game over .500 start to any baseball season. We’ve seen a manager who not only channels Earl Weaver in his size, stature and mannerisms but also with shrewd use of role players and borderline big leaguers. It’s been three months of watching guys who are trying hard no matter who is called up from Norfolk or who hits the disabled list. We’ve witnessed the blossoming of a true superstar in Adam Jones, who signed a record contract in mid-May against all previous precedent given by the Angelos family.

And, for the first time since 1997, this version of the Baltimore Orioles has stirred fans’ awareness – if not necessarily their emotions or beliefs – that this could be a dog-days-of-summer presentation that will bare watching as the fellows in the purple sweaters practice in Owings Mills in two weeks.

But here’s the problem: the 2012 Baltimore Orioles roster — as currently assembled on July 13th — is either in parts of tatters, simply unproven or just flat-out stinks.

I’ve been watching baseball for 40 years and I can’t think of any situation that compares to this.

The 2012 Baltimore Orioles are 45-40, now just five games over .500. However, if the season ended today they’d be in the playoffs. It’s officially the second half of the season – I watched the All-Star Game on Tuesday night even if none of the rest of you did – and the Orioles have a legitimate chance to play at least one postseason baseball game in October.

In the new Bud Selig fantasy world of more October baseball and profit, the Orioles are truly contenders in a way we couldn’t have imagined in March and haven’t seen since the Clinton administration. And no one else in the American League East looks to be galvanized to go on a tear, either.

Meanwhile the young guns of Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz and Tommy Hunter are all in Norfolk after repeated self-inflicted shots into the bleachers after a series of “Ball Ones” and long, hot innings of ineffectiveness and blown leads.

The now-rested bullpen will attempt to continue to atone for the sins of the many failed starts over the past eight weeks.

The offense is in tatters. Despite the trade for a post-40 Jim Thome – yet another acquisition a player who is in the December of his career ala Sammy Sosa and Vladimir Guerrero — the Orioles are at least making some attempt to get to October after such an encouraging start.

Will Brian Roberts be a factor in the second half? Is Nick Markakis fully healed from his hamate bone injury? Can J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters provide more offense in the second half? Is Xavier Avery a star or just another so-so-outfielder from the Orioles’ depth chart?

There are far more questions than answers heading into the second season of baseball.

The Orioles have been irrelevant for 15 years. This year it appears we’ll have the first-ever Ravens’ training camp opening where the orange team will be the ones making summer headlines.

Will they trade? Who will they trade? What will they get?

One thing we know: trades for legitimate pitchers and hitters who can help the Orioles will not only cost some prospects but will involve large sums of money to pay these proven

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