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The Peter Principles (Ch. 12): Selig vs. Angelos – trust, antitrust and billions of dollars

Posted on 17 December 2015 by Nestor Aparicio

This is Chapter 12 of the upcoming book, “The Peter Principles.” This lengthy excerpt is a prelude to a WNST report on ten years of MASN money and how Washington baseball has affected Baltimore baseball over the past decade. The first three chapters of the book are available here:

The Peter Principles (Ch. 1): So, just how did Angelos become ‘King’ of Baltimore baseball?

The Peter Principles (Ch. 2): The error of tyranny at Camden Yards

The Peter Principles (Ch. 3): How close did Angelos come to owning Baltimore’s NFL team?

 

 

The Peter Principles

Chapter 12

The Washington Nationals were the greatest thing to ever happen to Peter G. Angelos

 

“We’re going to be watching very carefully to see what’s going to happen with some of the efforts to put a baseball franchise in Washington or in Northern Virginia. And I’m gonna tell ya straight up: we don’t think there should be a baseball franchise in Northern Virginia or in Washington. Because you would have a repetition of what you have in Oakland and San Francisco. In Oakland and San Francisco you have the same kind of population mix that you have between Baltimore and Washington. And those two teams kill each other off. Both of those teams drew, last year, less than two million fans. Together, they drew 3 million fans. But because they’re so close to each other and they’re both part of one metropolitan area – mega metropolitan area – they are literally killing themselves at the gate. We have argued, I think to this point, successfully, that there should not be another Major League Baseball franchise 30 to 40 miles away from Baltimore. 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.”

Peter G. Angelos

The Barn, March 1997

 

 

WITH THE BIG MONEY SPLURGE OVER the winter, Peter G. Angelos believed he’d solved most of his 2004 problems on the field with the Orioles. But, truly, the team on the field or how it performed in the spring was the least of his big-picture problems with the franchise. Angelos was far more focused on its future viability in Baltimore if his Major League Baseball partners were going to acquiesce to mounting civic pressure from Washington, D.C. and move the fledgling, all-but-homeless Montreal Expos to the capital of the free world to openly compete in a marketplace that had solely been the territory of the Orioles since the early 1970s.

Once again, a decade into his ownership of the Orioles, Angelos found himself knee-deep into circumstances that went far beyond the boundaries of the normal business of simply running a baseball team and trying to win and turn a profit. For the first time in modern baseball history – the last team that moved was the Washington Senators to the Dallas-Fort Worth area in 1972 – a MLB team was going to being uprooted and potentially moved directly into the territory of an existing franchise.

While he picked many of battles over years with political figures, media members, Orioles players, agents, partners, insurance companies and big businesses, this was certainly a battle that found Angelos. He was a natural fighter. But this was not a fight he ever wanted.

When Camden Yards was flooded with fans in his early days he always maintained that there was no way two teams could survive and thrive in the Baltimore-Washington corridor. He was always adamant – if not even enthusiastic and animated – in his protests of anything related to Washington having a Major League Baseball team.

Washington baseball was his worst nightmare.

And he saw the clouds were forming very clearly heading into 2004.

Angelos saw where this might be going, and despite his work on an amicable relationship and pro bono efforts during the 2002 labor negotiations on behalf of Major League Basbeall, he still truly believed that commissioner Bug Selig would never cross him and his daily struggle to keep another MLB team out of the nation’s capital. He called Selig “a friend” at one point and indicated his staunch belief that Washington baseball would never happen.

“Washington has a baseball team,” Angelos would say. “They’re called the Orioles.”

You can hear him discuss this topic at length here from March 1997:

If anything had been proven over the years it was that Peter G. Angelos loved a good fight. He was now more than $150 million upside down in his ownership of the Orioles – reports would say at this time that the team was worth $325 million, which would’ve more than cleared up his losses. But, having lost money every year for 10 years and reaching into his personal vast fortune annually to financially support the team was an unnerving reality. But, given his reputation and track record, it was his own doing by chasing away large chunks of revenue streams with a myriad of poor decisions and poor civic form.

Now, as a mostly unpopular figure through both cities’ baseball fan bases, he was bunkering …

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Are you a real Baltimore sports fan? The Quiz-Answer Edition

Posted on 29 April 2014 by WNST Staff

Spoiler alert.

If you haven’t taken the quiz and jogged your Baltimore Sports Fan memory, go here now.

If you’re ready for the answers, here they come.

Before jumping into the answers, though, shout out to Will from Parkton, Paul from Middle River, and Justin from Dundalk for doing considerably well on the quiz.  Second shout out to Teddy from Dundalk, Stephie from Owings Mills, and Brian from Abingdon for essentially admitting defeat.

On a side note, when I gave the quiz to my wife, she was less-than-thrilled by the difficulty and considerably more aggravated by my reaction to her less-than-thrill-ed-ness; it ruined our entire weekend.

But, if you ask me, she should know these things.  Like I told her, at least I didn’t make her pass the prenuptial Baltimore Colts Exam that was featured in the classic Baltimore-based flick, Diner.

Here are the answers to the Baltimore Sports Quiz–straight from Tony, the Baltimore Sports Wiz…

#1  In what year did the St. Louis Browns move to Baltimore?

1954

#2  What was Rex Barney’s famous tag-line?

“Thank youuuuuuu”

#3  What is the significance of Cubs GM Theo Epstein to Baltimore?

He was a summer intern with the Orioles, starting in 1992.

#4  Who was the first player to enter the Ravens’ Ring of Honor?

Earnest Byner (nice guy, but years later, it’s clear that he probably doesn’t belong there)

#5  Baltimore had three minor league hockey teams, what were their names?

Clippers, Skipjacks, Bandits.

#6  Baltimore’s USFL team’s nickname was?

Stars.

#7  Which player won a Grey Cup with the Stallions and a Super Bowl with the Ravens?

O.J. Brigance.

#8  Who was the starting quarterback for the Baltimore Stallions during their Grey Cup victory?

Tracey Ham.

#9  Who owned the Baltimore Stallions?

Jim Speros.

#10  Former Maryland Terps Basketball Coach, Bob Wade, has what significance to Baltimore?

Prior to UM, he coached at Dunbar.

#11  Which former Orioles’ pitching prospect had vanity license plates that read “24KTARM”?

Matt Riley (what a waste of talent).

#12  Which Orioles’ third baseman won Sporting News’ AL Rookie of the Year Honors in 1989?

Craig Worthington.

#13  Cal Ripken Sr. wore which jersey number as a coach for the Orioles?

7.

#14  Which two former Orioles make up two of only four members in MLB history to record more than 3,000 hits and 500 home runs?

Eddie Murray and Rafael Palmeiro (joining Hank Aaron and Willie Mays).  Incredible that Raffy will likely never make it to Cooperstown. 

#15  Which movie was filmed at Camden Yards?

Major League II.

#16  Which movie was filmed at Ravens Stadium?

The Replacements.

#17  Which owner played a major role in Baltimore not being awarded an expansion team over Jacksonville and Carolina?

Redskins owner, Jack Kent Cooke.

#18  Who was the owner of the fashion store Merry-Go-Round, who also played a key role in the  “Give Baltimore the Ball” campaign?

Boogie Weinglass–who was actually portrayed in the aforementioned Diner by Mickey Rourke.

#19  Which receiver holds the Ravens’ single-season record of 14 touchdown receptions?

Michael “He-He” Jackson.

#20  Who was “Zeus”?

The late Orlando Brown.

#21  Who was “Full Pack”?

Oriole closer, Don Stanhouse earned the name because it was rumored that Earl Weaver would smoke a full-pack of cigarettes as Stanhouse struggled to effectively close-out games without a good amount of drama in the ninth inning.

#22  Which Orioles’ favorite was known for eating Froot Loops before games?

Birds’ catcher, Mickey Tettleton.

#23  In the 1989 season, in the fateful series in Toronto to finish the season, what strange injury caused Pete Harnish to miss his scheduled start?

Walking back to the team hotel, he stepped on a nail.

#24  Which former Oklahoma Sooners basketball star was once thought to be the heir apparent to Cal Ripken?

Ryan Minor.

#25  Who was “Iron Hands”?

The late and legendary Ernie Tyler, who sat to the left of the on-deck circle and handed new mud-rubbed baseballs to the umpire during the games at Memorial Stadium and Camden Yards, every day from 1960 to 2007.

#26  Who returned the blocked Al Del Greco field goal for a touchdown in Tennessee, paving the way for the Ravens to move on to the AFC Championship in January 2001?

Defensive tackle Keith Washington blocked it, safety Anthony Mitchell returned it 90-yards to pay-dirt.

#27  Which Ravens’ defensive back fueled much of the Steelers-Ravens rivalry by stepping on Plaxico Burress’ head during a scuffle?

James Trapp.

#28  What is significant about the Esskay sign in right field at Oriole Park at Camden Yards?

It starts blinking when it’s hit by a ball.

#29  Who is Len Burrier?

The “Big Wheel.”  Essentially the Colts and Stallions version of fan-mascot “Wild Bill” Hagy.

#30  Which long-time NFL punter went to Towson University?

Sean Landeta.

#31  Which Dunbar standout played alongside of Joe Smith, Exree Hipp, Johnny Rhodes and Duane Simpkins?

Keith Booth.

#32  What number did Deion Sanders wear as a member of the Ravens, and why?

37.  It was his age at the time.  And, by-and-large, he played like it.

#33  What is it customary to hold up as visiting opponents’ lineups are being announced at the University of Maryland basketball games?

Newspapers.

#34  Which former O’s pitcher lost 21 games in 1954, and went on to throw the only perfect game in World Series history two years later as a member of the New York Yankees?

Don “Gooneybird” Larsen.

#35  Why would a true Baltimore fan despise the number that precedes this question?

Number 35 was worn by Mike Mussina, who defected to the Bronx Bombers in 2001.  In his defense, had owner Peter Angelos ponied-up and matched the money that the Yankees were offering, Mussina would have likely never left Baltimore.  

 

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acc_1978

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Terps to the Big Ten

Posted on 29 November 2012 by Tom Federline

It just ain’t right. The University of Maryland is leaving the Atlantic Coast Conference to join the Big Ten (or is it 12, or 14, or eventually 24?), to “ensure the financial stability” of the sports department (possibly save 7 sports) and receive “academic benefits.” Pa-lease Wallace Loh and Kevin Anderson, we are not buying it. Just like the Iowa and Army alumni (respectively) that did not buy the oceanfront property in Kansas you tried selling them at your previous jobs.  It’s all about setting the University up for the conversion into the Five (5) Super-Conferences. It’s all about excuses to raise tuition. It’s all about the money. It’s all about football and basketball.

Nice Thanksgiving Week surprise, huh? Stuff this, U of M. Yeah, yeah, yeah……….financially it may help dig the powers at large out of the hole they dug and an attempt to save face from the ridicule and embarasssment of losing 7 athletic programs. I liked the Lefthanders quotes – “What is the matter? Why are they so broke?” How can a major state university mis-appropriates monies and drop 7 sports? I still can’t get over that one. With all the successes of mens/womens basketball teams, mens/womens soccer, mens/womens lacrosse, womens filed hockey, etc. I just don’t buy it.

The Atlantic Coast Conference to me: Clemson, Duke, NC, NC State, Vigina, Wake Forest, maybe Georgia Tech (1978) and of course the Terps. That’s what I grew up with. That is what I will always remember. I didn’t buy Florida State coming in (1991) and my goodness when the Big East started invading, I basically boycotted those games. My most memorable ACC basketball coaches: the Lefthander, Gary, Coack K., Dean Smith, Norm Sloan, Jimmy V., Terry Holland, Dave Odom (the otter) and Bobby Cremins. Those days are gone, but oh the memories.

So, who did you root for this past week in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge? I was all over Michigan – “Go Wolverines beat State! and “How ’bout them Stinkin’ Badgers – beat those Wahoos!” I don’ think so……..but it was (as always) “Anybody but Duke. Go Buckeyes!”  Basketball is going to be interesting. Football……….Terps don’t have a chance.

Brace yourself for the five (5) Super-Conferences. That is where Collegiate sports is heading. Throw out the traditional geographically correct conference locations. Some rivalries will remain, some will start anew, some will become a distant past memory. It’s all about the money and bragging rights. Not that any of this is “fixed” or there has been some mis/re-allocation of funds, because that would just absolutely crush me. Gosh darn, I sure hope greed hasn’t entered into the picture.

The student-athlete? I guess it depends on the sport and the individual. The athlete (how much money can you bring in) – student (which is questionable with the football/basketball programs), is more like it.  Will this move “fix” the supposed struggling U of M Athletics? Only time will tell. Maybe the powers at be needed NEW money? Not that any of this is “fixed” or there has been some mis-allocation of funds, because that would just absolutely crush me. Gosh darn, I sure hope greed hasn’t entered into the picture.

The Big Ten? Currently most of those schools are in the mid-west and north right? So, when are we going to Minnesoda on a road trip. Terrapin Nation be travelin’ well to Nebraska or how about Iowa? Those destinations on your “bucket list”? I wonder how easy it will be to get a football ticket in Ann Arbor, for Terps / Michigan? Ok, going to that stadium with a full house might be cool. But I’m doing it in September!

Bottom line – the “Times They are a Changin'” – (Bob Dylan). Accept and roll or divert your energies. As an “old schooler” and traditionalist – it just ain’t right. As a realist – bring it on. It’s all a little heavy to digest at the moment. On a positive, no more Carolina refs on a consistent basis. I have heard gossip about those corrupt Michigan refs though. You kiddin’ me? GO TERPS!

D.I.Y.

Fedman

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