franchise into Angelos’ territory and backyard in the D.C. metro area?
“I don’t think there’s going to be a team in Northern Virginia. I think that as far as the other owners are concerned, I think they recognize that my opposition was there because I was concerned about baseball and the acceptance of baseball as America’s pastime.”
“I’m not concerned that there will be a team in Northern Virginia in the future. Clearly, I will do my best to see to it that doesn’t happen. Again, not because I would deny Northern Virginians or D.C. residents the opportunity to see baseball but simply because if you have a team in Northern Virginia and a team in Baltimore you’re going to have two teams that are mediocre at the gate. Both of which are going to be perennial losers. We don’t need that here and they don’t need that there.”
Angelos was already feeling the competition in town – the residue of him not getting the Tampa Bay Buccaneers two years early. Instead, his once-exclusive parking lot at Camden Yards was being ripped apart in March 1997 so that the Ravens’ stadium could be erected on the south end of the complex.
The Ravens struggled to a 4-12 finish in 1996 but it was very apparent that Baltimore was football starved. The cost of Personal Seat Licenses to ensure season tickets in the new stadium was pricey but local purple football fans had gobbled them up almost 68,000 strong. Many sponsors were also lining up to join the Ravens in luxury boxes so the competition for dollars was becoming fierce with many folks having to choose which sport they wanted to attend and support.
Angelos noticed the crossover between his customers and those who wanted to support Art Modell’s new franchise. And while many times he didn’t find the right words to soothe the public over the years – nor did he usually care whom he offended – this time he refrained from any animosity and pledged support for the Ravens.
“We already have Ravens tickets at the Orioles and we also have a commitment for a box in the new stadium. We would urge everyone to support the football team.
“Listen, Baltimore has always been a great football town, as Art Modell likes to say. And I think he’s 100% right. I would hope that the day comes when we’ll have teams of the caliber of the Colts years. It’s a great town, a great state, and as I said, we’re situated in such a way that we can draw from a number of places and we can have very successful franchises.”
His longtime friend Frank Sliwka, whose son, Joe, owned the venerable crab house in Carney, brokered the conversation between Angelos and WLG Radio. This was in March 1997. By the summer of 2000, the same Frank Sliwka who worked in Angelos’ law firm in the early 1960s was quoted in a City Paper profile of Angelos saying, “The money’s gone to his head. He’s a control freak.”
Many of his previous quotes would support that theory.
(Author note: This is Chapter 5 of my book “The Peter Principles,” which I was working to finish in March 2014 when my wife was diagnosed with leukemia the first time. I will be releasing the entire book for free online this summer – chapter by chapter. These are the true chronicles of the history of Peter G. Angelos and his ownership of the Baltimore Orioles. If you enjoy the journey, please share the links with a friend.)