Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Overentertained = All Expos/Senators...all the time!!

Since I haven't anything else interesting to say these days (I'm so sick of the election - I just want it over.), let's keep rolling with news on Les Expos! Who knows...maybe I'll have to turn this into a permanent forum... ;)

This afternoon comes news out of Baltimore that Peter Angelos has finally admitted that he has a price for his willingness to "allow" the Expos to move to Washington (let's set aside for the moment that technically, since the Expos play in the NL, he doesn't have a choice in the matter, and that the St. Louis Browns were moved to Baltimore while the Senators were still in operation and Washington didn't raise a single objection). As I've always said...he has his price.
"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."
In other words...he wants to still be able to demand a high selling price when he sells the franchise in a few years. Alright. Fine. At least he isn't going to blatantly ask for a bribe or "indemnity" for sanctioning the move. The details, as reported earlier focus on:
...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.
<>Now...I don't love the idea that the O's would get more TV revenue permanently - I would hope that that agreement would expire and move into a more equitable 50/50 arrangement down the line, but if that's what it takes...that's what it takes. And if the league is willing to guarantee a revenue level and value for the franchise...fine. Small price to pay, really.

Honestly...I doubt the Orioles will loose many fans. I will lay money that the majority of Orioles fans will still come from Maryland (as they do now) and Washington will pull more from the District and (more importantly and overwhelmingly) Northern Virginia. NVa baseball fans are the ones that have had the biggest problems getting to Orioles games - I'm a perfect example. Its just too much of a hassle to go up there after work and get back anytime before midnight.

So...Angelos has smelled that the wind has changed. I'm betting Bud had a little chat with him. This turnaround in his public statements smells of Angelos essentially throwing in the towel. So be it.

And speaking of Northern Virginia...Marc Fisher's Metro column today makes a point that I have made repeatedly to friends: NVa blew it.
When the history of the third Washington Senators is written, the author will be tempted to start with the tale of how the team came thisclose to playing in a place called Pentagon City.
I've said this all along. The Pentagon City site was, hands down, the best stadium site. And the NVa folks blew it by not sticking by it when an organized opposition and the Arlington County Board started having second thoughts. Moreover, Fisher's column has some interesting insights on some of the backroom discussions, including talks at combining efforts (scuttled by Virginia's refusal to commit to the city) and ugly racial charges made by both sides:
In the final stages, both sides played the race card. Virginia raised doubts about whether suburbanites would take children into the District for a night game, and the District group asked Major League Baseball to consider the public relations dimension of choosing "lily-white" Loudoun County as the new symbol of baseball's future.
Plus...Fisher is dead on when it comes to naming the franchise:
Our baseball team -- then, now, forever -- is called the Senators. The mayor is correct: This city does not have senators. But we have dreams, and for 33 years, people said we would never get another baseball team. Now, it is within our grasp. One day, the right to vote will be, too.



At 12:49 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

D.C. has baseball!



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