Category Archives: Peter Angelos is a coward

flickr photo by above Joshua Bousel used under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) license

Nats apparently win arbitration with MASN, Angelos, Orioles

Major League Baseball Embroiled in Explosive Legal War Over TV Deals (Exclusive)The Hollywood Reporter
Over MLB Commissioner Bud Selig’s stern warning, the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles hurl accusations at each other and have stepped into open court spilling secrets.

Break out the popcorn! The corrupt bargain that gave Peter Angelos and the Baltimore Orioles the Washington Nationals television rights may be unraveling.

What’s been kept under wraps until now is that on June 30, the MLB committee adjudicating the dispute issued its decision, which favored the Nationals. That prompted attorneys to swing into high gear and Commissioner Selig to attempt to get out in front of the situation.

“I am deeply saddened by the fact that you have not been able to resolve amicably the pending broadcast rights dispute,” wrote Selig in a letter to Angelos and Nationals owner Ted Lerner, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

Selig doesn’t think either side is working in the best interest of the game, but c’mon Bud, if the Nats won they are entitled to the spoils of victory, so there is this:

I want there to be no doubt that, if any party initiates any lawsuit, or fails to act in strict compliance with the procedures set forth in the Agreement concerning the [Revenue Sharing
Definitions Committee of Major League Baseball]‘s decision, I will not hesitate to impose the strongest sanctions available to me under the Major League Constitution.”

The Nats can’t initiate a lawsuit to rightfully claim what is theirs?

On July 1, Stephen Neuwirth, an attorney at Quinn Emanuel representing the Nationals, responded by telling MASN that thanks to the decision, the club was owed an additional $10 million for rights-fee payments due on April 1 and June 1 and warning of an impending deadline of default.

Two days later, Neuwirth provided formal notice of defaults and warned MASN to cure the defaults lest the team “seek all appropriate remedies for nonpayment, including (without limitation) termination of MASN’s license to telecast Nationals games.”

His threats didn’t achieve the desired result, so on July 7, the Nationals petitioned the MLB Commissioner’s Office to confirm and enforce the June 30 decision.

I am uncharacteristically happy about this news, I’m so used to it being bad for the Nats. However, it could still blow up because Selig’s track record is coddling Angelos and to a lesser extent the Orioles.

What would victory mean for Nats fans?

  • Switching to a new channel (which if it’s completely new, could mean higher fees and/or service interruption)
  • The satisfaction over beating Angelos & Orioles (though Angelos won the moment his channel aired a Nats game)
  • More team revenue so good players are easier to retain and obtain

The funny thing is, the impact on the Orioles is probably minor, since Angelos clearly isn’t investing the MASN money in the team.

Like I said in February, Ted Leonsis must be watching with great interest — he could be the biggest winner out of all.

I’ll may add to this as more comes out.

Angelos got control of the Nats TV rights, got his own network with two teams, but is getting burned because cable television rights have skyrocketed. His deal turned out to be a bad one which is a little bit of karma. He wanted to intrefere in the affairs of another team and it might burn him. It’d serve him right.

MSM STUFF

Nationals-Orioles MASN dispute goes public - WTOP

In debate over MASN rights, MLB rules for Washington Nationals, but fight continuesThe Post

flickr photo by above Joshua Bousel used under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) license

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anti-masn

Could MASN be a Pyrrhic victory for Peter Angelos? Let’s hope so.

Earlier this month, Grantland published a story by chronicler of Les Expos de Montréal, Jonah Keri on the Baltimore Orioles and their reluctance to spend. That’s nothing new or of even relevant to D.C. sports fans. What is relevant are details of Mid Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) which is primarily owned by Angelos/Orioles.

In 2005, MLB and Angelos worked out a deal allowing the Nationals to operate in D.C. in exchange for a new local TV deal that overwhelmingly favored the Orioles. In July 2006, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network launched a full-time sports programming slate headlined by O’s and Nats games. The terms dictated that each franchise would receive the same amount in rights fees, but that Baltimore would control a 90 percent share of MASN and any MASN-owned spinoff networks at the start; the Nationals would pick up an additional 1 percent stake each year after an initial two-year wait, until eventually reaching a 33 percent cap. Angelos got his lopsided deal, while the Nationals, who play in the nation’s seventh-biggest market, got screwed.

While the Orioles are bringing in quite a bit more than the Nationals, neither team is profiting from MASN as much as it could be. According to SNL Kagan, a group that analyzes cable and broadcast network deals as well as regional sports networks (RSNs), MASN properties generated $167.8 million in total revenue in 2012. The bulk of that money came from advertising and subscriber fees, with 5.4 million consumers paying $2.14 a month. That’s well below the $2.47 industry average for 2012 and $2.69 projection for 2013, and several of the media experts and sports deal makers interviewed for this story said MASN should be getting much more. Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic, which primarily airs Washington Capitals and Wizards regular-season games, got $4.02 per month in 2012, indicating the market would likely support a higher rate for MASN. It’s hard to know whether to blame the network’s low subscriber fee on inept management, the timing of the deal, or other factors, but whatever the reason, it’s clear MASN will be leaving tens of millions on the table until it renegotiates with local cable providers.

First off, I have to acknowledge that while the “low” subscriber fee is bad for the revenue of the franchises, it’s not a negative for cable subscribers whether they watch those channels or not. It won’t go as far to say that Angelos is “saving” cable subscribers by having the “low” rate because if not for him, CSN would probably have the Nats and we were already paying for that channel. Angelos was successful in keeping MASN off of most DC area cable systems well into 2006, the Nats second season.

There are more interesting details:

For now, the MASN status quo remains. The Nationals aren’t completely helpless, though: According to a source close to the Washington franchise, MLB has sent the team an undisclosed sum every year to help bridge the gap, and to prevent the Lerners from taking matters to court, until the deal becomes more balanced…

…when the Lerner family bought the Nationals in 2006, it was saddled with this lemon of a deal, in which neither it nor the team’s first president, Stan Kasten, had any say. The terms stipulated that the deal could be renegotiated after five full seasons, and the Nats took their first opportunity to challenge the terms after the 2011 season. When that challenge dragged into 2012, those terms looked even more unfair. After spending years rebuilding a franchise that had been decimated by penny-pinching and mismanagement in Montreal, the Nats finally made the playoffs for the first time, winning 98 games and the NL East title. That same year, the Orioles made the postseason for the first time in 15 seasons. MASN viewership skyrocketed, enhancing the network’s already rising economic profile, but the Nats saw just a fraction of the returns.

The suggestion that the team or possibly, the Lerner family themselves, are getting payola under the table additional compensation is new to me. Whether that statement is accurate or not will certainly not be mentioned by the Lerners (see, publicly financed Nationals Park roof for reference) so we’ll have to take this cocktail party supposition with a grain of salt. An aside – several years ago I heard a rumor from a one-time employee that in addition to the $450 million purchase price, the Lerner ownership also assumed over $100 million in debt from when MLB operated the franchise. Of course, I’ve had mixed results from that source.

Given that the Lerner family is the richest in MLB, they may have the patience to wait this out a while and if they get a little good behavior money on the side, well, why not. There is risk in that as well, but TV deals have gone up so much across the league, they seem unlikely to regress all the way back.

The motivations of Angelos on the other hand, are not completely clear. As the rest of the article notes, he hasn’t not been a big spender for most of his tenure as Orioles owner (BREAKING: Since I finished writing this post, Baltimore signed Ubaldo Jimenez for four years to which Cleveland fan Vince Guerreri invoked Bill Veeck’s maxim about “the high cost of mediocrity“), this offseason being another example of that and doesn’t seem motivated by his team winning on the field. Seemingly, his motivation for being loved, liked or even respected by his fan base is not significant either — he has had a dozen years to bring Maryland’s favorite son Cal Ripken, Jr. into a meaningful role with the franchise and choose not to go that way. Hiring Ripken would be at minimum on par with bringing in Dan Duquette to take credit for Andy McPhail’s improvements. It seems as though Angelos, in addition to being duplicitous (2004: “There are no baseball fans in Washington, D.C., that’s a fiction.” 2010: What’s good for the Nationals is good for MASN) lacks business sense. Perhaps he is self-aware of that, but it isn’t a stretch to say he’s more motivated to be vindictive. What’s really weird is that he and the Orioles still enjoy relatively uncritical coverage in either his home market of Baltimore or the market he is envious of, Washington, even though he isn’t good at his job.

Another possibility is that the three main participants are quite old. Selig will be 80 in July and has pushed back his retirement date for years. Officially, he plans to step down at the beginning of 2015. Angelos will be 85 in July while Lerner is 88. The three of them could be punting or should I say, pitching around the hitter, to the next generation. That’s not necessarily bad for the Nats, the next commissioner may not have a friendship with Angelos. Of course, what the descendents of the principal owners want and are willing to do is an unknown, though Mark Lerner and his brothers-in-law seem to be in for the long haul. Whehther Angelos’ family is the same I cannot say.

Left unsaid in Keri’s piece is a wild card in all of this – Ted Leonsis. The owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment, holding company of the Washington Capitals, Wizards, Mystics and Verizon Center, has won’t shut up been very vocal about his plans to create a new cable channel as soon as his broadcast deals with CSN expire, going as far to start an online channel. Obviously, CSN and unless Angelos is really oblivious, MASN, have to be quite interested in this development. For CSN, they are looking at extinction unless they reach a deal with Leonsis. Angelos and MASN probably realize that too and should they team up with Leonsis, that channel would be the dominant sports channel in multiple regional markets without any meaningful competition — i.e. what Angelos wanted from MLB and lost, yet on terms very favorable to him, even if he lacks the business-sense to make it work. Of course the question is whether split profits would be a deterrent to some or all sides. CSN is but one small part of the Comcast empire that includes, many other RSNs, cable/broadband systems and something called the National Broadcasting Company. Fighting over the DC & Baltimore markets might not be a big deal to the diagonally integrated corporate conglomerate.

These are but a few possible scenarios presented and I’ve looked at it more at a mostly local & regional level; FOX Sports or some other corporation may want to be a player too. Ultimately, I expect the endgame to be not terribly palatable to Washingtonians or the Nats franchise. The likeliest situation has Angelos and not necessarily the Baltimore American League ball club coming out far ahead of anybody else. The Lerners may ultimately buy him out, holding their noses as they do it. Regardless, it is worth pointing out that the demise of the Baltimore Orioles is an acceptable, albeit unlikely outcome, for the Washington National League ball club and their fans should it result in the restoration of television rights. Since in the Angelos and Orioles point of view, Washingtonians were acceptable as collateral damage, the same can be applied to Baltimoreans. Perhaps Mr. Keri’s city would be a suitable relocation site for Orioles, whose lease ends in 2021.

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Don’t get your hopes up for a D.C. All-Star Game

The Nationals want to host a future all-star game in WashingtonThe Post
If you are hoping for the All-Star Game to come to D.C. be prepared to wait because I’m convinced it isn’t coming soon, even though it hasn’t been here since 1969.

Twenty-six cities have hosted the all-star game since RFK Stadium hosted it two generations ago. The Nationals and the District would like that to change, and they expect it will. They have been waiting since Nationals Park opened in 2008 to bring the Midsummer Classic to the nation’s capital. The Nationals have petitioned the commissioner’s office and the city has planned for the showcase eventually to come.

It will be great when it comes here and hopefully it’ll do so before my son is too old to get the most out of the experience.

Development around Nationals Park – though the area near the ballpark has grown quite well, the choice locations behind centerfield remain unbuilt or underutilized. The 2008 economic crisis delayed what was supposed to open in 2009 indefinitely. Elsewhere, the neighborhood is really coming together nicely.

Other NL teams want it – San Diego, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Miami have all opened new ballparks since 2000. Philly seems content to wait until 2026, the sestercentennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, so they aren’t an issue. The Marlins and their monstrosity of a park could use a boost since Miami is a terrible spectator sports town. San Diego hasn’t had one yet and the Padres have been playing in Petco Park since 2003. Cincinnati is getting the 2015 game — why didn’t they wait until 2019 to make it an even 150 years (that’s the “sesquicentennial” – can Jack Hicks give me a ding?) since the then Red Stockings went pro? The Los Angeles Dodgers also want it, having not hosted since 1980.

Baltimore Orioles – The biggest threat to the D.C.’s All-Star aspirations is 60-90 minutes up the Baltimore/Washington Parkway. MLB commissioner Bud Selig has coddled his friend, Orioles owner Peter Angelos, for years at the expense of D.C. fans and the Nationals. The corrupt bargain of giving Angelos the overwhelming majority of the Nats TV rights has done little but line his pocket — the Orioles success isn’t from increased payroll, but from hiring a competent baseball man (Andy McPhail) who was then run out of town and lots of luck. So, if Angelos wants something, just assume that Selig will give it to him until proven otherwise. If and when Selig favors Angelos with an All-Star Game again, assume add another at least another five years to the wait for D.C. In fact, it would probably be at least 10 given Selig’s way of doing business and seemingly unwillingness to leave the commissioner’s office.

In addition to being fun, the ramifications for hosting an All-Star Game are big for the District and to a lesser extent, the suburbs:

Ribeiro said bringing the game to Washington would bring an “undeniable” economic boost and allow the city to “showcase the wonderful progress the District has made in the last 10 or 15 years.”

In planning the all-star game, the Nationals and the city would work with Events DC. President and chief executive Greg O’Dell said there had not been a study to measure the financial boost, but that MLB estimated most cities generate a $50 million windfall from hosting the game.

When MLB was haggling with the city council over the ballpark funding, I wish I had thought of this — get in writing, a guarantee that MLB would award DC two All-Star Games during the life of the lease. I don’t know if MLB would have gone for it, but it would have been nice to have in play.

LAST YEAR’S POST

Nats: Will Bud Selig send a future MLB All-Star game to Baltimore instead of D.C.?

A PHILLY TAKE

KEVIN McGUIRE: 2019 looks like a worthy year to bring the MLB All-Star Game back to Philly

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There will be at least 29 Nats games you won’t need to tune to MASN to watch

When it came out that 20 Washington Nationals games would be broadcast on Ch. 9 (WUSA) instead of Ch. 50 (WDCW), I joked about how great it is that we could watch the Nats on VHF instead of UHF:

DC Sports Bog (The Post) has a good post on what Ch. 9′s thinking was on carrying the Nats: WUSA 9 will simulcast 20 Nats games in 2013

As others pointed out to me, I was viewing this through the narrow lens of an everyday Nats fan. Technically speaking, in the age of digital cable being on a low number channel is irrelevant, but as several pointed out the promotional opportunities of being on Ch. 9 are much greater. I’ll concede the point and eagerly await the ratings report from DC Sports Bog.

We also learned yesterday that nine games through the end of July will be carried on FOX. Some of them will be in primetime. Now, if you are of the mind the Nats tend to lose on national TV, don’t get too worried — these games will be a part of a package meaning that some or even many of them will be regional broadcasts. Don’t be surprised if Bob Carpenter is doing the play-by-play, he did last year.

The real upside of all of this is there will be at least 29 Nats games that viewers won’t have to rely on MASN to watch. While we all know it, it is worth reminding everyone about the absolute travesty of a TV “deal” the Nats and their fans are forced to endure. Bud Selig pushed a corrupt bargain between Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos and the Nats when the franchise was still owned by MLB. Selig coddled Angelos by giving 90% of the Nats television rights. Angelos then hastily set up a cable channel called Mid Atlantic Sports Network with poor production values and even poorer market penetration. Angelos kept MASN off most major DC area cable systems through 2005 and well into 2006 — killing momentum for the new Washington franchise. The bad faith served Angelos in two ways — viewers didn’t make the Nats a habit, helping stifle ratings to keep the “rights fee” he had to pay the Nats low. This also helped slow the growth of the D.C. fanbase which Angelos mistakenly felt entitled to. Even now, Angelos is fighting the Nats in the latest round of rights fees. He may wrap himself around the Baltimore and Maryland flags, but he’s naked underneath. His fight to “protect the Orioles for te people of Baltimore and Maryland” is nothing more than him trying to line his pockets. So, in short, any chance to avoid supporting that coward and his cable channel should be welcomed and these 29 games on “over-the-air” channels gives the opportunity.

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Nats: Will Bud Selig send a future MLB All-Star game to Baltimore instead of D.C.?

THOM LOVERRO: In this area, battle is to be host with mostThe Wash. Examiner
The Washington Nationals are expected to bid for the 2015 All-Star game, the next one available to a National League team. The Cincinnati Reds and Miami Marlins, who began playing in their ballparks in 2003 and this season, respectively, are also expected to put in bids. However, Loverro points out that the Baltimore Orioles are looking at the 2016 All-Star game as well, which could complicate matters since MLB doesn’t like to have All-Star games in the same region too often. Given that Bud Selig has coddled the Orioles and their owner, Peter Angelos over the years, an all-star game in Baltimore instead of Washington is probably even money.

I’m mostly interested in the events that come with the All-Star Game, rather than going to the game itself or even watching it. By 2015, my son will be at an age where the All-Star festivities would be most enjoyable. Waiting until 2017 is probably even better. That’s if he decides to like baseball of course.

D.C. has held All-Star games in 1937 and 1956 at Griffith Stadium and 1962 (one of two) and 1969 at D.C./RFK Stadium. Baltimore held one in 1958 and 1993. The latter provided this interesting theory:

Of course, as long as Bud Selig is commissioner, Camden Yards may never host another All-Star Game. He thinks the fallout from 1993, when Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina warmed up and American League manager Cito Gaston failed to put him into a 9-3 win, led to managers feeling they had to use all of their players. That directly resulted in the 2002 debacle in which both teams ran out of pitchers in an 11-inning game that ended in a 7-7 tie.

Like I said, interesting, but Selig has protected Angelos to a fault and rewarded Angelos with 90% of the Nats TV rights in an 11-hour corrupt bargain just before the 2005 season.

Speaking of the Nats TV rights, no word on when Selig will decide what Angelos has to pay the Nats, starting next year. I expect it in the offseason, even though it was supposed to be done by June 1.

UPDATED 07.10.2012:
Here is a Nationals Journal (The Post) take on it – Nationals making push to host All-Star Game in near future

The thinking within baseball is that Nationals Park will get the game soon, possibly within five years. There are some obstacles and other teams that could step in front. Petco Park in San Diego and Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia still have yet to host the game. Wrigley Field, which turns 100 in 2014, could get the game. As the 25th anniversary of Camden Yards creeps up, the Orioles could make a case.

The bottom line is, an All-Star Game in Washington is a good bet. The Nationals absolutely want to host the game and Commissioner Bud Selig cares about a thriving Washington market.

I’ll believe when I see it.

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In theory the Nats vs. MASN/Angelos dispute will be closer to being settled tomorrow

THOMAS BOSWELL: Washington Nationals are due a bigger check from MASN for TV rightsThe Post
The column linked above is almost two weeks old, but still an important read.

Tomorrow is apparently a big day that the Washington Nationals-MASN/Baltimore Orioles stalemate. A panel of three representatives from the Tampa Bay Rays, Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets will give MLB commissioner Bud Selig a recommendation “$60 million or $100 million or likely a number in between” on what the Nats annual rights fee should be. Either way, the Nats stand to make much more revenue from the MASN deal that was forced on them by Peter Angelos, but I think Boswell was being naive thinking that Selig will merely rubber stamp the recommendation unless the Nats get low-balled. As Boswell pointed out in the column, this should have been figured out in November, but Selig does not move swiftly when he has to make a major decision even when the solution is self-evident (see Expos and Athletics relocations). Selig is also friends with Angelos which is how this corrupt bargain was created in the first place.

As for the three representatives, I would imagine the Mets would argue for lower compensation since the Nats are a division rival. The Rays on the other hand would have motivation to encourage a higher rights fee since it could potentially weaken their division rival, the Orioles. The Pirates are the wild card, since they are a small market in the same league as the Nats. While higher rights fees could help “raise all boats” including theirs, they could also fear that another power team in the NL is worse for business.

On the Nats side is Chris Bevilacqua, who has been successful with team deals and RSNs before. I can’t imagine he’s had a tougher one.

Most likely, the Nats’ deal will fall in the $70 million-$90 million range, though all such MLB debates are state secrets. One hidden factor is key: The interests of almost everyone in baseball (except MASN and Angelos) are aligned with the Nats’ getting a rational price. Why? Each new monster regional sports network deal (some contracts now top $1.5 billion) set “comparable” prices for the next team’s negotiation with its TV providers.

If the Nats got shafted, many owners would scream. What’s the point of having a legal monopoly if you don’t band together to drive up prices for your product?

This entire MASN-Nats tussle is about “when” and “how much,” not “if.” A deal has to get finished to set 2013’s MASN price. But you can bet that Angelos and MASN want to string out the Nats as long as possible in hopes of extracting a better deal. The Lerners tend to be phobic about imprecise budget projections, and uncertainty could set them dithering about whether or not to make a July 31 deadline trade that would increase payroll.

My expectation is that Selig will continue to reward Angelos’ bad behavior, first by delaying a decision until the offseason and then selecting a low rights fee. Regardless of that outcome, I fully expect Angelos to go to war with the cable providers over carriage fees of MASN/MASN2, scapegoating the Nats in the process. This could get ugly and don’t be shocked if MASN isn’t on some local cable systems on Opening Day of next year.

UPDATE:
There is an interesting thread on MASN on Federal Baseball

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Nats drop 2 of 3 to Baltimore

Sincen 2004, the bad behavior of the Baltimore Orioles and Peter Angelos has been rewarded constantly by MLB, bad Washingtonians and a significant chunk of the D.C. sports media. As a Washington Nationals fan and native Washingtonian, it is pretty frustrating. That adds the significance to the interleague series the two teams play in annually. The deck is stacked against the Nats in so many ways — the field is the only place they get a fair shot.

FRIDAY

Edwin Jackson gave up a run in the 1st inning and then keep the ledger clear. On the other side, Jake Arrieta was doing the same. A late home run by Ian Desmond tied it, but in the 11th, Nick Markakis homered off of Ryan Mattheus (firework, indeed) to put the bad guys ahead. The Nat responded in the bottom of the inning, but rather than taking advantage of Desmond hot bat, he bunted on pitches outside the strike zone. The Nats did not help themselves that night or throughout most of the series.

SATURDAY

Blogger Night! I’ll have a few posts about Blogger Night, but for now, here’s what you need to know about the game. Ross Detwiler was terrible. Detwiler got to two strikes on most of the early batters, but he couldn’t get them out. He gave up 6 runs in 5 innings, including two homers. It was ugly. The Nats fought back though. Several times late in the game, they had the tying run at the plate. Ryan Zimmerman homered with the Nats down to their last strike to get within one, but that was all they could muster. The near comeback helped take away some of the bitterness.

SUNDAY

Stephen Strasburg went down in a 3-0 hole after a Bryce Harper error allowed two earned runs. The Nats fought back though and took the lead on an opposite field homer by Jesus Flores. Strasburg then came up, swinging for the fences with 2 outs and no runners on. He put the third pitch he saw into the visiting bullpen for his first career home run. Having seen him in batting practice on Saturday, I knew it was a matter of when, not if he would homer this year. He was hitting well in BP. He also singled in his first at bat and scored on Harper’s triple off of Markakis’ glove. Then Strasburg settled down and started blowing Baltimore hitters away, but left after 5 innings with biceps tightness which sounds scary. The Nats kept their spikes on the O’s throats and run away with a 9-3 win.

More to come.

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Annual post about why Washingtonians should root for the Nats and hate the Orioles

Rather than try to build a narrative about the Washington Nationals series with the hated Baltimore Orioles, I think I’ll just make it short: The Baltimore Orioles and their owner Peter Angelos voted against D.C. baseball, “acquired” 90% of the Nats TV rights and kept the Nats off of most D.C. area cable systems for almost two whole seasons. The archives of this are at Peter Angelos is a coward and MASN Sucks.

Some other asides:

“Washingtonians” who root for the Baltimore Orioles probably also root for Iran and North Korea too.

Nobody actually says, “I want to be a Baltimoron!” but when a Washingtonian wears the orange and black, that’s what they’re saying.

I’m hoping Preakness keeps the Baltimoron factor in Nationals Park lower this weekend.

As for real Baltimoreans who root for the Angelos team — well, the Ravens must be a lot of fun. Too bad Angelos doesn’t believe in you and has to get a subsidy from D.C.

The reason the O’s have a bird on their cap is Baltimore won’t let them put a B on it out of fear of association.

White-panel caps never looked good. The bird face logo looks minor league.

For the fans who haven’t chosen one over the other, mixing Nats and O’s attire is awful. Pick one or none! Pick the right one too.

The Orioles will probably take the series, knowing my luck, they’ll sweep.

I’ll be there Saturday night, in the press box for blogger night amongst the O’s loving DC sports media.

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Nats: Catching up to the Bryce Harper era, two days later

I go away for a family wedding (and sun, surf, food & drink, etc.) on the Grand Strand (more to come) and it gets a little exciting in Natstown. Or at least on Washington Nationals first western road trip of the season. I thought the timing of my spring break and that trip were ideal, but a few things happened:

Ryan Zimmerman to the DL, retroactive to April 21. That’s pretty much what I expected the moment I saw Mark De Rosa playing third from the left field stands at my friend Fritz’s bachelor party. Get well Zim! Brad Lidge went there too — sports hernia. That’s okay.

Checking Twitter on Friday, I saw Bryce Harper was getting called up for the second two games of the series at the Los Angeles Dodgers. That was kind of surprising, on the service time and baseball fronts. On the former, Harper is under club control through 2018 (@MarkZuckerman). On the latter, he was hitting .250 (MiLB.com) with exactly one more homer than I’ve hit this year. Yet, the situation and that bench that Davey Johnson was so proud of prompted Harper’s promotion. The 19 year old has held up his end so far.

Did I pull up the archived radio broadcasts of Harper’s first at-bat (and pregame) from both the Nats (Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler) and Dodgers (Vin Scully) feeds? I sure did.

He plays his first baseball game in D.C. tonight, but Harper has already played softball on the Washington Monument grounds (The Nats Enquirer). That’s awesome – like Willie Mays and stickball in Harlem. He’s growing on me.

He was also mooned in L.A. (Deadspin). Smart fans there in Chavez Ravine.

Harper has continued wearing stirrups as well, which I noticed back in the spring.

Meanwhile, the team is losing. After winning their first six series, they have 4 losses in a row, including a sweep against the Dodgers. Oof. Tonight the Nats host the Arizona Diamondbacks — I may have a guest prognosticator set up for that series later. It should be a beautiful night in Nationals Park tonight. Jordan Zimmermann is pitching.

I read this as Peter Angelos trolling the Nats (The Sun) again.

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Nats and MASN to review TV deal

Jim Williams: Nationals may be in line for bigger TV dealThe Wash. Examiner
Every five years, the Washington Nationals get to review the deal (*cough* corrupt bargain) they have with MASN, the cable channel that is owned by the Baltimore Orioles/Peter Angelos. My objections to the arrangement both historically and currently are well established, so I wont’ rehash them today. I wish the Nats media consultant Chris Bevilacqua luck in getting a better deal for Nats, but in the end, I think the negotiations will look like this:

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