Baltimore Orioles: Is MLB holding up the Birds’ plans?

There’s angst amongst the Baltimore Orioles’ fan base, mainly because the team remains without a captain. I mean both in the front office and on the field. Ownership made it very clear that first they would hire a General Manager (or a GM-like position), and that person would hire a manager. So the horse has to come before the cart in a sense. But is it potentially ownership that’s the problem?

That last sentence is fairly deceiving. On paper, the owner of the Orioles is Peter Angelos. However we know that he’s been in failing health, and his sons (John and Lou) have been running the team in his stead. However officially Peter is the owner until he dies or until he transfers ownership to his sons directly. That last scenario actually happened this year with the team just down the road; Washington owner Ted Lerner wanted to transfer ownership to his son, Mark, and it was approved by his fellow owners.

And that’s a key point on two levels. 2/3rds of the other owners have to approve a new owner, whether it’s by sale, gift, or will. So if Peter Angelos dies and he leaves the team to his sons (or anyone else for that matter) in accordance with his will, 2/3rds of the other owners would still have to vote to approve them as the new owners. The same is true if he gifts the team to his sons. If 2/3rds of the owners don’t approve the transfer of ownership or sale, the league in essence could force the team to be sold.

The Orioles, MASN, the Angelos family, and the Washington Nationals are involved in a legal dispute over television rights fees. This much we all know. MLB’s made it very clear by their actions that they want the matter settled. They’ve also made it clear that they want it settled in Washington’s favor. Is that hurting the Orioles in their search for a new front office?

Basically, could the league be making it difficult for John and Lou Angelos to operate as the de facto owners? Chew on that for a day – I’ll get back to it tomorrow.

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