Results tagged ‘ Peter Angelos ’

Baltimore Orioles: Are the Birds impacted by Kansas City’s potential sale?

The Baltimore Orioles open up a three-game set in Kansas City tonight over Labor Day weekend. There was an interesting story that broke this week considering this weekend’s opponent. Apparently the owner of the Kansas City Royals, David Glass, is in talks to potentially sell the team. If the deal goes through, the sale price is rumored to be $1 Billion.

Let’s get the thank you Captain Obvious moment out of the way; that’s A LOT of money. Probably more than any of us is every going to see in this lifetime. However this does relate just a bit to the Orioles. There have been rumors that either owner Peter Angelos, or the family of owner Peter Angelos could be interested in selling the O’s at some point in the near future.

So if the Kansas City Royals net a sale price of $1 Billion, what does that say about what the Orioles might be worth? Could Angelos or his family not then turn around and tell a potential buyer, the Royals got this, so we should at least get that? Is it really that simple – as just to say that?

You have to look at both franchises and what they have going for them. Both are in the basement right now, but building their cores. Kansas City does have a recent World Series title, which the Orioles can’t tout. However, while both franchises are smaller markets, Baltimore is the 26th largest media market in the country. Kansas City is the 32nd largest. While those are only separated by a few slots, being a top 30 market is still huge.

One could also argue that the fact that the Orioles often have to compete for fans within their own backyard with another franchise makes them a tougher sell. However on the flip side, they also draw from the much larger Washington, D.C. media market. So it goes both ways.

It seems that each time you make an argument for one franchise being worth more, there’s an inverse argument which in theory could cancel that argument out. At the end of the day the Orioles and Kansas City Royals are probably worth very similar sale prices. So this is definitely something to watch, as if Kansas City sells for that $1 Billion price, one could definitely expect the same of the Orioles if they’re ever sold.

The aforementioned series with Kansas City begins tonight at Kauffman Stadium. The Orioles are yet to announce a starter, and Kansas City will start Eric Skoglund. Game time is set for 8:15 PM.

Baltimore Orioles fans called to arms

Baltimore Orioles’ majority owner Peter Angelos took the nearly unprecedented step in standing with the players during the 1994 Major League Baseball strike. That ruffled a lot of feathers in the league office, starting with commissioner Bud Selig. And the reverberations of that are still being felt today.

For the record, my personal opinion is that Angelos was right to stand with the players. Either way, you have to admire bucking the hand that feeds him to stand up for what he believed. That aside, he’s been unpopular in the league offices since then. The fact that he was able to in essence hoodwink the league into owning the television rights to the Washington Nationals didn’t help.

Last week the Nationals were allegedly awarded in excess of $100 million in back pay for the rights to their games on MASN from 2012-2016. While that’s more than MASN and the Orioles wanted to pay, it’s also significantly less than the $288 million that the Nationals initially wanted. MASN of course may or may not appeal the decision.

Peter Angelos of course is in ailing health, and his sons John and Lou have been running the team for well over a year. MLB has asked the Orioles to clarify who’s in charge of the team. In essence however, if John and Lou are being gifted the team or if they inherit it when their father dies, 2/3rds of the owners still have to approve them as the new owners. (As an example, Washington Nationals owner Ted Lerner in essence gifted the team to his son Mark last year. The other owners approved it, and on they went.) Votes like that are normally formalities, because no owner wants to set a precedent that his family could be voted out of owning his team/company. However the potential is there for the league to not approve the Angelos sons, at which point the team would have to be sold.

Why is this all important now? Over the weekend, Attorney Ben Neil was a guest on Bruce Cunningham’s show on the Orioles’ flagship radio station, 105.7 “the fan” WJZ-FM. He mentioned that he’s heard on good authority that the league wants the Orioles to move, preferably to Las Vegas. Neil didn’t say how he had heard this information, or who his source was. He simply said that these were MLB’s wishes. He also said that a $3 million dollar offer either was or had been on the table to move the team to Vegas when the current lease at Camden Yards expires after 2021.

To be frank, this is heresy at this point. The Program Director of WJZ, Chuck Sapienza, tweeted a disclaimer of sorts yesterday in that these were unsubstantiated rumors and should be taken as such. But…should Orioles fans take this with a grain of salt?

Baltimore fans remember all too well that teams can move – often in the dead of the night. It’s easy to say the team will never move, or that MLB would never want to leave Camden Yards vacant. But certainly after the Colts left, you can forgive people for being skeptical.

Furthermore connect the dots of what I said above. The league office has multiple axes to grind with Peter Angelos and thus by extension the Angelos family – justified or not. Would taking the team away from him or his family and then moving them out of the city that they all love not grind that ax?

The league itself can’t just up and move a team. However if Mr. Neil’s comments are in fact true, it sounds like they’re trying to make that happen – again, IF Mr. Neil’s comments are true. The league could either be trying to pay their way out of Baltimore, or force a sale. And the league could then very easily make a condition of the sale being that the team has to move to Vegas.

How likely is any of this to happen? Probably not very likely, even given the political stuff I mentioned above. However Orioles fans should know that regardless of what they think of the current ownership, the Angelos family is the biggest proponent that they have in terms of the team staying in Baltimore long term.

My personal opinion is that while relocation is probably unlikely, I doubt Mr. Neil made up that story. It was intended as a call to arms to Orioles fans. On a civic level, it’s up to you to do your part to ensure that the team stays here. I can’t tell you what “doing your part” means, because I’m trying to figure that out myself. But ultimately fan empathy, or simply dismissing the idea as ridiculous plays right into the hands of forces who might seek to move the team.

What I can tell you is that while I have a small voice in the grand scheme of people who cover the Orioles, I do have a voice with this column. And I’m going to put the full force of that voice behind keeping the Orioles in Baltimore forevermore.

Baltimore Orioles: Is social media changing the dynamic?

For years and years fans complained that they didn’t know what was going on with the Baltimore Orioles. The ownership of Peter Angelos rarely seemed to communicate or.’a plans, leaving people in the dark in terms of the direction of the franchise. However much of that seems to be over, as sons John and Lou Angelos are running the show.

Whether or not the general public should know or has a right to know “what’s going on” is another story. Fans think they should have this right and/or privilege. And they aren’t shy about expressing that sentiment.

And a big part of this is social media. That’s a tool that I use myself quite often. However it also gives people a stake in what’s happening with any team that they follow. It allows them to speak directly to the team – via twitter and other manners.

And if fans don’t feel they.’really being heard, they seemingly have no issue packing up and in essence finding another team. Fans are mandating more access and more of an understanding on what’s going on with the team. And if they don’t get it, the team doesn’t get their money.

Years ago this wasn’t the case – and again, years ago there was no social media.

Baltimore Orioles: Does greed really cause ruination?

Now that the Baltimore Orioles have their new manager, we can probably put to bed any substantial news surrounding the team before Christmas. You never know what’s going to break, but that’s just an educated guess. So let’s talk above the dugout and the front office in a sense; let’s talk about ownership.

Whenever things go south for the Birds, we’ve always heard fans describe the evils of Peter Angelos and his ownership. I’m not going to argue that the man isn’t perfect. He’s made mistakes that other owners seemingly haven’t made, and in fact many other franchises have benefitted off of his mistakes. However I don’t think he’s the worst owner of all time either.

Obviously while on paper he’s still in charge, we all know that his sons John and Lou are in essence running the team. And so far so good, I might add. However, I do feel that fans of any franchise are too quick to point at the owner and suggest that he’s more about money than winning, or that his greed is running the team into the ground. Can greed really ruin a team or company?

None of us knows what it’s like to run a professional sports franchise. However I think most people would agree that it probably isn’t easy. Each and every one of your customers (fans) thinks he has a stake in every aspect of how the team is run and what they do. And they aren’t shy about saying so.

I would say that greed could ruin any company if the management flat out didn’t care about their customers. As an example, fast food used to be known as such because it was fast (and cheap). But if you go to McDonalds nowadays, you’re paying $7-$9 or so for a burger, fries, and a Coke. And to be honest, it’s not that fast anymore!

When you can go to a regular restaurant and get a better quality burger, fries, and a Coke for $10-$11 or so, is it really worth going to McDonalds? I would submit that it isn’t, and to be honest I back that up by not eating too much fast food in my everyday life. So given that they’ve let their prices creep up, I would argue that McDonalds is losing customers to greed.

How does that translate to sports? I think you have to know your market and the dynamics thereof. Baltimore is a working class blue collar town. People aren’t looking to drop $100 on a ticket, plus food. Most people want a seat somewhere in the grandstand with a reasonable view, and maybe a hot dog and something to drink. Given their ticket prices, I would argue that the Orioles get that, and they price themselves very well in their market.

Look down the pike however at D.C. United, Washington D.C.’s MLS franchise. They have a similar dynamic I suspect in that many of their fans are working class people. So…why does their new stadium sell seats for $80? That seems exorbitant to me, and quite frankly it comes across as pricing out some of your more ardent fans.

There are a million other examples across sports. But if you’re overestimating what your customers are willing to pay your bottom line will eventually suffer. Other than that, owners are in this business to make money. That’s a sordid truth that most fans simply don’t want to understand. It’s easier to paint Peter Angelos as a villain trying to suck money out of your pockets than it is to understand that he’s just trying to provide for his company and his family.

So where’s the line of justice? Tough to say, but I suppose that’s up to the fans.

Baltimore Orioles: Where’s Peter Angelos?

The slowness of the Baltimore Orioles’ search for a new GM and manager is well-documented. What’s unclear is the direction that things are headed. What’s also unclear is how involved owner Peter Angelos is in the proceedings.

We know that Angelos has been reported to be in failing health. However I suspect that unless he’s literally laying on his death bed in a semi-comatose state, odds are he’s at least aware of the current situation. That assumed, what’s his line of thinking?

Angelos reportedly turned control of the team over to his sons John and Lou in January of this year. On paper he’s still the owner and Chairman of the Board of the team. But (supposedly) he hasn’t been involved in team decisions or in the direction of the franchise since then.

And if you want evidence of that, look no further than now former manager Buck Showalter. According to various reports, (Peter) Angelos promised Showalter that if he wanted to be the manager past 2018, he would be. Over the years a lot of things have been said about Mr. Angelos, but one thing on which he’s always been consistent is keeping his word. If he says he’s going to do something, he follows through. And that’s a quality that I deeply respect.

So the fact that Showalter is gone should tell fans that the old man isn’t running the ranch any longer. On a personal note I would have liked to see the Angelos sons follow through on their father’s reported promise. However they can’t be blamed for not doing so. They never gave their word; their father did.

That aside, if in fact Peter Angelos isn’t in the aforementioned semi-comatose state, does he have a view on how his sons are proceeding? Furthermore is he giving or having to give any sort of approval on the moves that are being made? These are all legitimate questions.

Baltimore Orioles: How do fans feel about a forced sale?

As owner of the Baltimore Orioles, Peter Angelos has been a polarizing figure. Have mistakes been made that were unforced? Absolutely. However I would also argue that there’s another side to Peter Angelos that goes unreported. Such as the act of him paying all stadium employees for the games that were lost due to the riots in 2015. He’s very civic-minded, regardless of what your view is of his stewardship of the team.

The past two days I’ve laid out what I believe could be going on within the franchise, and how it’s possible that MLB is intentionally cramping the Orioles. That could ultimately point to the team being sold at some point. Or more specifically, a forced sale. Forced by MLB.

Let’s say you’re ready to be done with Peter Angelos as the Orioles’ owners, and by extension the potential stewartship of his sons. Would you be willing to in essence be told by force that the Angelos family is out? In effect, whether people like it or not?

Baltimore has long been a city that’s marched to the tune of it’s own drum. This is a city that refused to stand down when it lost it’s beloved NFL team, that is until they got another one back. This is the city that banded together to heal the wounds of riots in both 1968 and 2015 – with little outside help from anyone. Anytime something happens in other communities the nation rallies behind them. It seems taht when it happens to Baltimore the attitude is “well it’s their own fault – they did this to themselves.”

Point being that this is a city that’s largely self-sufficient and very independent. Whether it’s for a good reason or bad, would Baltimore stand for basically being told that their team is going to be sold? Somehow that doesn’t seem like the Baltimore that I know and love.

That aside, folks who claim a forced sale wouldn’t be a bad thing should tread lightly. Look at what the Orioles did this past season in selling off most of their high-priced assets. When Robert Irsay came into ownership of the Colts he slowly started gutting the team. Then he started demanding a new stadium, and threatened to move. With declining attendance due to losing seasons (due to no star power on the field), the team became very easy to move.

Need I go on? The Angelos family has ALWAYS been committed to the city of Baltimore. Certainly there would be a chance that the new owners would be local and would be just as committed. But all I’m saying is tread lightly.

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

Yesterday I talked about how MLB would need to approve John and Lou Angelos as the new owners of the Baltimore Orioles if their father, Peter Angelos, died or transfered ownership. To me it stands to reason that Peter Angelos would just transfer ownership to his kids and allow the transition to occur immediately as opposed to waiting until his death. But the politics of the league regarding the MASN case also plays a role.

I suppose it’s understood that when a family owns an asset such as a company, children of the true owner will often step in and play the role of the parent in a pinch. In this case, John and Lou Angelos are in essence running the team on their father’s behalf. But is MLB perhaps interfering where it shouldn’t?

I’m not suggesting this based on any evidence. I’m throwing it out there as a theory. The league has no stake whatsoever in the Orioles’ continued success. Is that fact? Not really. But it is my opinion. By their actions, they’ve made it very clear that they want the MASN case resolved in the Washington Nationals’ favor. This is mainly because the league knows it signed a bad deal with Peter Angelos years ago. So they’re hoping to have it thrown out. And again, in my opinion it’s the Orioles and the Orioles’ fans who are suffering.

I wouldn’t put it past the league to throw money wrenches into John and Lou Angelos’ plans for those political reasons. Whereas the Steinbrenner brothers ran the New York Yankees for their father for years before ownership was transfered, and were allowed to do so with autonomy. But is it not possible that the league office is interfering with whatever the Orioles are trying to do – simply because it’s the Angelos’ and it’s the Orioles?

Again, I’m not giving you any evidence that suggests this. Because there is none. I’m putting it out there as a theory – please don’t take what I’m writing as fact. However the Angelos brothers did seem to show a fairly decisive side in making the tough choice to sell off assets during the season. So does the delay in hiring a front office and manager not seem somewhat out of character?

And with that said, again we know that the league seems to have the motive to make things tough for the O’s and the Angelos’. So that’s kind of where this is coming from. Is it appropriate to say? Maybe, maybe not. But again, it’s simply a theory. Not based in anything more than circumstantial evidence.

Does the league have the power to hold up a GM hiring? That I don’t know. However I suspect that they could put some sort of scrutiny on ownership so as to be overbearing – since “technically” John and Lou aren’t the owners on paper. Which brings up another point; at sometime in the future, Peter Angelos will pass away. Would his sons be able to get the necessary 2/3rds vote from the other owners to become the new owners of the team?

Point being, a sale could be forced if not. Those types of votes (with the children of the late owner inheriting the team) are often seen as ceremonial and in essence as a formality. But the possibility exists that the Orioles could be sold (by force) in the next few years. What happens then?

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.

Baltimore Orioles: Might the O’s have more than just new players?

As we wait for the promised word on what happens with the Baltimore Orioles’ coaches and front office staff, I read a very interesting article yesterday. Peter Angelos, while in ailing health, is the owner of the Orioles. In reality his sons John and Lou have been running the team from an ownership perspective for much of the year, and appear to be the heirs apparent when their father passes away. But will that truly be the case?

Thom Loverro of The Washington Times published this article in Sunday’s newspaper. You can read the article if you’d like, however the gist of it is that there appears to be no guarantee that the Angelos brothers will be allowed to own the team. And if Loverro’s to be believed, odds are actually against those ends.

Thom Loverro’s a well-respected journalist who’s covered MLB for some time. He works for the Times, as well as WJFK radio in DC – which happens to be the flagship station of the Washington Nationals. But while the Nationals claim they have an ax to grind with the Orioles/MASN, again keep in mind that Loverro does have credibility attached to his name. He also knows a lot of mover’s and shaker’s in the league office; so he might not necessarily be speaking off the cusp.

In short, the Nationals feel that they got a raw deal in the MASN contract. The fact is that they did – but they agreed to it. You can’t go back on a deal just because you wake up one day and realize it’s unfair. However it’s also become evident that the league itself not only wants the Nationals out of the deal, but has potentially been working behind the scenes for that to happen since the beginning.

MLB didn’t want to face Peter Angelos in court (can’t blame them there). So one has to wonder if it’s mere coincidence that this starts to come up in earnest now that he’s in failing health. But that aside, Loverro’s point is a very valid one. 75% of current owners have to approve either a transfer of ownership from Peter Angelos to his sons, OR approve the sons as the new owners upon Peter’s death – assuming that they inherit the team per his will. (For the record, Peter Angelos is simply the majority owner. There are minority owners as well, his partners.)

So the message may well be that the league wants the Angelos’ to play ball in the MASN deal, or MLB could force a sale. Peter Angelos in his prime would tie something like that up in court, and perhaps justifiably so. But his sons may not be him. They may be great people for the record, but they may not be the lawyer that he was.

This is all speculation, of course. But as I said, Loverro is in fact a reputable source. He isn’t the type of journalist who would pick a topic of this severity off the top of his head just to write about it. Incidentally, MLB tends to approve heirs as owners – for the most part. The Steinbrenner brothers of course got approved as owners of the Yankees, and just this year none other than the Washington Nationals formally changed ownership. Ted Lerner (who’s still alive) transferred the team to his son Mark (and it was approved by the necessary 75% vote).

There’s a lot involved in this, and not one party is 100% guilty or innocent. There are a lot of fans who are probably hoping that the league takes the team away from the Angelos’. However there is a flip side; what if it’s sold to a person or group who has no loyalty to the city? There are Baltimoreans such as Steve Bisciotti or Kevin Plank who could probably afford to purchase the Orioles. But…is there a guarantee that’s who would buy it?

Look no further than the Baltimore Colts for what could happen. Robert Irsay, and out of town businessman with no loyalty to the city, owned the team. Eventually he proves his disloyalty to Baltimore by moving the team. A local could certainly do that as well. But it would seem far less likely.

At the end of the day, this is a pretty heavy topic. My personal stance is that it wouldn’t surprise me if part of the whole “cutting payroll” idea is a move being made for the eventual sale of the team. Loverro actually said it could happen as quickly as this winter. That seems awful quick, but at the end of the day who really knows? From the standpoint of the fans, so long as the team heads in the right direction and most importantly remains the Baltimore Orioles, that’s all that’s really important.

%d bloggers like this: