- The Washington Times - Friday, January 7, 2005

A deal between the Baltimore Orioles and Major League Baseball is still not in place after the two sides yesterday resumed negotiations on providing the club financial compensation for the relocation of the Montreal Expos to Washington.

MLB president Bob DuPuy met for several hours in Baltimore with Orioles owner Peter Angelos, marking the first formal talks on the thorny issue in a month. But an agreement between them remains elusive, and both declined comment last night.

Angelos long has argued the arrival of baseball in greater Washington will fiscally cripple the Orioles. To that end, the two sides have conducted more than three months of on-and-off negotiations developing an unprecedented package of benefits for the Orioles owner that includes guarantees to his annual local revenue and future franchise resale value, as well as a majority stake in a new regional sports TV network.

Angelos and MLB mutually agreed to suspend their talks last month during the D.C. Council’s review of funding for the Nationals’ planned ballpark in Southeast, an effort that at several points edged close to failure.

Settling the Angelos dispute is critical because it is delaying plans to complete the Nationals’ local TV distribution and efforts by MLB to sell the club to private interests.

Impatience about the lack of a deal is growing among some MLB and team executives. The issue is likely to be discussed next week during owners’ meetings in Arizona.

— Eric Fisher

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