- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 7, 2023

I got an email from the Baltimore Orioles recently that excited me. It started out, “Media invited … ”

Here is it, I thought — the invitation from Orioles caretaker John Angelos to look at the team’s financial books — a pledge he made to reporters on Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday when he stood up and said defiantly, “Don’t mess this photo op up for me.”

Alas, the email I’d received was an invitation to cover the team’s Birdland Caravan, a four-day winter tour that concluded Sunday. I’m guessing a display of financial records was not a part of the festivities.

I followed the caravan from afar on Warehouse Cal’s Twitter account — Cal Perry, the Orioles’ new senior vice president and chief content officer, one of the strangest hires yet at the B&O Warehouse.

According to his Wikipedia page, Perry has for decades been an award-winning war correspondent for CNN, Al Jazeera, Voice of America and finally MSNBC. Now he’s shilling for John Angelos, in a job that is probably short-term? That’s some content I’d like to read.

There was no content on his account about reporters taking advantage of the rare access to the team’s chief caretaker to ask questions about the business of the team. I’m curious how they would have covered that at CNN or MSNBC.

If you’re a Nationals fan, you may be wondering why should you care about the Orioles’ finances. Here’s why — the future of these two teams are joined at the hip, so much so that the sale of the Nationals may not take place until the sale of the Orioles. It’s all wrapped up in the MASN dispute, and there may be no untangling of that cursed deal until the Angelos family is out of the picture.

The Orioles will be put up for sale when an incapacitated Peter Angelos dies. It’s in his will, according to sources familiar with the team. He is 93 and has been ill for some time. John and his brother Lou and their mother Georgia have all stopped suing each other, leaving nature to take its course. Those sources have told me that Major League Baseball will have a lot of say about that sale — primarily the buyers agreeing to an end of the MASN relationship with the Nationals.

That relationship has been tied up for years in court between Angelos and the Lerners, both hard cases when it comes to money they believe is theirs. Another hearing is scheduled for March 14 before the New York Court of Appeals to decide if the arbitration award of $300 million by a panel of baseball executives in favor of the Nationals will stand or be overturned in court.

Let’s say that somehow this gets resolved in the Nationals’ favor. The award is only from the years 2012 to 2017. The five-year period following that still could face a lengthy litigation.

The only solution may be for a complete flush down the drain. New Orioles owners would pave the way for new Nationals owners and an end to this television marriage.

The proposed Nationals buyers will likely have to make the Lerners whole for their lost revenue — and then come up with a price to buy their way out of the MASN agreement with the Orioles.

Of course, the Orioles could move to Nashville. That would solve everything.

This ridiculous notion has gained traction over the years and maybe went to a new level when the news came out that the Orioles declined to sign a five-year extension of their lease with the Maryland Stadium Authority at Camden Yards. They are looking for something longer so they can get the $600 million set aside for Camden Yards improvements and development.

The stage for this was set when the newly-elected Maryland governor, Wes Moore, removed Thomas Kelso as Maryland Stadium Authority chairman. Kelso was an appointee of Moore’s predecessor, and John Angelos wasn’t about to give a win to a Larry Hogan appointee. 

Once Gov. Moore makes his choice to head the authority, this will all be orchestrated for a Wes Moore-John Angelos photo op with a long-term lease agreement — not that the Orioles are going anywhere, long-term lease or not.

This is a lot of Orioles business to consume. I’d report on the Nationals business — like the winter caravan — but there was none. Turns out there was a season ticketholders event in the FIS Champions Club. That has a capacity of 1,200 — probably an ambitious number for the 2023 Nationals.

You can hear Thom Loverro on The Kevin Sheehan Show

• Thom Loverro can be reached at tloverro@washingtontimes.com.

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