Angelos Beats Retreat from Downtown D.C.
Hardly anybody ever beats Peter Angelos. The boss of Baltimore, the Asbestos King, is accustomed to getting his way, whether in politics, sports or the law. Angelos has beaten down Washington baseball fans at nearly every turn in the long battle over bringing the sport back to the nation's capital. Of course, Angelos occasionally fails on his own--look at how he has gutted the once-proud baseball franchise in Baltimore.
But now, the very same Washington baseball fans who Angelos famously said do not exist have chased Angelos from town. When the lease expires on the Orioles' store in downtown Washington at the end of this year, the Orioles will go away--finally. The Orioles finally concluded that their store on Farragut Square was simply "no longer viable."
"I don't know if we should have an office in D.C. competing with the Nationals," Angelos told the Post's Jorge Arangure.
Nationals fans are thrilled by the sudden raising of the white flag. "It's as if the British, after losing the revolution, had kept a royal office open in downtown Boston," Colin Mills, president of the Nats Fan Club, told the Baltimore Sun.
What should happen now is for the Nats to open a downtown store in the District, as well as in some suburban locations, and--hey, why not in downtown Baltimore, too? Team president Stan Kasten has said for some time that the Nats will consider opening ticket and souvenir sales locations in the D.C. area at some point, but apparently nothing is imminent.
For at least a couple of years now, the O's store in D.C. has been little more than a symbol of Angelos' arrogant claim to Washington as part of his territory. I staked out the place for a few days earlier this summer and found that hardly anyone actually goes there to shop. But they did have excellent air conditioning.
Anyway, Angelos, as ever, gets the last laugh--he still controls the Nationals' TV coverage and his MASN channel, starting next spring, will carry both O's and Nats games. I can't wait to see how he manages to relegate the Nats to second-class status on his sports channel; already, the channel is chockablock with Baltimore sports talk during the hours when no game is airing.
But for now, Nats fans have at least something to gloat about.
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