Peter Angelos Chastened? Fans Rebel Anyway
It's amazing what nine straight losing seasons and a frightening drop in attendance can do to turn a nasty and arrogant baseball team owner into a guy who now admits that there are baseball fans in Washington and who even says nice things about the owners of the Washington Nationals.
Yes, Baltimore's Peter Angelos is sounding awfully conciliatory these days, and here, in an interview with a Baltimore magazine, the owner who famously denied the existence of fans in the Washington area and who viciously saddled the Nationals with the worst TV deal in all of sports is now virtually begging fans to come back to see his Orioles.
I do think that a baseball team in the nation's capital is positive for MLB. [By] not having a team for all those years, something was sort of missing for MLB. Those who are great fans of baseball say that it's our national pastime. And there is a lot of truth in that. It's great tradition and having a team in Washington is a good thing.
Hard to believe, huh?
Angelos goes on to say that his TV channel, MASN, which next season will carry both the O's and Nats games, is the only path to financial health and on-field success: "That is going get us on a more even plane with Boston and New York, and that was the purpose. It was even more desperately needed when a team dropped right into the area you have been drawing a very substantial number of fans from for many years."
Angelos blames lower ticket prices in Baltimore and lack of fan support for the inability of the O's to put a winning team on the field. Asked why Oakland, Miami and Minnesota are able to produce winners with vastly smaller budgets, the owner replies, "The only answer I can give you is better luck, as well as more astute general manager performance." Luck. Yeah, right.
Meanwhile, Baltimore fans are in open rebellion. There's even a mass walkout planned for today, organized by a Baltimore radio station owner. Frustrated fans will wear black, sit in a block in the upper deck, and then walk out en masse about an hour into today's game.
Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.
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