Sunday, January 28, 2007

Markakis, Loewen, & the Relationship of the Orioles and the Washington DC Area...

Wow. I caught this after surfing around the web and various forums just right now.

...Baltimore Orioles players Adam Loewen and Nick Markakis were booed when shown on the scoreboard telescreen, while D.C. United soccer star Ben Olsen drew cheers from the crowd of 16,924....

As a resident of Maryland, an Orioles as well as a Nationals fan, I certainly understand all too well the sentiments of those in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area. I can attest that those in that area who dislike the Orioles don’t necessarily hate the players, but the owner, Peter Angelos. I sometimes walk through the city with a Orioles cap on and I’ll get smart remarks like “Angelos Sucks”, “Orioles Suck” or if you’re in DC or Virginia, "why do you still have Orioles stuff on ?”

For example, if you’re an O’s fan and shout “O” during the National Anthem while at RFK, you will get a lot of heat from Washingtonians.

A quick review: Peter Angelos fought tooth and nail to prevent the Montreal Expos (who became later the Washington Nationals) from moving to Washington D.C. as the team would be encroaching on his territory. MLB only moved the team to the nation’s capital for the fact there was no other viable market that could sustain a team and have a facility up and ready to play in.

As a concession for the Expos moving to into Washington D.C., MLB set up a regional sports network, MASN, for both the Orioles and Nationals, but Peter Angelos and the Oriole would own the majority of the network permanently. Also, the Orioles now could not be sold at open market for less than $365 million, almost double the amount the team was originally purchased for.

In addition, the vast majority of fans could not see the Nationals until late 2006, as MASN and Comcast, a cable provider fought over a contract over Orioles coverage in 2007 and beyond, so Comcast refused to put MASN on their cable systems.

The experience of the cable network along with the fight to get the Expos into Washington led D.C. area to resent bitterness and hatred towards Angelos along with the Baltimore Orioles. A lot of Orioles fans who lived in Maryland, D.C. and Northern Virginia became Nationals fans, as some were former Senators fans, some wanted to root for a team in their own vicinity, as well a few did because there were not satisfied with the team under ownership with Angelos.

Was it a bit crass and immature for some angry D.C. fans to rail against Nick Markakis and Adam Loewen, two young players who have nothing to do with the Orioles and their business practices? Yes, but it is America, and sports fans have the right to voice their displeasure. I can not criticize Washington area fans for their anger, because in my mind it is in a way rightly justified and sports is an emotional thing in people’s lives.

However, as I look at things from Angelos’ view and in a corporate sense, the moves he made were smart and in a way, he needed to protect his investment. Now, I am not agreeing in the way he conducted himself, but a lot of what did made sense and with his skills as a lawyer, he surely did benefit greatly from the Expos moving into the Mid-Atlantic region although the Orioles have not been competitive and attendance has dropped greatly.

In the end though, it comes back to Markakis and Loewen were sadly the target of the ire of Peter Angelos. Did they deserve it – no; but nevertheless, the incident is representative of what the Orioles face in Washington D.C.


jamie said...

On a side note, MASN is now on Comcast, but Millenium, anothe r local provider does not carry MASN. I called last week and they told me they have no plans of carrying it at this time. Guess I'll be switching to Comcast or satellite. Stinks though....

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

J - Thanks for the bit. What's Millenium?

Too bad you might to have to switch to satellite, but you may be better off since these days as the vast majority of games will be on MASN as opposed to regular TV.

jamie said...

Millenium is a smaller cable/iinternet/phone provider in the area. I think they mostly service Anne Arundel County in this area, but are throughout the country. I'm going to have to switch to something with MASN because I won't be able to go without watching games. I go to most home games, but can't exactly go to away games these days. :)

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

I see -- well, I'm sure might be related to costs. DirecTV is great, but you have to buy the equipment. However, you might be able to find specials, etc...

Hope all is well.

- Anthony

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