The Washington Nationals annual exhibition game in Annapolis is nixed by the Baltimore Orioles. They cite territorial issues as the reason.
The pre-season exhibition series established by the Washington Nationals at the United States Naval Academy is over.
Claiming territorial rights to Annapolis, the Baltimore Orioles ended the three-year agreement after one year. A move making the club look petty.
Peter Angelos, principal owner of the Orioles, is no fan of the Nats living in Washington. When the old Washington Senators moved to Dallas-Fort Worth to become the Texas Rangers, DC and Virginia became Baltimore territory. Games would run on television and radio.
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A long-time American League market, the Orioles tried their best to serve fans of both versions of the Senators by making games available to Washington fans. When Major League Baseball pulled the plug on Montreal, Washington and Northern Virginia were the top choices. To make baseball a reality in DC again, the Orioles demanded compensation.
That is how MASN was born. The joint channel between the Orioles and Nats paid the lion’s share to Baltimore while Washington earns under fair-market value for their television rights. A case so lopsided, it is in arbitration with federal judges.
There is no love loss between two teams 38 miles apart.
As with the other Washington franchises, there is a strong and genuine bond between teams and the military. Service members are saluted at every home game. The Armed Forces have days in their honor for each branch of the service. Nationals Park is at the Navy Yard.
A deal between the Naval Academy and the Nats remains a no-brainer. The tiny 1,500-seat Max Bishop Stadium was the perfect setting for a true exhibition between the Nats and a top-level team. A fun thank you for the Naval officers of tomorrow for their service.
The Nats were not making money off the deal, but supplying goodwill. How in the world is that a bad thing?
Well, Annapolis is 32 miles to both Baltimore and Washington. The commute is a half-mile shorter to DC. This is not a case of the Nats going to Bowie or Aberdeen to take away the O’s spotlight.
Although the Orioles have the right to do this, sometimes the spirit of a rule trumps the letter. There is nothing wrong with two teams not liking each other. The New York Yankees and Mets are not the best of friends.
Instead of squashing a good thing, the Orioles should have asked to be part of the deal. Better yet, sign a long-term contract with all three parties that ensures equal participation. Baltimore one year, Washington the next and the two rivals meeting the third.
You know, compromise.