Baltimore Orioles: Ripple effects from the MASN ruling
The mid-Atlantic Sports Network (and by extension the Baltimore Orioles) defeated the Washington Nationals in court on Wednesday, as was previously reported here on Birds Watcher. That we know. But in looking at both teams’ actions of late, have we already started to see ripple effects?
As has been well-documented, re-signing Chris Davis is tops on the Orioles’ list this off season. Obviously with this ruling, they now have a lot more operating revenue with which to deal when it comes to signing players. Mind you, while MASN and the O’s are separate entities, their majority shares are owned by the same person: Peter G. Angelos. So at the end of the day the money comes from the same place.
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Speaking of which, Angelos stepped out of character earlier this week and let it be known that he wanted to keep Davis. Full disclosure, he didn’t formally talk to the media. However the fact that rumors of his interest and yearn to keep Davis leaking out of the Warehouse speak volumes. That type of thing is also fairly rare for Angelos. Did he already know something that we would later find out regarding the finances that might be available to the team in the near future?
Time will tell. Please keep in mind that the MASN decision doesn’t gaurantee the fact that the Orioles will re-sign Davis. Heck, it’s still something that could be appealed to the US Supreme Court and could thus still be overturned again. Odds are one way or the other it ends up in some sort of arbitration, but either way that’s going to take some time.
Going over to Washington’s side, things might be a bit more nebulous. However their first big off season need was to find a manager, a search that appeared complete last week when they had all but announced that Bud Black was going to be their guy. However as we now know, it turned out that the team in effect low-balled Black, and as of yesterday they hired Dusty Baker.
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For the record, Baker is the better manager in my view. He’s a guy that’s been around for a long time in this game, and I think that experience will serve Washington and it’s fans very well. I was in my car and caught his introductory press conference on the radio; he kind of came off as a Showalter-type in terms of being a veteran of the game and knowing it was his last rodeo. Baseball is a better sport with the likes of Dusty Baker involved in it.
However the point here is that there has to be a reason why Washington low-balled Black. I do think that a more rational argument is that GM Mike Rizzo wanted Black and ownership (the Lerner family) wanted Baker. So while ownership didn’t want to undermine their GM (who’s probably out the door if the team underachieves this year), they agreed to accept Rizzo’s candidate and then turned around and offered him an all but insulting salary and terms.
But again, was all of this done knowing that the MASN decision was going to be in favor of MASN? It’s easy enough to suggest that guys who own sports franchises are loaded and are literally printing money. They are, folks; there’s absolutely no question. But even millionaires like Peter Angelos and Ted Lerner have their limits. Perhaps more importantly, they have that type of coin for a reason. They’re probably good at making business decisions which impact their bottom lines.
Next: Baltimore Orioles: This one's in the books for MASN
At the end of the day as I said, Washington (in my view) has a better shot at winning with Baker in the dugout. That’s not a knock on Black per se, but just saying that Baker’s a great manager. So while that episode is embarrassing to their organization on many levels, they got the better deal. The Orioles will be a better team with Chris Davis in their lineup. Time will tell if the MASN decision helps to make that a reality.