Friday, December 03, 2004


Why Angelos can sue and exciting free preview

The question came up of why Orioles owner Peter Angelos can sue to block the DC move, and I didn't have a good answer at the time. After some thought - here's what I got.

Angelos' argument is that baseball entered an implied agreement with him when he bought the team that no frachise would be moved within a certain area surrounding Baltimore. (I think if it was written, we would have heard about such thing, I doubt even things such as moving a third team into NYC are explicitly spelled out in writing. ) This isn't a crazy position for Angelos to take. If this were a simple free market case, Angelos would lose and lose quickly. But MLB is a sanctioned monopoly, a limited partnership of sorts where each member invests the money to buy a team with the idea that MLB will run baseball well enough that they will profit. If MLB were to suddenly make a situation unprofitable for one investor inparticular, I think a case could be made that whatever deal was agreed upon has been broken.

Now, will moving a team to DC make the Orioles unprofitable? I sincerely doubt it. Teams existed in both cities at the same time previously. The costs have risen, but not as fast as the expansion in population and revenue. Losing the DC market will dent profits, but enough to put the Orioles in the red? I can hardly believe that. MLB would probably win this case.

Then why is MLB consulting with DC Mayor Williams on how to give up the farm? MLB never wants to go to court. The key is that "sanctioned monopoly" comparison. MLB has an anti-trust exemption that it wants to keep on the board forever. You can bet if Angelos was going to take them to court, he would have a gambit based on threatening that stauts ready. MLB doesn't want to take that chance, so it will settle. I can't see it doing otherwise.

In other news - nice article by Jim Caple here.

And eventually Exposbaseball DOT blogspot DOT com will change, since, you know, there's no more Expos baseball. Here's a sneak preview of Natsbaseball DOT blogspot DOT com. It will be up and running sometime next week.

Third base analysis this weekend.

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