O's fan sues to keep 37 season tickets

March 19, 1994|By Mark Hyman | Mark Hyman,Sun Staff Writer

Frank Storch fancies himself an "enthusiastic and ardent" Orioles fan. But unlike most baseball mavens, he's suing the Orioles so that he can keep his Camden Yards seats.

This week, Storch filed suit against the baseball club, claiming team officials unfairly refuse to renew his 37 season tickets next season at Camden Yards.

His lawyer, Aron Raskas, says Orioles officials want Storch's $45,000 worth of choice seats, including 10 in the first two rows directly behind home plate, to pass out among the team's new owners.

"There are 20 investors in this group, and each probably has close family and friends. All things considered, I'm sure they would like to be sitting in those seats," Raskas said yesterday.

That's not so, says Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos. Team officials refuse to accept Storch's order because they want to spread the tickets among many loyal fans, the owner said.

"I am going to see to it that individuals do not somehow gain control of large numbers of choice season tickets," Angelos said. "My goal is to see these tickets ultimately rest in the hands of individual fans to whom they properly belong."

The suit, filed in Baltimore City Circuit Court, says that Storch, a Baltimore real-estate developer, gathered up a considerable stock of tickets through longtime business dealings with the Orioles.

Those ties go back to Storch's role in opening an Orioles baseball store

in Seabrook in 1988, according to the documents. The suit says that Storch uses the tickets for "family, friends, professional and business acquaintances, charitable organizations and others."

Storch obtained 37 prime seats when the team moved to Camden Yards in 1992. The suit says he signed an agreement with the team permitting him to renew his tickets as long he he wants them.

"All he is asking is that the contract be enforced," Raskas said.

Angelos says that contract, negotiated before he bought the team, isn't valid. And he says Storch should have accepted the team's offer to buy tickets this year in return for relinquishing his claim to them later.

"Our policy is going to be no individual will control more Orioles tickets than is needed for his family use," the owner said.

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