O'Malley's comment draws Angelos' ire

Orioles owner calls mayor `small-time politician' after remark on team in D.C.

Baseball

July 01, 2004|By Ed Waldman and Doug Donovan | Ed Waldman and Doug Donovan,SUN STAFF

Mayor O'Malley said yesterday that he is not opposed to a Major League Baseball franchise in the Washington area, prompting a critical reply from Orioles majority owner Peter Angelos.

In response to a question at his morning news conference, O'Malley said the Washington area has many "die-hard Orioles fans" and that he hoped they would continue to come to Baltimore to support the Orioles.

But then O'Malley added: "I'm not opposed to them having a team."

That didn't sit well with Angelos.

"I think that's typical of someone who never really does know what he's talking about and who is nothing more than a small-time politician aspiring to high political offices, which if he was successful to achieve he simply couldn't execute properly," the owner said last night.

"Presumably [O'Malley] wants to say something that he believes is harmful to the ownership group, namely me. But what he doesn't realize is that his statements are harmful to the Orioles' franchise, which is a very, very important asset to this community and which generates more than $200 million of economic activity in this city annually."

O'Malley's spokesman, Stephen Kearney, said the mayor has long held the position.

"The mayor has said in the past that if the Orioles have a good product, they should be fine" if Washington gets a team, Kearney said. "He doesn't know that the economics would hurt [the Orioles]."

Major League Baseball is in the final stages of deciding where the Montreal Expos will be relocated to for the 2005 season. Washington and Northern Virginia are two of the contenders, along with Las Vegas; Norfolk, Va., Portland, Ore.; Monterrey, Mexico; and San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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