SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Orioles owner Peter Angelos met with baseball commissioner Bud Selig for the first time in nearly two months yesterday in the continuing attempt to agree on how to financially protect his team from competition from the Washington Nationals.
As Major League Baseball begins the process of selling the Nationals, the two have tentatively scheduled another meeting for next week in Milwaukee.
Angelos has been negotiating with MLB, primarily with chief operating officer Bob DuPuy, since September. The sides reportedly have agreed on a number of issues, including MLB guaranteeing that the franchise's value won't slip below $365 million, and that its locally derived annual revenue won't fall below about $130 million.
The creation of a regional sports network that would televise the games of the Orioles and Nationals is also part of the discussions. It would be difficult for a prospective buyer of the Nationals to figure out how much he wanted to pay without knowing how much revenue he would get from broadcast rights.
On Wednesday, DuPuy said the groups interested in buying the Nationals would be invited to New York to inspect the team's financial documents beginning next week. He said he hopes the team can be sold by Opening Day, but the All-Star break in July is probably a more realistic goal.
Selig's increased involvement in the process signals an urgency to get the deal done. He last sat in on discussions at a Nov. 18 owners meeting. Before that, Angelos traveled to Selig's Milwaukee office on Oct. 5.
"It was worth my time," said Selig, who along with DuPuy, spent about 90 minutes with Angelos, Orioles president Joe Foss, and the team's general counsel, H. Russell Smouse. "It was very constructive."
Another sticking point in the discussions, according to major league sources, has been how long the financial protections would last. MLB originally offered to make the deal good only for as long Angelos owned the Orioles. But Angelos has targeted an undisclosed term, perhaps 15 or 20 years.
After yesterday's negotiations, which came after Selig announced baseball's sweeping new drug-testing policy, Angelos said he had "nothing to report."
"We had a very cordial meeting," he said. "And it was constructive -- hopefully."
NOTE: The owners approved the $223 million sale of the Milwaukee Brewers to Los Angeles investor Mark Attanasio. The sale ends the ownership tenure of Selig and his family, who have controlled the team since it moved to Milwaukee from Seattle in 1970. After being named commissioner in 1998, Selig put his 28 percent share of the Brewers in a voting trust and his daughter, Wendy Selig-Prieb, ran the club.