Reader comment: O's spring backward
Today's featured comment comes from Section 34, who isn't surprised the Orioles are still trying to finalize a spring training deal after all these years:
Section's take: Here's an area in which Peter Angelos has nobody to blame but himself. In fact, I'd like to see a Sun story detailing the Orioles' long, fruitless search for a spring-training facility. Why, when other teams are able to make deals all the time, are the Orioles still training in a facility the Yankees abandoned that's distant from almost every other team training in Florida?
My suspicion is that Angelos thinks he's such a hot-shot that he keeps making demands until the Florida town in question says, "Forget it." But I'd like to see a well-researched story on the topic.
My reply: Wouldn't take a lot of research. Back when Florida and Arizona were building facilities for everyone in the 1990s, the pre-Angelos Orioles backed away from a project in Naples because they couldn't find anyone to pay for the land in exchange for naming rights.
Since then, the O's have had a couple of opportunities that were eventually co-opted by other teams. The Orioles turned down half of that beautiful Jupiter complex and missed out on the Disney complex in Orlando because they wanted to get something in Fort Lauderdale. Then, when Fort Lauderdale started to look like it wouldn't be the best option, they spent a couple of years negotiating with West Palm Beach. That didn't work out, so they resumed with Fort Lauderdale, but ran into trouble when the FAA wouldn't commit to cheap rent forever.
In each case, the priorities were all wrong. It was always about where the team's minority owners had waterfront homes or where the fans might be most likely to visit. The last thing anybody seemed to care about was the best competitive interests of the team, which explains how the minor league camp has been a 2 1/2-hour drive from the major league camp all these years.
Now, they have three possibilities and two of the cities involved are already sick of negotiating with them. For 19 years, they've asked for too much or been too indecisive or just have been incompetent. So they end up with hand-me-downs from the Yankees and now maybe the Red Sox.
The bottom line, in my opinion: The aforementioned misplaced priorities and an ownership structure that makes it almost impossible to make a major deal because Peter Angelos and his sons are afraid somebody, somehow might take advantage of them, so they always have to make the deal too one-sided in their own direction to get an agreement. Maybe this time will finally be different.