The Orioles' dispute with Major League Baseball over television rights fees casts the franchise in a familiar role as a challenger to the baseball establishment.

About a decade ago, the Orioles opposed the proposed relocation of the Montreal Expos to Washington, a city that had been exclusive Orioles television and marketing territory since 1972, when the Senators moved to Dallas and became the Texas Rangers. After bruising negotiations and the threat of litigation by the Baltimore team, baseball reached an agreement with the Orioles giving the club control of the regional television network it shares with the Nationals as compensation for the loss of territory.

While the deal was supposed to settle the matter, the Nationals bridled under the agreement and now seek to level the economic field by demanding more in television rights fees from the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. As attorneys head to court Monday for an important hearing in the brewing case, the Orioles' demeanor in court documents resembles that of an unapologetic whistle-blower. The attorneys use words like "corrupted," "fraud" and "bias" to describe the baseball procedures it is challenging.

Lawyers for MASN argued in a New York court memorandum filed Wednesday that the process baseball employed to try to resolve the television dispute contained "pervasive conflicts of interest, intolerable self-dealing, and fraud."

Because the court declined Major League Baseball's request to seal the record, all of the charges and countercharges are available publicly.

"In general, the league and the teams despise having their differences aired in open court," said Rich Brand, an attorney and media rights expert who chairs the sports practice group at the firm Arent Fox. "No league would be happy about this stuff."

At issue is a June 30 decision of three club owners arbitrating the rights fee disagreement between the Nationals and MASN, which broadcasts both the Orioles' and Washington's games. The Orioles hold a majority stake in MASN, which says the decision would force it to distribute excessive rights fees to the Nationals, decimating the network's profit margin. That would leave the Orioles with less money as well.

Rights fees can pay for player salaries, provide funds for new facilities and, generally, be the difference, Brand said, "between a team doing very well or not so well."

In documents, the Nationals counter that the Orioles continue to benefit from the "immensely favorable terms" of the 2005 settlement agreement.

The Orioles own 85 percent of MASN, while the Nationals own 15 percent, a stake that is growing by a percentage point each year until it tops out at 33 percent. As a result, most MASN profits flow to the Orioles.

The Nationals, who receive about $40 million a year in annual rights fees, requested an increase to $118 million that they said represented fair market value, according to court documents. The arbitration panel would boost the fee — which is the same for both clubs — to about $60 million, court documents show.

Attorneys for MASN and the Orioles seem to be not only challenging the decision but also the authority of retiring Commissioner Bud Selig, who says the dispute should have remained internal.

"The MLB constitution says the owners put their trust in the commissioner and agree he is the person who has final authority to resolve any dispute among the owners," said Stephen F. Ross, a Pennsylvania State University professor who specializes in sports law. "The commissioner could say, '[Orioles owner] Peter Angelos, you are not acting in the best interests of baseball and I'm going to suspend you.' "

MASN argues that it has the right under federal arbitration law and the 2005 agreement to seek recourse outside the commissioner's office.

According to court records, Selig sought to convene an Aug. 6 hearing on possible sanctions, but lawyers for the Orioles and MASN said they would not attend, and the hearing was canceled.

The commissioner has said he is focused on reaching an amicable settlement. Selig and his aides have declined comment while the matter is litigated.

The case is unfolding in the New York Supreme Court for New York County, which issued a temporary restraining order Aug. 7, blocking baseball from imposing its decision and the Nationals from withdrawing TV rights from MASN. At Monday's hearing, the court will hear arguments on whether to make the injunction permanent.

Meanwhile, MASN filed an arbitration claim against Major League Baseball with the American Arbitration Association, seeking at least $800 million in damages for breach of contract if baseball's decision is enforced.

The Orioles argue in the arbitration claim that baseball did not use the proper methodology in determining the rights fee, according to documents filed in the New York court. The correct standard, the club's lawyers say, is a formula developed by Bortz Media & Sports Group, a Colorado consulting firm.

MASN has submitted an affidavit in which Bortz's managing director said the league committee "cherry-picked" data and that it "completely corrupts the established methodology" for determining telecast rights fees.