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O's-White Sox series might move out of city

Could the Orioles and White Sox move their series to Washington? Nationals are out of town.

New baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Monday that his office is "is looking at every possible alternative" to provide a safe place for the Orioles and Chicago White Sox to play their scheduled games this week if the unrest in Baltimore continues — including Nationals Park in Washington, D.C.

"It's possible games could be played elsewhere," Manfred said while addressing reporters at Camden Yards. "That's possible."

Manfred's visit is part of his plan to meet with each major league team this season, his first since taking over from longtime commissioner Bud Selig. He ended up talking with players from the White Sox and Orioles, but did not get a chance to meet face to face with Orioles managing partner Peter G. Angelos, which had been planned.

"Mr. Angelos and I had some topics we were going to discuss and we'll discuss those later in the week," Manfred said. "We've already made arrangements to do that."

Manfred said he did talk with Angelos by phone about the decision to cancel Monday's game.

"I'm not going to get into characterizing who drove the decision," Manfred said. "Always, with regular-season games, decisions about whether to play or not — whether it's weather, security, whatever — are local decisions. Mr. Angelos was talking to local officials. Mr. Angelos and I spoke and there was not a lot of debate about what the best decision was to make tonight."

Manfred said he could not discuss whether other games this week may be postponed.

"I'm not going to speculate beyond [Monday]," he said. "Honestly, our information with respect to tonight is not perfect and to get into speculating about what is next is really not safe for me. I'm sorry. I'm just going to leave it at that."

Manfred also would not offer specifics as to what subjects he will be addressing with Angelos later this week, but it's likely one topic of conversation will be the MASN TV rights dispute with the Washington Nationals, which is currently in litigation.

"I think you know there's going to be a hearing on May 18," Manfred said. "As you know, I've been involved in conversations with both clubs for literally — I hate to admit this — years. Just because it's in litigation, I haven't stopped having those conversations. I really can't say much more than that now."

Despite how it might appear, Manfred said the MASN dispute has nothing to do with his office's decision to award the next four All-Star games to National League cities and skip Baltimore, which hasn't had one since 1993.

"Look, there is absolutely no connection between anything that has gone on with respect to the MASN dispute and the decisions that were made with respect to the All-Star Game," he said. "It has been a long time since Baltimore's had a game … but there are markets out there that desperately want a game that have gone much longer than Baltimore. Trying to connect those dots really is just not accurate."

He said he believes Baltimore is worthy of hosting the annual event — but it obviously won't happen until at least 2019. The games are scheduled for Cincinnati this year, San Diego in 2016, Miami in 2017 and Washington, D.C., in 2018. All have relatively new stadiums that have not hosted baseball's Midsummer Classic.

"The way that I look at what we've done with respect to All-Star games was that we picked what we felt were the best cities in each of the years," he said. "My own view is that Baltimore would be a great candidate for an All-Star Game and there's huge demand. And I feel like after the games that have been announced, we'll have more flexibility in terms of selecting the games."

Baltimore Sun reporter Peter Schmuck contributed to this article.

dan.connolly@balstun.com

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