They've competed for free agents, their teams have competed for the American League East title and, whether intentional or not, they've contended for headlines as the two of the most prominent owners in baseball.
The Orioles' Peter Angelos and New York Yankees' George Steinbrenner won't share a private box during the American League Championship Series.
"I don't think I'd do that even if the Orioles were playing the Angels," Angelos said yesterday. "I wouldn't do that with [California owner] Gene Autry, who's the nicest person in America.
"[Steinbrenner] will be rooting for his team, and each of us will be unhappy if our team commits a blunder or gets a bad break or ultimately loses. It's simply not a setting for a brotherhood in camaraderie."
Though Angelos won't break bread with Steinbrenner during this series, he has a cordial relationship with the Yankees' owner, and said he respects his desire to win. The Yankees (about $60 million) and the Orioles ($50 million) have two of the largest payrolls in baseball.
"I get along well with him," said Angelos. "He has his special characteristics, but I consider him a friend. We have our internal differences, yes, but that's nothing personal.
"I know he wants to win for New York, and you can't take that away from him. He spends very large sums of money to win for New York, and I think that's the first test. In that regard, he passes with flying colors.
"He has, they say, a tendency to antagonize people. But some claim I have that, too."
Angelos sees himself as different from Steinbrenner in his involvement with day-to-day operations of the team.
"He's a hands-on owner," said Angelos. "He's in the middle of everything. He runs the Yankees, I think, from what I observe and hear, on a daily basis. I don't do that. I'm involved in a working occupation [his law firm], or what you call it, for the last 35 years. I get involved when I need to get involved."
Angelos got involved at the end of July, at the trade deadline, blocking potential deals involving pitcher David Wells and outfielder Bobby Bonilla. Angelos has said he made this decision to protect the interests of the Orioles' season-ticket holders, who had already paid to see the games in the final two months.
The Orioles' fans and the atmosphere at Camden Yards give the organization a chance to be the best in the AL -- better than the Yankees, Angelos said.
"I've said publicly I want the Orioles to be the premier AL franchise," Angelos said. "I think we have model fans, in the way they support the team, the way they conduct themselves at the ballpark. It lends to an excellent atmosphere. There's happiness and no hooliganism.
"I've never been to Yankee Stadium, I confess, but from what I've seen on TV, what I hear and what people tell me, I don't think it's a very pleasant place. Most New York fans are victimized by a small group of New York fans who are rowdies. We're very pleased we don't have that kind of thing in Baltimore, and we'll do our best to avoid that.
"I think it probably should be dealt with in New York. But that's George's business, not mine."
Angelos vied directly with Steinbrenner for then-free-agent pitcher David Cone last winter -- Cone starts Game 1 for the Yankees tomorrow -- and Angelos seems convinced he could've signed Cone, if not for what he calls a "fatal mistake."
A couple of hours after agreeing to terms with second baseman Roberto Alomar, Angelos was on a conference call with Cone and Steve Fehr, Cone's agent. They had agreed to a three-year, $18 million deal, Angelos said, but there was a question of how much money would be deferred.
Angelos wanted to know how much general manager Pat Gillick had committed in payroll before he adjusted his figure, and he told Cone and Fehr, "I'll call you back."
"What I should have said was, 'Hold the line.' That's where we were," Angelos said. "From the standpoint of negotiating, you can tell when you are a step away from closure, and that's where we were."
By the time Angelos reached Cone and Fehr again, Steinbrenner had escalated his offer dramatically -- because, many in baseball believe, he heard Angelos had signed Alomar.
"There have been some things written [that Cone] wanted a no-trade clause from us," said Angelos. "Well, I would've given him two no-trade clauses.
"The deal was just about done. Never mind what Cone says now, as a cheerleader for the Yankees -- he wanted to come to Baltimore. He really wanted to come to Baltimore."
Instead, Cone will pitch against the Orioles tomorrow, with Angelos and Steinbrenner watching -- from seats far removed from each other.
' AL: Yankees vs. Orioles
Best of seven; all games on Ch. 11
Radio: WBAL (1090 AM), WTOP (1500 AM)
Day Site Time
Tomorrow at N.Y. 8: 07
Wednesday at N.Y. 4: 07
Friday at O's 8: 07
Saturday at O's 7: 37
Sunday* at O's 4: 07
Oct. 15* at N.Y. 8: 07
Oct. 16* at N.Y. 8: 07
NL: Braves vs. Cardinals
Best of seven; all games on Ch. 45
Day Site Time
Wednesday at Atl. 8: 11
Thursday at Atl. 8: 11
Saturday at St.L. 4: 15
Sunday at St.L. 7: 30
Oct. 14* at St.L. 7: 09
Oct. 16* at Atl. 4: 15
Oct. 17* at Atl. 8: 11
Pub Date: 10/07/96