Baseball's new commissioner said he believes the dispute between the Orioles and the Washington Nationals over television rights fees can be resolved in "reasonably short order" and he thinks both franchises could host the All-Star Game in the not-too-distant future.
Rob Manfred, who took over as commissioner from Bud Selig on Jan. 25, made the comments while talking to reporters at the Nationals Youth Baseball Academy on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press.
"I'm not going to say a lot about MASN because it is in litigation," Manfred said. "I will say this much. I think in reasonably short order, there will be a resolution of MASN, either by the litigation being done or some other mechanism."
The Orioles have majority ownership of the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network -- which broadcasts both teams' games -- due to an agreement in 2005 when the Nationals moved from Montreal and into the Orioles' territory.
In June, a three-person committee made up of ownership/president representatives from three major league clubs ruled that MASN should pay the Nationals about $298 million in rights fees from 2012-16. That's an average of just under $60 million annually — which is roughly $20 million a year more than the Nationals currently receive. The Orioles balked at that ruling and a lawsuit followed.
The ongoing legal entanglement with MLB might have been one reason that Selig chose not to award the 2016 All Star Game to Baltimore, which hasn't hosted the event since 1993. Instead, Selig chose San Diego, a National League club, despite it being the American League's turn in the rotation. Washington, which hasn't hosted one since 1969, when the club in the nation's capital was called the Senators, would like to be considered for the 2017 All-Star Game.
Manfred said awarding the game to one of the neighboring cities would not prevent the other from receiving it thereafter.
"We think of Baltimore and Washington as separate franchises, separate cities," Manfred told reporters. "And I don't think having an All-Star Game in one would be a disqualifying or hindering factor for the other."