His Orioles are struggling, but team owner Peter Angelos said Thursday that "it's a very good thing" for his club that the Washington Nationals are generating excitement over their performance and celebrated pitching prospect Stephen Strasburg.
"I'm sure the Washington team will continue to improve, and I made the side comment that I'm hoping the Orioles will get their act together," Angelos said.
The Orioles were 13-28 entering Thursday night's game against the Texas Rangers. The Nationals, who lost 103 games last season, have been playing .500 baseball and will soon welcome Strasburg, a pitching prodigy, to the big club. Strasburg's minor league games have even been televised in Baltimore and Washington.
The Orioles, who open a three-game series in Washington on Friday, have an interest in Strasburg's and the Nationals' success. Before the Nationals arrived in Washington for the 2005 season, Angelos negotiated an agreement with Major League Baseball for a regional network -- the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network -- to televise both teams' games. MASN is owned primarily by the Orioles, with the Nationals having a minority stake.
"What's good for the Nationals is good for MASN," Angelos said. "That makes me happy, and that makes Mr. Lerner [Nationals managing principal owner Ted Lerner] happy. They are partners in the MASN network. The better they do, the more interest it generates."
MASN pays tens of millions of dollars to the teams each year.
Before the Nats arrived, Angelos openly expressed concern that the Baltimore-Washington region might not be able to support two teams. The MASN arrangement was designed to help ensure the long-term viability of his club.
Angelos suggested Thursday that it works well having one American League team and one National League team in the region. He said he wondered whether the teams might develop a rivalry akin to the New York Yankees and New York Mets, or the former Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants.
"You never know. It's kind of early to say if that will happen," Angelos said.
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