KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Though he could offer no details about the Nationals' ongoing television rights fee conflict with the Orioles, baseball commissioner Bud Selig expressed some frustration today that there has been no resolution to a dispute that should have been settled months ago.
"We are in the midst of very intense discussions," Selig said during his annual All-Star Q&A lunch with members of the Baseball Writers' Association of America. "That's all I can tell you. Very intense."
Asked if there's a timetable for the issue to be resolved, the commissioner cracked: "Yeah, about a month ago. But we'll keep moving that ahead until we get a resolution, as quickly as possible."
The ongoing dispute stems from a provision in the Nationals' contract with MASN (the majority of which is owned by the Orioles) that allows them to renegotiate their annual rights fee every five years. The Nationals, who last year earned 29 million from the network, are asking for about three times as much in rights fees; the Orioles are offering tens of millions of dollars less.
Unable to resolve the dispute on their own, the two clubs are now at the mercy of a three-person committee from the commissioner's office. Selig's office initially set a June 1 deadline for a resolution, which was later pushed back to July 1. A deal still has not been struck.
Selig was influential in the original negotiation of a deal that was designed to placate owner Peter Angelos in exchange for allowing the Montreal Expos to move to what had been classified as the Orioles' market in late 2004. The deal stipulated that the Orioles owned 90 percent of the newly formed TV network, with the Nationals' share slowly rising to as much as 33 percent over decades.
Selig was asked today whether he's troubled at all by the fact a Nationals franchise that is growing in popularity has its television rights controlled by a rival club.
"No, that was part of a process that was really complicated," he said. "You can second-guess anything in history ... but I can't second-guess that. We just have to work our way through this. And disputes between clubs are not uncommon. That's frankly why you have a commissioner. So I wouldn't say that. That was a deal that had to be worked out."
When it comes to sports, we sometimes forget that the athletes we look up to are just normal people. Normal people who have a lot to prove to millions of people on a weekly basis. Former Nationals outfielder Rick Ankiel has discussed one his human moments in an interview with 590 The Fan in St. Louis.
Ankiel admitted to drinking vodka during his plight as a pitcher. He referenced his first two starts of the 2001 season, in particular against the his opener Arizona Diamondbacks where he allowed his anxiety to giving in to alcohol to soothe him. In the previous postseason, he became the first pitcher since 1980 to throw five wild pitches in a single inning.
It may have worked for a couple of games but Ankiel eventually realized it was only making matters worse.
Ankiel began playing in the MLB at the age of 19 and has had a fluctuating career through six teams. All the while, he has keep a “never give up” mentality.
Why the sudden need to vent? The St. Louis baseball pitcher is getting up close and personal with his upcoming book, “The Phenomenon: Pressure, the Yips, and the Pitch that Changed my Life” which is co-written with sports writer, Tim Brown will be released on April 18.
His two seasons with the Nationals, resulted in 127 hits and 52 RBIs as an outfielder.
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The Washington Nationals have signed former Orioles All-Star catcher Matt Wieters to a one-year deal with a player option for a second year, according to multiple reports.
Wieters spent the first eight years in the Majors with the Baltimore Orioles, being named to the AL All-Star team four times and winning two gold glove awards. Last season the switch-hitting catcher posted a .243 average with 17 homers and 66 RBI.
The Nationals have been in the market for catchers all offseason after Wilson Ramos left for Tampa Bay in free agency. The team traded for former Padres catcher Derek Norris, whose role is now in question. The Nationals still have Jose Lobaton on the roster as a strong defensive backup catcher who has a proven rapport with many of the pitchers in the Nationals rotation. Wieters had been linked to the Nationals all offseason because of the team's need a the position and because of the Nationals close relationship with Wieters' agent Scott Boras.
The only significant time that Wieters has missed due to injury in his career came in 2014-15 when he had Tommy John surgury. Prior to that surgury, however, Wieters had played in at least 130 games for four straight seasons and became a large part of the Orioles' identity.
The 30-year-old backstop will give the Nationals lineup more depth and power. Wieters had three consecutive 20-homer seasons from 2011-13 and since 2009 when his career began, he ranks fifth among catchers in all of baseball in home runs with 117.
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