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."
Some sports beef just never go away.
On Monday, former Chicago White Sox teammates Adam Eaton and Todd Frazier had to be separated during the third inning of the New York Mets 5-3 victory over the Nationals. The two have never liked each other, and their beef with one another extends as far back as 2016.
D.C. Sports Live's Julia Donaldson and Travis Thomas discuss what other teammate beefs in recent memory compare with the saga between Eaton and Frazier.
Donaldson initially brought up the beef between former Pittsburgh Steelers teammates Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown. The two were very critical of each other vocally to the media throughout their final season together in Pittsburgh. Their relationship reached a point of no repair, as the Steelers shipped their All-Pro receiver to the Oakland Raiders in March.
For Thomas, the first teammate beef that came to mind was the incident between former Nationals teammates Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon. It's hard to forget the image of Papelbon choking out Harper for not hustling and running out the bases.
Sticking with baseball, another teammate beef from recent memory is the everlasting dislike between Jeff Kent and Barry Bonds of the San Francisco Giants. The two were teammates from 1997-2002, and their dislike for another was very much in the public eye. Their hatred for another reached a peak in June 2002, when the two of them had to be separated from another, and Kent publicly said he wanted to leave the team. He was then dealt to Houston in the offseason.
Other former teammate sports beefs that come to mind are Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O'Neal when they were teammates on the Los Angeles Lakers. The two stars both wanted to be the clear main No. 1 option, which led the Lakers to trade Shaq to the Miami Heat. The trade ended up working out for both parties, as O'Neal won a championship in Miami, while Bryant led the Lakers to two more championships in 2009 and 2010.
What other teammate sports beefs come to mind?
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The Washington Nationals have every intention of trying to reach a long-term deal with Anthony Rendon, GM Mike Rizzo said, looking to quell concern after a report Tuesday that he may be on his way out after the 2019 season.
"Anthony Rendon is a guy that we drafted, developed, signed and watch turn into a star in front of our eyes," Rizzo said on The Sports Junkies Wednesday. "He’s a guy that we’d like to have long-term. We’re certainly going to be aggressive and try to make that happen and hopefully, it will."
Nationals fans are growing anxious after the front office couldn't get a deal done with Bryce Harper, hoping a repeat wouldn't happen with Rendon who has had a breakout career with the Nats.
"We have shown that we’re not afraid to sign our own players, we’re not afraid to sign free agent players, and we’re not afraid to spend money on stars of the game and I don’t think Anthony Rendon would be any different," Rizzo said.
Grant Paulsen said on Tuesday on 106.7 The Fan's "Grant and Danny Show," that he believes the Nationals have missed their opportunity to re-sign Rendon.
"Here's something I heard from someone who recently talked to Scott Boras," Paulsen said. "Apparently, he told that person that the Nationals already missed the boat on getting a deal done with Anthony Rendon."
Rizzo and the Nationals have already offered Rendon a contract extension in late March, to which he turned down. Since then, nothing has come to fruition.
"It also takes two to get a deal done," Rizzo said. "We're aggressively trying to sign Anthony Rendon. We’d love to have him here as a National long-term.”
The Nationals look to bounce back after two straight losses to the New York Mets tonight at 7:10 p.m.
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