The Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball filed court documents Monday in response to the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network and Baltimore Orioles' petitions to revoke the MLB arbitration panel's June 30 ruling ordering the company to pay the Nationals nearly $300 million over a five-year period, according to a report from The Washington Post.
In the filings, MLB and the Nationals said that the ruling should stand and argued against concerns the Orioles and MASN had about the ruling, according to the Post.
“I believe that the attempt by MASN and the Orioles to challenge the [panel] Award is an effort to avoid their contractual obligations and to deny the Nationals the payments that the Nationals are clearly owed,” said Edward Cohen, a Nationals principal owner who has represented the team in the MASN matters, in an affidavit filed late Monday. “In moving to confirm the [panel's] award, the Nationals are honoring the Telecast Agreement, while the Orioles and MASN are not. The Orioles and MASN seek to disregard and reform that Agreement.”
The Orioles and MASN issued a statement in response to the new filings. From Sports Business Journal's John Ourand:
“Contracts are meant to be honored. The Nationals and Baseball are reneging on a contract they signed, supported, and created. Baseball’s arbitration panel lacked procedural fairness, and the facts indisputably demonstrate that its decision was fundamentally flawed. MASN and the Orioles had a right to both a fair and honest hearing and did not get either one.”
The parties will meet before a judge for a Dec. 15 hearing.
The dispute over MASN dates to the Nationals' move from Montreal to Washington in 2005. Orioles owner Peter Angelos gave up his franchise's territorial rights to the Washington area in exchange for the ability to broadcast Nationals games on MASN, the network he owns.