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MASN and other thoughts

Today's quote on the whiteboard, provided by Nats assistant to the assistant to the P.R. folks Mark Rogoff, is the following:

"Barry S!" -- Dick Vitale

We'll get to that in a second. (It's basically just Rogoff reading the Journal, which stated its intention yesterday to run the baseball quote Rogoff writes on the whiteboard every morning. Thirty-three days till Opening Day, by the way.)

Anyway, the one bit of news that happened yesterday that will affect more Nationals fans than whether Rafael/Ronnie Belliard and Michael Restovich hit home runs or even whether Matt Chico looked promising or not was the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network's announcement of its schedule to broadcast Nationals games. Released at 10 a.m. (or earlier if you read the Journal), it came on the heels of the Orioles' schedule that was sent out the night before.

It's clear the fledgling network, which is in its first season of broadcasting both Orioles and Nationals games, took great pains to make sure there was an equitable split between O's and Nats on MASN and MASN2. The network clearly was aware that if the Nationals ended up on MASN2 (the new channel which will come into existence only because the O's and Nats frequently play at the same time, and they weren't going to tape delay one team's broadcasts) there would be all kinds of conspiracy theories coming from inside the Beltway. Both teams appear on MASN 99 times.

But say you're a viewer in the District, as I am. Thirty Nationals games on weekends will be carried on WDCA Channel 20, which is generally a good thing, particularly if you don't have cable. But the tough thing for viewers is apparent in the first week of the season.

First, the schedule:

http://masn.tv/natscorner/index.cfm?ID=136

(And my apologies for still not being able to embed actual links into the Journal, but Steinberg still doesn't read this space and hasn't offered any help, and the people who publish the Journal haven't, either, so we're on our own here. Cut and paste. It'll work.)

The Nationals' first four games of the season are on MASN. Simple enough. The fifth -- Friday, April 6 against Arizona -- is on MASN2. The sixth -- Saturday, April 7 against the Diamondbacks -- is on Channel 20 (at least in the District and immediate 'burbs. If you live in Richmond or Baltimore or other areas that aren't considered part of the DC market, you don't have to deal with Channel 20, just MASN and MASN2).

So, to review, that's three consecutive nights, three different channels on which to catch the Nats.

Don't get me wrong: The fact that fans will be able to see 162 Nationals games regardless of where they live and what cable system they have is HUGE compared to the past two seasons. It just seems that some nights, it'll take the dedicated fans to find the game.

Anyway, back to Dickie V and Rogoff. When I used to cover college basketball, Vitale was around a lot. No shocker there. He loves chatting with writers. Early on, he told me -- and he speaks in basically one volume, and it is the same volume that he speaks in on the air even if he's off the air -- that he wouldn't be able to pronounce my name if I was a player. (I mean, not that I couldn't have been a player. I just chose to write instead of play.)

"Barry S!" Vitale bellowed in the press room at the Dean Dome in Chapel Hill one night. "I'd have to call you Barry S! Barry Super! Barry Stupendous! Barry Spectacular, Baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

(Repeated several times in several press rooms over the ensuing few years.)

Thus, Rogoff gets today's thumbs up for clever move to offset me lifting his quote. I pledge to continue the practice. Hopefully, tomorrow we'll get back to baseball quotes.

Sunny in Viera today. Could reach 80 degrees. Another intrasquad game. Jerome Williams against Tim Redding. Updates when I can.

By Barry Svrluga  |  February 28, 2007; 7:54 AM ET
 
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Next: And now, the lineups

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