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HD news is here!

(This is Barry Svrluga, and I arrived in Viera about 30 minutes ago, and I'm not fully stealing the Journal back from Sheinin, but I had to get you this news.)

Quickly, MASN is expected to announce later today -- probably within an hour or so -- that it will broadcast 40 Nationals games in high definition this season. That, incidentally, is the same number of games as it will broadcast for the Orioles in HD.

The first Nats game is the April 7 home game against the Marlins -- the game that would have been the home opener had the club not landed that Sunday night ESPN deal.

The schedule: That'll come out later this week, I'm told. But it will include games against the Braves, Phillies, Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Marlins.

Also: MASN will broadcast live Nats Xtra shows from every weekend home game this season at Nationals Park (though not including the Sunday night opener). Back will be both Johnny Holliday and Ray Knight for those broadcasts, and in the booth, as we've discussed, are Bob Carpenter and Don Sutton, with Debbi Taylor on the sideline.

I'll leave it to Sheinin to get you actual baseball news.

By Barry Svrluga  |  February 25, 2008; 10:48 AM ET
 
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Comments

40 is good, but not great. The Nats and O's will still have the lowest number of HD games available in all of MLB. In this day and age of HD and all they can give us is 25% of the games in HD!? Pathetic!

Posted by: Keenan | February 25, 2008 10:55 AM | Report abuse

I think the bigger question will be... when (will) MASN HD be added to Comcast?

Posted by: Kev | February 25, 2008 10:58 AM | Report abuse

While that is great that they are going to have *some* games in HD, it's pretty silly to only have 40 of them.

Posted by: Paul in 105 | February 25, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

of course, we have to see if the local carriers will be carrying the HD MASN channel, right? they can broadcast them in HD all they want, but if the carriers aren't carrying the channels, we won't see it. any news as to whether this will be 40 games on channel 20's HD feed or whether there's now an HD version of MASN that the local carriers (and satellite) will have to add?

Posted by: 231 | February 25, 2008 10:59 AM | Report abuse

If anyone missed it, John in Mpls had a great idea:

"Count me as a dissenter who would like to see some non-Nats updates here periodically during Spring Training.

"Make it a weekly roundup. That way, those who don't want to read it can scroll right past it. "

Dave are you interested in doing a Thursday Size-up or something? Once a week posting the view from around the league here, focusing especially on upcoming Nats opponents? I think it would be a fantastic contribution to our experience of following the Nationals, especially if we don't watch ESPN.

Oh wait, watching ESPN won't really tell us anything either.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | February 25, 2008 11:00 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, Barry.

NOW, WHAT ABOUT SPRING TRAINING GAMES NOW AND IN MARCH?

Posted by: Bethesda Fan | February 25, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Yes, but what about your pants? Seriously, welcome back. We were all very nice to Dave and each other as requested. ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 25, 2008 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Another question is how many are home games and how many are road games? Comcast brags about the number of Capitals games on HD, but almost all of them are home games, which does a season ticket holder precious little good.

Posted by: Ray | February 25, 2008 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Also, luddites (i.e., I and maybe others as well) would be interested to know about network coverage of games (i.e., Fox and TV20), if there is any news on that front.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 25, 2008 11:11 AM | Report abuse

Man, tough crowd! How about, welcome to ST and back to the NJ Barry??

Besides I don't have an HD TV yet so what deo I care??

Posted by: Avar | February 25, 2008 11:13 AM | Report abuse

Back will be ... Ray Knight

Posted by: The Dullard Returns | February 25, 2008 11:17 AM | Report abuse

I think I see where the number of HD game broadcasts comes from ...

1. Start with 80. As someone pointed out, all the HD Caps broadcasts on Comcast are home games. There are 81 home games each for the NATS and O's.

2. Divide 80 by 2 teams. The O's and Nats share MASN, thus the need for a MASN 2. It's tough enough for cable companies to carry a MASN 2 part time -- I doubth they'll add an HD version of each. That means one MASN HD channel.

So ... since the theoretical MASN HD can only broadcast HD games at home, and can only broadcase one team in HD at a time, that means 80 HD home games, divided into 40 HD games for each.

No basis in fact. Just pure speculation, just like we like it.

Posted by: Natty Fan | February 25, 2008 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back Barry!

This is all well and good but how many of those 40 games in HD will be against the Orioles. Leave it to Angelos and MASN to take credit for more HD games when probably 6 of them are the Beltway Series in Washington and B'More.

Posted by: Gibby | February 25, 2008 11:29 AM | Report abuse

With regards to getting to the stadium this year. I am first time 20 game ticket holder and am extremely excited to see some more games this season. I live on the Potomac and have access to a boat. Does anyone know if there will be a place for us boaters to tie up? It would create a great atmosphere (think Georgetown's waterfront) and allow a few of us to avoid the potential horrors of parking or taking the metro.

Posted by: Section 241 | February 25, 2008 11:31 AM | Report abuse

Welcome back, Barry.

Better answer Bethesda Fan quickly before he breaks his keyboard.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | February 25, 2008 11:33 AM | Report abuse

From what I have read, the red brick pumphouse on the Anacostia by the Nats Park will be part of the Teague Park/dock starting next season.

I stopped by the stadium over the weekend and didnt see any relatively close boatslips.

Posted by: Los Doce Ocho | February 25, 2008 11:37 AM | Report abuse

As long as Don Baylor isn't back - I swear Dustin Hoffman as The Rainman had better oratorical style than that guy. Whos on first, Don?

Somebody mentioned about Comcast getting MASN HD....well how about COX getting Comcast HD? It's great to see all these Wizards and Caps game advertised as HD, but not a reality for NoVA residences.

Posted by: Corey | February 25, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

Barry-

Welcome back. If it got lost in the last thread, I want to say "yes" to Sheinin talking baseball from other locales, especially if he asks them some DC questions, and I also recommend that Jason Bergmann keep reading to get a sense of the devotion we all have to the team.

Posted by: Positively Half St | February 25, 2008 11:38 AM | Report abuse

A good first step. Acceptable progress. I expect 162 next year.

With this layer of the onion peeled, its on to Verizon FIOS (or fill in your carrier here) to ensure that they carry the HD broadcasts.

Note to Verizon FIOS, when are you going to start carrying MLB Extra Innings?

Posted by: NatBisquit | February 25, 2008 11:41 AM | Report abuse

Natty Fan:

The O's and Nats seldom play home games at the same time so that shouldn't be a factor. Although I don't think MASN will be wanting to broadcast an HD game at the exact same time it's also broadcasting a non-HD game. Especially an HD Nats game while the O's are playing in non-HD.

Posted by: Simon Oliver Lockwood | February 25, 2008 11:43 AM | Report abuse

Hey Barry,

... great to have you and your keyboard back in the Nats groove. Stay out from under the sonic boom desk however; Dave has that one covered, ... or maybe it has him covered.

Go Jason Bergmann!; Go Nats!!

p.s. any chance you and the missus will be bringing the lttle ones up to the Maine coast again this summer? Sing out if you do.

Posted by: natscan reduxit | February 25, 2008 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Slightly OT, but my 20-game-plan season tix just arrived! Wuh-hoo!

I like how they've done it in the form of a binder. Sure beats getting them wrapped in a rubber band, like last year...

Posted by: Juan-John | February 25, 2008 11:56 AM | Report abuse

Barry Super! Great to have you back, man.

Posted by: .390 | February 25, 2008 11:59 AM | Report abuse

Well, since we are carrying over:

Thanks, Dave, for pinch-hitting over the past 10 days.

I'd be interested to see comments from Bergmann or other Nats.

I'm not so much into the idea of online blog coverage of other teams (periodic chats, maybe). Coverage of other NL East teams might be interesting as others have noted. I'd prefer that it be in a separate blog, but that might be the indexer in me coming out. Speaking of coverage, I loved the Sunday baseball page and hope to see that up and running again at some point.

Posted by: natsfan1a | February 25, 2008 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Dave, I really liked the article on Bacsik today. As a guy who usually just kinda scans for new information about how the nats are doing, it's rare for me to be impressed by other journalism skills. The interviews with espn personalities and overall writing stood out.

I agree with anybody who says Ray Knight, and also his ancient partner, are not so hot. The games when Ray stood in for Don were especially painful.

They're gonna play soon!

One more thing - did the Nats make any effort to sign Bartolo Colone? When I heard he signed a minor league deal with beantown I thought 'hey, that's the type of move we usually make, and probably should have in this case'.

Posted by: nattaboy | February 25, 2008 12:05 PM | Report abuse

One more stray idea. How about the WaPo PAYS Bergmann or another Nat to chime in on this blog or the 50 center?

Posted by: Geezer | February 25, 2008 12:08 PM | Report abuse

I don't have HD and I don't get MASN. My TV is one of those CRT jobbies with the flat front so people think you ponied up for a flatscreen when, in fact, you went for the cheapest model available at the store.

Honestly, how many people does this affect? Are there people out there who are decrying the poor quality of non-HD baseball broadcasts?

I saw a hockey game in HD once, and it was fantastic. I went back to my "Tru-Flat" TV and watched a game the next day, and I didn't feel like I was missing anything.

Posted by: John in Mpls | February 25, 2008 12:21 PM | Report abuse

welcome back, Barry! We are lucky to have you guys both to read. Like the new photog, too...

Posted by: nats fan in annandale | February 25, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

it's not about teh "flat" part, JiM, it's about the high resolution part. and the widescreen format. you get to see more of the field/game when you watch in HD. it's made more obvious by the black bars you get when watching standard def on an HD set (and i can't stand the distortion when people stretch their 4:3 regular def images to 16:9).

Posted by: 231 | February 25, 2008 12:44 PM | Report abuse

Thanks to Dave and welcome back Barry.

NJ for Nats coverage primarily, but like others I'd agree that an occasional chirp from the road, especially from the NL, could be interesting.

HD for 40 is a start, but the reason all the other teams broadcast in HD is that most people can tell a difference, especially in sporting events. Our problem is that Angelos is to broadcasting like...er, well...actually like Angelos is to baseball. So whenever we think about complaining about ownership moves, just take a deep breath and be happy he *only* owns our broadcasting rights. Sigh.

Posted by: NatsFly | February 25, 2008 12:50 PM | Report abuse

The presser from MASN although no mention of Spring Training games...

http://masnsports.com/2008/02/masn-adds-high-definition-mlb.html

Posted by: Keenan | February 25, 2008 12:54 PM | Report abuse

"So ... since the theoretical MASN HD can only broadcast HD games at home, and can only broadcase one team in HD at a time, that means 80 HD home games, divided into 40 HD games for each.

No basis in fact. Just pure speculation, just like we like it."

The Nats and Orioles rarely if ever play at home on the same day, so as I said on the other thread they could just shuttle their HD truck back and forth between Nationals Park and OPCY and do nearly 162 games in HD, evenly split between Washington and Baltimore. So that can't be the reason they're only doing 74 games total. The real reason is because they're trying to say they're a full-service two-team RSN when really they aren't. If they were a full-service two-team RSN they would have two full-time channels, MASN1 and MASN2. But they don't. They have MASN full-time, and when the need arises they ask their cable carriers to create space on another channel for a so-called MASN2 so they can broadcast two games at the same time. This is of course an imposition on the cable companies, because if they don't have an unused channel available to run MASN2 on, they need to bump other programming to do it. That only works because there is usually some other channel whose loyal watchers will scream less loudly when their favorite channel gets bumped than Nats or O's fans would scream if their game isn't on.

So now MASN wants to add HD, but they're too cheap to stand up a full-time HD channel to offer the cable companies. Instead, they're going to ask that about half the time during the season the cable companies find some space in their HD channel feed to fit in MASN HD. This means that they will probably be forcing the cable companies to bump other HD programming on those days to make room for MASN. Again, the cable companies will only do this because they know the Nats/O's fans would complain louder than whoever they bump. But I'd be willing to bet that when the full schedule comes out, there will be little or no overlap between the days MASN2 is needed and MASN HD is needed. MASN has to realize that they can only ask the cable companies for one favor at a time before they start getting turned down. All this because Mister Angelos's Sports Network is too cheap to do the job the way they should be doing it, i.e. full-time MASN1 and MASN2 channels for both standard definition and HD.

Posted by: Section 419+1 | February 25, 2008 1:13 PM | Report abuse

newer post up...

Posted by: Anonymous | February 25, 2008 1:47 PM | Report abuse

Catching the end of the Orioles Classic game last night (by mistake!) the first 2008 ad for baseball appeared. It mentioned that coverage for baseball will begin March 4th. I'm guessing thats when they'll first show the first spring training game. Both teams play at 1:05 i bet only one game will be shown the O's play at home so...... What's stupid about that is teams play each other twice that first weekend. MASN, what joke. I wish that the NATs could somehow get out of the B.S. tv deal that MLB and Darth Sideous have imposed upon us.

Posted by: BigRoy | February 25, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

Barry/Shiner,

It's great news that MASN will be broadcasting 80 games in HD.... but is it really?

Where does the 80 game number come from? The Nats/Birds play from March 30th thru the end of September - about 180 dates, with both teams offering 81 home games, 162 in total and they are only both home at the same day about 10 times. Add to that a few games that are ESPN/FOX exclusives, and I'm thinking, why aren't there about 145-150 games in HD?

Presumably, HD requires an acquisition of hardware technology and labor (HD trained personnel). With that in mind, wouldn't it make sense for MASN to use the equipment and personnel as ofter as possible.

Also, wouldn't MASN have better results offering a (near) full time HD channel to its cable and satellite providers? Why should Cox add MASN HD for only 80 out of 180 nights? Wouldn't there be more demand from consumers to see 150 games?

Posted by: Section 114, Row E | February 25, 2008 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Barry/Shiner,

It's great news that MASN will be broadcasting 80 games in HD.... but is it really?

Where does the 80 game number come from? The Nats/Birds play from March 30th thru the end of September - about 180 dates, with both teams offering 81 home games, 162 in total and they are only both home at the same day about 10 times. Add to that a few games that are ESPN/FOX exclusives, and I'm thinking, why aren't there about 145-150 games in HD?

Presumably, HD requires an acquisition of hardware technology and labor (HD trained personnel). With that in mind, wouldn't it make sense for MASN to use the equipment and personnel as ofter as possible.

Also, wouldn't MASN have better results offering a (near) full time HD channel to its cable and satellite providers? Why should Cox add MASN HD for only 80 out of 180 nights? Wouldn't there be more demand from consumers to see 150 games?

Posted by: Section 114, Row E | February 25, 2008 3:55 PM | Report abuse

High-def fans are happy -- 40 games are better than none.

Posted by: swanni | February 25, 2008 4:58 PM | Report abuse

HD News without specifics is about as meaningful as Oscar red-carpet coverage.

Posted by: Wooden U. Lykteneau | February 25, 2008 9:58 PM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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