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The Nats On TV

This year, it will be a little bit easier to watch the Nationals on TV. Sometimes, you'll even be able to watch them on two channels at once. MASN has just announced a partnership with WDCW-TC (DC50) which will allow the local CW affiliate to broadcast 20 games this season.

The Nats peripatetic TV existence can sometimes be confusing -- they are sometimes on MASN... or MASN2... which is the same channel for Comcast subscribers as, um, CSPAN... or is it CSPAN2? -- so let me be clear about what this DC50 deal means.

* First of all, this year, MASN and/or MASN2 will broadcast each and every Nats game, EXCEPT for those that might be turned into national Fox broadcasts.

* At least 100 of those games will be shown in HD. (Last year, only 40 were.)

* When a game is shown on DC50 -- that will happen mostly for Sunday afternoon games -- fans can still watch the Nats on MASN or MASN2. (In other words, you get the always-enthralling choice of comparing the feeds, the color intensity of each, etc. It's like watching the State of the Union address.)

* For those 20 games, DC50 will also show MASN's pre- and post-game shows.

* If DC50 is broadcasting a MASN or MASN2 HD game, DC50 will also show the game in HD.

* Now, some background. Beginning in 2005, MASN had an over-the-air contract in place with WDCA-20, which showed anywhere from 68 to 25 games annually. This was especially helpful when the Nats first moved to the District and many of the area's biggest cable providers -- Comcast and Cox -- didn't carry MASN. However, there was also a problem with this situation. Whenever WDCA-20 carried a Nats game, MASN and/or MASN2 did not. Plus, WDCA-20 didn't carry the pre- and post-game stuff; MASN or MASN2 did. Thus, fans who wanted any Nats coverage before or after the game would be flipping channels and searching. Now, the WDCA-20 contract has expired, so MASN was able to start fresh.

* By the way, MASN spokesman Todd Webster, when I spoke with him today, wasn't yet ready to reveal the team's exact HD schedule for the year. He said an announcement on that is in the works.

By Chico Harlan  |  January 13, 2009; 3:08 PM ET
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Steinbog with a Nats reference in his history of DC home crowd booing:

* Third-base coach Tim Tolman also discussed his booing with The Post, in this case after not sending a runner who would have been safe.

"You're infuriated with yourself, because it's an easy play for the fans to see how it transpired and that it was the wrong decision," he told Barry Svrluga. "It's right there in front of God and everybody. You don't really even want to explain it to them, because it was the wrong play. You wish it was like in Japan, where you could go and apologize for making the wrong call. It's fine that they boo something like that. You just get infuriated at yourself."

The Bog still giving the Nats the love, even if it means including them in a discussion about booing.

Really, though, he did pick the right target, didn't he? Good grief, talk about addition by subtraction.

Posted by: JohninMpls | January 13, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

That official said Dunn's current asking price is four years, $56MM ($14MM per)


there you have it. Dunn wants a 4 year deal @ 14m per. don't think the Nats want to give him a 4 year deal.

considering what the other outfielders have gotten(Burrell 2/16, Ibanez 3/36, Bradley 3/30), would you pay 4/56 for Dunn right now? or would you wait for him to lower his years and price?

Posted by: MrMadison | January 13, 2009 3:47 PM | Report abuse

I never wanted Dunn in the first place, think that he's not going to be a good fit. But good God! 4/56? What is he smoking?

Posted by: swang30 | January 13, 2009 3:53 PM | Report abuse

I'd give Dunn what he wants. We could argue the merits of Dunn (and I admit to being a Dunn fan, as a long time Reds fan before 2005) but the real issue is that I think its imparative to the long term good of the franchise that the team play games that are competitive and worth the price of admission, no matter what the win/loss record ends up in 2009. There were too many 10-1 games in the third inning. Dunn's power would make a difference and make the few talented players we've got better in the lineup. This lineup has zero power and to me this is the most important issues.

You're going to have to overpay anyone to come here to help dig us out of this hole, Dunn included. Might as well pay a guy who hit 40 HR the past four years and stays on the field as someone like Milton Bradley, who had a history of trouble and injury.

Posted by: raymitten | January 13, 2009 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Gee, I wonder if the Nats games in HD will the sames ones in which the parent network of the opponent already broadcasts ALL games in HD?

Posted by: Wooden_U_Lykteneau | January 13, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

If we were going to overpay anybody, it should have been Texeira.

If we had offered 10 years, $200 million like Boras asked, would he be a National right now?

Instead, we are debating giving Dunn 4 years, $56 million?

Where's the logic in that?

Posted by: rb-freedom-for-all | January 13, 2009 4:34 PM | Report abuse

This is why, if Angelos had just left the Nats well enough alone, WDCA-20 shoulda been the only network to carry ALL Nats games. That way, everyone coulda watched them, the Nats coulda grown their fan base, and then sometime in the future we'd have the "NatsTV Channel" or something, once they were better-established.

Sorry, I know this is all water under the bridge, but Angelos *still* ticks me off....

Posted by: Juan-John | January 13, 2009 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Hey, I'll sell you this 16 oz steak from Charlie Palmer's for $30, or this 1/4 lbs. McDonald's Burger for $15!

RE: Dunn. Half off isn't always a deal.

Posted by: Section506 | January 13, 2009 4:48 PM | Report abuse

@rb-freedom-for-all Teixiera never intended to come to DC. We actually offered MORE money than the Yankees did, at least in terms of a contract.

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | January 13, 2009 4:50 PM | Report abuse

If you're going to overpay someone doesn't it make sense to overpay someone who doesn't give up as many runs as he creates?

If they sign Dunn as a 1B that would make sense if they've decided to just cut ties with Nick Johnson. Dunn though should not be allowed anywhere near an outfield.

Posted by: noahthek | January 13, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

The next question with regards to TV is if/when Comcast will get MASN HD. And will there really be MASN2 HD?

Posted by: Kev29 | January 13, 2009 5:01 PM | Report abuse

I agree the Nats should have gone 10/200 to get Tex, but Dunn is not worth it. While he's young, he's terrible in the field and getting worse. If we give him an overvalued contract, we'll be unable to move him (without eating money) to the AL to officially become the DH that he really is. As I've stated before, his OBS is overrated because he should be a run-producer, not a table-setter. The 40 hr number is artifically high due to playing in Cincy, so to expect that here is nuts.

Even without any more moves, the team will be better because the young players will be better - Zim, Flores, Dukes and Milledge, not to mention Lannan and Balester.

I also believe coming to DC is a fall back for Dunn. He wants to use the Nats to drive his price up for a contender, same as Hudson. I think the FO is doing the right thing by letting the market sort itself out and then see what deals are out there for players who have no where else to go. While this is not an ideal situation, this is an ideal year to be in this situation - meaning this years scrap heap will have more talent for less money than years in the past.

If you get discouraged, go check out Dukes's numbers for the last month of the season - he led the team in runs, hr, rbi, walks and OBP. If this guy can stay healthy and sane (big if), he's gonna be a super-star. Those numbers, over the course of 150 games, turns out to be over 100 runs driven in and scored, as well as over 30 hrs with an OBP over .400... pretty much what we'd hope to get out of Dunn.

So keep hope alive.

Posted by: sec307 | January 13, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse


I was also a long time Reds fan before 2005. Growing up in NVA, with no team in DC, who else was I going to root for? Watching the The Big Red Machine in 1975 got me hooked.

With that said, I agree with you. They will have to overpay someone to come here, and this team needs some help to be competitive. Bringing in Dunn would not be like bringing in Tex but, it would put some more "cheeks in the seats" at Nats Park and the extra year of a contract and a few extra mil a year to get him would probably pay for itself in the long run.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 13, 2009 5:08 PM | Report abuse

"Plus, WDCA-20 didn't carry the pre- and post-game stuff; MASN or MASN2 did. Thus, fans who wanted any Nats coverage before or after the game would be flipping channels and searching."

People actually do this?

Posted by: Uncle_Teddy | January 13, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

To heck with Dunn. Can we sign this guy? He's young enough for Soundbloke.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 13, 2009 5:21 PM | Report abuse

100+ games in HD???? Now that's an upgrade!!!!

If the Nationals could only upgrade the team, I would be watching more games at the park than on my 61' at home. I am NOT renewing my season tickets this or any year until I see a good product on the field. I am not a fare-weather fan, it just simply baffles me to think that in one of the most powerful cities in the world, it's representing baseball team couldn't care less about it's fans, city, or place in baseball. I'll care to pay when they do.

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | January 13, 2009 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Nor, presumably, are you a fair-weather fan.

Posted by: Section506 | January 13, 2009 6:02 PM | Report abuse

*hands his "spelling/grammar fascist* beret to 506*

Posted by: AtomicOvermind | January 13, 2009 6:07 PM | Report abuse

@jca - Regarding Bryce Harper, the Nationals actually drafted his older brother, Bryan, a LHPin the 31st round of last year's draft. They did not sign him (not surprising ... HS guys are highly unlikely to sign that late).

Posted by: Brian_ | January 13, 2009 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Don't forget the 21 red pencil salute, Atomic.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | January 13, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse

"I am NOT renewing my season tickets this or any year until I see a good product on the field. I am not a fare-weather fan"
"Fair Weather Fan: A 'fan' of a sports team who only shows support when the team is doing well."

I knew I had my Pedantic Helmet around here somewhere...

Posted by: OldDude | January 13, 2009 6:17 PM | Report abuse


You beat me to it. "NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass" couldn't be more clear that he is, indeed, a fair-weather fan.

When you DO come back, after the Nats have a good product on the field, I'll be sure to ask you where you were during the lean years.

Posted by: Section138 | January 13, 2009 6:31 PM | Report abuse

"If the Nationals could only upgrade the team, I would be watching more games at the park than on my 61' at home. I am NOT renewing my season tickets this or any year"

You have a 61 foot TV screen at HOME? Geez, I don't blame you for not wanting to come down to the stadium. That's almost as big as the scoreboard screen, isn't it? And between innings, you get to watch commercials instead of Clint. Came I come over to your house?

Posted by: nunof1 | January 13, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

@Section138: In Natsclass's defense, he's commenting in an offseason nats blog post about tv coverage, for gods sake, during the winter after the leanest year.

Being a fan ≠ giving the team $. I don't defend his diction, but his dedication is there.

Posted by: buckwheaton1 | January 13, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

OK - TV coverage, grammatical/measurement corrections & other inanities to the side; It's getting punchy in here.

Posted by: BinM | January 13, 2009 7:28 PM | Report abuse

Tracee, Harlan - Please feed the Beast.

Posted by: BinM | January 13, 2009 7:30 PM | Report abuse

Some already project Harper as the #1 in the 2011 draft. 502' homers for a kid in his sophomore year in HS, even with a metal bat, is pretty impressive. Perhaps if the plan doesn't work . . .

Oh, that's feet, not inches.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | January 13, 2009 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Here's an 'upbeat' thought or three for the regulars on planet NJ. Thought #1) With Harris (6 positions), Casto (4 positions), Willingham (3 positions), and Belliard (3 positions) on the current roster, the Nationals at least have bench versatility; Thought #2) The bullpen, while unproven, may be better than the blogosphere thinks - With at least nine players [Matt Chico(L), Marco Estrada(R), Garrett Mock(R), Mike O'Conner(L), Jason Bergmann(R), Steven Shell(R), Saul Rivera(R), Mike Hinckley(L), & Joel Hanrahan(R)] competeing for seven spots, it should be good; Thought #3) The exchange of Lenny Harris for Rick Epstein as a hitting coach could pay dividends down the road.

Posted by: BinM | January 13, 2009 8:20 PM | Report abuse

The issue isn't the TV coverage as much as it is radio. When you can't hear the games in a car south of the Beltway on I-95 in Virginia, it is very frustrating

Posted by: ramgut | January 13, 2009 8:35 PM | Report abuse

Just in case a Nats fan out there is thinking about switching from DirectTV to Verizon FIOS, I strongly recommend against it. I was very frustrated with the MASN 2 dance on FIOS. DirectTV has a dedicated MASN2 channel, the signal for MASN2 is better, and the MASN2 HD broadcasts are actually shown in HD. None of the MASN2 broadcasts were shown in HD on FIOS last year and the channel lineup has not changed to date. And if FIOS tells you they will have it by such and such a date, don't believe them.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 13, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

Am I a fair-weather fan/bandwagon fan just because I demand that after five years of either watching/attending/listening/going to spring training/reading this blog daily/praying something good happens to this team, for baseball and this city, I am fed up with the lack of effort from The Nationals front office/ownership?

We don't want to spend a lot of money on big names because we want to build from the ground up. Fine. We don't sign our top draft pick. I get it. So, what's left? Just curious. I'll be there this year, but I won't be happy about it.

Posted by: NatsandSkinsareclassclassclass | January 13, 2009 11:30 PM | Report abuse

Here are the projected rotations of the division rivals as of this morning:

Phi: Hammels*, Myers, Blanton, Moyer*, Kendrick
NYM: Santana*, Maine, Pelfrey, Redding, Niese*
FLA: Nolasco, Johnson, Volstad, Sanchez, Miller*
ATL: Lowe, Vazquez, Jurgens, Kawakami, Campillo
WASH: Olson*, Lannan*, Balester, Hill, Cabrera

Several things to notice here: First, the Nats rotation has the worst resume of the bunch -- maybe not the worst 2009 performance, but the worst pre-2009 resume. Second, only 20% of the opposing starting pitchers in division are lefthanders. And two of those (Miller and Niese) are not locks to end up in the opening day rotations so it could be as low as 10%.

With all those righthanders, it would be helpful to have a little more balance in the lineup. Curently the only projected memebers of the lineup who can bat left handed are Johnson, Guzman, and Hernandez. Harris could also enter the lineup or come off the bench.

The seatch for a lefthanded bat for the middle of the order needs to continue and needs to net results. Facing 80-90% righthanders in the division it would be useful to have some lefthanded impact.

Posted by: natbisquit | January 14, 2009 8:21 AM | Report abuse


Nice summary of the rotations in the division. This is exactly why I think Dunn has to be signed come hell or high water. If not him, then a some other power LH bat via trade.

Posted by: Section505203 | January 14, 2009 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Chico...can you find out if they are going to replay every Nats game also?

It is SUCH a drag to know the Nats won, only to learn that MASN is showing us an O's replay instead of our own team.

Posted by: ThinkingOne | January 14, 2009 2:34 PM | Report abuse

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