September 20, 2020

Real “Battle of the Beltways” to be played in open court?

According to an article in The Hollywood Reporter Tuesday, the fight over the Washington Nationals’ television rights and revenue could hit the open court soon. And baseball is doing everything it can to avoid that happening.

In a letter obtained by the publication, outgoing MLB commissioner Bug Selig has threatened to “impose the strongest sanctions available” if either party files a lawsuit in relation to an arbitration panel’s ruling that MASN (and by extension, the Baltimore Orioles) must begin to pay the Nationals “fair market value” for the team’s broadcast rights.

“I am deeply saddened by the fact that you have not been able to resolve amicably the pending broadcast rights dispute,” wrote Selig in a letter to [Orioles owner Peter] Angelos and Nationals owner Ted Lerner, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.

The commissioner spoke about expending extensive time and resources towards preserving the value of sports TV network serving both clubs. “Unfortunately, these efforts have come to naught solely due to your unfathomable inability to agree on a fair division of that value,” he wrote. “In my view, neither of you has approached this negotiation with the best interest of the game paramount in your mind.”

Despite the Commissioner’s threats to impose sanctions, presumably all the way up to expulsion, it seems almost inevitable the Nats broadcast rights situation is destined for the open court. MLB has long avoided such situations due to the fragile balance of its antitrust exemption.

But if baseball can’t uphold its own arbitration panel ruling, the Nationals may have no other option than to take the situation to the courts, prompting a long, bitter and fascinating legal battle that would most likely outlive the remaining days of Bug Selig’s commissionership.

NATS: Washington Nationals Games on WUSA9

WUSA 9 to simulcast 20 MASN-produced Nationals games on Channel 9 in 2013

MASN, the television home of the defending National League East champion Washington Nationals, is partnering with WUSA 9 to simulcast 20 Nationals games on WUSA 9 TV in Washington, D.C., during the upcoming 2013 season.

The schedule of the games being simulcast on WUSA 9 will begin with the Nationals’ April 1 season and home opener against the Miami Marlins and will also include select weekend games. All available Nationals games will be aired on MASN HD and MAS2 HD in 2013; a full MASN schedule for the 2013 campaign will be released at a later date.

“Beginning this season, MASN has decided to simulcast 20 Nationals games with a broadcast partner in the Washington, D.C., region,” said Jim Cuddihy, MASN’s executive vice president for marketing, programming and affiliate relations. “WUSA 9 was the best fit for MASN because of its renewed emphasis on sports programming and its quality news operation, which will help promote MASN and Nationals baseball throughout the region.”

“We are excited to partner with MASN to deliver 20 Washington Nationals baseball games to the Washington, D.C., market,” said Mark Burdett, president and general manager of WUSA 9, a Gannett Company. “So far in 2013, we’ve been thrilled to be the home of Super Bowl XLVII and this new partnership is the perfect way to extend the reinvigorated WUSA 9 brand. The buzz surrounding Nationals baseball after last year’s 98-win season and playoff appearance is palpable, and we’re thrilled to bring that inclusion and viewer engagement via television to viewers in the nation’s capital.”

NATS: The Ryan Zimmerman Fan Challenge

Have you ever wanted to take on a pro athlete? Well, here is your chance. The Ryan Zimmerman Fan Challenge is here.

  • Create a video challenging Ryan to anything you’d like.
  • Upload your video using this entry form by May 31, 2012.
  • We’ll pick three finalists with Ryan for the public to vote on.
  • The public will vote on the final three videos from June 4-10, and whoever receives the most votes will be declared the winner and have the chance to challenge Ryan Zimmerman!

District Sports Page featured on MASNSports.com’s Nationals Buzz

For the second year in a row, the fine folks over at MASNSports.com have invited me to contribute to their guest blogger initiative. My first post is up today, on the high goals and lofty expectations the Washington Nationals face on this Opening Day. Please take a moment to click on the link to read the whole post. I’d like to thank Pete Kerzel for asking us to participate again this season, along with some other very fine writers. I will look forward to reading stories from Rachel Levitin of WeLoveDC, Ted Leavengood of Seamheads.com, Will Yoder and Joe Drugan of The Nats Blog and Marty Niland of D.C. Baseball Yesterday and Today.

In my post today, I took a sunnier outlook than maybe some of you are used to seeing out of me. I do think good things are coming for this Nationals team and organization. They are generating a lot of good play in the national press, and it’s with good reason. This is an exciting, young, up-and-coming team with a terrific starting rotation and a bullpen as solid as any you’ll find in MLB. I think the predictions of greatness for this season are a little premature, but the Nats have been the trendy pick this spring and no one wants to be left off the bandwagon.

This does have a chance to be the first truly good Washington Nationals team. But it won’t be the last. In fact, even better days are ahead for this franchise. They’ve got a core of mostly homegrown guys at the Major League level right now (Ryan Zimmerman, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez) to build around, and even more are coming. When this team is annually challenging for the division title, it won’t be Michael Morse, Adam LaRoche or even Jayson Werth joining that core, but it’ll be Bryce Harper, Anthony Rendon, Brian Goodwin and others.

Enjoy Opening Day and the 2012 baseball season. Don’t let all the national attention over-inflate your expectations this season. As the old song says, the best is yet to come. But this year should be plenty fun too.

Washington Nationals Spring Training Broadcast Schedule

Can’t make it to Viera for spring training baseball? Nationals fans can watch and listen to the team on MASN and 106.7 FM The Fan throughout March 2012.

Space Coast Stadium in Viera, FL (2011 Photo by Cheryl Nichols)

Washington Nationals broadcast partners Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) and 106.7 The Fan will broadcast a total of 13 Nationals Spring Training matchups throughout the weeks leading up to the start of the 2012 regular season. The Nationals 2012 Grapefruit League schedule features six games televised by MASN and nine games airing on 106.7 The Fan, with one broadcast on partner station WNEW 1580 AM.

106.7 FM The Fan broadcasted the first game of the spring on March 3 when the Nationals played on the road against the Houston Astros in nearby Kissimmee. Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler returned to the booth for their seventh consecutive season together as the Nationals radio voices. Fans can also follow Charlie Slowes on Twitter.

Nationals TV play-by-play announcer Bob Carpenter will join color analyst F.P. Santangelo on March 4 for the first televised spring game, when Washington hosts the Houston Astros at 1:05 p.m.  Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to start for the Nationals. All games will appear on MASN’s dedicated high-definition channel, MASN HD, and afternoon games will be replayed the same day in primetime.

The Nationals v. Mets March 5 game will appear on MLB Network live at 6:10 p.m. John Lannan will take the mound for the Nats. There will be seven games on MLB Network which are listed below.

The complete 2012 Spring Training broadcast schedule is available below.

NATIONALS 2012 SPRING TRAINING BROADCAST SCHEDULE*

Date     Opponent     Time         Location                     Broadcast
3/3    @ HOU         1:05PM     Kissimmee, FL             106.7 The Fan
3/4    vs. HOU       1:05PM     VIERA, FL                    106.7 The Fan/MASN
3/5    @ NYM         6:10PM     Port St. Lucie, FL         106.7 The Fan/MLB Network
3/13   vs. DET       6:05PM     VIERA, FL                     MASN
3/14   @ ATL         6:05PM     Orlando, FL                  106.7 The Fan/MLB Network
3/15   vs. NYY       1:05PM     VIERA, FL                    WNEW 1580 AM/MASN/MLB Network
3/16   @NYY         1:05PM     Tampa, FL                     MLB Network
3/17   vs. MIA       1:05PM     VIERA, FL                     106.7 The Fan
3/18   vs. DET       1:05PM     VIERA, FL                    106.7 The Fan
3/20  @NYM         6:10PM     Port St. Lucie, FL           MLB Network (airing at 3:00 a.m.)
3/21   vs. ATL       1:05PM     VIERA, FL                     MASN
3/22   @STL         1:05PM     Jupiter, FL                     MLB Network (airing at 10:00 p.m.)
3/24   @ BAL        1:05PM     Sarasota, FL                 106.7 The Fan
3/25   vs. NYM      1:05PM     VIERA, FL                    106.7 The Fan
3/28   @NYM        1:10PM     Port St. Lucie, FL           MLB Network (airing at 4:00 p.m.)
3/30   vs. MIA       6:05PM    VIERA, FL                      MASN
4/3    vs. BOS       3:05PM    WASHINGTON, DC        106.7 The Fan/MASN

* Subject to change

Cheryl Nichols is a Columnist and Photographer for District Sports Page. She is credentialed to cover the Washington Capitals and has reported on the community service and fan events for Nats News Network and Caps News Network since 2006. Cheryl is an accomplished action photographer and has been published in The Washington Post and many other local media. She was a credentialed photographer for the 2010 season covering the Washington Nationals. You can follow her on Twitter @cnichols14.

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