Sunday, June 19, 2005


I think there's a way to insult someone that falls short of actually calling the person "a piece of garbage." It is good to see Frank Robinson agrees:

[Travis Hughes], [a] 6-foot-5, 27-year-old[,] was chosen [to be called up from New Orleans] over lefties Joe Horgan (3-1, 4.18 ERA) and C.J. Nitkowski (1-0, 0.00 ERA), who have both spent time with the Nationals.
"I want someone who can get hitters out," Manager Frank Robinson said.

Third baseman Vinny Castilla, who entered Saturday's game 10 for his last 53 -- dropping his average from .287 to .265 -- dropped to seventh in the lineup. Robinson believes Castilla is trying to pull the ball too much and has lost patience.
"He's swinging at so many first pitches, it's unbelievable," Robinson said. "And they're not good pitches."



Speaking of getting smacked, say hello to the Washington Nationals, who were drubbed by the former Washington Senators II for a second straight night. And speaking of sequels, Tony Armas, Jr.---lovingly referred to as "TA2" by the Natosphere---bore the brunt of the drub, surrending seven runs, including four homers, in the first two frames. (Armas did settle down thereafter, not allowing a run over his last three innings.)

Cristian Guzman slugged a Boz-inspired long ball for the second consecutive game. Ryan Church homered twice, but didn't think much of it, since the team lost. And then there was Wil Cordero, who provided the evening's unintentional (and/or self-deprecating) humor:

"[Ricardo Rodriguez, the Rangers' starter,] really kept us off-balance," Cordero said.

Cordero, of course, is hitting .042/.042/.083 on the season, so that's like saying a couple of Cub Scouts were kept off-balance by the Red Army.

(I should provide the pro forma "sample size" alert, seeing as Cordero only has 24 at-bats on the ledger so far. That would be well-advised, since Cordero has to be at least a .175 or .212 hitter these days.]


In today's WashTimes, Eric Fisher suggests that the tide is turning for the Angelosians, noting that 1) MASN's FCC petition to force Comcast cable into a de facto carriage deal, while still a long-shot, might not be frivolous at all; and 2) public outrage over the lack of extensive Nats' television coverage in the DC area might funnel itself into general outrage and not necessarily directed toward Angelos himself (or if it is directed at Angelos, the anger might fall on Comcast equally).

Concerning the first point:

But a closer look at the petition, which is being branded as everything from clever to desperate by the Washington legal community, suggests there may be compelling reasons for the commission to act upon the Orioles' request and compel Comcast to start carrying MASN. FCC rules prohibit cable and satellite operators from deciding which channels to carry based on their corporate affiliation. And beyond Comcast's well-documented frustration with the Orioles and its opposition of a second regional sports network for Washington and Baltimore, the company has yet to explain fully why it will not cut a short-term deal with MASN to show the Nationals while it litigates the CSN lawsuit.

And concerning the second point:

If nothing else, the Orioles have gone to extraordinary lengths to show skeptical Nationals fans that they, too, want to see both teams' TV games distributed as broadly as possible. To be certain, Angelos is not acting out of altruism but rather financial self interest because
he needs to recoup the $20?million annual rights fee MASN has guaranteed the Nationals. But the FCC filing still shows action to back up three months of pro-Nationals talk from MASN executives.

In the meantime, however, the public outcry is not directed foremost at Angelos but rather at simply seeing the Nationals on TV. That furor hit another peak last week when an ESPN regional telecast of Washington's series finale at Anaheim was blacked out because of MLB's existing broadcasting rules protecting local telecasts. The local fan frustration will only increase should the Nationals continue their impressive and improbable run atop the National League East. "Don't underestimate public pressure to bring about some type of resolution here," [a local communications lawyer] said. "We've seen many times before examples of these bitter cable disputes coming to a solution very quickly. I think the FCC will first try to knock their heads together and get it done through a settlement. There's a
business solution out there definitely waiting to be found."

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