In theory the Nats vs. MASN/Angelos dispute will be closer to being settled tomorrow

THOMAS BOSWELL: Washington Nationals are due a bigger check from MASN for TV rightsThe Post
The column linked above is almost two weeks old, but still an important read.

Tomorrow is apparently a big day that the Washington Nationals-MASN/Baltimore Orioles stalemate. A panel of three representatives from the Tampa Bay Rays, Pittsburgh Pirates and New York Mets will give MLB commissioner Bud Selig a recommendation “$60 million or $100 million or likely a number in between” on what the Nats annual rights fee should be. Either way, the Nats stand to make much more revenue from the MASN deal that was forced on them by Peter Angelos, but I think Boswell was being naive thinking that Selig will merely rubber stamp the recommendation unless the Nats get low-balled. As Boswell pointed out in the column, this should have been figured out in November, but Selig does not move swiftly when he has to make a major decision even when the solution is self-evident (see Expos and Athletics relocations). Selig is also friends with Angelos which is how this corrupt bargain was created in the first place.

As for the three representatives, I would imagine the Mets would argue for lower compensation since the Nats are a division rival. The Rays on the other hand would have motivation to encourage a higher rights fee since it could potentially weaken their division rival, the Orioles. The Pirates are the wild card, since they are a small market in the same league as the Nats. While higher rights fees could help “raise all boats” including theirs, they could also fear that another power team in the NL is worse for business.

On the Nats side is Chris Bevilacqua, who has been successful with team deals and RSNs before. I can’t imagine he’s had a tougher one.

Most likely, the Nats’ deal will fall in the $70 million-$90 million range, though all such MLB debates are state secrets. One hidden factor is key: The interests of almost everyone in baseball (except MASN and Angelos) are aligned with the Nats’ getting a rational price. Why? Each new monster regional sports network deal (some contracts now top $1.5 billion) set “comparable” prices for the next team’s negotiation with its TV providers.

If the Nats got shafted, many owners would scream. What’s the point of having a legal monopoly if you don’t band together to drive up prices for your product?

This entire MASN-Nats tussle is about “when” and “how much,” not “if.” A deal has to get finished to set 2013’s MASN price. But you can bet that Angelos and MASN want to string out the Nats as long as possible in hopes of extracting a better deal. The Lerners tend to be phobic about imprecise budget projections, and uncertainty could set them dithering about whether or not to make a July 31 deadline trade that would increase payroll.

My expectation is that Selig will continue to reward Angelos’ bad behavior, first by delaying a decision until the offseason and then selecting a low rights fee. Regardless of that outcome, I fully expect Angelos to go to war with the cable providers over carriage fees of MASN/MASN2, scapegoating the Nats in the process. This could get ugly and don’t be shocked if MASN isn’t on some local cable systems on Opening Day of next year.

UPDATE:
There is an interesting thread on MASN on Federal Baseball

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Nats now offer official browser theme

Remember when Ted Leonsis was really excited about the Washington Capitals browser theme about 5 years ago? The Washington Nationals have caught up and now offer a browser theme as well.

SO RED

Like all BrandThunder browser themes, there is a toolbar with links to the team and league sites, tickets, social media, headlines, etc. There doesn’t seem to be a link to the shop, though which seems very un-Lerner like.

I don’t know how many people use browser themes, but I still a “derp, we have a team” type of fanboy that I have installed it. When the Caps are in season, I tend to use that one too. They wind up making your browser really, really red though.

Most of MLB seems to be represented and so is D.C. United.

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75 years of the Golden Gate Bridge

Golden Gate Bridge
I have one regret from my 2007 trip to San Francisco — I didn’t drop everything and get to the Golden Gate Bridge the day I arrived, when it was sunny. Nevertheless, seeing it from the Wharf at Sunset was breathtaking, as was seeing it up close, driving on it, walking on it on a grey day.

[flickr : Photos tagged with goldengatebridge/slideshow]

US 101 California style signThe magnificent span is celebrated its 75th anniversary on Sunday. There is a 75th anniversary site and the San Francisco Chronicle has coverage ina couple places as well. The Atlantic, oddly enough, has a 10+ minutes video of the building of the bridge and another article called The Color, Romance, and Impact of the Golden Gate at 75.

I can’t wait to see it again.

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Nats still can’t beat Marlins

Last night I tweeted: New uniforms, new place, new ballpark, same stupid Marlins beating the Nats…

That’s pretty much the story when it comes to the Washington Nationals and the southern most MLB team. The Marlins may have flashy new uniforms that are pretty awful, but kind of make sense for Miami’s team and play in a goofy ballpark, but the results are not that different than when they played in a football stadium of many names in less awful FLORIDA uniforms.

What goes wrong against the Marlins? Everything. Bryce Harper tripled, which was awesome right? Except that he probably could have scored on an inside-the-park job if he hadn’t pulled up at second. He said as much in post-game remarks. 19 year olds!

The Marlins continue to be weird as a Nats fan — I don’t think of Miami as a peer city and I think the Marlins are generally a joke of a franchise in a place that doesn’t care. It is hard to gather up enough respect to hate them. Yet, they have won two world series in 20 years of existence. Truth be told, I hoped they would have moved here instead of the Montreal Expos. Maybe I need to start taking them seriously, drink the Haterade and then the Nats will start beating them with more regularity.

Even if the Nats lose tonight, which they are almost certain to do, they still come back to D.C. winners of 5 of 9 on the road trip, after a delightful sweep, their first of 2012, of the Atlanta Braves. I’m trying to remind myself that and not get too down.

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Pepsi State: Penn State and Pepsico set to extend contract 10 more years

PepsiCo awarded exclusive Penn State contractCDT
The official soft drink of Penn State will remain Pepsi for another 10 years if a contract between the university and Pepsi is completed in July as expected. The details are still being worked out, but Pepsi would have continue to have exclusive pouring and vending rights on all Penn State campuses.

When I was a student, there was a lot of grumbling about “Pepsi State” from Coke drinkers. I wonder if that is still the case. As of last year, there was a rouge Coke machine on campus (Onward State). From that link, I was directed to an 1992 article from the Times detailing the original Penn State-Pepsi agreement which is quite interesting. Apparently, Penn State was just trying to secure advertising for what was to be the Bryce Jordan Center, but it grew into more. There were concerns that the university was selling out with the deal. I always wondered if people would have felt the same way if it was Coca-Cola instead of PepsiCo and I suspect they would not.

Unless there the contract goes completely off the rails, seven or eight generations of Penn State students will have only been able to buy Pepsi products.

H/T Black Shoe Diaries

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Nats stories to read before you leave early

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: The joy of winningThe Post
Typically, Krauthammer’s Washington Nationals column comes later in the season, but with the Nats doing so well, he writes early. I always enjoy these.

Bryce Harper: Performing beyond his years for the Washington NationalsThe Post
Bryce Harper – model citizen

Rehab as much mental as physical for Wilson RamosThe Wash. Times
Ramos will have a grueling rehab from a torn ACL, but it is one scores of athletes have gotten through. Tough on a catcher though.

Big game for Ross Dewtiler tonight. He is probably looking over his shoulder with Chein Ming Wang back on the roster.

I was hoping to have an Atlanta Braves guest prognosticator by now; maybe later.

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A few mid-day notes on Nats-Phillies

Has Ryan Zimmmerman been scratched yet? Day off tomorrow…

Jim Caple is tired of the Bryce Harper hype (ESPN). I can’t speak for the other rookies, some with better stats, but harper is exciting. I’m still in favor of “just letting him play” because that’s better than any hype.
Good win last night, Adam Kilgore’s gamer was great (The Post). You probably already read it though.

There is a lot of “yapping” coming from D.C. according to Dan Levy (Bleacher Report – wow, a first here?, who acknowledges “it’s working.” Fun column to read from this side of the rivalry.

The Nats lead the Phillies season series 4-1. Since the end of last May, they are something like 13-3 against the closest NL team.

Way too early to sleep on the Phillies though — if they can hang on, all they need is a good 10 days or so and all of the sudden they are in the Wild Card or play-in game. I wouldn’t want to face the battle-tested Phillies in a one-game playoff.

I never did link to the Happy Bos column from Monday. Thomas Boswell makes good Kool-Aid(The Post). There is more to it this time too.

There are several Nats stories in USA Today Sports Weekly this time.

I have to link to another Boswell column about MASN soon.

Tonight’s game is on ESPN2 nationally, MASN locally.

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Gio Gonzalez is the ace, but could still improve; Nats survive H-Rod, beat Phillies

The Washington Nationals extended their winning streak to 2 and took a 3-1 season series/Cheesesteak/Half-Smoke Challenge lead over the Philadelphia Phillies last night. A few thoughts…

Everybody over the latest (last as a closer?) meltdown by Henry Rodriguez yet? Other stuff happened in last night’s game, like Gio Gonzalez striking out nine over 6 innings. In the sixth though, he needed some stellar defense and poor Phillies baserunning. Rick Ankiel made a great catch off a Hunter Pence liner that nobody tried to run on and Adam LaRoche throw out Placido Polanco at home. I wish MLB would let me embed those videos I just linked to!

Speaking of Gonzalez, his enthusiasm was on display on Saturday as MissChatter notes. She’s got video, part of which I shot so she could ask a question. BLOGGERS ASSEMBLE.

Gonzalez leads MLB in strikeouts (Nationals Journal, The Post), but I’d like to see him start pitching seven innings and giving the bullpen some rest. They need it with the closer situation being what it is right now with Drew Storen and Brad Lidge out and H-Rod ineffective in tight games in any role.

In stuff leftover from the weekend, Teddy did a Dexter Manley impression on the Oriole bird:

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The Theodore Roosevelt Bridge was supposed to have scultpures

JOHN KELLY: Why is the Roosevelt Bridge missing its sculptures? – The Post
The Theodore Roosevelt Bridge which carries Interstate 66 and US 50 across the Potomac River between Arlington, Va. and Washington, D.C. was originally slated to have sculptures. Kelly explains why it never happened:

Mrs. Fraser’s design called for four plaques symbolizing Teddy Roosevelt’s character traits. They were called “Courage,” “Foresight,” “Leadership” and “Power” and were in a heroic, classical style: muscled, semi-naked warriors clutching swords, etc. The designs were approved by the Commission of Fine Arts in 1959, and Fraser’s scale plaster models were shipped to Washington some time after that. And then, a published source notes, “for some reason not fully apparent to her, they were placed in storage.”

The reason may have been that the designs were, well, kind of ugly. To Answer Man they look like toy action figures, oddly ill-proportioned. The minutes from the arts commission’s September 1963 meeting note that the head of the District’s highways and traffic department was leaning against executing Fraser’s design. The plaster maquettes were subsequently lost. Fraser died in 1966 with what she considered one of her greatest works never completed.

In 1985, there are an another attempt to come up with some appropriate sculptures but that also stalled.

I’d like to see some appropriate sculptures added to the bridge, but I’m not holding my breath. In the meantime, it would be great if they could paint it and get rid of all the rust. I’ll never be a beautiful bridge, but there is no reason it needs to be an ugly one.

Somehow, there is a Let Teddy Win angle to this…

Signs: Shields Up!

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