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I don't know what this has to do with anything, but . . .

. . . So, I'm driving home from work today, and I pass by the community swimming pool, and who do I notice but McGruff the Crime Dog. Why? No clue. There must be a reason why he's hanging around the neighborhood. Maybe he's subletting the unit belonging to his cousin, the dog from "Bite Back With Kent Brockman"?

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Of slightly more consequence---and only slightly more, since it merely inches us closer to seeing the games at some point in the future---it would appear that the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network has a friend in the Federal Communications Commission, which has permitted MASN to select an administrative law judge or arbitrator, as the resolution of the MASN/Comcast dispute hopefully nears. Of note:

Legal experts told the Post the FCC finding means Comcast must prove it has not broken any of the agency's rules. They said it is also possible a judge may find Comcast had played by the rules and was justified in declining to carry the network.

So, you know, we'll see.

Don't bank on a resolution that would enable any of us Comcast subscribers to see any remaining games this season. It could take another six months to sort all of this out. While six months may seem on first blush to be less than an eternity, we of all people should know that every conceivable issue involved with this team has operated on a calendar wholly independent and foreign to anything mankind has ever created or dreamed.

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Hey, while we're at it, kudos to MASN for expanding its programming---which is to say, adding any kind of programming at all, above and beyond a twenty-one-hour test pattern per day. I've spoken to Todd Webster, MASN's spokesman, on a prior occasion, and I'm imgine what I've said to him is what a lot of people have as well: Okay, fine. You exist. Now assure us you're something more than a four-letter abbreviation conjured by Satangelos and a waste of everyone's time.

To MASN's credit, there's something brewing here, a lot more, and I actually think I might want this station for purposes other than wanting my Nats TV. Among the highlights:

  • Round-the-clock programming.
  • Official Nats and O's post-game shows.
  • Nats rebroadcasts in the morning; O's and Nats "Classics" broadcasts as well.
  • "[N]ever-before-seen access 'inside the game,' as MASN introduces game production enhancements whereby players, the field manager, and coaches are outfitted with microphones and are further interviewed during the game . . . " (Is this essentially what FOX already does during its Saturday afternoon games?)
  • Yet more "exclusive programming" involving the O's and Nats, including spring training, hotstove, and fantasy shows.
  • "Official Cable Sports Network of the NFL's Baltimore Ravens." Huge. Imagine all of the Ravens stuff Comcast SportsNet has carried. Now imagine it on MASN. This isn't the Redskins, but it's huge. NFL imprimatur, baby.
  • Simulcasts of shows out of ESPN 1300 in Baltimore. Seems like fluff programming, but it gets you through the day, and that kind of thing is hot (everyone from Mike & Mike to Imus to Mike & The Mad Dog is simulcasted).
  • "[U]pwards of 50 NCAA Division I football games." Probably some of the stuff that CcSn usually shows. Starting in 2007, the Colonial Athletic Association (Division I-AA) football league, which is mainly the current A-10 league. That's Towson, William & Mary, James Madison, Hofstra, Delaware, and I think Richmond, among others. In other words, some regional interest.
  • Lots and lots of college basketball (100 games), including Big East (Georgetown and West Virginia featured) and Big Ten. Appears to be the new non-ESPN home of the CAA basketball tournament, which is the a mid-major comprised of many schools in MASN's region and, of course, the conference of the George Mason Patriots.
  • Lots of other junk, such as smaller sports from colleges of regional interest, coaches shows, a bit of ESPN News, some stock car racing, and other stuff CcSn now shows (like CFL football and international golf).
This actually resembles a regional sports network, as opposed to "a deal with the devil." I'm not certain a market exists for a second RSN, but I'm interested. One suggestion: Minor league baseball, like an International League game of the week.