- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 7, 2006

A few thoughts on a number of interesting things this week …

No Domers on TV?

If you’re used to seeing Notre Dame on your television set each autumn Saturday, you may be out of luck this weekend. The Notre Dame-Air Force game will be shown only by CSTV, the college sports network owned by CBS, that’s available in about 15 million homes.

It’s the first time in 169 games that Notre Dame won’t be on NBC, ABC, CBS or ESPN.

How did this happen?

Well, Notre Dame is playing at Air Force, and the home team always controls where the game gets shown. Air Force is part of the Mountain West Conference, which has a deal with CSTV.

Now, if you really want to see the game — being hailed as the “Rumble in the Rockies — you have some options other than flying to Colorado Springs.

CSTV is available on a sports tier offered by most cable providers in the area. But CSTV is working with folks like Comcast and others to have them move the channel to the basic digital tier for this weekend.

Most Comcast customers in Maryland and D.C. who subscribe to the basic digital tier will be able to catch the game on channel 274. All DirecTV subscribers will get the game on channel 610, and Dish Network customers can find it on channel 152.

When all is said and done, the game will probably reach about 40 million homes.

And if you still can’t get it and are reasonably tech-savvy, you can pay to watch the game streamed live on CSTV.com. It’s $14.95 if you sign up before Saturday, and $19.95 if you buy it on game day.

Who’s next for Nats?

The Nationals decided not to retain Tom Paciorek, my cross-town colleague Barry Svrluga reported today.

I have no additional insight at this point as to why Paciorek was canned, except to say that everyone believed that when the Lerner family took control of the team, they would make some personnel changes.

Manager Frank Robinson and former assistant GM Tony Siegle were casualties of the regime change, and the team also fired or demoted four coaches.

Paciorek was generally well-liked by fans, who endured a long 2005 season with Ron Darling as the analyst. He was criticized by some fans here and there for being too much of a “homer” in certain instances, and sometimes his attempts at humor fell flat.

But overall the conversations I had with fans did not reflect a desire to see change in the booth.

Play-by-play man Bob Carpenter will be around for at least another year, as he is under contract through 2007.

No word yet on a replacement for Paciorek, but there are some decent names available.

Don Sutton, who left Turner Sports and the Atlanta Braves after this season, might get a look. I can’t imagine Sutton, a Hall of Fame pitcher with connections to Nationals President Stan Kasten, wouldn’t at least get a phone call if he hasn’t gotten one already.

And if the Lerners and Kasten want to take a flyer (because they’re wild and crazy people, you know, they could bring in Harold Reynolds, recently fired from ESPN, for a tryout. I’m really only 55 percent kidding.

New team for the Armory The Baltimore Bayhawks of Major League Lacrosse announced yesterday they’re relocating to D.C.

This has been in the works for a while, and you actually have to credit the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission with helping it happen. The commission has been planning a massive upgrade to the D.C. Armory to house the new team, as well as a possible NBDL squad.

Whether they can get the upgrades in place by 2007 remains to be seen. The Armory has no AC, which is a must-have for any arena, and they need to install the floor, locker rooms and stands.

But the building itself is sound enough, according to the National Guard.

CORRECTION: I made a mistake in the above blog post.

I gave credit to the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission for making plans to fix up the D.C. Armory so the team can play there.

Of course — as several lacrosse enthusiasts informed me — the Bayhawks are part of Major League Lacrosse, which plays their games outdoors. They couldn’t possibly play in the Armory.

The fact is that the Greater Washington Sports Alliance, an offshoot of the Greater Washington Board of Trade, was the group most instrumental in bringing the Bayhawks here. It’s unclear at this point where the Bayhawks will play, but we’ll get more details regarding their move to D.C. on Tuesday.

The Bayhawks move to D.C. is part of a broad effort by the GWSA to make D.C. a big lacrosse hub, taking advantage of the success of several college and high school teams in the region. “We a trying to brand this as kind of the center of lacrosse in the country,” said GWSA President Bob Sweeney.

Now, as for the Armory, there is a good chance that a lacrosse team will be playing there as soon as 2007. The sports commission is in talks to attract a team from the National Lacrosse League (a different league that plays its games indoors), and the commission is upgrading the Armory in part to accommodate a team.

But those talks are separate from talks involving the Bayhawks and Major League Lacrosse.

My apologies for the mistake and for any resulting confusion.

In and out

Did you vote? I did. The whole process took about 4 minutes. I was very impressed. Contrast that to 2004, when I got in line to vote at 8 a.m., waited an hour before realizing I was in the wrong line (I needed to be in the line for people with last names beginning with the letters K through P), then came back that evening to wait another 30 minutes before finally getting to cast my ballot. Perhaps my move last year from Prince George’s to the relatively sleepy Anne Arundel County had something to do with my easier time today. Or maybe it was because the names “Bush” and “Kerry” weren’t on the ballot. Good thing we’re not hearing much about those two these days.

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