- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 5, 2007

Many Comcast customers throughout the area hoping to watch the Nationals-Cardinals game last night were frustrated and puzzled when they turned on their sets and saw a broadcast of “Star Trek” on WDCA-20, and a message on MASN2 saying the game was blacked out.

The game was supposed to be televised on Channel 20, which means an automatic blackout on MASN2. But neither station carried the game until the fifth inning, when the Nationals led 5-1. Not only were Nationals fans upset, but team president Stan Kasten was positively livid as he vented his frustrations in the press box.

In a forceful tirade spiced with words that can’t be printed in a family newspaper, an angry Kasten, who said he did not know what caused the problem, said that Comcast was telling its viewers that the Nationals ordered the blackout because of low attendance at RFK.

“On no occasion — none, nada, never — are the Nationals involved,” he said in a tone that can be best described as agitated. “We are always the victims. And it happened tonight.”

Added Kasten, “They do this [expletive] all the time. The notion is stupid. … We are the last people to have any control over any of this.”

Later, Kasten came in and, still worked up, said sarcastically, “I have decided to put the game back on. It must have been when I was chatting with you all. Isn’t that nice for me to do that? … Apparently they are no longer blaming the Nats for doing it.”

McGeary visits

The tall, lanky teenager wearing a long-sleeved T-shirt, baggy shorts and sneakers and leaning against the cage during batting practice wasn”t just any anyone lucky enough to score a field pass.

He was Jack McGeary, a pitcher whom the Nationals drafted during the sixth round in June.

The Nationals are trying to persuade McGeary, a left-hander who starred at Roxbury (Mass.) Latin High School, to sign instead of attending Stanford. Because school starts in a few weeks, there is a sense of urgency.

Word is that McGeary might have been taken in the first round if not for his college intentions. He might change his mind if the Nationals pay him like a first-rounder, but it seems doubtful the sides will come to terms.

Still, the Nationals are giving it a shot. Accompanied by an “advisor,” (prospective college players aren’t allowed to have agents), McGeary, who toured the city with his family on Friday, was introduced to several players by Nationals general manager Jim Bowden and Dana Brown, the director of baseball operations. Other than saying hello to reporters, McGeary chose not to discuss his situation, nor did team officials.

Hill fares well

Injured Nationals right-hander Shawn Hill made his second rehab start last night, and it was a good one. Pitching for Class A Potomac, Hill pitched four innings, allowing one run on no hits and one walk. He had two strikeouts.

Hill was 3-3 with a 2.70 ERA before going on the disabled list on May 14 with a left shoulder sprain. He is expected to make another rehab start in the minors on Thursday.

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