MASN’s “Nats Xtra” pregame and postgame shows will have new hosts in 2019. New, but not unfamiliar.
Dan Kolko will move from his role as the on-field reporter on Nationals television broadcasts to succeed the retired Johnny Holliday as host of “Nats Xtra,” while former Nationals third base coach and Astros manager Bo Porter has been named as the program’s analyst, filling the role most recently held by Ray Knight, whose contract was not renewed.
Kolko’s role as the team’s on-field reporter will be filled by Alex Chappell, a native of McLean, Va., who has previously served as an on-field reporter for Rays broadcasts on Fox Sports Sun. She has also covered college football for ESPN and the SEC Network.
Kolko, who covered the Nationals for MASNsports.com for two seasons and filled both roles in 2014 before moving full-time to the sidelines in 2015, has also served as a Nationals correspondent for MLB Network and launched the “Between Innings with Dan Kolko” podcast. He also served as a fill-in host and analyst on “Nats Xtra” over the past several seasons.
“I couldn’t possibly be more excited for this new opportunity,” he said. “I’m really going to miss being so close to all the action and traveling with the team and our fantastic crew, but this is such an amazing opportunity to talk baseball in an in-depth fashion on a daily basis and bring some exciting new elements to Nats fans.
“The on-field reporting role provided some memories I’ll remember for a long time to come, from clinch celebrations to no-hitter interviews, to many Gatorade baths I’ve tried - and failed - to dodge. I got to develop some great relationships with players and coaches over the years, and I’ll still be bugging those guys for fun sit-down interviews in this new role. I have some huge shoes to fill taking over where Johnny left off, but I can’t wait to get started.”
Porter was a 40th-round draft pick out of Iowa and played three seasons in the major leagues for the Cubs, A’s and Rangers before moving into coaching, and served as manager Davey Johnson’s third base coach with the Nationals in 2011-12. He had previously managed in the Marlins’ minor league system and served as a third base coach for the Marlins and Diamondbacks.
“I’m just thankful and grateful for the opportunity. ... It’s good to be able to come home,” Porter said. “It’s a sweet spot. I love baseball, and baseball has been good to me and my family. It’s an opportunity to give back to the community and engage with a great fan base.”
In September 2012, Porter was named as the Astros manager, a position he held until late in the 2014 season, when he was fired after going 110-190. Porter joined the Braves as third base coach in 2015-16 before moving to the front office as a special assistant to the general manager. Last year, he ran a training camp for unsigned free agents in Bradenton, Fla.
Porter said his experience as a player, coach, manager and executive will allow him to “be able to look at the game through a number of different lenses because I’ve sat in those chairs.”