With the start of a new baseball season, MASN is expanding its coverage of the Orioles and Nationals.
The network that brings you 324 game telecasts of two teams in six states now adds "The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report," a new 90-minute show each weekday at 5 p.m. The show makes its debut Thursday after the Nationals game and the "Nats Xtra" postgame telecast.
Veteran broadcaster Tom Davis, who has been with MASN since its start in 2007, will host the show and will be joined by Dave Johnson, Phil Wood and Mel Antonen.
Fans in the area know these guys well and they should make for an interesting team on air. The show will cover both the Orioles and Nationals and serve as an excellent lead-in to the "O's Xtra" and "Nats Xtra" pregame shows, which air most nights at 6:30 p.m.
The show will feature interviews, ballpark reports, manager press conferences, segments with the game announcers and even time for some fan call-in questions.
"It's kind of unique because it's strictly baseball," Davis said. "The MASN network is regional in six states. Just look at all the (major and minor league) teams in the area, they draw probably five million in total attendance in the region. It's a hotbed for baseball.
"Phil knows a lot about Washington and has been around a long time. Dave knows the O's. Mel has covered baseball on a national level. I'm there to kind of make it all flow. It's like a fancier version of our Saturday (baseball) show."
The show will also feature live segments with guests from Nationals Park and Camden Yards and live batting practice look-ins. Roundtable discussions will focus on important baseball developments and viewers will be able to participate in the broadcast through a variety of interactive social media platforms. MASN's on-air personalities and contributors to MASNsports.com will have a regular presence on "The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report."
"Through our new show, we'll be able to get viewers an insider's access to breaking news, managers' press conferences and live interviews which will help present compelling game day storylines," said Jim Cuddihy, MASN's executive vice president for marketing, programming and affiliate relations. "More and more, baseball fans are drawn to media outlets that give them important news - and give it to them first. 'The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report' will satisfy their appetites for the most up-to-date information possible. Our panel of experts gives fans an unparalleled range of news and sports expertise, and MASN's broadcast capabilities allow for first-rate production."
By the way, the "Wall to Wall Baseball" show that Davis, Johnson and Wood have made popular on the weekends will continue to air on Saturdays at 11 a.m.
Davis said more time on the air for baseball coverage, analysis and discussion will be a plus for the region's baseball fans. With a 90-minute format, the guys will have a chance to break down some key plays with video from O's and Nats telecasts and have some roundtable discussions as well.
"If you look at it, both teams start most games at seven, so there is basically two hours of baseball coverage. Sometimes, it seems baseball doesn't get enough coverage, but this will be a place for the baseball fan," he said.
"It's a very beautiful set that they've built and it's all HD with an HD studio with HD equipment. They've gone first class with it all the way and we want to do the best job with it for everybody. I'm proud to be a part of it."
Come on out Friday: Join me and Pete Kerzel and our MASNsports.com staff at Hightopps Backstage Grille on York Road in Timonium this Friday at 6 p.m. as we host another chat with fans, then settle in to watch the O's and Rays in the season opener. We will be giving away a pair of tickets to Monday's home opener on Friday night. For more, click here.