MASN announced today that seven Nationals exhibition games will be televised this spring, including next week’s highly anticipated Grapefruit League opener against the Astros and new manager Dusty Baker.
The first six televised games will all come from FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches. The seventh broadcast game will come from Nationals Park, where the defending World Series champions will face a team made up of organizational prospects in a just-announced 4 p.m. exhibition finale dubbed the Nationals Homecoming Game by the club.
The Feb. 22 opener from West Palm Beach (6 p.m. on MASN) will be among the most anticipated spring training games in some time, with the Nationals taking the field for the first time as defending champions and facing their opponent from last fall’s epic World Series, with whom they share their spring facility.
The game promises to draw extensive national attention as well, with the Astros returning to action for the first time since Major League Baseball punished the organization for electronically stealing signs during its 2017 championship run. That investigation led to the one-year suspensions - and subsequent firing - of manager AJ Hinch and general manager Jeff Luhnow.
And in the ultimate twist to this story, Houston decided to replace Hinch with Baker, who managed the Nationals to back-to-back division titles in 2016-17 and now returns to the opposing dugout for the first of six head-to-head meetings this spring.
Other Grapefruit League games on the broadcast schedule include a March 5 prime time National League Championship Series rematch with the Cardinals, a March 12 visit from the Yankees and two late-March matchups with the Mets (who will be hosting the Nats on opening day the following week). All spring training games will be rebroadcast later the same day on MASN.
Here’s the full exhibition broadcast schedule:
* Saturday, Feb. 22 vs. Astros, 6 p.m.
* Friday, Feb. 28 vs. Rays, 1 p.m.
* Thursday, March 5 vs. Cardinals, 6 p.m.
* Thursday, March 12 vs. Yankees, 1 p.m.
* Tuesday, March 17 vs. Mets, 1 p.m.
* Saturday, March 21 vs. Mets, 6 p.m.
* Tuesday, March 24 Nationals Homecoming Game vs. Nats Prospects at Nationals Park, 4 p.m.