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A timeline of the never-ending Nationals-Orioles MASN dispute

A timeline of the never-ending Nationals-Orioles MASN dispute

The Nationals-Orioles MASN dispute has hit another turning point. According to Jeff Barker of The Baltimore Sun, an MLB arbitration panel has decided the Orioles must pay the Nationals tens of millions of dollars in broadcast rights fees from previous seasons.

To try and make sense of this never-ending legal battle, we've come up with some key dates you should know, starting of course at the beginning:

2005: The Montreal Expos relocated to Washington, became the Nationals ... and happened to enter what was the Orioles' exclusive broadcast territory. MASN was created to televise both teams games - but Baltimore got the better deal with a 90 percent supermajority stake in the network to start.

More from the Associated Press on how this worked.

The agreement called for the Nationals’ equity to increase 1 percent annually, starting after the 2009 season, with a cap of 33 percent. The network’s rights payments to each team were set at $20 million apiece in 2005 and 2006, rising to $25 million in 2007, with $1 million annual increases through 2011.

After 2011, the Orioles and Nationals would negotiate a price for rights payments based on the value of the Nats at the time.

2012: The two sides cannot come to an agreement on broadcast rights fees, and the dispute goes before the Revenue Sharing Definitions Committee (RSDC). 

2014: The RSDC rules the Nats are owed around $59 million annually in broadcast rights fees -- around $298 million in total -- from 2012 to 2016. Baltimore refuses to pay Washington and appeals the decision. 

2015: A New York Supreme Court justice rules the original RSDC decision be thrown out, saying MASN did not receieve a fair hearing.

2017: The New York State Supreme Court Appellate Division votes 3-2 to send the decision back to the RSDC. The case is reheard in November 2018.

2019: The MLB panel decides the Orioles owe the Nationals $100 million in additional rights fees for 2012 through 2016, sources tell The Sun's Barker. After MASN restates its financial results from those years, the Nats would receive between $60 and $70 million. 

MASN could still appeal the decision, but that's where things stand now. If this decision holds, the Orioles will be paying the Nats a king's ransom in unpaid broadcasting rights fees.

But as this dispute has shown, it may be safer to assume there are still more twists to come. 

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How Stephen Strasburg changed his narrative in one postseason run

How Stephen Strasburg changed his narrative in one postseason run

When Stephen Strasburg entered the 2019 season, he had a reputation of fragility and, as a result, unavailability when it came to the playoffs.

The former No. 1 overall pick had missed two of the four playoff series the Nationals had appeared in since drafting him as one of the most hyped pitching prospects in a generation. While he had certainly shown more than a few flashes of the potential Washington saw in him, there were few instances when he was able to put it all together and stay on the field in time for the postseason.

That all changed last October, when Strasburg led the National League in innings (209) and placed fifth in NL Cy Young voting before cruising through the playoffs to the tune of a 5-0 record with a 1.98 ERA and 47 strikeouts across 36 1/3 innings. He also took World Series MVP honors, highlighted by a Game 6 near-complete game, as the Nationals claimed D.C.’s first baseball championship since 1924.

Now, Strasburg didn’t touch his career high in innings (215 in 2014) nor did he claim his best finish for the Cy Young award (placed third in 2017). He even once struck out 12 Chicago Cubs over seven scoreless innings to stave off elimination in the 2017 NLDS while battling the flu.

The signs were all there, but Strasburg’s historic playoff run changed the narrative around his career and cemented him as one of the premiere playoff pitchers in all of baseball.

USA TODAY baseball columnist Bob Nightengale joined NBC Sports Washington’s Todd Dybas, Nick Ashooh and Chase Hughes on Wednesday's episode of the Nationals Talk podcast and weighed in on how Strasburg improved his reputation on a national scale.

“I think [he has] just the warrior mentality now—taking the ball, winning big games, a clutch performer,” Nightengale said. “I think that with the Nationals’ World Series run, I think it benefit his reputation more than anybody else. [He’s now] seen as a tough guy. He’s probably always been that way but I don’t think he had that perception from peers, fans, media, that sort of thing.”

LISTEN TO THE FULL INTERVIEW ON THE NATIONALS TALK PODCAST

Before the year began, critics were skeptical that Strasburg would exercise the first of the two player options in his contract to remain in D.C. rather than test free agency. Fresh off parading down Constitution Avenue, he opted out of that deal and scored a new one: seven years and $245 million, giving him the largest contract in Nationals history.

Of course, there are still plenty of questions surrounding Strasburg’s ability to remain healthy and productive all the way through his age-37 season (the final year of his contract). Prior to 2019, he was on a streak of four straight seasons with fewer than 30 starts and 200 innings—and only once in that span did he eclipse 25 starts and 150 innings.

But with a World Series MVP award on his resume, there’s now no question the Strasburg can perform in the playoffs even after handling a significant workload during the regular season.

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How one DC bar is applying Nationals manager Davey Martinez's 'go 1-0 everyday' mantra to reopening

How one DC bar is applying Nationals manager Davey Martinez's 'go 1-0 everyday' mantra to reopening

When the Nationals sat at a disastrous 19-31 in 2019 and all hope seemed lost, Davey Martinez didn't panic. Instead, Washington's manager challenged the team to just try and win each day, go 1-0. The mentality worked pretty well as 12 games below .500 turned into a World Series championship.

Attacking every day with that attitude isn't just something that works in sports, and in the current times of the coronavirus pandemic, success can come from just trying to go 1-0. That's exactly what Walters Sports Bar, in Washington, is doing as it reopens to the public.

Walters is located right near Nationals Park, and it looks like they have taken notes on how the Nationals made the best out of a tough time filled with challenges. As every day presents something new, and much is uncertain, the bar is focused on just going 1-0 each day. 

The Nationals' 2019 run showed many that things can always get better by controlling only what you can control. As the community around Walters now faces adversity of its own, it looks like it is drawing inspiration from the world champions themselves.

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