The Major Soccer League's new agreement with SportsChannel America could make more Blast games available locally.
"If Blast games are offered in the package, we'll make every effort to get them on, live or delay," said Home Team Sports program director Jody Shapiro. "The Blast certainly fits into our regional concept."
SportsChannel America, a cable system that reaches into 17 million households, and the MSL have agreed to a 15-game package for each of the next two seasons. Included are at least nine regular-season games to be televised live on Sundays at 4 p.m. after the first of the year. The league All-Star Game, Feb. 13, and five playoff dates also are included.
League spokesman John Griffin said he is in the process of making sure each of the MSL's eight teams are on at least once.
The agreement is a step up for the MSL in that it will have its games offered live and will not have to pay to have them televised.
HTS is the exclusive source for SportsChannel America in this area.
"SportsChannel America is certainly a viable option for the MSL," said Shapiro. "They've been trying for better exposure and I know the games will be well produced."
Shapiro said HTS also would consider carrying the MSL All-Star Game and would investigate the playoff games in relation to their spring commitment to the Orioles, if the Blast is involved.
* WHEN YOU'RE READY: In the ongoing Tim Wittman story, Blast coach Kenny Cooper said he will retain a roster spot for the veteran forward/defender who has been diagnosed as having a degenerative disk problem.
Wittman, who initially strained a back muscle while moving a weight in his home before the start of training camp, is working at rehabilitation daily at Kernan's Hospital.
Yesterday, team physician Ken Spence told Blast management Wittman, 27, still has "several more good years left" to play the game.
Team owner Ed Hale said he has reached "an accommodation" with the 10-year veteran in regard to his salary -- which has not been paid since Wittman failed his physical Sept. 25.
Wittman will take that physical, again, probably within the next two weeks, "as soon as the pain goes away," he said.
"Timmy's injury is frustrating for all of us," said Cooper. "Timmy wants to play and we want him to get well. Hopefully, we'll see improvement every day and he'll come in and produce like usual. I think he'll play great with Dale."
* TRANSITION GAME: Star forwards Dale Mitchell and Domenic Mobilio both took part in practice yesterday, and seemed to feel few side-effects converting from the outdoor to the indoor game.
Mitchell and Mobilio had been playing outdoors with the Vancouver 86ers, who last weekend defeated Hamilton for their third straight Canadian Soccer League championship. "It feels a little bit strange to be here, in a new environment," said Mitchell. "But I don't think I'll have any problems fitting in. I've always been impressed by the Blast, especially the last two years, they've been very successful."
Mitchell, an All-Star forward, was acquired in an acrimonious trade that sent All-Star midfielder Carl Valentine to Kansas City.
In reference to the grievance Mitchell filed, and lost, with the players union charging Kansas City Comets owner Chris Clouser with fraud, Mitchell said the past is history.
"I had to do what I thought was right at the time," he said.