Comcast cable company yesterday filed legal documents in Montgomery County Circuit Court in an effort to overturn a defeat it suffered six weeks ago against the Baltimore Orioles-owned Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. Comcast is battling MASN over who will dominate television sports in the Baltimore-Washington region.

The dispute has kept millions of fans throughout the region from seeing Washington Nationals games. Major League Baseball allowed the Orioles to own the rights to televise the Nationals' games in return for not fighting the league when it moved the Nationals to Washington this season.

The Orioles pay the Nationals around $20 million a year for the right to televise the games.

The document is an amendment to the lawsuit the company filed against MASN earlier this year, which charged the Orioles and MASN with breaching a contract with Comcast by planning to pull Orioles games off Comcast SportsNet after next season and put them on MASN.

A Montgomery County Circuit Court judge ruled in July that the Orioles were not in breach of their contract and could move the games to MASN after Comcast's current deal expires. Yesterday's filing represents an effort to include new information in the complaint in order to prepare the way for an appeal.

"We continue to believe that the Baltimore Orioles have breached Comcast SportsNet's clear contractual rights," said D'Arcy Rudnay, Comcast vice president for corporate communications. "Consistent with the judge's order, we have amended our earlier complaint, which we submitted [Tuesday]. We are hopeful for an expeditious ruling."

Because of its dispute over the Orioles, Comcast has refused to create special space on its channels for MASN-produced Nationals games, although Comcast does carry Nationals games via WDCA-20 (UPN) and WTTG-5 (Fox). DirecTV and RCN cable also carry Nationals games.

MASN attorney Arnold Weiner said "the court was very clear that the same losing argument would not be tolerated in an amended complaint. Yet despite that admonition, Comcast has simply repeated the same losing argument."

-- Thomas Heath