For Chappell, who grew up in Bethesda and spent the past three years covering college football for ESPN and the SEC Network, the role represents a homecoming and the realization of a goal she has been working toward for more than a decade.
“Not many people get to say they work in their hometown,” Chappell, 30, said in a phone interview. “It’s really special for me, and it’s really a dream come true.”
While many aspiring sports broadcasters dream of working at ESPN, Chappell said she has had her eyes set on covering baseball for MASN for years. The Walt Whitman High graduate grew up going to Orioles games at Camden Yards, often when the Boston Red Sox were in town. Her father, Philip Corddry, the person primarily responsible for her love baseball, spent a few seasons as a pitcher in the Boston organization after attending the University of Maryland. Chappell, who became a Nationals fan when the team arrived in 2005, admired former MASN on-field reporters Amber Theoharis and Kristina Akra and interned with Tim Brant at WJLA (Channel 7).
After graduating from the University of Alabama, Chappell landed a job as a sports reporter at the CBS affiliate in Birmingham. From there, she had a brief stint as a reporter for “Redskins Nation” on Comcast SportsNet before she was hired as a sports reporter by Boston’s WHDH in September 2013. Chappell spent three years in New England, during which time she met her husband, Scott Chappell. The couple married last month.
Chappell said she inquired multiple times about joining the MASN broadcast team while establishing her career elsewhere, but the network never had any openings. When the Nationals were in Miami late last season, one of Chappell’s colleagues put in a good word for her with Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo, who encouraged Chappell to reach out again. Shortly after the season ended, she did. When MASN opted not to pick up analyst Ray Knight’s contract and Johnny Holliday announced he was stepping away from his role as host of the pre- and postgame shows, the wheels were in motion for Kolko’s promotion.
“In this industry, timing is everything,” said Chappell, who learned she got the job in late December. “I’m really grateful to MASN and the Nationals for this opportunity.”
Chappell has experience as a baseball on-field reporter after covering the Tampa Bay Rays for Fox Sports South in 2017. She said she met Kolko and first-year MASN analyst Bo Porter for the first time a couple of weeks ago and has been picking Kolko’s brain about what he has learned over the past five years.
“You can never be the same person, and I know that I have huge shoes to fill,” Chappell said. “It’s lucky that I can carve my own path but also get the chance to talk to Dan about being in the role.”
Chappell arrived in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Tuesday, exactly one month after her wedding, and has spent the past few days getting to know her new colleagues.
“It’s been great,” she said. “When you walk into the Nationals’ organization, it’s a total family atmosphere. Everyone has been so welcoming, from the front office and our executives, to the players and our broadcast crew. It’s been the best. . . . I’m looking forward to introducing the fans to the new faces in the clubhouse."
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