Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles fans who have been frustrated by broadcasts on MASN over the years will continue to be frustrated in 2022.
Per The Athletic, both the Nationals and Orioles TV broadcasters will not be going on road trips to start the 2022 season, with both teams calling road games from their home stadiums.
On the bright side for Nationals fans, the team confirmed to The Athletic that their radio broadcasters would be going on road trips. Orioles fans, however, are out of luck – their radio crew will also call games remotely.
MASN and the Orioles are citing the pandemic as their reason, per The Athletic.
According to a MASN memo written by the company’s HR Generalist Emily Dow, distributed to employees Friday and obtained by The Athletic, this grounding is for the same reason as the previous two seasons: safety.
“In an abundance of caution due to the ongoing COVID pandemic, which will hopefully be winding down and soon be behind us, and as a prudent step in the context of a changing RSN (regional sports network) industry, MASN will begin the season operating under a hybrid model that enables MASN to conduct a production locally while leaving all the major production pieces in place in the truck on site,” Dow wrote. “In this model, MASN will be able to retain on-site production resources for road games in the home team city.”
The memo doesn’t specify a timeline to return to broadcast travel, simply stating that “there will be no travel for these individuals at this time.”
An Orioles spokesperson wouldn’t specifically discuss the broadcasting decision but doubled down on the idea that it’s being made in compliance with the organization’s stringent and successful COVID-19 protocols. The spokesperson stressed there are still active cases of COVID-19 diagnosed in the United States and that the Orioles — and consequently, MASN — have demonstrated an outstanding effort in keeping their employees healthy during the pandemic.
Barring an about face, Orioles fans will have to deal with remote broadcasters in 13 of the first 19 games, including the season-opening series against the Rays at Tropicana Field. Nationals fans are a bit luckier – their team only has one seven-game road trip over the first three weeks of the season.
Which other teams won’t be traveling? The list is not a long one – travel for the Angels TV crew is “dependent upon the scheduling of specific broadcasters’ needs,” while on the radio side, the Angels and Dodgers aren’t traveling “due to broadcaster preference” and the Blue Jays made the decision to not have their radio broadcasters travel (last year, the team completely scrapped radio broadcasts for the first half of the season, replacing them with simulcasts of the TV coverage. Radio broadcasts returned in the second half of the year).
Back to MASN. Dan Connolly outlines the issues that the RSN has had over the last two years in his article, which include the Gary Thorne fiasco, cuts of on-air personalities and shoulder programming, the seemingly neverending battle between the Nationals and Orioles over rights fees, and last year’s still murky firing of EVP Chris Glass.
But hey, aside from all that….