In January 2011, just before Orioles FanFest, it was advertised that MASN would be starting a text alert service. They suggested that those attending FanFest sign up for the service so that they could receive alerts as to what players were on the main stage, who was signing autographs where, etc. I signed up and was very pleased.
Since then, however, I have not been very pleased. I never unsubscribed to the service, but these days I look forward to the texts only so that I can mock them.
Last year, an example of the texts a person would receive if he or she was subscribed to MASN's Orioles text service would be:
7:15 p.m. -- "Adam Jones homers in the first inning to give the Orioles a 1-0 lead!"
11:15 p.m. -- "Orioles lose 14-1."
It got to be that if I didn't receive a text message from them for several hours, I knew the Orioles were losing, although I had no details.
This year, however, it's gotten even worse. Now they only text the final score when the Orioles win. I assume that some MASN intern has been assigned the job of sending out text alerts. I wonder, was this person instructed to only send out positive news? Does this person feel like a moron for only presenting this strange Utopian view of the Orioles when anyone who cares enough about the Orioles to sign up for text alerts is aware that they are sometimes (more often than not, actually) a bad baseball team? Does MASN labor under some delusion that if they don't tell me the bad stuff that happens I won't realize that it did?
I didn't sign up for MASN text alerts to have sunshine blown up my backside about the Orioles. I signed up so that when I'm not able to see the game, I can still be notified of what's going on.
Last night, with Mark covering the game from the press box, Paul and I decided to go to dinner and a movie and not watch on TV. But seeing as how we are still us even if we don't have the game on, we still want to know what's happening.
Here are the text messages I received from MASN last night:
6:51 p.m. -- O's face red-hot A's at 7 p.m. on MASN HD. Click for lineups.
7:45 p.m. -- Davis stays hot at plate with solo shot in second. See if O's can come back vs. Oakland on MASN HD.
Come back from what? You never told me they were losing in the first place! The answer, of course, is come back from a 5-0 deficit.
8:43 p.m. -- Thome, the go-ahead run, at plate in 5th with one out. See if O's can come back vs A's on MASN HD.
Stop trying to entice me to come watch the game! I'm not just sitting in my home with my TV turned off waiting for your text that something exciting MIGHT be about to happen.
8:49 p.m. -- Jones hits a 3-run homer to give O's a 6-5 lead in 5th. See if Orioles can keep lead on MASN HD.
Hey, a score! First one I've seen all night, since they only tell you when the Orioles are winning. Because if they don't tell you when they're losing, maybe you'll think it never happens. Oh, and can anyone tell me where I can watch tonight's game? What channel is it on?
At this point I turned the sound off on my phone and settled in for three hours of The Dark Knight Rises. When the movie ended at about midnight, I pulled my phone out of my purse to turn the ringer back on and saw two more text messages.
10:25 p.m. -- Thomes knots game at 8-8 with RBI single in 8th. Can Birds take the lead? Turn in to MASN HD.
8-8? But how did the A's get three more runs to take the lead? Oh, sorry, this isn't the A's text alert service.
10:34 p.m. -- O's lead 9-8, Johnson on for the 9th. see if he can get the save on MASN HD.
That was the last text I received. The game was obviously over by then, and since I didn't have another text telling me the final score, I knew the Orioles had lost. But since the MASN service that says they provide game updates didn't tell me, I had to go elsewhere for the final score and details.
I know that in the grand scheme of things, this isn't a huge deal. And there are in fact a number of other sites, ESPN for example, that offer non-biased text alerts, and I could always sign up for those. But to me this is indicative of the larger problem that MASN has in trying to downplay the team's failures. I don't pay attention to them because they are cheerleaders. I pay attention to them because they should be providing me with actual news, not a watered-down version that someone decided was better for us to have than the truth.