As anyone who has watched the baseball games between the Orioles and Nationals knows, MASN has been broadcasting with a joint booth with broadcasters of both teams. The color guys (in this series, it's Mike Bordick for the Orioles and F.P. Santangelo for the Nationals) stay in the booth the entire game and they rotate in the Nationals and Orioles play-by-play guys (Bob Carpenter and Jim Hunter).
I understand the ideas behind this decision. Other teams can't do it because they don't share a regional sports network the way the O's and Nats do, so it's unique. I'd imagine it also saves them some money. But it is, in short, a terrible idea. Simply awful.
What I'm going to write now I'm saying as an Orioles fan, but you could replace every instance of Orioles with the word Nationals and I'm guessing that it is how many Nationals fans feel as well.
As an Orioles fan, I want to hear the broadcasters talking about the Orioles, but instead I'm forced to listen to the Nationals announcers educate me on their players. I don't care about their players and I'm not interested in people doing The Shark in the stands or whatever. As an Orioles fan, I also have to listen to the O's announcers educate the Nationals fans on the Orioles players. 1) I already know everything they are saying, and 2) I know that the Nationals fans don't care about the Orioles players any more than I care about the Nationals players. So instead of a regular broadcast, fans of both teams are stuck with an elementary school lesson on the players and none of the enjoyable back and forth banter that revolves around our team and includes the announcers that have built a rapport with each other over the years.
But that's not where it ends. I'm not asking for the announcers I'm watching to be homers necessarily, but their calling of the game should be geared towards the team I'm watching. I live in the local broadcast area and pay good money to a cable company so that I can watch all of my team's games on the local channel. So why does it feel like I'm watching an away game?
Last night, when Chris Davis hit his second home run of the game to make the score 9-6 in favor of the Orioles, it should have been an exciting moment in the broadcast booth. The crowd was going wild and the Orioles had just completed a crazy comeback. But instead of Jim Hunter or Gary Thorne in the booth to excitedly give O's fans the moment they want, it was Carpenter's turn in the booth and he called it with as much enthusiasm as you'd expect many announcers of the other team to do. It kind of ruined the moment.
Now, I don't blame Carpenter for this. If I were a Nationals fans watching the broadcast on MASN, the home of the Nationals, and had to listen to an excited call of a home run that put the nail in the coffin for my team in the game, I would be equally annoyed.
It all boils down to this: fans of different teams need different kinds of broadcasts for their teams. The way it's set up now it feels like both teams are being forced to watch the broadcast by an opposing team's guys. Except that we're all watching it on MASN, which is the hometown cable network for our favorite team, be it the Orioles or the Nationals. The way it is set up now is a disservice to everyone.
I hope that MASN will do the right thing and end this experiment after the 2013 season. They have two stations so that they can broadcast two games, and that's what they should do even when the Orioles and Nationals are playing each other.