Anybody who has been hoping they’d get to get some looks in at the Orioles as they coalesce into their regular season form over the next six weeks is going to have to camp out in Florida instead. The team announced on Wednesday evening a television and radio broadcast schedule for the Grapefruit League season and it’s pathetic.
There will be all of four games televised on MASN, and twelve games broadcast on the radio. One of these games is on both TV and radio, so in all, less than half of all Orioles spring training games will have any Orioles broadcast at all, and only one in eight will be televised. Everyone involved in setting this diminished schedule should be ashamed of themselves.
Other teams fans do not suffer this level of spring training indignity where there’s no team-oriented broadcast. Just today, the Los Angeles Dodgers TV network announced they’d be showing 30 out of their 32 spring training contests, with only two split-squad road games not being shown. Last week, the Blue Jays network said it would broadcast all spring home games, and the team’s radio network would cover all games. MASN and the Orioles Radio Network are nowhere close to any of this.
What’s even more frustrating about this is that it’s not like it’s always been this way. As recently as 2019, which thanks to COVID and then last year’s lockout could be said to have been the last “normal” spring training, MASN showed seven games out of 33, with nearly half of all games on either MASN or the Orioles Radio Network. What’s more, the games that were neither televised nor on traditional radio had a digital streaming audio broadcast.
The TV network has cut back its already-scrawny coverage and the digital audio option for the remaining half of games has been abandoned entirely. If Jackson Holliday appears in the sixth inning of a few games in the first week of Orioles spring training games and you want to see him, too bad. You’ll have to hit up an O’s minor league team during the season. Odds are you won’t get to see a Grayson Rodriguez outing, or really any prospect you might have liked to see.
Why is all of this the way it is? MASN has two different television channels under its command! The primary reason it exists is to broadcast two MLB teams baseball games. Yet in spring training, for whatever reason, they feel that this is an optional thing rather than an obligation. I have no idea why. I don’t really care.
It’s unlikely that if anyone involved bothered to offer a justification for this sad schedule - which, over the past two years, they have not even done this much - that it is something I would think has merit. I suspect that’s why they’ve said nothing, and generally just wait for this initial ire from people like me to blow over. The first Grapefruit League game is February 25 and the last one is March 27, so they’ve only got to put up with it for a little more than a month.
Maybe some year, Orioles fans will get the kind of spring training coverage they deserve from the Orioles-owned television network. 2023 is not going to be that year.
The four games that MASN will actually bother to televise are:
- March 6, 1:05 vs. Phillies
- March 18, 1:05 at Red Sox
- March 21, 1:05 vs. Red Sox
- March 27, 1:05 vs. Cardinals
Three of these four games are weekday afternoons, so it’s not even like they tried to concentrate their energy on either the six night games or 13 weekend games. They just aren’t doing very much. Get it together some time, MASN.