Now that the season has reached the quarter pole and we are back to .500, I thought I would evaluate the broadcasters (or what little I get to see and hear them).
Since I’m paying the $1,047, 278.00 fee for MLB Extra Innings, I’m not paying for MLB.TV or GameDay Audio. So all I get to see and hear are the game broadcasts on SportsTime Ohio with the occasional studio cut-in. No exposure to the radio guys yet, although I have read online reviews and they are all favorable. So here’s what I think of who I have been getting acquainted with:
Jim Donnovan – One word – Zoloft. Please keep this man FAR away from anything caffinated or sugar-laden. Chill, dude!
John Sanders – business-like, to the point of being boring at times. Knows the game well. I’ll give him 3.5 stars out of 5.
Mike Hegan – I have noticed that when he does get jacked up, his voice cracks. Kind of funny. Much more passionate than Sanders. Loved his calls of the 9th inning homers on Tuesday. 4 stars.
Rick Manning – knows the game well, which you would expect from a former player. Voice reminds me a lot of Tim McCarver. Has a tendency to talk on top of the play-by-play guys. Must have been going on for years; they seem to be used to it. I liked the point he made last night when C.C. pulled his glove back on that comebacker so it could get to Jhonny to turn the double play. 3.5 stars.
I wish I could get STO in Charlotte so I could watch all the other programming and get a better feel for these guys. But I’m enjoying them for the most part.
Here’s why it just doesn’t pay to live in an area not really near a Major League team:
I live in Charlotte NC. It’s about a 4-hour drive down I-85 to Atlanta (depending on how heavy your foot is), and a good 8 hours to the D.C. area. Those are the nearest MLB teams. Officially, this is Braves territory as far as TV rights go, which makes perfect sense. However, Comcast SportsNet in Maryland last year cut a deal with FOX Sports Net South of Atlanta to "share" North Carolina with the Orioles. Comcast gets to broadcast one or two Orioles games a week on FSN South. So far, so good.
Until the MLB Extra Innings package is figured in. For obvious reasons, any game broadcast on MLBEI involving the team in whose territory you reside is blacked out. No big deal so far – I hate the Braves and about 175 games a year are on TBS, FSN South or Turner South (which is also on our standard cable package), so I don’t need MLBEI to see Wilson Betemit’s ugly mug. But, to pacify Peter Angelos in moving the Expos to DC, any TV that might possibly broadcast an Orioles game is blacked out from every Washington Nationals game. Even the Nationals games on ESPN are blacked out. Any ESPN game with the Nationals involved is blacked out and we get to watch ESPN News on two channels instead of one. I have actually met some old-school Expos fans around here; they have to be furious at that. Further, since we are in Orioles territory once or twice a week, every Orioles game on MLBEI is also blacked out.
Now if you want to black the games out of MLBEI on the days Comcast broadcasts Orioles games on FSN South, I can understand that. But on the days when FSN South is running a crusty old "Beyond the Glory" episode and "The Stupidest **** Sports Show Period" or whatever it’s called, why not let NC residents watch the Indians give the Birds the Beat-down of the Ages?