If there is a Major League Baseball season and -- Dr. Cox from Scrubs voice here, that is a Big IF -- a grab bag of concessions and adaptations will have to be explored. Keeping the number of germ-spreading human beings in the ballpark to a minimum will be one of them. To that end, it appears the somewhat predictable step of leaving away team announcers back at home will be one of them.
THE Bruce Levine reports:
Calling a game remotely will be a new challenge for many baseball booths, but it's become an increasingly more common one all around sports in the wake of COVID-19. One figures the drop off in quality will be minimal as most announcers already have a significant built-in knowledge base from being around their team both home and on the road. So the immediate impact may be negligible. Consider how unremarkable ESPN's early morning KBO telecasts have become. People, even audiences entrenched in their ways, can adapt. Especially now.
The real questions are these. First, if traveling announcers are to be grounded, what does that mean for print and online media covering both teams. What will the press availability look like? And how many credentials will actually be allowed? A beat-writing job cannot be done well from off-site. Is this the challenge visiting team reporters are going to face?
Secondly, what will this experiment mean for broadcasters in the long run? There is certainly the possibility that the 2021 MLB season operates normally, with both team's announcers on hand to call the action. But if the more economic remote option goes well, won't networks become increasingly thirsty to drink in the savings in perpetuity? Could we be looking at the new normal?
The deep-pocketed, major market operations figure to be more secure. The small pirate ships less so. Then again, a global pandemic and unprecedented economic downturn can do unpredictable things to balance sheets and decision-makers tasked with making them work.