MASN announces end of split booths for Orioles-Nats games


Via MASN’s broadcast.

With the Nats and Orioles both coming off playoff seasons and both boasting stronger local television ratings, last season brought a bit of buzz about a peculiar local tradition: those mixed Nats/Orioles broadcast booths on MASN when the two local teams meet.

Surely you recall the premise: Bob Carpenter and Jim Hunter — who normally broadcast the Nats and Orioles, respectively — would alternate on the play-by-play in a mixed booth, joined by color analysts from both teams.

When I wrote about this last spring, the overwhelming consensus indicated that fans didn’t love the arrangement.

“My two cents: I enjoy the work of all involved, but think I prefer individual crews,” Caps radio voice John Walton wrote on Twitter at the time. “Seems really strange to me to mix both crews together.”

“The feedback I get from fans is they want their guys in Baltimore, we want our guys in Washington, we don’t want to hear the other guys,” Carpenter told the Junkies around the same time.

Well, rejoice everyone. MASN announced on its Web site that that the split booths will end in 2014. The normal Nats and Orioles broadcast crews will each broadcast head-t0-head during Nats-Orioles games. Here’s how MASN’s Pete Kerzel described the change:

MASN is eliminating the combined broadcast booth featuring talent from both the Nationals and Orioles on-air teams. Instead, each team will get its own broadcast with its own broadcasters.

For Nationals fans, that means play-by-play voice Bob Carpenter and analyst F.P. Santangelo calling the action. For Orioles fans, it’ll be the team of Gary Thorne on play-by-play and Mike Bordick on color commentary. It doesn’t matter whether the game is emanating from South Capitol Street or West Camden Street – there will be two distinct broadcast teams, each calling its own team’s action….

The combined booth is an idea that’s run its course, and with both teams possessing strong individual identities and playoff aspirations for 2014, the decision was made to give fans what they’ve been clamoring for – their individual team’s broadcast partners calling the action as they would for any other game.

For this year’s Nats-O’s broadcasts, the home broadcast team will be seen on MASN HD for each of the games, while the visiting team in each of the two-game series will have its broadcasters call action on MASN2 HD.

I can’t imagine that anyone — besides the people who have to cover the expenses involved — will be unhappy with this change.

Indeed, Walton — perhaps the old arrangement’s most prominent skeptic — already tweeted his approval.

Read MASN’s full explanation here.

Dan Steinberg writes about all things D.C. sports at the D.C. Sports Bog.
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