Blue Jays radio broadcasts aren't hitting the road this season

Feb 17 2023, 4:49 pm

Another baseball season, and another year where Toronto Blue Jays fans won’t hear radio broadcasts called from road stadiums.

While radio-specific broadcasts remain part of Sportsnet’s plan, play-by-play voice Ben Wagner won’t be travelling on the road this season. Instead, he’ll call all road games remotely from a studio in Toronto.

The TV crews, which are fairly consistent from past seasons but won’t include Arash Madani, will be in the stadiums for all 162 MLB regular season games in 2023. Still, the radio broadcasts will only come from inside the park at the 81 home games on Toronto’s schedule.

And while it may be a popular trend, almost all other MLB radio broadcast crews have resumed pre-pandemic trouble, making Sportsnet and the Blue Jays an outlier in the league.

Remote broadcasting isn’t new for baseball or any others sports. When COVID-19 hit, remote broadcasting took over the sports world, with every major league using it somehow. For many leagues, it’s still a present factor for away games in particular or multi-language broadcasts of events where it’s not possible to have a commentator on site.

A remote broadcast isn’t too different than being inside the stadium. Yet it leaves the broadcaster — and in part, the fan — at an occasional disadvantage if something notable happens off the live camera feed.

Not being on the road also doesn’t allow broadcasters to get to know the players, staff and their stories, hindering how their coverage can evolve throughout the season. Although remotely broadcasting a single event isn’t too noticeable, the issues can build over time.

Wagner is currently in Florida for Blue Jays spring training, but that will be his only travel for this season as he gets set to open the Blue Jays regular season broadcasts on Opening Day from Toronto on March 30 against the St. Louise Cardinals.

Ben SteinerBen Steiner

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