When the Toronto Blue Jays hit the road for games this season, the team’s radio broadcast team will not be making the trip.
COVID-19 travel restrictions have forced SportsNet radio broadcaster Ben Wagner to call games remotely again this year, at least for the time being.
“I think that you’re really at a disadvantage if you’re not with the ball club so I’m really disappointed that we’re not travelling at the start of the season,” Wagner was quoted in an article in The Globe and Mail. “I hope that’s open to further consideration as the season continues.”
SportsNet will send its TV broadcast crew on the road with the Jays this season, but for some reason that’s not the case for radio. Ben Wagner said having to rely on the TV feed of games on a 60-inch monitor makes the job tougher, especially close or exciting plays.
“Bang-bang plays are just awful. You don’t see runners coming around third heading toward the plate while the ball is tracked in the corner,” he said. “For a radio broadcast, there are massive obstacles in the in-game mechanics of doing the broadcast.”
Ben Wagner added that not being on the road, you miss a lot of different things from an atmosphere perspective and things that help you paint a picture of what’s happening for the listener. Remote broadcasts are not new to listeners in this COVID age, but the excitement lacks.
“When you’re calling a game off of a monitor, you’re trying – hopefully – to see some reaction from a player,” he said. “You know, a pumped fist from Vladdy (Guerrero Jr.) on a bang-bang play because he knows he got the out. Or a runner that’s running through and the camera follows that person and you don’t see the umpire and (the player) slams his bat or his helmet down.”
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