The Los Angeles Angels opened up the 2023 season with new faces on the field, and some new voices in their on-air broadcasters, but the radio booth will have a different feel, mainly because they’re the only group who won’t be with the team full-time.
Terry Smith and Mark Langston have been with the Angels for a number of years, and both maintained the utmost level of professionalism since the COVID-19 pandemic shifted teams towards remote operations in numerous broadcast areas.
Telecasts were done via monitor with announcers staying behind whether it be in their homes, or at the stadium, but they got it done for a few years.
However, the job remained a difficult task as the feel for the game and the roar of the crowd weren’t there to aid in their efforts. Now that things have returned to near-normal, Arte Moreno and his team opted to keep things as they were, according to Sam Blum of The Athletic:
The Angels are one of two major-league teams that will not travel their flagship English-speaking radio booths on the road. The Blue Jays are the other team.
Moreno cited cost as one reason and also pointed to a lack of tangible benefit to being on the road. But several people experienced in the profession were unconvinced by those arguments.
Mike Ferrin was a long-time broadcaster for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and he explained what’s needed to do the best job possible and bring the experience to the fans meant being at the ballpark where the game is happening is at the top of necessary things:
“You want to be able to do the job the right way,” said Ferrin, who now hosts a show on MLB Network Radio. “And if you’re doing it the right way, you’re taking advantage of access you have as a broadcaster, that not even (beat writers) have.”
Calling games solely off of monitors, he said, is very difficult. Aside from potential technical problems that arise, you inevitably won’t see the whole game or its surroundings.
“Then you’re creating a greater disconnect between your fans and the players,” Ferrin said, “which is, in essence, the product that you’re trying to sell.”
Moreno shelled out free agent money in the offseason which came as a bit of a surprise considering he was on the fence about selling the franchise. But the extra cost of reuniting fans with the most authentic gameday radio experience wasn’t in the cards:
This expert said they budgeted between $185,000 to $200,000 per season for all expenses related to radio broadcasters’ travel.
MLB’s top executive comments on Angels and Blue Jays radio broadcast operations
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred was asked about remote broadcasts during his media availability at the Blue Jays’ spring training complex in February. He noted he was “not qualified” to give a good answer:
“Honestly, I listen to baseball on the radio a fair amount actually,” Manfred said, according to the Toronto Star. “I can’t tell you that I really have discerned a significant difference in part because I’m not sure which clubs are doing what.”
Although Manfred can’t force Moreno to spend the extra money to send their radio crew to road games, it would be beneficial for him to at least have a talk with the Angels owner if the fan experience is important to MLB.
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