With the Major League Baseball 2020 season reportedly set to start July 23 as the World Champion Washington Nationals take on the New York Yankees, radio play-by-play teams are setting their schedules, even as the official game schedule from the league has yet to be announced.
A number of teams will keep their broadcasters locally-based for both home and away games during the abbreviated 60-game campaign.
The Minnesota Twins have gone on the record saying that announcers Cory Provus and Dan Gladden will not travel with the team for away games. The duo will stay in the Twin Cities and call games while watching a monitor of the action when the team is on the road.
In March, Entercom announced that Twins games will continue to be carried on “NewsRadio 830” WCCO for the 2020 MLB season and, for the first time, add an FM simulcast on country sister “102.9 The Wolf” KMNB.
The franchise also had to make some moves regarding its coaching staff as 68-year-old bullpen coach and dugout coach Bill Evers, 66, will not be with the team as the season begins due to their age and vulnerability of catching COVID-19, Twinkie Town reports.
Mitch Rosen, Operations Director at sports sister “670 The Score” WSCR Chicago announced on air Friday (June 26) that the Cubs radio broadcast team – play-by-play announcer Pat Hughes, analyst Ron Coomer and pregame/postgame host Zach Zaidman – will also stay in Chi-town for the entire 60-game season.
“We'll get a television feed from the Marquee Network with multiple camera shots,” Rosen said on the Dan Bernstein show. “We'll get an audio feed, a sound effects feed from the field, so our listeners will be able to hear the crack of the bat. I’m not going to input an artificial sound effect of a fake crowd. But Pat, Ron and Zach will do every game from our home radio booth at Wrigley Field, and I just feel it was the right decision to make from a safety standpoint for this season.”
The MLB has instructed TV broadcasters to call road games remotely to limit travel. However, the league is letting teams and stations decide on how to handle radio home and away broadcasts.
Cable network NESN, which carries Boston Red Sox games, said it will broadcast both home and away games from its TV studios in Watertown, MA. Radio calls of Sox games, carried on Entercom sports WEEI-FM (93.7), will emanate from Fenway Park when the team is in Boston and when they travel. “As far as I know, the first plan was to do all games at Fenway, with us doing the away games off the monitor at Fenway,” Sox announcer Joe Castiglione told Boston.com. “But nothing is cut in stone.”
Castiglione also spoke about the lack of the usual sell-out crowds at Fenway. “The crowd right after an exciting play is important,” he explains. “But as far as calling the actual play, I don’t think it will affect that. You’re concentrating on the action and describing where the ball is. So, I don’t think no fans in the park will be a big factor.”