It's more than four months before the Nationals and Orioles will meet in four days of interleague action. But when those games occur - at Nationals Park on July 7-8, and 35 miles up the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at Camden Yards on July 9-10 - viewers on MASN will notice a major 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.
Since the 2007 edition of the Battle of the Beltways, MASN had utilized a combined broadcast team for interleague games featuring its two marquee teams. It was, in all senses of the words, an all-star lineup of talent.
In the past, Hall of Famers Jim Palmer and Don Sutton would wax poetic on the intricacies of pitching, giving fans of both teams the benefit of the respective color analysts' vast experience. Carpenter might start the game and be relieved by Orioles counterpart Jim Hunter, or vice versa. More recently, former major league infielders Santangelo and Bordick tossed good-natured barbs.
But 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. That means the Carpenter/Santangelo duo will be on MASN HD for the July 7-8 series in D.C. and on MASN2 HD for the July 9-10 series in Baltimore. The Thorne/Bordick tandem will be on MASN2 HD on July 7-8 from Nationals Park and MASN HD on July 9-10 from Camden Yards.