Athletics' Radio, Television Announcers May Wind Up Calling Road Games From Home

There has been no decision yet, but there is a possibility that the Oakland Athletics won't be taking their radio and television announcers on the road with them. We don't know if there will be a season yet, so this is far down the list of decisions that need to be made immediately, but the A's Ken Korach says there would be a way to make calling games remotely entertaining.
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Oakland A’s radio voice Ken Korach woke up Thursday to a tweet saying that all Major League Baseball radio and television announcers have been told that they will not be traveling with their respective teams this year.

All road games would instead be done from local studios or from home studios.

It was a bit of a surprise to Korach, because the A’s, at least, have not told that to Korach or any of their other announcers.

However, nothing is off the table, and the radio/TV team of Korach, Vince Cotroneo, Ray Fosse, Glen Kuiper and Dallas Braden could find themselves spending the entire season in the Bay Area, calling home games from the Coliseum and road games from either home or a studio.

That’s assuming there is a season, of course. MLB owners and players are negotiating about that, and while the general expectation is that something along the lines of an 82-game season will emerge, negotiations between those two entities are always fraught.

There have been discussions, to be sure, about how to handle road games if a season conceived in social distancing ever got going, but what to do with the announcers is just part of a larger package that includes how to keep players and staff heathy and COVID-19 free, whether it’s possible to limit players strictly to road hotels and just how man of the 50 members of the extended roster – 30 players are eligible per game – would hit the road.

Korach said he’s never done games from the studio, but then took that back. As part of an A’s Cast project in April, he and Fosse did play-by-play for a rebroadcast of Game 1 of the 1974 World Series. And, to be clear, most Bay Area listeners this season will be tuning in through A’s Cast as Oakland has decided to partially cut the ties with radio. Korach and Co. will be heard around Northern California on radio, just not in the Bay Area.

“It was kind of off the wall,” Korach said of the recreation. “We did that game off computer screens. Game 1 was (Andy) Messersmith against (Ken) Holtzman. And Ray actually played in that game. I thought we made it work. But it wasn’t straight play-by-play, either. We were doing a lot of commentary.”

Korach said he’s thought a lot in the last three months about what baseball broadcasts will be like when they return. And he’s counting on listeners being open to new experiences.

“Honestly, I believe our listeners will be very understanding,” he said. “They’ll know that these are far different circumstances that we’ll be dealing with. And it’s not going to be perfect. There will be stuff we’re going to miss.

“You will be at the mercy of the cameras, so maybe you won’t know where the outfielders are playing exactly before each pitch. And how will the cameras catch the base runners? There’s a lot we won’t know until it happens. That doesn’t mean we can’t make it an entertaining broadcast.”

Follow Athletics insider John Hickey on Twitter: @JHickey3

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