Good news: MASN airing six Orioles spring training games. Bad news: They play 33 of them.

March 04, 2013 | Drew Forrester

Reminder for those of you who forgot:  The Orioles have their own TV network, just like the Yankees, who show 18 games plus make available several more via ESPN feeds.  So, explain to me how on earth it’s possible that the Orioles air six of their thirty three spring training games?

How and why?

Don’t tell me it’s money.  I don’t want to hear it.  They’ve been collecting $3.00+ from me in January and February.  They’ve been collecting it from you, too.  And from your neighbor.  In all, MASN collected roughly $30 million in revenue during January and February from nearly eight million cable subscribers.  Where has that money gone in those two months?  You can’t air your team’s own spring training games?

And, even more importantly than basically pocketing everyone’s money is this:  Are you seriously going to only air six spring training games to kick-off the year following one of the biggest seasons in the history of the franchise?

The Nationals are probably indirectly involved in this, since they own a small stake in MASN.  If the network suddenly (and smartly) started showing all of the Orioles games — or at the very least, all of the home games from Sarasota — the Nats would probably want the same kind of treatment.

This isn’t about Peter Angelos.  And it’s not really about bad baseball somehow turning into good baseball almost overnight.

It’s about one thing:  Terrible marketing.

Last month, I beat up the Ravens for their Super Bowl parade.  It was dangerous, reckless and out-of-control.  We were thrilled to have a celebration of that magnitude in Baltimore, but the operation and the nuts and bolts of the whole thing were poorly executed.  That was poor planning, a rarity for the usually-spot-on Ravens.

What the Orioles are doing – or not doing, by airing only six games – is terrible marketing.  And it’s very unfair to their paying customers.  Somehow, though, we’re supposed to just excuse them for it.

From 1998-2011, the team wasn’t very good and the Orioles didn’t really have any clue how to market a losing product.

Now, though, the team appears on the verge of being good again this season.  A .500 or better season is a very real possibility and few would be shocked if the Birds aren’t sniffing around for a post-season berth in September.

The fans came out last year late in the campaign – albeit only when the ticket prices got reduced to $4.00 each – but the reward they get this spring is six lousy games on the team’s TV network.

It’s an embarrassment.

And worst of all?  You’re not allowed to question the team about it.  No one from the organization is willing to reply to an email or a phone call about the whole scam that is televising-pre-season-baseball.

We foot the bill for it…and, then, have zero say in the matter or own the opportunity to ask a member of their company a legitimate question about why the games aren’t all aired in March.

WNST will be the only ones in Baltimore to question this, of course.  The Sun won’t.  “Baltimore’s Sports Leader”, the FM station, certainly won’t ask, because if they did, they’d get an email reminding them about that check the Orioles send over every month or two for advertising.  That hard-hitting analysis you get at Orioles Hangout?  Yeah, they won’t be asking any legitimate questions either.  And, naturally, the team’s flagship station doesn’t want to ask the question because they air the spring training games on the radio.  Truth of the matter, WBAL Radio is thrilled that the Orioles are stupid enough to not show their own games on TV every March.

So…I’ll ask.  I’ll send the emails.  I’ll be the one to try and find out why, with the city actually STARVING for baseball season to start in 2013, the team again eschews common sense and fails to air 27 of its 33 spring training games on TV.

I don’t get it.

But I’m sure, somehow, it has something to do with money.

They sure know how to bring it in over there at Camden Yards.

I just wish they knew how to spend it.

9 Comments For This Post

  1. Christian Says:

    I don’t get it, this is the most excitement before a season in 10 years, show some games, people will watch, I will watch

  2. BudIce Says:

    MASN Sucks, I get is as part of my Direct TV Sports Package living in the Philly-Lehigh Valley Area and thinking I would get alot of O’s Coverage. The only good program I see onis O’s Classics but DT blacks this out (I get the MLB Package why black out?). Most of the days are ESPN news reruns or out of Mid-Atlantic Market college games (NESN,YES,CSNPhilly are 10 times better for their local coverage, including ROOT Sports-Pittsburgh). For a market the size of Baltimore-Washington, VA, and NC its pretty pathetic and they actually charge for this crap?

  3. calvin@jhh Says:

    I thought it was some deal with MLB network and MLB radio? I could have sworn I read that somewhere.. Btw, the Nats don’t show that many games at all

  4. Steve From Sandpoint Says:

    It’s always and only about the money Drew, you know this. Cable subscribers pay the monthly fee, Angelos laughs all the way to the bank. Until someone brings a lawsuit against Comcast and or MASN about the fee, things will not change. And remember, what’s good for the O’s is good for the National’s.

  5. The Armchair QB Says:

    I’ll play “devil’s advocate” on this one, Drew, and opine that MAYBE this is a bit of a ploy to evoke more enthusiasm for the regular season and avoid unnecessary over exposure of games that are relatively meaningless that could create alot of false impressions. Speaking for myself, I just don’t get all that excited about exhibition games, but I am looking forward to the coming season with great enthusiasm! Of course, that’s just one fan’s opinion……

  6. charlie Says:

    thanks for pointing this out, drew. it’s a drag. it’s also important that we don’t forget that no matter how great last season was, there are still plenty of short-sighted jerks in the warehouse.

  7. Justafan Says:

    Suppose the Orioles televised all of their Spring Training games and played poorly, as even some of the top teams do in March. The over exposure may certainly put a damper on the enthusiam of the fans. Of course, they are only exhibition games, but the fans want to see a winner, whether it be March or September. Besides many Orioles fans also are fans of other sports teams. With March Madness taking center stage, how many people would watch an Orioles exhibition game that conflict with some top NCAA Basketball matchups? As for the fee that MASN charges to bring Orioles baseball to our homes, it sure beats paying top dollar to attend the games at Camden Yards in person.

  8. unitastoberry Says:

    They are who we thought they were! And we let them get away with it!

  9. Ken Says:

    MASN is a joke. Half the year they simply show ESPN News. And we pay extra for this?

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