Astros’ radio voices travel again, but the TV crew will remain at bay

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DETROIT – The Astros’ radio broadcast team will resume their trips to road games after the all-star break, but AT&T SportsNet Southwest has no plans to travel Todd Kalas, Geoff Blum and Julia Morales for the remainder of the season. season, said the general manager of the television network. Thursday.

Neither broadcast team has made it to a road game since the 2019 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Broadcasters Robert Ford and Steve Sparks are currently calling road games from a TV inside the radio booth at Minute Maid Park.

Kalas, Blum and Morales broadcast the games from the AT&T studio in downtown Houston using a global stream. AT&T SportsNet Southwest general manager David Peart said the setup was not conducive to a mid-season change.

The overall feed of a road game is transmitted to AT&T SportsNet Southwest’s downtown office where it is “integrated” with statistics, graphics and features common to a normal Astros broadcast.

“The challenge for us in the global flow model is that if we sent our advertisers to, say, Anaheim for a game on the road, there would be a delay of this built-in programming for them, which would make it very difficult for them to broadcast the game in real time, ”Peart said Thursday.

“The bottom line is that all RSNs sort of use this overall flow model to make sure that we can meet the standards that our viewers expect, with the number of cameras, the quality of the broadcast and all that (and) make this integration into their home facilities. To roll this out mid-season, we think, would be a challenge. It would put our ability to produce these games, it would make it harder for us to be able to do it. “

League teams have slowly brought some radio broadcasters back on the road this season. The White Sox and Rangers both sent their radio teams to Minute Maid Park for their club’s final games against the Astros. Tigers broadcasters also travel.

During normal season, all broadcasters on the team travel with the team charter and stay at the team hotel. The Astros hit the 85 percent vaccination threshold in May to remove most health and safety protocols on road trips.

The guidelines went into effect earlier this month, allowing fully vaccinated members of the media access to the pitch for pre-game batting practices. All must wear masks, but no social distancing is necessary, providing more opportunities for in-person interviews and access

Ford, Sparks and producer / engineer Matt Boltz are scheduled to resume on-site radio shows at Guaranteed Rate Field July 16-18 during the Astros vs. White Sox series – their first after the All-Star hiatus.

“I can’t wait to call the Astros road games in person with Steve Sparks and Matt Boltz again,” Ford said Thursday. “I certainly understand why we are calling distance road games and we are certainly working hard to make the most of the situation. However, being in person will always be the most appropriate and efficient way to deliver the best possible delivery. I’m happy that the Astros recognize the value of having us on the road and hope that the broadcasters on each team will travel again in the near future.


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