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April 11, 2022 9:01 am  #1


Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

Is it prudence over COVID or simply Rogers being cheap? Fans will have to decide on their own, after the Blue Jays confirmed earlier this year that sole play-by-play broadcaster Ben Wagner will stay home and call games off a monitor whenever the team is playing on the road this year. 

A former CHUM newscaster-turned-professor weighs in on the controversy, noting it's a disservice to listeners - and he predicts they'll notice.

"I'm thinking about it as a broadcaster and thinking I feel as if what I'd be missing is that 1,000-foot view," said longtime newscaster Paul Cross, a radio professor at Toronto's Humber College. 

Even Wagner says he hopes his company will change its mind as the excitement builds around this potential championship squad. 

"I think that you're really at a disadvantage if you're not with the ball club so I'm really disappointed that we're not travelling at the start of the season," Wagner said. "I hope that's open to further consideration as the season continues."

Frankly, I'm surprised he openly expresses that opinion because it does not make his bosses look very good. But good for him for being honest.


Blue Jays take to the road but radio crew to call games from Toronto

 

April 12, 2022 10:03 am  #2


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

Am surprised (and disappointed) to see the same piece word-for-word in two different dailies (National Post and Globe 'n Mail)

 

Last edited by geo (April 12, 2022 10:04 am)

 

April 12, 2022 10:22 am  #3


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

It's from the Canadian Press, which is now owned by a consortium of newspapers, including the Toronto Star (which also published it) and I believe The Globe, among others. They bought CP when it was in some financial trouble because it allowed them a lot of quality filler for the paper from reporters they didn't have to hire. 

I think The National Post is a subscriber, so they have access to the same copy as well. 

This is not that unusual. If you do a search for this story in Google News or any search engine, the same article will come up on literally dozens of newspapers and news services across the country. It's the new reality for a very old business.

     Thread Starter
 

April 12, 2022 10:39 am  #4


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

Am even more surprised (and disappointed) to learn that regardless of the source, another would use it after it ran elsewhere.   These are not inexpensive newspapers.   They're not the Milton Tribune or the Oshawa Express.

YVT  

Surprised & Disappointed 

 

April 12, 2022 6:20 pm  #5


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

This is so very sad and just another example of to hell with a quality informative product just to save some money.   If Wagner was on the road, he would have access to the players pre and post game.  A chance to gather information that could be passed on to listener during the broadcast.  If there is an injury and a new player called up he could get access during BP or post game.   And with just one person in the booth there is no chance to discuss games, players, moves.   We are getting the Coles Notes version of our Major League Baseball team on radio.  This is really cheeseball.

 

April 12, 2022 8:40 pm  #6


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

I have to say I'm surprised that Wagner is frequently and openly admitting during his broadcast that he's in the studio in Toronto. Usually they try to at least create the illusion of being on site, assuming that most (unlike those who gather here) may not be aware of the Rogers policy. 

But good for him for being so consistently honest.

By the way, one thing that I find very bizarre this year (although they were there last year, too) is one of the regular sponsors, whose spots run between almost every inning. When you think of baseball, beer, restaurants, maybe Home Depot-type places or hardware stores come to mind.

But Armstrong Bird Food? Not quite what I would think your average baseball fan might be interested in, although I get the tie-in with the Blue Jays. I just find it a bit weird that it's one of their biggest commercial backers for the broadcasts.

     Thread Starter
 

April 12, 2022 9:32 pm  #7


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

geo wrote:

Am even more surprised (and disappointed) to learn that regardless of the source, another would use it after it ran elsewhere.   These are not inexpensive newspapers.   They're not the Milton Tribune or the Oshawa Express.

YVT  

Surprised & Disappointed 

They've been doing it this way for over a century, since the formation of The Canadian Press in 1917. Other news agencies, such as the Associated Press and Reuters, have been doing it much longer. A common, long-standing and accepted practice. Newspapers can't have reporters everywhere, hence the need for a central news agency.
 

Last edited by Dale Patterson (April 12, 2022 9:33 pm)


"Life without echo is really no life at all." - Dan Ingram
 

April 13, 2022 9:13 am  #8


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

Thank God for talented, self-respecting contributors such as Cathal Kelly & Marty Klinkenberg (Globe 'n Mail), Scott Stinson & Steve Simmons (National Post) and even Rosie DiManno (Toronto Star)

 

 

April 13, 2022 6:43 pm  #9


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

geo wrote:

Thank God for talented, self-respecting contributors such as Cathal Kelly & Marty Klinkenberg (Globe 'n Mail), Scott Stinson & Steve Simmons (National Post) and even Rosie DiManno (Toronto Star)

 

Yes, they are columnists, not reporters. Every paper has them. What's your point? Do you not know there's a difference between editorial and news contemt?
 

Last edited by Dale Patterson (April 13, 2022 11:23 pm)


"Life without echo is really no life at all." - Dan Ingram
 

April 18, 2022 12:27 pm  #10


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

Point wasn't that different newspapers can access the same material from CP (or AP or Reuters, whatever) but SHOULD they . . . consumers will eventually ask themselves "Why am I subscribing to two or 3 different (not inexpensive) dailies and receiving identical material?"

 

April 18, 2022 1:36 pm  #11


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

geo wrote:

Point wasn't that different newspapers can access the same material from CP (or AP or Reuters, whatever) but SHOULD they . . . consumers will eventually ask themselves "Why am I subscribing to two or 3 different (not inexpensive) dailies and receiving identical material?"

By eliminating CP, they would deprive themselves of both national (CP) and international (AP) coverage.  (CP is an exclusive carrier of AP).  That’s just the way it works.  How would you explain to your readers that, from here on in, we’re going to feature local news only?  If you want to read about the war in Ukraine in a newspaper, check out our competition.
 


- Chris Mayberry
 

April 18, 2022 1:52 pm  #12


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

CP is an institution in this country and a necessary component of news gathering. No newspaper, no matter how well off (and there aren't many of those anymore) can be everywhere on earth. CP & AP have correspondents everywhere but the space station (and it wouldn't surprise me if they're not working on that!) 

Their radio division - formerly known as Broadcast News - not only provides hourly newscast updates to stations that otherwise wouldn't have any, but also provides voicers and actualities (short news reports on specific stories and clips from the same) for stations small and large throughout the country. I briefly worked in their voice room one summer a long, long time ago and it was quite an experience. 

They also publish the definitive guide to news copy style in Canada that's followed by just about every network and station. 

They really are an invaluable service and trust me, if they weren't there it wouldn't take long before every listener noticed. 

     Thread Starter
 

April 19, 2022 12:08 am  #13


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

Most radio stations have dropped CP and just reword copy from CTV and newspaper websites.

 

April 24, 2022 5:52 pm  #14


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

Turns out Ben Wagner isn't the only baseball play-by-play veteran being kept at home. The other day, I heard him unable to determine whether the Jays hit a home run because it was just of camera range. At least he admitted it on air, saying he couldn't tell and reminding listeners he wasn't actually in the ballpark.

Some MLB broadcasters still aren’t back on the road. Viewers notice.
https://clearthis.page/?u=https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2022/04/23/masn-broadcasters-remote/
 

     Thread Starter
 

May 2, 2022 6:23 pm  #15


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

https://twitter.com/benwag247/status/1521219946986065926?s=20&t=5Isgy7opUTnzyXgqy4ZHIA

Ben has COVID. As a result, the TV broadcasters will be simulcast on radio until he's back. 

Last edited by torontostan (May 2, 2022 6:23 pm)

 

May 2, 2022 6:30 pm  #16


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

torontostan wrote:

Ben has COVID.

Just to be clear, he didn't state that. He's observing protocols as best practice due to "close contact with a positive case":

Quick update #BlueJays fans: I'm in COVID protocols for the next few days due to close contact with a positive case. While I'm out, our TV crew will have you covered on radio and I will be back in the booth as soon as I clear protocols. Stay healthy, go Jays!

 

May 2, 2022 6:38 pm  #17


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

You know considering he's calling the game off a monitor many nights anyway, if he's not sick, he might as well do it from home. A lot of on air people have been forced to do just that. 

     Thread Starter
 

May 3, 2022 7:11 pm  #18


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

AspectRatio wrote:

torontostan wrote:

Ben has COVID.

Just to be clear, he didn't state that. He's observing protocols as best practice due to "close contact with a positive case":

Quick update #BlueJays fans: I'm in COVID protocols for the next few days due to close contact with a positive case. While I'm out, our TV crew will have you covered on radio and I will be back in the booth as soon as I clear protocols. Stay healthy, go Jays!

Whoops! My apologies. This is why I didn't get into journalism. 

But RA is right, it's very odd he isn't calling it off a monitor since he's doing that for away games anyways. 

 

May 3, 2022 7:23 pm  #19


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

Any "calling it from the monitor" setups I've seen have been a little more complicated than something that could be set up in someone's home with little to no notice. Possible, of course, but not if it hadn't been planned for.


 
 

May 4, 2022 6:50 am  #20


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

I personally prefer the TV feed.....Wagner should be doing Triple A broadcasts
 

 

May 4, 2022 11:48 pm  #21


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

peter wrote:

I personally prefer the TV feed.....Wagner should be doing Triple A broadcasts
 

I'd take Ben's play by play over Buck's any day.

 

May 5, 2022 7:12 am  #22


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

Tomas Barlow wrote:

peter wrote:

I personally prefer the TV feed.....Wagner should be doing Triple A broadcasts
 

I'd take Ben's play by play over Buck's any day.

I agree, but I would take Dan Shulman over both of them.

 

May 5, 2022 6:07 pm  #23


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

Ben Wagner is back in the broadcast booth, but now Dan Shulman is in COVID protocols so he will not be calling the Jays' series in Cleveland. Instead, the TV/radio simulcast will continue with Wagner and Pat Tabler on the call.
https://twitter.com/dshulman_espn/status/1522264481270743040

 

May 8, 2022 2:05 pm  #24


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

Check Pat Tabler's contract.  I'm sure he gets paid by the word.

 

May 8, 2022 3:10 pm  #25


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

Here's one thing he's not paid to say - the score. I tuned in randomly during Sunday's game hoping to hear who was winning. They went through a pitching change, the end of an inning and the fill-in back to the Fan while the TV was in a mini-spot.

Not once did anyone tell me what the score was.  Kind of important. 

I'm assuming they show it on screen. But that doesn't work if you're listening on the radio. 

     Thread Starter
 

May 8, 2022 7:24 pm  #26


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

RadioActive wrote:

Here's one thing he's not paid to say - the score. I tuned in randomly during Sunday's game hoping to hear who was winning. They went through a pitching change, the end of an inning and the fill-in back to the Fan while the TV was in a mini-spot.

Not once did anyone tell me what the score was.  Kind of important. 

I'm assuming they show it on screen. But that doesn't work if you're listening on the radio. 

I was thinking the same thing this afternoon when my wife and I were listening to the game in the car on the way home. End of innings - no mention of score. Half the time we didn't know who was pitching.  I know Tom and Jerry are impossible to beat. But in the past I've heard Dan Shulman do radio games on ESPN and he puts anything the Rogers is doing for the Fan590 broadcasts to shame. Radio baseball in Toronto is pretty sad.

 

 

May 8, 2022 10:49 pm  #27


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

Did I read correctly that Joe Bowen did not travel to Tampa for the Leafs' playoff games there?  He called them off a monitor in Toronto?  If true, that's even worse than what Rogers is doing with Ben Wagner.

 

May 9, 2022 4:02 pm  #28


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

dieter wrote:

Did I read correctly that Joe Bowen did not travel to Tampa for the Leafs' playoff games there? He called them off a monitor in Toronto? If true, that's even worse than what Rogers is doing with Ben Wagner.

Correct.  The radio crew is not going on the road.  Another Rogers "genius" move!
 

 

May 9, 2022 8:41 pm  #29


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

Joe has mentioned this over the air on a few occasions. Yesterday he mentioned they were in the Sportsnet studio at "Mount Pleasant & Bloor." What's particularly interesting is how vocal both Wagner and Bowen have been with their displeasure of the arrangement. Especially considering Ben is now solo, it's a shame he doesn't get to go on the road. That, and the Blue Jays terrestrial radio reach is probably one of the largest in the MLB. When it comes to the Maple Leafs, personally I think it's reasonable not to have the radio team travel during the regular season these days.... except that it's now the playoffs. There were several times during yesterday's broadcast on 590 that Joe couldn't tell what exactly was going on (and I don't blame him at all)..... it's a disgrace during the playoffs. Nobody should be guessing. 

 

May 10, 2022 2:58 am  #30


Re: Critics Lament Ben Wagner Staying Home For Jays' Away Games On Radio

mace wrote:

Tomas Barlow wrote:

peter wrote:

I personally prefer the TV feed.....Wagner should be doing Triple A broadcasts
 

I'd take Ben's play by play over Buck's any day.

I agree, but I would take Dan Shulman over both of them.

I’m with you 100%.