Lehr said he has never called the production truck during a telecast, but has made suggestions about telecast improvements, some of which have had a positive effect.
For instance, both Shapiro and Lehr say they were both interested in having a constant score box added to the telecast last year, while Glass was reluctant. The box was inserted late in the 1997 season and refined for this year.
It is not unusual for local rights holders to have discussions with clubs about their telecast plans. In most cases, those talks are cursory, and in many cases, perfunctory.
But, given that HTS is paying the club around $15 million per season for the cable rights to games -- a figure that is triple what the Orioles received annually in the previous contract -- one might presume that a fee of that size might entitle it to a higher level of editorial independence.
Shapiro said he believes that HTS is not in the "news-making business," but sees its role as entertainer.
"If there is something happening inside the Orioles' organization, I don't believe it is our role to expose that, if we know about it. More likely, we don't know about it," said Shapiro. "I don't think the Orioles or any other of our teams have stepped over the line and made it difficult for us to do what we do."
Pub Date: 6/25/98