If the reports are true that Orioles broadcaster Kevin Brown ran afoul of ownership for uttering an objective statistical fact during a July pregame show, then CEO John Angelos has not only taken a page from his father’s 1990s playbook but is playing a dangerous game with the recently restored reputation of the franchise.
The last thing the Orioles needed during this feel-good season is a controversy that harkens back to the bad old days when extremely popular broadcaster Jon Miller walked away from the team at least in part because majority partner Peter Angelos felt he was not positive enough in his descriptions of the team’s performance.
That situation and the feud between the owner and popular manager Davey Johnson alienated fans and held Angelos up to media criticism and public resentment that lasted for two decades. Apparently, it’s true that those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.
Team officials aren’t talking, which says a lot because reports of Brown’s two-week absence from the broadcast level has already ignited a storm of social media criticism from notable sports broadcasters around the country. If the story isn’t true, the team had better come up with a better one.
If this leads to Brown moving on from Baltimore, that might be the best thing for him. He’s a very talented broadcaster who already works elsewhere (ESPN) and he won’t be long removed from another major league play-by-play job. My concern is more for the overall quality of the Orioles’ broadcasts going forward, since this incident – again, if accurately reported – is going to have a serious chilling effect on the rest of the club’s long roster of broadcasters, some of whom are too young to feel very secure in their employment.
Though it might be hard to say anything but positive things about this year’s very entertaining and attractive team, any attempt to sanitize the club’s history actually detracts from the miracle that is the 2023 Orioles.