Late last week it was found out that the Baltimore Orioles (in conjunction with the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network) were making some major changes in how they’re covered starting in 2021. Gary Thorne, Jim Hunter, Tom Davis, Rick Dempsey, Dave Johnson, and Mike Bordick are no longer with the team. Their contracts expire at the end of January, and they will not be renewed.
MASN also announced that they will no longer be producing pre and post-game shows (O’s Xtra) for the Orioles and Washington Nationals. Instead there’ll be a 15 minute lead-in mainly with the game announcers prior to every game. The team will have the option of paying to produce it’s own pre and post game shows, however again that comes at their cost.
I think this is all a real shame. Gary Thorne is a pro’s pro behind the microphone. Speaking for myself, I remember him calling National Hockey Night games in the NHL back when I was in Junior High. I always felt having an announcer of his caliber was an asset to the franchise. Jim Hunter and Tom Davis have been affiliated with the Orioles for years, and it will certainly be a change not hearing their voices in team coverage.
Obviously the other three names on that list are former players. Specifically Rick Dempsey, who’s put most of his professional life into the Orioles in some capacity. Unfortunately however, these are business moves. And often business can get in the way of a good thing. And all of the affected parties know that. Everything’s a business, including sports.
The Orioles also announced today that their broadcast team would be Scott Garceau, Rob Long, Geoff Arnold, Kevin Brown, Brett Hollander, Melanie Newman, Jim Palmer, and Ben McDonald. There’s no differentiation between television and radio, however I would assume that Garceau will be the primary play-by-play guy on MASN. Palmer and McDonald are obviously familiar to fans, especially Jim Palmer. Any broadcast is going to be better with him on it.
Again, it’s a shame that so many talented people who meant so much over so many years to the organization are no longer there. However again, these sorts of things happen in companies across America all the time. Needless to say, you’ll still be able to see and hear the Orioles on television and radio this year. It’ll just look and sound a little different.