Every year when the promotions list for the Orioles comes out, what is the first thing you look for? For me, and I assume many of you, it's who will be honored with a bobblehead during the season. This year the bobblehead recipients are Manny Machado, Adam Jones, and Chris Tillman. Tillman was just announced yesterday as the winner of the fan choice vote. I think these are all fine choices, and I like the concept of letting fans vote, but every time a new bobblehead is announced I find myself longing for a non-player bobblehead. Specifically, for a bobblehead featuring our two favorite broadcasters, Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer.
I know that bobbleheads are usually reserved for players, and rightly so. But Thorne and Palmer have been providing the perfect amount of baseball talk and levity to us since Thorne joined the O's broadcast team in 2007. I mean no offense to prior broadcasting teams of recent memory, or to Jim Hunter and Mike Bordick, the other broadcasters for the Orioles over the past few. But, for me at least, there is nothing quite like turning on MASN when the game is about to start and seeing Gary and Jim in the booth. Their chemistry is undeniable, and they have the ability to make any game worth watching. They know when to be serious, they know when to be whacky, and they know when to stop talking about the game on the field.
We're still not that far removed from the dark days of 1998-2011, and I don't think it's dramatic to say that Gary and Jim got us through a lot of those games. They are good when paired with Bordick or Hunter, but together they bring out the best in each other and can make a boring game more fun and a miserable game a little less so. Palmer mirrors the feelings of longtime Orioles fans, and why not? He's been living and dying with them as long as we have. And Thorne, who is probably my favorite broadcaster ever, is always having such a good time that it's hard for me not to do the same. Really, I dare you to listen to Thorne laugh and not smile a little.
It's easy to grow fond of the players on the team, and they will always be the real stars. But unlike the players, we hear from the broadcasters nearly every day. We know their personalities, we know a little about their lives, and they are guests in our living rooms on a regular basis. I think a bobblehead of the two of them would be a huge hit among Orioles fans. Just the idea of Gary and Jim talking about their own bobblehead on air gives me some joy.
It's not unprecedented, either. Back in 2002 the Orioles gave away a Chuck Thompson bobblehead, and other broadcaster bobbleheads include Marty and Thom Brennaman, Vin Scully, Mike Shannon, Duane Kiper, and more.
I'm certainly not capable of presenting an artists rendering of what this dual bobblehead would look like, but I'm guessing Thorne and Palmer would be sitting in their broadcast booth, Palmer with perfectly styled hair and Thorne would be in one of his brightly colored dress shirts and a just slightly red face. The bobblehead artist looking for inspiration should look no further than this:
And you know how some bobbleheads have a little button to press that plays a recording of one of the subjects? How about this? Or this? Or this? Or just a clip of him saying, "Oh, mercy!" (sadly we have no Thorne postseason calls) With Thorne and his great voice, the possibilities are practically endless. Even the legendary, "Please drink............responsibly" would be awesome (sadly that phrase seems to have been retired. I blame Miller Lite).
So how about it, Orioles? It's too late for 2014, but a Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer dual bobblehead in 2015 would be one of the highlights of the season. I guarantee it would be a popular night at the Yard.