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Orioles announce 2020 broadcast team

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The Orioles press release highlights “an innovative approach with talent appearing in multiple roles.” What’s it actually mean? We’ll find out soon!

Baltimore Orioles v Arizona Diamondbacks
Yes, Jim Palmer will be back.
Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

The Orioles announced the broadcast team for their television and radio coverage for the 2020 season on Wednesday afternoon. Many familiar faces and voices will be back for another year of Orioles, along with three new additions to the O’s crew. One of the new faces is a woman, Melanie Newman, who joins the O’s broadcasting ensemble after most recently broadcasting games for the Red Sox minor league affiliate in Salem, Virginia.

The other two new names to the broadcasts are not unfamiliar ones for Orioles fans. Scott Garceau, who’s been on Baltimore airwaves for longer than I and probably most of the people reading this have been alive, returns to doing live Baltimore sports for O’s broadcasts in 2020. His past O’s broadcast experience includes the 1983 World Series-winning season.

The other new guy for this year is Geoff Arnold, who fans local to the O’s affiliate in Frederick might recognize as their radio voice for the past five seasons.

What exactly these and the returning people will be doing over the course of the season isn’t clear from the announcement, with the Orioles offering this detail-light couple of paragraphs to explain who will be doing what:

The 2020 broadcast team will embrace an innovative approach with talent appearing in multiple roles across various Orioles platforms. The versatile team will appear in-game and on pre- and post-game shows on MASN and the Orioles Radio Network, as well in different capacities on MASN All-Access and 105.7 The Fan programming. They will also appear in Orioles and MASN digital and entertainment content.

In addition to games, broadcast content will be focused on fan engagement, community initiatives, entertainment programming, player lifestyle and interests, and behind-the-scenes coverage. Orioles.com and MASNsports.com, as well as @Orioles on social media, will continue to be the premier online destinations for fans with comprehensive coverage of the O’s. The talent team will also utilize their personal social media platforms to share content and engage with the club’s diverse fanbase.

That’s a lot of words for something that definitely sounds new and for being new is automatically interesting, and will probably take some getting used to in the short-term whether or not it is any good at all.

I suspect that I’m not in the imagined target audience for “broadcast content focused on fan engagement, community initiatives, (and) entertainment programming,” and if you already watch or listen to Orioles games more days than you don’t, you’re probably not in that target audience either. We’ll soon find out together whether this extra stuff is to be enjoyed or endured.

If Newman is joining the team to do play-by-play of games, that would be noteworthy because a woman calling MLB games would be new in Baltimore and is uncommon league-wide. I hope she gets to do some play-by-play. I think it’d be a positive for O’s fans and for all of baseball.

It’s not clear from the press release or any of the Twitter coverage I’ve seen whether this is what is happening. I feel like if Newman was going to be doing play-by-play, the release would highlight that fact, but I don’t know.

The group that will be back in the regular rotation includes former Orioles Jim Palmer, Mike Bordick, Ben McDonald, and Brian Roberts. Gregg Olson will be on radio broadcasts only, with Dave Johnson tabbed for “select broadcasts in 2020.” Rick Dempsey is returning to O’s Xtra “for select games,” which sounds like we’re going to be hearing less from him in 2020 than in the past.

Gary Thorne is back for his 14th season of Orioles broadcasts. Longtime stalwarts Jim Hunter and Tom Davis - the latter of whom, like Garceau, has been doing Baltimore sports for longer than a lot of us have been alive - are ticketed for “new roles as regular on-air contributors in 2020.” That sounds like it means less of Hunter doing play-by-play for games, and probably less of Davis in the studio, because if they were just doing what they have been doing, that wouldn’t be a new role.

Also, my not-cousin Kevin Brown will be returning for radio broadcasts in addition to “select games” on MASN. Congratulations to every one of these folks whose new role amounts to a promotion over what they were doing before. I enjoyed what I heard of him last year and am glad that the powers that be agree that there should be more of him.

The Orioles are probably going to be a bad team again in 2020 no matter what any one of these people does or says, but hopefully the new setup for familiar names and the new voices will make the experience of watching and listening to that bad team as enjoyable as it can be.

What do you think about all of this? Share your thoughts in the comments below.