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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where MASN is shaking things up

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The Orioles’ broadcast network announced a bunch of changes, which aren’t all being well received.

Kansas City Royals v Baltimore Orioles
The days of Rick Dempsey being a familiar face on MASN are over.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

It’s not just the Orioles’ on-field roster that’s been gutted this winter. Yesterday, their broadcasting roster lost a few notable names, too.

As had been rumored for several days, the Birds’ newly unveiled 2021 broadcast team no longer includes a bunch of guys who’d been regular presences on MASN and the Orioles Radio Network, including Gary Thorne, Jim Hunter, Tom Davis, and Rick Dempsey. Those four alone had combined for more than 80 years on Orioles broadcasts. Also getting the ax were relatively recent additions Gregg Olson and Brian Roberts, both former Orioles.

No matter your opinion of any or all of those broadcasters, it sucks to see longtime voices of the Orioles so unceremoniously given the heave-ho, such as Thorne, who told The Athletic that the O’s hadn’t contacted him in months until informing him of his departure last week.

The Birds’ broadcast team wasn’t the only one affected by MASN’s cost-cutting measures. The Orioles-owned regional network also slashed its coverage of the Nationals, cutting its pre- and post-game shows to 15 minutes each while parting ways with three broadcasters, leading the club to issue a testy statement.

Yeah, so, uh...things aren’t going great.

In better MASN news, the network will finally be launching a streaming service that will allow fans to watch Orioles and Nationals game on their app. The catch is that you still have to have a cable subscription to access it, so for all those hoping they could cut the cord and still be able to watch the Birds, you’re out of luck.

In other baseball news, the results of the 2021 Hall of Fame voting will be announced today. As of this writing, former Oriole Curt Schilling was the only candidate named on at least 75 percent of the ballots tracked by Ryan Thibodaux’s HOF tracker. Schilling is no sure thing to be elected, though, what with his absolutely toxic personality and hateful beliefs. People tend to frown on that stuff. There’s a good chance nobody will be elected today, though this year’s induction ceremony at Cooperstown — if there is one — will still have Derek Jeter and Larry Walker on the docket, as the two had their 2020 induction postponed by COVID-19.

Links

Another difficult Orioles offseason shows the road to rebuilding isn’t for everyone - The Baltimore Sun
The Birds’ recent penny-pinching moves are testing fans’ patience, but as Jon Meoli notes, this is kind of what we signed up for when the Mike Elias regime committed to a rebuild. It sure ain’t easy, folks.

O's Sig Mejdal on how spin rates impact roster, potential additions - Steve Melewski
Whenever we're feeling frustrated with the Orioles, just remember that there are some very smart people in charge. Assistant GM Sig Mejdal continues to prove that as he talks with Melewski about spin rate and other analytical data.

The 10 most legendary moments at OPACY - Orioles.com
Reliving these glorious memories put a smile on my face. I was lucky enough to attend four of these 10 games, but I wish it’d been more. How about you, Camden Chatters? Which Camden Yards moments were your faves?

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three former Orioles were born on this day: 2014 three-game infielder Jemile Weeks (34), 1988 infielder Rick Schu (59), and the late outfielder Bob Nieman (b. 1927, d. 1985), one of the best hitters in the franchise’s first decade in Baltimore.

On this day in 2004, the Orioles made the disastrous decision to sign Sidney Ponson to a three-year, $22.5 million contract, bringing the homegrown righty back to Baltimore after they’d traded him to the Giants the previous year. Ponson proceeded to post an unsightly 5.64 ERA in 2004 and 2005 combined, and was also involved in a series of embarrassing off-field incidents, getting charged with two DUIs and punching a judge in his native Aruba. The O’s attempted to terminate his contract in 2005 without paying him the rest, later reaching a settlement after Ponson filed a grievance. So, yeah, not the best signing the O’s have ever made.