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Tuesday Bird Droppings: The Orioles made news for all the wrong reasons

What should have been a nice, relaxing day off erupted into a firestorm over the Orioles’ baffling suspension of broadcaster Kevin Brown.

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Cincinnati Reds v Baltimore Orioles
Pictured: The Camden Yards press box, not featuring Kevin Brown.
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

The Orioles are 70-42. They’re the best team in the American League and the second-best in MLB. They’re playing exciting, winning baseball, led by a bevy of young, talented stars in the making. They’ve been the feel-good story of the year, earning praise from every corner of the baseball world. What could possibly go wrong?

Well...there’s this.

Yesterday the O’s were the talk of baseball for the worst of reasons. Orioles management’s reported suspension of highly popular broadcaster Kevin Brown — for the offense of reciting statistics, prepared by the public relations staff, about the club’s record in Tampa Bay in previous years — galvanized fans and media alike in frustration and bewilderment.

Mets broadcaster Gary Cohen, speaking on SNY, savaged O’s ownership for its treatment of Brown, saying the organization “draped itself in utter humiliation” and “made themselves a laughingstock.” Yankees announcers John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman similarly mocked the Orioles’ decision. Many other broadcasters, such as Michael Kay and Jason Benetti, jumped to Brown’s defense as well, perplexed as to how Brown’s innocuous — and seemingly complimentary — comments could have possibly warranted a suspension.

An article by former O’s beat writer Britt Ghiroli at The Athletic only heightened fans’ anger toward the club’s higher-ups, stating that “ownership took exception” to Brown pointing out the club’s poor record at Tropicana Field, “believing it made them sound cheap.” (Here’s the clip; you be the judge.) Ghiroli further writes that ownership requires O’s announcers to wear team gear while on air, and that Orioles broadcasters “have also been reprimanded previously for mentioning past Orioles players who are no longer with the team.”

It’s a mess, and even beyond the impact on Brown, who is a great broadcaster (and a friend of the blog!), it’s exactly the type of distraction that the Orioles didn’t need. The guys on the field have been doing everything in their power to turn the O’s into one of baseball’s premier franchises again, and then — through no fault of the players or staff — the team finds itself in an unsightly, self-inflicted scandal. Orioles fans have to be wondering if they can ever truly have nice things.


MASN’s Kevin Brown pulled from Orioles’ TV broadcasts after stating facts about team’s struggles in recent seasons - Baltimore Sun
Nathan Ruiz compares the Kevin Brown situation to the Orioles losing Hall of Fame broadcaster Jon Miller in 1996 because he wasn't enough of “an advocate for the team.” You could hardly blame Brown if he similarly decided to find a broadcasting gig somewhere else, which would be a major loss for Orioles fans.

Kyle Goon: Kevin Brown affair curdles the Orioles’ shining moment - The Baltimore Banner
Kyle Goon sums up the entirely unnecessary fiasco that has unfolded in Baltimore, and wonders why the Orioles “can’t get out of their own way.” Some questions cannot be answered.

How the Baltimore Orioles Became the AL’s Best Team - The New York Times
See, this is exactly the kind of happy article I wanted to showcase today. But no...

Minor Monday: Aberdeen’s hope for a Bright future -
I don’t know if Trace Bright will end up being a legitimate prospect, but I’ll be pulling for him. He’s got the perfect name for headlines.

Orioles claim Webb on waivers (plus other notes) - School of Roch
In some actual baseball news, the Orioles have a new reliever, and it’s a guy with postseason experience. Sure, why not. Add him to the pile and let’s see what he can do.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three former Orioles were born on Aug. 8: right-hander Eddy Rodriguez (42) and the late second baseman Johnny Temple (b. 1927, d. 1994) and righty Marlin Stuart (b. 1918, d. 1994).

On this date in 1996, Eddie Murray’s climb to the 500 home run mark continued with his 494th career blast, moving him past Lou Gehrig for 15th most in MLB history. It was Murray’s third since the O’s reacquired him from Cleveland three weeks earlier. Murray ultimately finished his career with 504 dingers, which now ranks 28th all time.

Random Orioles game of the day

On Aug. 8, 1999, the Orioles lost an 11-inning game to the Tigers, 5-2, at Camden Yards. Reliever Scott Kamieniecki, the Orioles’ sixth pitcher of the day, couldn’t retire any batters in the 11th, giving up a single, a hit batsman, and two more singles to push across two runs, and Detroit plated another run on a squeeze bunt by future Oriole Deivi Cruz. The O’s scored just two runs in the game, both on a Delino DeShields homer in the seventh. The defeat dropped the Orioles to 48-62, ahead of only the second-year Tampa Bay Devil Rays in the AL East standings.