Announcers across baseball and beyond were seeing red over reports that the Baltimore Orioles had pulled play-by-play man Kevin Brown from the air over a mundane comment about the team’s recent success in Tampa.
The offending comment was about the fact the Orioles had won more games at Tropicana Field, home of the Tampa Bay Rays, this season than they had in the previous three seasons combined.
Brown’s remarks were backed up by team game notes that were put together by the Orioles’ media relations staff.
Still, it was reportedly enough to ruffle the feathers of ownership, according to Awful Announcing and later confirmed by The Athletic, that he hadn’t called a game on TV or radio since a radio stint during Baltimore’s series against the Philadelphia Phillies, which ended on July 26.
“If you’re going to be so thin-skinned to suspend Kevin Brown, then you have to suspend the entire Orioles (broadcast) truck,” Yankees broadcaster Michael Kay said during his radio show on Monday, noting that Brown’s comments had also been on a graphic on the screen.
“If John Angelos, the owner of the Orioles, didn’t like that, then he’s thin-skinned and he’s unreasonable and he should actually get a call from Rob Manfred, the commissioner of baseball, because it’s unconscionable that you would actually suspend a really good broadcaster for no reason whatsoever.”
Kay added: “This makes the Orioles look so small and insignificant and minor league.”
The YES broadcaster and ESPN New York radio host wasn’t alone in his anger with the Orioles’ ownership over the apparent censorship of Brown.
Famed sports talker and WFAN alum Chris “Mad Dog” Russo tore into the team’s actions and called them a “disgrace” for reportedly suspending Brown over “the most innocuous, truthful statement.”
“This idiot Angelos, who’s never won a damn thing,” Russo fumed. “This is the guy that gets (Brown) fired or gets him demoted or gets him silenced for a period of time as sort of punishment. Are you kidding me?! That is a disgrace. That is so bad, I don’t even know how to comment. Who would want to be a play-by-play guy of the Orioles?”
Mets’ play-by-play man Gary Cohen of SNY also chided the Orioles during the team’s game against the Cubs on Monday night.
“During a recent game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Kevin during his opening talked about how the Orioles had had trouble winning in the past at Tropicana Field, but that they were doing better this year. That was really all he said, and for that the Baltimore Orioles management decided to suspend Kevin Brown,” Cohen said on SNY.
“Let me just say one thing to the Baltimore Orioles management, you draped yourself in humiliation when you fired John Miller and you’re doing it again. And if you don’t want Kevin Brown there are 29 other teams that do. It’s a horrendous decision by the Orioles. I don’t know what they were thinking, but they’ve gotten exactly the reaction that they’ve deserved. It’s just a shame because the Orioles have played so well and now they’ve diverted attention from that. And now have made themselves a laughingstock.”
“The Orioles are in first place, having an amazing season, and John Angelos pulls him off the air for giving facts? Absolutely embarrassing move,” Rutgers football radio voice Chris Carlin’s tweet read in defense of Brown.
Chicago White Sox play-by-play voice Jason Benetti called Brown “one of the best play-by-play announcers in the country.”
Adding that “if the Orioles don’t want him, another team’ll be elated.”
The apparent decision by ownership to silence Brown led Carlin to tweet that even Madison Square Garden boss and Knicks and Rangers owner James Dolan “is like, ‘Really, bruh?’”
And Kay said that the Steinbrenners would have never dared to try and pull a stunt like that, even when they didn’t like things that he’s said on air.
“It’s gotten back to me at times they might not be pleased at some of the things I’ve said, but never said I shouldn’t say it and never called on the carpet. Never. George Steinbrenner understood honesty on the air to the fans is important and Hal does as well,” Kay said on Twitter.
The Orioles have denied the reports that Brown was ever suspended and one team official told the Baltimore Banner that the broadcaster would “be back with us in the near future.”