The Athletic’s Britt Ghiroli joined a Baltimore sports radio show and spared no punches as she took the Orioles to task for taking TV play-by-play voice Kevin Brown off the air.
Monday afternoon, Awful Announcing broke the news that Brown was removed from his role as the Orioles’ TV play-by-play voice after he cited the team’s recent record against the Tampa Bay Rays near the top of a July 23 broadcast. The Athletic later joined Awful Announcing in confirming the report about the Orioles’ lead TV play-by-play voice on MASN.
Tuesday morning, Ghiroli joined The Big Bad Morning Show on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore to discuss Brown’s status with the Orioles and MASN. The radio segment featured a unique dynamic, considering that Rob Long co-hosts The Fan’s morning show in addition to hosting O’s Xtra on MASN, the network that Brown was indefinitely booted from for speaking the innocuous truth.
Ghiroli began the interview by noting she received some texts claiming Long did not believe the reasoning for Brown’s suspension from the Orioles.
“It’s hard for me to believe that it was that because of this,” Long said, questioning how Brown could possibly be suspended for citing the Orioles recent record against the Rays. “There was a graphic to support what he was saying. So that means other people were involved in this, so why is Kevin Brown the only one that got in trouble?”
“Because there’s no rhyme or reason for this kind of stuff,” Ghiroli said, acknowledging they were in precarious territory with this interview considering Long’s employment with MASN. “This is a pattern. Ryan Wagner got fired hours before the home opener for some benign tweets. Gary Thorne and his treatment there. Jim Hunter. Rick Dempsey. The list goes on and on. It’s crazy that he’s in trouble for this, but it’s not because of what’s happened in this organization before. This is why it was such an easy story to confirm and to get so many people to say, ‘Yes, this is what happened.’
“There is no rhyme or reason for it, but there hasn’t been a whole lot of rhyme or reason anything [team president and CEO] John Angelos does. This is the guy who berated Dan Connolly for asking about baseball on Martin Luther King Day…This doesn’t really surprise me and shouldn’t really surprise anyone who’s been around this team, really.”
Ghrioli stated the organization attempted to claim the news about Brown was not true, but they failed to offer any on-the-record statement to deny the reporting. One person from the organization told Ghiroli this was a scheduled break for Brown.
“Did anyone tell Kevin Brown?” Ghiroli asked. “What play-by-play announcer takes two weeks off in the middle of this season for the Orioles. If you’re gonna lie, make up a better reason.”
Long explained that as a MASN employee, it’s tough for him to accept this story because he’s never received backlash or been censored by the Orioles for saying something that could be perceived as being negative about the team.
“But Rob, as you know, working at MASN, people have quietly gotten in trouble over very benign, very tiny things, like mentioning Manny Machado,” Ghiroli responded. “There’s so many things that they can’t say. This year you have to wear certain clothes. I’ve been told about how a lot of those meetings go and it’s so hard to be a broadcaster there because they want to control everything that you say.”
Long maintained that he has never been told what to say, however, he did not rebuke, counter or respond to Ghiroli’s mention of the mandates that have reportedly been placed on Orioles broadcasters and employees this season and in the past.
“[The Orioles] made it so this was a story. The media didn’t make it that way. You made it so every broadcast on the air last night was making fun of you,” Ghiroli said. “They still don’t realize this. They think the media made this headline, the media is out to get John Angelos. No. Stop doing things that are so stupid that the entire country talks about it and we’ll stop writing about it.”
Brown has not been on a TV broadcast for the Orioles on MASN since July 23 and has been off the airwaves completely since July 26, after briefly being moved to their radio call. On Tuesday, The Athletic and The Baltimore Banner confirmed Brown is scheduled to return to the Orioles’ broadcast booth Friday, Aug. 11.