Evan Stockton, Michael Tricarico, and Kevin Brown (L to R). Evan Stockton, Michael Tricarico, and Kevin Brown. (L to R). (Syracuse Mets on Twitter.)

The Kevin Brown situation with the Baltimore Orioles has led to commentary from all corners of the media world. Multiple sources told Awful Announcing on Monday that the reason Brown has been off his usual role on Orioles’ TV broadcasts on MASN since July 23, and off all Orioles’ broadcasts since July 26, is related to pregame comments he made on July 23 about Baltimore’s success this year (and lack thereof in 2021 and 2022) against the Tampa Bay Rays, including “The Orioles have won more games against them this season than the last two combined.”

The Orioles have disputed reporting (from AA and other outlets, including The Athletic) characterizing Brown’s absence as a suspension. But he’s been off their airwaves for almost two full weeks now in the heart of the season. And that’s led to reporters, other media figures, and broadcasters weighing in, including announcers from around MLB. But some particularly notable comments came from Evan Stockton, who holds a broadcasting job with the Triple-A Syracuse Mets (alongside Michael Tricarico) that Brown held from 2011-2017.

Speaking for himself and Tricarico pregame, Stockton had many great things to say about Brown both personally and professionally. But he had some thoughts on announcers’ responsibility to be fair and accurate, and teams’ need to let them do that. And those are significant to hear from someone in Brown’s old position, and to hear from a minor-league broadcaster, a position that often comes with even less career security than major league broadcasting does.

Here’s the clip from the Syracuse radio broadcast on The Score 1260, shared by the team:

Here’s a transcription of that:

“Usually, inside this broadcast booth, we don’t feel like it’s Michael and I’s place to comment on these sorts of things. But with the events of the last 24 hours, we kind of feel like it’s our duty to comment on this.”

“Because Kevin Brown, television and radio voice of the Baltimore Orioles, he held our jobs before Michael and I did. We just saw him a couple of weeks ago when the Orioles were in town to play the Phillies. Kevin’s been incredibly kind to Michael and I, Michael was his intern once upon a time, and Kevin’s been really kind to broadcasters in our position and broadcasters even above his standing.”

“Michael and I are not here to comment on the decision that was made by the Orioles’ organization. There’s been a lot of opinions and a lot of commentary on that. You can probably guess what our opinions are on that.”

“What we are here to say, and in fact, my main takeaway from what’s gone on with Kevin Brown, as silly as this may sound, one of my core tenets in my broadcasting career is that fans aren’t stupid. I’m a fan, you’re a fan, we’re all fans of certain teams. And we need to be treated with the respect that we deserve. And when broadcasters aren’t afforded the opportunity to be accurate, well-rounded, fair in their commentary, us fans are going to sniff that out right away.”

“And Michael and I are really blessed with the New York Mets organization. From the top on down, Gary Cohen speaks to this all the time, we are really afforded by the Mets’ organization to speak freely and fairly about the action on the field. Good, bad, indifferent, whatever that may be. That’s not the case everywhere. And we’re really blessed within this organization.”

“We want the Syracuse Mets to win. We want the New York Mets to win. That’s not a spoiler alert. They pay our bills, they sign our checks. But the Mets’ organization also understands that if you don’t tell the full story of what’s going on on the air, those fans that we are trying to inform and entertain every night, they’re going to sniff that out from a mile away.”

“In summary, Kevin Brown was doing our jobs just a few years ago before we were, he was sitting in this exact same seat. He’s one of the best in the business doing it, young, old, doesn’t matter. He’s on my list. And we’re very excited to hear him back on the air very soon. Apparently he’s coming back soon, and we’re excited.”

That’s both brave and insightful commentary from Stockton. And he’s completely correct. Attempting to get announcers or broadcasters to be more positive or avoid critical commentary even when it’s deserved is highly flawed, and often backfires, as sports fans in the Syracuse area are well aware. But beyond that, it’s a disservice to a team’s own fans.

And the Brown situation particularly indicates that. Brown made the remarks AA has been told were at the center of this while discussing a graphic showing the Orioles’ dramatically improved success against the Rays relative to the past two years. That not only is actually a positive story about the Orioles and how they’ve improved this year, it’s factual information. And it’s information many fans are either A) already aware of — whether vaguely or specifically — or B) could find on their own.

The Orioles certainly can’t control the wider discussion about them amongst media and fans. But while they can control some level of the discussion about them on their own broadcasts, they might be well-served to be more judicious there. Broadcasters need to be fair and accurate to serve fans, and as Stockton notes, smart organizations recognize that and give their announcers leeway to be critical when it’s deserved. If that is not provided, fans absolutely are “going to sniff that out from a mile away.”

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.