Baseball Broadcasting

The Kevin Brown Matter: Was he coerced under stress and extorted? Should he have been tougher?

The episode of Kevin Brown…..Who really knows where Kevin Brown was stretching during his suspension?

It sounds as though the Orioles behaved ludicrously, myopically and almost viscously. Was he punished with a paddle as a schoolboy would? It seemed as though management’s effort was scaring the lifetime out of him! ? Brown was told to keep his mouth shut and say nothing to anyone. It is believed he was ordered not to show up at the ballpark. The club’s first official announcement was fierce. He was out indefinitely, something that didn’t augur well for Brown.

The Syracuse University alum and ESPN and Orioles TV play-by-player, disappeared. Gone, like a Cal Ripken or Eddie Murray homerun! He promised, to abide by Baltimore management to obey its orders.

Brown did say something not perfectly thought out. But it went to a ridiculous extreme. 

The producers programed highlights and stats to demonstrate and accentuate the wonderful progress the O’s have made this season. This comes after years of unending failure. Baltimore hadn’t been in first place in seven seasons. The production team formatted many ugly past events. Watching it again is like suffering through a root-canal  You might say, why belabor the point, loss after loss, Orioles-Tampa Bay. Drama embeds and theater reinforces rivalries. 

It was a tough lesson for Kevin Brown. There might be things that Brown regrets and how they were handled. When I called Heat games in the 90s, the team had a rough road trip, closing a Western trip that ended in Seattle. They were down unsurpassably in a late blowout. I told the audience listening in Miami that it had been raining all day in the Pacific Northwest. “It could likely reflect on the mood of the team, heading back home.” When we got to Miami, the team’s managing partner Louis Schaffel laced into me for good reason. There are ways to do things and frankly my comments were unnecessary. Lou was right. 

Yes, there’s some mystery in Baltimore. And in the mystery sits in some chopped liver. Kevin apparently abided with what was asked by active owner, John Angelos. John now runs the baseball club, taking over for dad Peter, 94, suffering of dementia. 

Kevin was asked by management to remain silent and that the suspension would be strictly enforced. Frankly, Brown had no choice other than let it play out. Angelos didn’t want this incident leaked to the Media. The rationale for the suspension was ridiculous.

Still, he promised, so just abide. Yes, curiosity built and word spread. Some scratching their heads and confused. Someone somewhere leaked the news to Awful Announcing. The O’s ownership’s rush to judgment brought back unsympathetic memories of relationships between the elder Peter Angelos and Jon Miller

*****

Delighted to have Eric Nadel back in the Texas booth. He’s another soft-spoken voice who’s easy to digest. A Brooklyn boy, he’s in his 45th year in baseball, all Texas. Nadel has been battling psychological issues, the last twenty year ago. Back then it wasn’t presented as an official disease. Now they are.

Eric started with the club in 1979. Ask him his second favorite sort, he hesitates and says definitively hockey. He did an interview with Dallas sportscaster Mike Doocy. On March 23d he left the Rangers and missed 109 games before his return. Asked about his symptoms, Eric told Mike that trouble sleeping is a likely one. “I had it happen to me 20 years ago, it subsided and then it came back again this year.”

*****

Noah Eagle, a young and growing radio and television play-by-player, keeps making strides.

Who else would be hired the first year, just after graduating college, from arguably the best broadcast school in America? Not bad. You’re a senior in college, your first year out, and before long, you’re traveling on a chartered aircraft.

In 1984, a talented Greg Papa was bestowed the radio chair from freshly graduated Syracuse. They both caught the attention of the fans. The difference was Hollywood, the Clippers, and a little more life. Meanwhile, Papa, in an economy of time, moved to the Bay Area. It’s now well over thirty years, Greg has called the Giants, A’s, Niners and Raiders. (Noah and Ian, l-r)

If you do it by measure, Kenny Albert is up there too in precocious starts. Having Marv Albert or Ian Eagle to teach on the spot isn’t too bad.

Noah Eagle has made it known that this will be his last radio season for the Clippers. Kenny has done tons of work, like his pop, Marv Albert. Now Noah gets ready for February’s Super Bowl. Is Noah the new Kenny Albert, running around America. At 25, Noah might be carded wherever he hangs out. But don’t worry.

As Lindsey Nelson shared with his disciples who presided over heavy loads each weekend, “When you have back to back games, Saturday and Sunday, forget about Game #1 and focus exclusively on game #2 when the Game #1 horn sounds.”

 

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David J. Halberstam

David is a 40-year + industry veteran who served as play-by-play announcer for St. John's University basketball in New York and as radio play-by-play voice of the Miami Heat in South Florida. He is the author of Sports on New York Radio: A Play-by-Play History and The Fundamentals of Sports Media and Sponsorship Sales: Developing New Accounts.

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