With the Orioles having added a starting pitcher, closer, and third baseman in recent weeks, the Hot Stove talk is turning to the broadcast booth. The nasally monotone of Buck Martinez has graced its final Mid-Atlantic Sports Network broadcast, as the Buckster has returned to the Toronto Blue Jays. MASN is reportedly considering several options in replacing him as color commentator for roughly half of the O's TV games, and many of the names should be familiar to Baltimore fans.
Ken Singleton would be at the top of my list, and rumor has it that he's talked with MASN about the possibility of leaving the Yankees and their YES network. It's a travesty that a former Oriole who was as successful and popular (and classy) as Singleton has been behind enemy lines for so many years.
Among the other ex-O's on the yak market, I think Dave Johnson would be a good choice. His high-pitched voice and thick Bawlmer accent don't make for a polished presentation, but he's proved to be knowledgeable and passionate on the pre-and-post game radio programs in recent years.
I've also heard fans clamor for a return by John Lowenstein, who called the team's games in the 1990s for Home Team Sports. I'm fine with that; my hazy memory tells me that he was goofy without being an irritant. Believe it or not, I think that Billy Ripken could hold his own as well. Mike Flanagan has already talked to network staff about continuing his seeming lifelong connection to the Birds; he was perfectly acceptable in his past go-rounds in the booth.
I'm not crazy about Rick Dempsey being upgraded from MASN's pre-and-post-gamers to in-game announcing, based on the fill-in work I've seen him do in recent seasons. I'm not sure how Brady Anderson entered the discussion; that seems like an ill fit. Brooks Robinson would be welcomed warmly, but it's a long shot at this time.
So, armchair programming directors, who's your choice to sit in alongside Gary Thorne in 2010?