Remember what it was like when the Phillies were awful? Remember when you walked into The Vet and there were so few people there that it felt as if there was a legitimate chance that you could get in the game?
Now imagine if Harry Kalas and Chris Wheeler got up and left after the first inning. Just vanished and took off for an early dinner and some TV before bed.
If there is no one there to broadcast a game, did it happen?
Get this… it happened. Kind of.
During a 90-minute rain delay in Ft. Lauderdale yesterday, Orioles’ radio announcers Joe Angel and Fred Manfra called back to Baltimore, told it the game was washed out and took off. No problem, right?
Except for the game wasn’t a wash out. When the rain stopped, the Orioles played the remaining eight innings though the good people in Bal’mer didn’t get the broadcast. Crazy stuff, huh?
OK, yes it was spring training, but is there any more apt analysis of the Orioles’ chances in 2009 than the radio guys walking out? Or, is there a more telling how a once mighty franchise has fallen? The Orioles used to be a powerhouse that did it with gritty, team-oriented players, executives and scouts. They had the Ripkens, Brooks Robinson, Ken Singleton, Jim Palmer, Hank Peters, Pat Gillick… the list goes on.
In the booth, Brooks and the great Chuck Thompson were fantastic. They were almost as good as those teams the Orioles put out there that went to the World Series in 1979 and 1983. Plus, O’s games at Memorial Stadium (and then Camden Yards) were a happening – it was a true community event. Galvanizing even…
Now, show up at the park early enough and they just might ask you to play.
The crazy thing is that the Orioles used to be the team in D.C., too, before the Nationals arrived. Now, the folks in The District, Northern Virginia and Maryland have two dysfunctional teams to ignore.
In his defense, Joe Angel issued a statement:
To ALL Orioles Fans…..Fred And I had nothing to do with the decision to discontinue the broadcast on Sunday March 29th. It was completely out of our hands … On Sunday,….we filled for about 40 minutes and then we were told to discontinue the broadcast and simply sign off. The engineer left, the equipment went with him. Fred And I did NOT make that decision……we are not in a position to make that decision.
Fred Manfra and I would much rather have preferred to stay and finish the broadcast after the rain delay. That’s why we were there…to keep you informed and entertained. We consider ourselves to be professionals and would never abandon a broadcast as some would seem to perceive.
The decision to end the broadcast was made by the decision making level at our flagship station. It didn’t come from us…..and certainly not from the Orioles. Thanks for listening……..There’s a lot to look forward to with Orioles baseball. Fred and I are grateful and privileged to be your Orioles baseball companions. See you on the radio!
OK, so Angel and Manfra didn’t just take off… the folks with the radio equipment figured there was a better way to spend an afternoon than give Baltimore their baseball team.