Are MLB broadcasters required to be unquestioning fans of the teams they work for? Should a broadcaster not be allowed to criticize a team, or make observations about poor performance? That shouldn’t be a question. While a broadcaster for daily play is generally counted on to be upbeat, there shouldn’t be a requirement for them to say only positive things.
In a recent game, Orioles’ broadcaster Kevin Brown made some relatively tame comments about the team’s recent poor performance against the Rays. Orioles management apparently took umbrage with this, and this week Brown was unceremoniously suspended from his role. Yes, you heard that right, a broadcaster was suspended for making a mere observation. A correct observation.
This sets a dangerous precedent for teams to retaliate against their broadcast staff for simply talking honestly about how a team is and has performed. If teams feel emboldened to do this, how can broadcasters feel free to speak, and how can journalists not begin to worry at what point teams might start limiting access to those who don’t write positively about the team? It’s a slippery slope and one MLB shouldn’t allow the Orioles to take.
Here’s more on the suspension:
- The Camden Yards crowd broke out into a “Free Kevin Brown” chant. (The Athletic subscription required), you can see video of that moment below.
- Brittany Ghiroli looks at why this is precisely the wrong time for the Orioles to pull such a negative stunt. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Gabe Lacques has plenty to say on why the suspension is both foolish and poorly timed for the Orioles.
- If you’re wondering how Orioles fans feel about the suspension of Kevin Brown...
A “Free Kevin Brown” chant has broken out at Camden Yards pic.twitter.com/iJFtngCUor— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) August 9, 2023
- Gary Cohen didn’t mince his words about the suspension either.
Gary Cohen isn't mad, he's disappointed at the Oriole over the Kevin Brown suspension.— Willets Pen (@WilletsPen) August 8, 2023
Just kidding, he's pissed. pic.twitter.com/vDkd3uEB8J
- Iconic Tigers’ broadcaster and former catcher Jim Price has passed away at age 81. Story by Patrick Andres.
- Michael Baumann wonders if the Astros are about to have some post-White House good luck.
- Luisangel Acuna is looking to follow in big brother Ronald’s footsteps and his minor league efforts show good signs. Story by Anthony DiComo.
- Talk about a bad day at the office as one umpire has three calls overturned in a single game. (ESPN)
- Cody Stavenhagen has a fun piece about how modern players develop their autographs. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Dan Gartland spotlights an incredible catch from Kole Calhoun.
- Ben Weinrib has the best rookies of the past 30 days.
- Ben Clemens looks at the further descent of the Angels into nightmare season territory.
- Aaron Boone expressed a little post-ejection embarrassment. (AP)
- Chris Kirschner looks at that ejection in the context of where the Yankees currently find themselves this season. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Oh hey, the 2023 postseason schedule is out. Story by Ben Clemens.
- On that note you might need to start planning on how you’ll watch the postseason on Max (though the games will not be exclusive to Max this season). Story by Alex Sherman.
- Rays’ starter Shane McClanahan is unlikely to pitch for the rest of the season. Story by Adam Berry.
- Speaking of Rays’ pitching, Tom Verducci looks at how the Rays have succeeded at developing their pitchers.
- Oh this is cheeky, I love it.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.