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Flanagan Reemerges. I Have Advice.

Mike Flanagan is an odd case. Even in baseball, a world filled with oddball lifers, his trajectory stands out. Try to name another guy who went from Hall of Fame Cy Young pitcher to coach to broadcaster to General Manager to “is he still with the team?” then back to broadcasting again. I could be wrong, but my guess is that Flanny’s the only one.

Today’s news that he’s rejoining the broadcast team has me straining to recall what he was like during his last tour of duty. I can’t do it. I’m pretty sure he didn’t bother me, though, so I’m happy to welcome him back.

But if you’re out there, Mike, pay attention. There is one commandment above all others that I — and all right-thinking Orioles fans — demand from our color guys: be weird.

Don’t play it straight. Don’t try to bring Gary Thorne back down to earth. Don’t play yin to Palmer‘s yang. The O’s have a grand tradition of weirdness in the booth and part of your job now is to uphold that tradition.

I don’t know if you’re up to the task or not. It’s not an easy thing. But you’ve got the baseball knowledge for sure so I figure you’re starting from a solid foundation.

Reach for the stars, Mike. Reach for the stars.

26 comments to Flanagan Reemerges. I Have Advice.

  • Andrew

    Let’s see. Who is the earliest play by play team I remember? There was Michael “See. You. Later.” Reghi (who popped up once on like Fox’s C-team a couple of years ago IIRC) and I remember when Tom Davis was the HTS sideline reporter. Palmer’s been there since forever as far I’m concerned. I guess Mel Proctor was my first experience, though I couldn’t tell you anything about him…and while I know that I watched religiously, I don’t have any memory of Lowenstein.

    Flanagan, though, I do remember. I was annoyed when he left the booth and was replaced with the worst color man ever, Buck Martinez (well, okay second worst*). I’m glad he’s back, but you know, the Orioles broadcasters outside of Joe Angel and Jon Miller and maybe Palmer have never struck me as the most polished group of guys in the world.

    Which is cool. I fucking hate Michael Kay with everything in my body, but the guy exudes Yankee polish. Actually, maybe it’s because he exudes it. I’ve definitely enjoyed the whole “three drinks Gary” experience because that, as much as anything else in this undefinable era of Orioles Tragic has defined the Orioles experience. And I think Flanny can fit right in with that.

    Also: he’s not Buck Martinez. Thank Goodness.

    *Take that, Rex Hudler!

  • dan the man

    Worst part about MLB The Show = Rex Hudler.

  • I was sad when they let John Lowenstein go. I cut my teeth on him and proctor in the early 90’s on HTS… He was such a Goofball.

    I was never a huge fan of Flanny. It’s not his fault but the whiny-gravely thing would get to me.

  • neal s

    I definitely remember Flanagan being there, I just don’t really remember how I felt about him. That’s what I mean by “what he was like.” He doesn’t stand out one way or the other. It’s a totally neutral impression. I’m hoping he gives me something to notice this time around.

    Reghi was ridiculous in a way that grew on me. That “See. You. Later!” call Andrew references was a perfect caricature of broadcasting bombast. It was lame, but it was so lame that you couldn’t help but take notice.

  • Hall of Fame pitcher?

    My only real memory of Flanny in the booth was that his voice is very lulling. Not sure if that’s a good thing.

  • neal s

    originally posted byStacey
    Hall of Fame pitcher?

    That was just a weird, dumb mistake. Thanks for pointing it out.

  • I hated Reghi. He always came across as a buffoon, and he would say obnoxiously redundant things like “home run bomb”.

    IIRC, Flanny actually had two stints as pitching coach (1995 and 1998) bookending his time in the booth. So his trajectory is even odder than you thought.

  • Ballmer Bruce

    Thorne needs to go. Good hockey announcer, but he is too in love with his own pipes and goofs up the calls and game information constantly. I loved Flannie as a player, but come on, he has been recycled by the O’s more than a piece of plastic. He is blander than a plain potato as an announcer. He must have pictures of Angelos.

  • I’m willing to give Flanny a shot back in the booth. I also recall his color style being vanilla – much better than Rex Hudler’s over-the-top insanity, IMO – and left me wishing that his tenure as “GM” had been better.

    A little Flanny anecdote. My mom worked at a big Baltimore non-profit for the better part of the previous decade. Near Christmas, several days after signing Tejada and Lopez, Flanny called up offering to bring Christmas presents down for the kids connected to the non-profit. Obviously my mom jumped at the offer and gushed “my son is so excited about the players you’re bringing in!”

    So Flanny and his wife come down to the charity’s office and does their thing with the sick kids – no media attention, so he wasn’t just doing this for good PR to his credit – and before he leaves asks my mom “What’s your son’s name?”

    So for Christmas I got a baseball signed by Flanny that reads “Miles – Glad you approve! Mike Flanagan”.

    I love anyone in a position of power who keeps their sense of humor intact. Like I said up top, it’s just a shame he wasn’t more effective.

  • dan the man

    I’m interested to hear Flanny. Since I wasn’t really the superfan that I am now when he was doing games, I don’t remember what he was like. I don’t like my broadcasters to be perfect, I just don’t want them to be douchey or extremely boring. I’ve heard Flanny is vanilla, but I’ve also heard he has a super dry sense of humor, so I’m looking forward to making my own call.

    Thorne is extremely imperfect. He can’t tell a damn fastball from a changeup (dude, just look at the radar), but that’s kind of why I enjoy him. And in fact, he’s actually better when Palmer is unintentionally throwing him off his game. Add the fact that he’s kind of drunk, that he seems legitimately excited about the young Orioles, and there’s a guy I enjoy listening to.

    Hunter? Well. I’ve come around on Jim these days. What the hell – he’s loyal, he works hard, he did that intentional pause when he announced Tex so O’s fans could boo (just. awesome.), and it could always be worse (Dempsey).

  • Larry

    In the long tradition of weirdness in the O’s TV booth, there was this gem from Brooks Robinson, back in the day when he and the Chucker elevated inoffensiveness to an art form. Ruminating about the dilemma facing fans after a long player strike was resolved, Brooks put it this way: “Should I stay away and let ’em know how unhappy I am, or should I go back because I love the game? The fans get the short end of the double-edged sword.” Priceless.

  • originally posted bydan the manHunter? Well. I’ve come around on Jim these days. What the hell – he’s loyal, he works hard, he did that intentional pause when he announced Tex so O’s fans could boo (just. awesome.), and it could always be worse (Dempsey).

    I worked with Hunter for a couple of years – not a particularly nice human being, and sometimes downright mean. I would shed no tears if he left town.

  • dan the man

    @Miles – Really. I guess that figures since he seems like the Nicest Guy In The World while he’s doing O’s games. I believe you, and that sucks, although it probably won’t effect whether or not I like/dislike Jim Hunter The Broadcaster.

  • Andrew

    I can’t stand Jim Hunter. Seriously, I turn the sound down when he’s on because the sound of his voice and his weird sense of blind kool aid homerism despite all kinds of facts to the contrary turn me into one of those doods from the crazies.

  • dan the man

    Hmm. Maybe there is a part of me that would enjoy someone out and out ridiculous like Dempsey or Dave Johnson doing Jim Hunter’s job. Shit, just get Amber on there. I mean, honestly. Instant ratings boost. What? She doesn’t know how to do play-by-play? Meh.

  • So you’re saying you don’t want to hear the guy say “That’s exactly right Gary”

  • Andrew

    Seems like there’s a lot of grousing out there about Luke Scott “whining” to play first base. I don’t see the problem. To wit:

    1) Luke playing first base makes the most sense for the team.

    2) A reporter asks him if he’s more settled into the DH position, what’s he supposed to say? Granted, he doesn’t need to go on about it and could be more to the point, but come on.

    3) It isn’t like he’s parading around the clubhouse glaring at Reimold, Pie, and Atkins and screaming “I want to play the field!!!!!”. Now that’s what I call a clubhouse distraction.

  • Greg

    I’m a huge fan of anything that gets older Orioles back into the Baltimore spirit. Seeing Palmer, Dempsey, Dave Johnson, and Flanagan do color because they were Orioles once and love being in Baltimore… that’s just awesome.

    Every now and again you’ll hear about Bill Ripken, Cal Ripken, BJ Surhoff, Mike Bordick, Boog, Brady Anderson, Brooks, and Eddie Murray floating around, but there’s always been this overwhelming feeling that the Orioles brass has alienated many of the older players who knew what it was like to win in black and orange.

    Getting back Bordick in the minors is a good start. What ever happened to getting Billy Ripken or Eddie Murray to be color guys?

  • @Ballmer Bruce

    I love Gary Thorne. I mean, he has trouble identifying pitches, he mispronounces a few names, and he every now and then calls Adam Jones “Andruw,” but he’s a hoot. He’s got a great voice, an awesome rapport with Palmer, and I’m pretty sure he’s half in the bag most nights.

  • Kevin

    I’m alright with Flanny back in the booth. I remember Reghi, and loved how excited he would get when he would yell “SEE! YOU! LATER!!!” Nothing will beat the time Joe Angel was talking about Sidney Ponson during interleague play taking some at bats and he said, “Sidney really relishes his ab bats. Actually, he enjoys anything with relish on it”.

  • MarkH

    I still miss Procter and Lowenstein I know when some of those “Orioles Classics” games come on MASN, particularly Cal’s Streak games, I realize how much I miss hearing them. I still crack up thinking about Lowenstein sometimes.

  • neal s

    I’m loving all the different names chiming in on this thread. Thanks for checking in, everyone. I choose to take it as a sign that my shift in focus for main page posts, however subtle, has been the right move.

    Unless I’m wrong about that.

  • Ballmer Bruce

    Watching and listening to other teams local broadcasters last year on MLB Extra Innings has give me a different perspective on the O’s broadcasters. The quality of the local broadcasters of most teams is mediocre at best. I would place the O’s broadcasters around the middle of the pack. I sometimes just turn down the sound and watch the game since all the key information about score, count etc. is displayed on the screen. I did find it refreshing to hear Scully do it alone on the Dodger games. Too bad there are not many left like him.

  • originally posted by Ballmer Bruce I did find it refreshing to hear Scully do it alone on the Dodger games. Too bad there are not many left like him.

    The reason I shell out for Extra Innings is to listen to Scully.

    And I suffer through Joe Morgan on Sunday nights for Jon Miller in the other seat.

  • Tom├ís

    @Miles – Jon Miller is my personal Jesus.