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ExtremeRavens: The Sanctuary

Cold Beer: Frick 'n' Jon Miller

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jon+miller+espn.jpgA whole-hearted and sincere congratulations to Jon Miller, former Orioles television broadcaster and 2010 Frick Award Recipient for contributions to sports journalism. Miller will be inducted into the broadcasting wing of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown as a part of his award.

Miller left the O’s on a relatively bitter note after the 1996 season. As many have pointed out, his exit was one of the first in a series of terrible decisions (and non-decisions) by the Orioles front office that has led the team and organization to its current situation. There have always been conflicting reports about Miller’s departure from Baltimore, and as an outsider I want little part of making bogus claims. But I will repeat one of the most popular theories, often attributed to Miller himself in some instances: that Peter Angelos and the Orioles were upset with Miller’s straight-forward and no-nonsense approach to announcing. In other words, Miller had no problem telling fans just how poorly the Orioles were performing as a team or organization.

What’s ironic about such a situation, of course, is that Miller was announcing for the Orioles during their last memorable campaign. What exactly could he have been saying in 1996 about a club on its way to the ALCS? I’m sure there were comments about players, coaches, and even Angelos. I’m sure there was also unwelcome commentary on the 1994 strike-shortened season. But the Orioles were a top-performing and top-selling team in 1996. Miller’s words didn’t seem to hurt the club by any measurable amount.

It would be interesting, to say the least, to see what Miller would have to say about the Orioles these days if he were working with the club in a regular basis.

But I digress.

Miller remains one of the best in the game at what he does. When sitting in the outfield bleachers at OPACY and broadcasting my own play-by-play, he’s the man I want to sound like. He’s the man every little kid is trying to emulate from their little league bench, whether they know it or not.

Since leaving the Orioles, Miller has been with the San Francisco Giants and has also been featured on ESPN”s weekly Sunday Night Baseball. Even when the Orioles aren’t playing, I occasionally tune in just to hear Miller talk baseball. And he certainly gets bonus points for keeping Joe Morgan on topic (most of the time).

So, here’s to Jon Miller. Kudos and keep up the good work, Jon.

*I avoided every inclination to turn this post into a rant about the litany of sub-Miller announcers the Orioles have driven through town since Miller, mainly because Miller deserves a post of his own. But be assured – it will come in time.

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