“He’s a guy who’s active himself in social media. He signed a long-term contract when he could have opted to go elsewhere. He bought a home here. And I think that’s attractive to fans — it really strengthens the local tie-in. And it’s appealing to us as well. You have people like Adam Jones who are trying to really connect with the community, which is something that we’re trying to do, too.”

There’s an element, too, of expanding on tradition and the team’s history.

Richard Israel, of Annapolis, has watched and listened to Orioles’ games all of his adult life.
“But it’s certainly fair to say I’m watching more games to the end this year,” he said. “Winning feels better. O’s games are the rhythm of summer. It used to be radio; now it’s TV.”

“Advertising on Orioles telecasts was a terrific way for PNC when it entered this market to become known and associated with a very strong hometown franchise,” said Laura Gamble, regional president for PNC Financial Greater Maryland. “I mean, the Orioles just have that place in everybody’s heart as the hometown team.”

The telecast itself also stands out in some ways. Jim Palmer has drawn attention as perhaps the best analyst working on any regional sports network in the country.

And broadcasters maintain a high energy level even as they’re plowing through ad copy, Kempske noted, pointing to a promotion for the Maryland Lottery’s 5 Card Cash. Advertisers like that kind of energy.

“The announcers could simply read the scripts, but they’re really helping generate excitement on the part of the advertiser with the way they’re reading them,” he said. “And that appeals to us.”

Advertisers even like Showalter when it comes to pre- and postgame interviews. They believe his work as an ESPN analyst helped make him one of the more media-savvy managers in the game.

MASN’s McGuinness looks like he could be right in his prediction about O’s ratings continuing to grow this summer if they continue to win. After the May sweeps, the channel’s telecast of an O’s- Red Sox game June 18 drew more viewers in Baltimore than Game 4 of the epic NBA playoff finals between the San Antonio Spurs and Miami Heat.

“We’ve been with the Orioles for quite a long time,” Tate said of his car dealership. “They told us during the times when they weren’t so exciting on the field that if we stayed with them, we’d ultimately get a bang for our buck. And I have to say, for us they’ve definitely kept that promise.”

david.zurawik@baltsun.com
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