By Jon Meoli
The Baltimore Sun
3:12 PM EDT, April 28, 2014
Spending summer evenings with Orioles announcers Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer is a pleasure only afforded to us locals, but a new poll shows that few teams have the kind of respect and love for their broadcasters that Orioles fans do.
The good folks at Awful Announcing polled their readership, and determined that the MASN broadcast team of Thorne and Palmer, along with fill-ins Jim Hunter and Mike Bordick, are the third-best local announce team in baseball.
According to the article, letter-grade votes were solicited and assigned a value similar to a grade point average. An “A” grade was worth four, a “B” three, down the line to zero points for an “F” grade.
The Orioles team of Thorne and Palmer earned 629 “A” votes, 532 “B” votes, 179 “C” votes, 49 “D” votes, and 48 “F” votes for a “GPA” of 3.14.
Given that most voters would only be familiar with their own local broadcasts, it reflects an overwhelming positivity towards the MASN booth among Orioles fans.
Thorne, a former attorney and a six-year veteran in the Orioles’ booth, has announced baseball for nearly three decades. He’s also well-known among hockey fans for his work on ESPN when the network still carried the sport, and he’s well respected by fans inside and out of the industry.
And even if Palmer wasn’t the impressive analyst he is, it’d be difficult for Orioles fans to grade him badly. The Hall of Fame pitcher earned three Cy Young awards and made five All-Star teams in his 19-year career.
Outside of Thorne and Palmer, the top three has a decidedly local flavor. Former Orioles voice Jon Miller, whose ouster in 1996 as the team’s broadcaster ended a 13-year stint in the city and elicited protests at Camden Yards, came in first in his latest role in San Francisco.
Miller signed on to call games in his hometown just after leaving the Orioles, and along with fellow play-by-play men Duane Kuiper and Dave Flemming, and analyst Mike Krukow, the former ESPN Sunday Night Baseball announcer earned the top spot with a “GPA” of 3.46.
Legendary Los Angeles Dodgers television voice Vin Scully, as well as his substitutes Charley Steiner and Orel Hershiser, came in second with a 3.41 GPA.
Thorne and Palmer’s MASN colleagues, Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo, didn’t fare as well in the rankings. The Nationals’ announce team had the second-highest number of “F” votes, only behind the wholly unlovable Hawk Harrelson in Chicago, en route to a 1.79 GPA and 27th place.
But let’s not dwell on the negative. Third place for Messrs. Thorne and Palmer is well deserved, but what do you think? Could it be too high, or could they go even higher?
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