Reaching into their past has become so commonplace for the Orioles, they have extended the practice to the broadcast booth.
Joe Angel, who called the team's games as Jon Miller's partner on WBAL Radio (1090 AM) for four years, will return to the flagship station as lead play-by-play announcer - a move that affects holdovers Jim Hunter and Fred Manfra, among others.
Orioles spokesman Bill Stetka confirmed Angel's hiring after the station's Web site unexpectedly released the news.
"Joe will be part of our radio team," Stetka said. "A formal announcement on the rest of the broadcast team will be made at a later date."
The Web site reported that Hunter and Manfra will be given broadcast duties on Comcast SportsNet and the Orioles Television Network. They also will join Angel on the radio side during nationally televised games, including the April 4 opener against the Boston Red Sox, and non-televised games.
"We are delighted to have Joe back in the booth," said WBAL station manager Jeff Beauchamp. "This is exciting. He's a great storyteller and a terrific play-by-play guy. We're going to have the best of both worlds because we also have Jim Hunter and Fred Manfra, who are terrific broadcasters."
Angel will work at least five innings of every game, with Hunter and/or Manfra handling the rest. He'll also do the manager's report.
"This was the Orioles' idea, and it was a great idea," Beauchamp said. "When they presented it to us, we embraced it. We'd like to take credit, saying it was our call, but it was their suggestion, and it was a good one."
Hunter, the lead radio play-by-play announcer since 1997, declined to comment yesterday because he still hadn't met with the Orioles to have his role defined.
"I'd prefer not to say anything until everything is resolved, which I hope is shortly," he said.
Angel called Orioles games from 1988 to 1990, left in 1991 to do play-by-play for the New York Yankees, then returned to Baltimore for one year in 1992. He was a Florida Marlins announcer from 1993 to 2000 and worked the past two seasons for the San Francisco Giants. He also has broadcast games for the Minnesota Twins and Oakland Athletics.
Meanwhile, television play-by-play announcer Michael Reghi and analysts Buck Martinez and Jim Palmer still aren't under contract for the 2004 season. Palmer is expected to return, but the futures of Reghi and Martinez are clouded.
Reghi, who has been with the Orioles for seven years, informed the club in June that he wanted a reduced schedule this season because of other professional obligations.
Reached in Cleveland before last night's game against the Boston Celtics, Reghi stressed he wanted to remain with the Orioles and was waiting to hear back from them.
A representative from the Orioles Television Network referred all questions to Stetka.