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Former Orioles announcer Gary Thorne returns to the broadcast booth as fill-in with Mets

Gary Thorne is back in the broadcast booth calling baseball games, but not at Camden Yards.

Thorne, who served as the Orioles’ primary play-by-play broadcaster on the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network from 2007 to 2019, is broadcasting the New York Mets’ series in Pittsburgh this weekend for SNY alongside Keith Hernandez as a fill-in for regular play-by-play man Gary Cohen.

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“The other Gary, Gary Cohen, has a well-deserved weekend off, so in light of that, I get the honor of working with a pal over many years, Keith Hernandez, coming off the IL himself,” Thorne said at the top of Friday night’s broadcast.

Hernandez returned after suffering an injury that reportedly required eight stitches in his right big toe after he fell from the ledge of his outdoor hot tub while attempting to trim nearby branches. It didn’t take long for the pair to find some chemistry and share a laugh.

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The 73-year-old Thorne got his start in baseball with the Mets, serving as a radio announcer for four years starting in 1985. He’s also called NHL games for ESPN and provided commentary for NHL video games, as well as covering college football, professional wrestling and bowling throughout his career.

In January, Thorne said that the Orioles informed his agent that his contract would not be renewed. Thorne said he did not know why the team chose not to bring him back. He did not appear on a MASN broadcast in 2020 as a result of a contract dispute in the wake of the pandemic.

“It’s sad,” Thorne said in January. “I would’ve preferred that I be there, and leaving without the opportunity to say thank you to so many people I worked with and, particularly, the fans. I really regret that I’m not going to have a chance to thank the fans for their support and friendship and kindness because that meant a lot to me, means a lot to me. I just really enjoyed the people who were listening to our broadcasts, and they were great to me for the whole time I was there.”

He appeared to still be thinking about the former team he covered, once referring to the Mets as the Orioles during Friday night’s broadcast.

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His first game back didn’t lack excitement, either. Mets star shortstop Francisco Lindor left the game in the fifth inning after appearing to injure his side, and in the bottom of the fifth, Mets starting pitcher Marcus Stroman and Pirates first baseman John Nogowski exchanged words near home plate, prompting both benches to clear.

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