Orioles public address announcer Ryan Wagner was let go this week, a day after he tweeted how excited he was to be back behind the press box microphone with fans in the stadium this summer, according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation.
Wagner, who became the team’s public address announcer in 2012, was at the ballpark early Thursday morning doing television hits in anticipation of the team’s first game at Camden Yards with fans since September 2019.
But before he could return to the ballpark, he was told not to return for the game, and the team let him go Friday, according to the source.
According to The Athletic, which first reported the story, Wagner’s social media was at issue and led to the decision.
In his most recent tweet from Wednesday night, Wagner said he “Can’t wait to welcome fans back to the best ballpark in baseball. It just wasn’t the same without you.”
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His social media feed is mostly Orioles-related, commenting on games as they happen. Some of his tweets were political as well, though his own thoughts of Georgia’s voter suppression law that caused MLB to move the 2021 All-Star Game out of the Atlanta Braves’ Truist Park mirror the thoughts of the club.
Wagner declined to comment. The Orioles declined to comment but confirmed that Wagner is no longer with the team.
Adrienne Roberson, the longtime public address announcer of the Orioles’ Double-A affiliate in Bowie, replaced Wagner for Thursday’s game. Roberson has filled in for Wagner at times over the last few seasons.
Early Thursday morning on WJZ-TV, Wagner promoted the home opener and the excitement he and the organization had to welcome fans back.
“Last year was strange, I think for all of us. I’m a public address announcer, last year I was an ‘A’ announcer because I had no public,” Wagner said in the television hit. “There was nobody here. It was like shouting in a library. But it’s great to be back. The baseball field, that’s for the players. This building, this stadium, is for the fans. The magic of this place is really brought here by those folks. It’s going to be great to see them back again.”
Wagner, a lifelong Orioles fan who grew up in the area, spent 2011 living in MLB’s Fan Cave in Greenwich Village before being chosen from a pool of nearly 700 applicants to replace Dave McGowan as the Orioles’ new public address announcer for the 2012 season.
Before McGowan, Rex Barney was the Orioles’ longtime public address announcer, beginning in 1974 at Memorial Stadium and moving with the team to Oriole Park at Camden Yards until his death in 1997.