Baseball fans broke into “Free Kevin Brown” chants as the Baltimore Orioles led the Houston Astros 6-2 in the seventh inning of Tuesday’s game at Camden Yards. Here’s what you need to know:
- Brown, an Orioles announcer, was removed from team broadcasts Monday over a comment he made on July 23 during Baltimore’s series against the Tampa Bay Rays.
- The TBS telecast of Tuesday’s game — won by the Astros 7-6 after a Kyle Tucker go-ahead grand slam in the ninth inning — captured audio of the stadium chants as well as video footage of signs held up by fans that also read “Free Kevin Brown.”
- Brown is expected to return to the broadcast booth Friday, sources briefed on the matter told The Athletic.
Brown pointed out during the on-air broadcast on MASN that the Orioles had won more games at Tampa Bay’s Tropicana Field in 2023 than the last three years combined. The comment was backed up in the July 23 game notes, which are put together by the team’s public relations staff.
“The Orioles have won three of the first five games at The Trop this season after winning three of the 21 games played in St. Petersburg from 2020-22,” the game notes said.
Despite it being in the game notes, ownership took exception to Brown pointing it out, sources said, believing it made them sound cheap. Baltimore ranks 29th in Major League Baseball in payroll.
Brown, who started as a radio broadcaster for Baltimore in 2019, has been a popular fixture on Orioles telecasts for the past two seasons. MASN heavily pared down its on-air staff with a shakeup prior to the 2021 season that saw Gary Thorne, Jim Hunter, Rick Dempsey and Mike Bordick — among others — not returning to the Orioles and Washington Nationals’ shared regional sports network in favor of younger talent.
Brown has not returned to the MASN booth since his comment, though he did radio the following series in Philadelphia. Brown’s agent declined comment.
Orioles ownership has previously taken exception to what it views as critical comments. Public address announcer Ryan Wagner was dismissed hours before the home opener in 2021, with some of his tweets a primary reason.
A MASN spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The Orioles, who own MASN, declined comment.
Multiple sources briefed on the decision also said ownership has enacted a new policy mandating their broadcasters wear only team gear when on-air, which has rankled some. That snafu led to Brown filling in on radio after his comment in the Rays series because another broadcaster got in trouble. Broadcasters have also been reprimanded previously for mentioning past Orioles players who are no longer with the team.
The Orioles are in first place in the American League East this season, reaching 70 wins Sunday.
(Photo: Kenneth K. Lam /The Baltimore Sun / Tribune News Service via Getty Images)