The Men Upstairs

What it’s been like for commentators Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer to call games in 2012 after 14 losing seasons.

By Jess Blumberg - April 2013

How was the 2012 season different for commentators Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer?

What it’s been like for commentators Gary Thorne and Jim Palmer to call games in 2012 after 14 losing seasons.

By Jess Blumberg - April 2013

-Photography courtesy of The Baltimore Orioles (Todd Olszewski)

Through a slew of struggling seasons, the Orioles have seen a lot of turnover: traded players, a plethora of managers, and even, yes, some bandwagon fans.
But, flip on the TV and, game in and game out, you’ll hear two consistent voices: the play-by-play from Gary Thorne and color commentary from Jim Palmer.
So, what has it been like for them to call losing season after losing season and then, finally, experience that rekindled Orioles magic last year?

“If anything, those past years were a disappointment,” says Gary Thorne who came on board in 2007. “But you never try and fool anybody. You try to be honest, but positive, because there are always memorable moments no matter the losing record.”

Thorne swears he’s not a homer, but admits that any broadcaster would want the team they’re covering to win. He adds that it was especially hard on former Orioles Palmer and Mike Flanagan to watch their team flounder.

“I’ve gone through very dismal years,” Palmer says. “But we’re always prepared as broadcasters. And when you work with Gary Thorne, he can make a haircut sound exciting.”

Even still, the excitement of the 2012 season was exhilarating for both commentators.

“It was the way they won those 93 games,” Palmer says. “All those one-run games, extra-inning games, Chris Davis pitching. We started winning series, winning on Sundays, winning the rubber game. Every game was meaningful.” 

Thorne says that his production team at MASN didn’t do anything different last year per se, but there were obvious advantages.

“You smile a lot more,” he says. “And you don’t have to reach for stories. They’re right there in front of you.”


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