MEDIA WATCHDOG: In Defense of “Cakes”

Jim Palmer
Former Baltimore Orioles pitcher Jim Palmer acknowledges fans after a replica of a statue of him was unveiled before a baseball game between the Orioles and the Detroit Tigers in Baltimore, Saturday, July 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

There are a lot of stupid opinions among Baltimore sports fans. Just turn on 105.7 right now, you’re bound to hear one in about ten seconds. I shouldn’t just single out our city though. If I were to be entirely honest, it’s not just Baltimore. Fans are stupid everywhere; it’s just showcased in local sports talk radio. Each fanbase has it’s own unique stupidity.

As we rapidly approach the start of the Major League Baseball season (well, the North American start of the Major League Baseball season), I’m reminded of one of my least favorite stupid sports opinions in Charm City. It’s one that I’ve never been able to wrap mind around. I’m sure you’ve heard numerous people voice this ridiculous complaint whether it be on social media, sports talk radio or just at the barstool.

The constant whining about Jim Palmer’s comments about his career during Orioles broadcasts are totally absurd. For some reason, there’s a vocal minority (I hope it’s a minority, at least) in Baltimore that doesn’t want to hear a Hall of Famer discuss his playing days. Whenever Palmer launches into a story about the glory days, Twitter blows up with people asking “who cares?”

Who cares? Baseball fans care. Jim Palmer is one of the best Orioles to ever wear the uniform. The three-time Cy Young Award winner grew up through the O’s system. From age 19 to 38, Palmer pitched for the Birds. He won 20 games or more in eight of his 19 seasons with Baltimore and was a part of all three World Series winning teams (1966, 1970 and 1983). He’s a six-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner.

Not only does Palmer have the right to brag about his career if he so chooses, but Orioles fans should want to hear what he has to say. He has experienced it all and he doesn’t make comparisons between his playing days and a scenario that presents itself in a game today to boast about what he accomplished, but rather to connect to the viewer.

I love hearing Palmer reminisce about the glory days of Orioles baseball and talk about how this franchise can regain the respect it once had during the prime of his career. Who doesn’t enjoy hearing the guy break down the mechanics of the O’s top pitching prospects? Is there anyone better to discuss what they think is working or isn’t?

Quite possibly my favorite aspect of Palmer’s commentary is his brutal honesty. Because of his resume and reputation around Major League Baseball, Palmer is free to be a bit more opinionated than other broadcasters on MASN. Mike Bordick would never speak negatively about a player’s effort, but if Palmer sees it, he’ll call a guy out. If he questions a managerial decision, he’ll speak openly about what he would have done differently. In our overly positive team broadcast world, it’s refreshing to hear the truth from one of the game’s elite talents.

What’s not to enjoy about Jim Palmer?

If you get tired of hearing a Hall of Famer talk about what made his career great or share stories about the franchise or compare the pitches he threw to Kevin Gausman’s repertoire, maybe you need to brush up your Orioles history. Palmer isn’t that cranky old guy who’s in the booth talking about how great things were before Wrigley Field got lights or how he liked baseball better before guys had walkup music. He’s providing insightful information and comparing it to his career — one of the greatest careers in Baltimore Orioles history.