O's new play-by-play voice following lineage of greats

Get to know Kevin Brown in a Q&A with MLB.com

May 9th, 2022

This story was excerpted from Zachary Silver's Orioles Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

This year is different for Kevin Brown. It’s not that this is his first time calling games -- he’s been doing that for quite some time, across sports. Nor is it his first time calling Orioles games, as he’s been on the O’s flagship radio station and occasionally on MASN over the past three years.

But this is Brown’s first year as the lead play-by-play voice, named officially to the role at the beginning of Spring Training. With it comes an enhanced sense of ownership, not only serving as the voice but following a long lineage of play-by-play excellence in Baltimore.

“This is the first year where I don't feel like a bit of an outsider,” Brown said this week. “That's not to say I haven't tried to throw myself into the job, but now I'm doing most of the games.”

Brown recently sat down with MLB.com for a Q&A to further introduce himself as the newest voice of the Orioles and offer some insight into his style. This conversation has been lightly edited for content and clarity.

MLB.com: I know you’ve been around for a bit, in roaming roles. So how would you describe your first year so far as the lead play-by-play voice?

Brown: It's a different role. There's a different level of confidence, I think, that comes with knowing you are there when another person is not, knowing that it gets to be your booth, in a sense. Not to be arrogant about it, it's just that there's a level of confidence now. It's worked out well enough where I've done this for three years, I've done gradually more every year, I've gotten more familiar with the people, with the team, with the coaches, with the staff. And now I feel like I'm ready to be comfortable, night in and night out.

MLB.com: How does that sense of ownership resonate?

Brown: I think every good broadcaster has to have a little bit of an ego. You don't have to be a jerk. You don't have to be rude. You don't have to be dismissive or judgmental. But you have to be confident. Great players are confident that they can go out on the field and perform. This is a creative profession, and if I'm not confident, people are going to notice that. If I dance around my words or don't have my stories quite right or my information, I think people are going to notice that. You want people to feel comfortable when they're watching, so the easiest way for them to feel comfortable is for us to be comfortable.

MLB.com: Describe your play-by-play style in four words.

Brown: Serious, but not serious.

MLB.com: How much of your personality do you let into your calls?

Brown: I try to. The job should be fun. We're talking about baseball and getting paid. I honestly feel very silly when people ask me what I do for a living and I say I do this, because it feels so insubstantial sometimes. … But I think people come to these games in part to escape and in part to laugh and in part to learn some things. And if you're doing the job well, it should feel like a conversation between me and Jim [Palmer] or me and Ben [McDonald] or me and whoever. I want it to be a slightly heightened version of two people sitting on a couch, talking about what they see, but I never want it to be homework. I take the job very seriously. I don't take myself seriously at all.

MLB.com: What should Orioles fans know about you, and what to expect from broadcasts?

Brown: I hope people can tell that I'm truly invested in this, and part of the reason we wanted to stop living part-time in New York and be here in Baltimore was because I really wanted to throw myself into this city and not just bounce back and forth all the time. The people here have treated me wonderfully. I had no idea about the passion of this town and this area and this fanbase before I got here, and I've been pretty blown away by it and how much people care, how much they watch and the little things that they pick up on. I hear that, I see that, and I read that, and I feel a great responsibility. We have great people working here, and I am very happy to be a cog in this machine. But I don't just want this to be an ordinary broadcast. This is a great town and a great franchise, and there's a great lineage here. I want to be great for that.

MLB.com: Your best single meal thus far in Baltimore?

Brown: I don't think I could pick against the green onion chicken and waffles and Miss Shirley's. Side of hashbrowns, if you get some pancakes for the table -- which I call table cakes -- even better. The key lime pancakes there they had as a special a couple of years ago were amazing. I'm a big breakfast guy. When you work in baseball, you spend a lot of dinners in the press room. So, breakfasts and brunches are my jam. And Miss Shirley's is the finest one.