In a series of odd gestures that will not help them win a single baseball game this coming summer, or ever, the Baltimore Orioles have suddenly swept away the heart of their veteran broadcast lineup.

Go to war, Miss Agnes.

Going, going, gone are the familiar voices of Gary Thorne, Jim Hunter, Tom Davis, Rick Dempsey, Dave Johnson and Mike Bordick. None of them ever pitched a shutout nor smote a home run while perched behind a microphone, nor will their replacements.

And, hate to break the news, but the Orioles will remain a work in progress this summer, bullied by the bigger, richer kids in the American League and unaffected by any changes in the broadcast booth.

But make no mistake: Those voices matter immensely to any ballclub. They attach emotions to the primitive act of hitting a round object with a piece of wood, and they make it seem important.

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