Former MASN analyst Mike Bordick, who worked on Orioles broadcasts from 2012-2020 but was recently let go, is appreciative of the opportunity the ballclub gave him in the broadcast booth and doesn’t feel any bitterness toward the team personally, but he feels for the others left without jobs as the result of MASN’s cuts.
Bordick, 55, was synonymous with Orioles baseball during the club’s latest winning stretch (2012-2016) along with play-by-play men Gary Thorne and Jim Hunter and fellow analyst Jim Palmer. Bordick, Thorne and Bordick are all out, with Palmer one of eight people on the broadcast team for the 2021 season.
Bordick also was an analyst for the Orioles Radio Network in recent years, but now he’ll be looking toward other pursuits to fill his time. Still, he’s appreciative of the opportunity he got back in 2012 and is hoping he’ll be able to help out in an on-field role. Last year, he was a guest instructor in spring training.
“I’m thankful for the opportunity they gave me to try broadcasting. I feel like I’ve learned so much. I feel like I’ve gotten better. It’s given me other opportunities,” Bordick said on Glenn Clark Radio Jan. 25. “The Orioles haven’t turned their back on me, honestly. They’ve always helped me. They’ve given me shots baseball-wise, coaching-wise, TV-wise. From what I understand, they’re still going to let me hopefully help out on the baseball end of things. Haven’t officially heard word there, but that was [relayed] to me the other day when they let me know about the situation.”
Bordick said he was always eager to learn from Thorne, Hunter, Palmer, former radio play-by-play men Fred Manfra and Joe Angel and his behind-the-scenes colleagues who were critical to the production of the broadcasts. Bordick lauded his fellow broadcasters for their preparation in particular.
A 14-year MLB veteran, Bordick played in Baltimore from 1997-2000 and again from 2001-2002 (he came back after a midseason trade in 2000 sent him to the New York Mets). Known as a terrific defensive shortstop, he went 110 consecutive games without an error in 2002 — still a big-league record for a shortstop. After retiring in 2003, he said he wanted to be part of a team again to “strive for excellence” as a group. He found that with MASN.
“I think every major-league team that I played on, even though there may have been some forecasts that we weren’t going to be that good, in Day One in spring training we all believed we were going to be the champs,” Bordick said. “And that’s the kind of attitude I think the broadcast team kind of has, from the broadcasters to the people that work behind the camera to the technicians to the producers, they wanted to — and I think the people that are still there — continue to try to put out the best show possible, and it was so much fun to try to do that every night and try to get better.”
Bordick, Thorne, Hunter and Palmer weren’t the only ones who lost their jobs. Tom Davis and Rick Dempsey, who hosted MASN’s pre- and postgame shows for years, are out. Analysts Dave Johnson and Brian Roberts are also out. Davis is from Baltimore and covered the Orioles for decades. Dempsey, Johnson and Roberts all played for the Orioles and have places in the team’s history. Dempsey was the 1983 World Series MVP. Johnson played a key role for the 1989 “Why Not?” Orioles. Roberts was one of the few reasons to watch the Orioles for much of the 2000s.
The Athletic reported that the primarily Orioles-owned network is in a cash crunch, leading to the changes.
“Let me just say if I have any kind of bitterness, it’s just for a lot of my friends that have unfortunately been let go and not being able to continue what they do, which is really love the Orioles and show how much they truly love them,” Bordick said. “I feel bad in that regard. I really do, because the last few years a lot of great Oriole people have been let go and have had to go on and try to find some other things when they’re really part of this community. So many people live here and truly care about the Baltimore Orioles and want them to do well. That’s the part that kind of gets under my skin a little bit, but me personally, I’m thankful for the opportunity they gave me to try broadcasting.”
Bordick touched on a number of other topics as well …
On how he was eventually able to let his personality shine through in his broadcasting:
“So much of that comes from the people I was surrounded by, first and foremost, and to watch their preparation. I’ve always truly hung my hat on preparation. And to learn how to do it in the broadcasting world is a little bit different. How you’re able to put it out there, I think, is really an art. Watching guys like Gary Thorne and Jim Hunter and Jim Palmer do it over and over again and seeing just how relaxed they were, I understood and wasn’t in a rush. It was going to be a matter of time. … Through my repetition, being around the right people on a daily basis, it took a while, but thank goodness it did and I just felt so comfortable, so much more comfortable calling a game, talking about players, what to look for in certain situations. That’s really what it all comes down to. To be able to get maybe an extra year or two under my belt is really what allowed that.”
On whether he wants to pursue coaching in the future:
“I have had some unbelievable role models and examples in my life of some of the greatest baseball people in the world. One that I hold so true to my heart was my college baseball coach. His name was John Winkin. He was an institution [at Maine], went to the College World Series five out of six years in the early ‘80s, just an incredible baseball legend. When the University of Maine let him go his quote was, ‘I love baseball. I’ll coach Little League. I’ll be fine.’ That’s the way I feel. I’ve been fortunate. Just recently, I’m starting to do some lessons over at The Baseball Warehouse [in Forest Hill]. Just to be around kids and watch kids learn and help them try to enjoy this incredible sport by learning the right way is really what I’m passionate about right now.”
On continuing his work as the chairman of the League of Dreams:
“The Orioles have continued to show support, and they promised that they would continue to do that. So I look forward to working with them and hopefully watching the League of Dreams take off because it is a wonderful organization that gives all kids of any special needs opportunities to play baseball and softball. We’re partnered with incredible groups. The Children’s Guild [Alliance] is an unbelievable learning organization that continues to be innovative and we’re part of that and so thankful for it. And, of course, the great Cal Ripken Sr. Foundation continues to do incredible things all over the world baseball-wise and we’re part of that incredible group. We’re looking to continue to build and feed off that and help so many kids that really need these opportunities to get out there and enjoy a sport.”
For more from Bordick, listen to the full interview here:
Photo Credit: Kenya Allen/PressBox