Angel's departure hardly heavenly for Birds

Phil Jackman

October 09, 1990|By Phil Jackman

Oh yeah, Jon Miller can tell you how he's going to miss Joe Angel, his Orioles broadcasting partner for the last three seasons.

"A lot," says Miller, "because, quite simply, he's the best partner I ever worked with."

The combination, almost from the outset, was the equivalent of some of the great double-play combinations the Orioles have featured over the years . . . Aparicio and Johnson, Belanger and Grich, Ripken and Ripken.

With Angel now moving up the road to New York to work Yankees games on radio with another ex-Baltimore sportscaster, John Sterling, WBAL has some hefty work to do in the next couple of months.

"The guy [replacement] will be an experienced broadcaster," said station manager Jeff Beauchamp, meaning jocks need not apply unless they can do a lot more than offer analysis. "And, of course, it's important that he be a good fit with Jon Miller."

The nature of the announcing business today is such that a station need not advertise in the "trades" to cause a torrent of tapes and resumes to flood in.

"We've already got a pile of them to review," said Beauchamp. "Word gets around pretty fast in this business and then there's some announcers we might be interested in sounding out. Remember, there's only 26 No. 1 jobs and 26 No. 2 jobs in this business, so we're talking somebody pretty specialized here."

Which might raise the question, why is Angel moving on to a No. 2 job at WABC when that's what he held here?

Answer one involves an S with a couple of lines through it, his two-year pact with the Yankees said to be for "considerably more money" than he was making here.

Probably just as important, however, is the situation that sees him sitting behind Miller, a virtual immovable object as long as he desires to remain in a market. Jon just signed on for three more seasons with the Birds.

"Joe should be a No. 1 and he's a legitimate big-market guy," said Miller. "I think he's going to do real well in New York and, let's not forget, it's the Yankees, the most famous franchise in pro sports."

Uh-uh, by no stretch of the imagination can this be classified as a parallel move.

Beauchamp says after a review of his tapes and the ones the Orioles might have received, a discussion of the candidates will be held with Miller before a group of finalists is determined.

"It'll take a couple of months probably," he said, "but we want to have this thing wrapped up by the end of the year."

A problem, for the time being, is trying to figure out a plan of attack since there's at least two positions being discussed here.

Miller points out that WBAL could be looking for a full replacement for Angel, a 162-game guy. And, at the same time, it is looking for a guy to do 80 games or so.

"Say my television work [with Channel 2 and ESPN] is going to cause me to miss 80 games," he said. "Now we're talking 240 [man] games to be covered and let's say Chuck Thompson wants to get more involved. Do you go for two guys doing 120 games apiece, me working 40 apiece with them? You know, it's been discussed, my working with Chuck, and I'd like that."

At this point, the mind doesn't exist that knows how many games Miller will be doing for WMAR and who his partner(s) will be there. Consequently, how many games the radio side will have to cover in his absence is unknown. And it could be some time before answers are forthcoming.

Meantime, Angel's eventual replacement will have much to live up to. Miller explains:

"I don't think many realize Joe's was not an easy job. Here's a guy with a lot of talent and he's assigned three innings per ballgame. That's tough. It takes plenty of ability to carry it [sublimating oneself] off.

"And, remember, when he came, he ran into a situation where the team was not only bad [107 losses] but dull. It was pretty tough to maintain enthusiasm. But he did it.

"I know the Yankees have been bad lately, but it looks like good times ahead with [Don] Mattingly coming back and some of their young players coming around.

"For a long time, it seems the Yankees have been gimmicky with their announcers, tossing different guys in the booth thinking about marquee value. I don't think there's any doubt Joe will make their radio broadcasts better."

Angel said, "I've been second-guessing myself all weekend, but New York is the biggest market in the country. From there you can go anywhere."

Like a No. 1 job.

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