On the field and in the booth, Flanagan starred
When Mike Flanagan departed this life Wednesday, the Orioles lost one of the all-time good guys in their long, once-proud history.
For those of us who covered the Orioles from the mid-70's to the mid-80's, Flanny, the 1979 Cy Young Award winner, was the go-to guy for thoughtful, intelligent analysis of the game.
Equally important to a young columnist for The Evening Sun new to Baltimore, the young left-hander was an endless source of sardonic humor in the clubhouse, a guy who enjoyed firing off one-liners with his deadpan delivery as much as he enjoyed being an integral cog on some great Orioles teams.
"He's calm and invisible and lays back. And then for about 10 seconds, he's hilarious," former teammmate Ken Singleton once said of Flanagan.
Even in this train-wreck of a season for the Orioles, while he worked as a color analyst for MASN, Flanny's wit was as sharp as ever.
It's hard to be funny when you're covering a team as bad as the Orioles, but somehow Flanny and play-by-play guy Gary Thorne managed to do it.
Their banter -- it seemed Flanny could make Thorne cackle just by reading the out-of-town scoreboard -- ranged from the sublime to the inane.
But it was a welcome relief on those nights when the Orioles were getting pounded in the early innings and you knew the rest of the game would be another grim, tedious slog toward an inevitable defeat.
I'll miss him. So will Orioles fans everywhere.