As this calender year comes to a close it is sad to think that we won't be seeing Mike Flanagan during the 2012 season.
I've said it many times, but among all the Orioles I've been lucky to meet over many years, none loved being an Oriole any more than Flanny. It is still stunning to think about the events of last August.
I saw where SBNation, reflecting on Jim Palmer's tearful tribute to Flanny that night, named that as the top sportscasting moment of 2011. I don't know that I would exactly cite it as a sportscasting moment, but it sure was a special human moment and Palmer's words spoke for all Orioles fans that night.
Just two days after Flanny's death, the Yankees came to Baltimore. I ran into current Yankees' broadcaster and former Oriole Ken Singleton in the press box and had the chance to say to him, "I hope you guys (former Orioles) all realize how special you are to us (longtime fans)."
I hope Mike knew what he meant to Orioles fans.
I think we are lucky to still have so many former Orioles involved with the club. On the broadcast side, in addition to Palmer, we have Rick Dempsey and Dave Johnson.
Former Orioles like Scott McGregor, Mike Bordick, Brady Anderson, Ryan Minor, Mike Devereaux, Calvin Maduro, Leo Gomez and Dave Schmidt have been part of the organization in recent years and most continue to be.
I join many fans in the hope that Cal Ripken, when the time is right, will rejoin the organization in a capacity that is best for him and the Orioles.
I've enjoyed seeing guys like Ben McDonald, Mike Boddicker and Eddie Murray on MASN telecasts.
I am sure I am forgetting someone and leaving someone out here, but the point is, these all are good guys and remind us of winning Orioles baseball and better days. They represented the club well when they wore the orange and black and it's great to have them close to the team still.
The Orioles have a long tradition here in Baltimore and it's guys like those mentioned above that helped create the tradition. It will be great to see some of them and have them as a part of Orioles baseball as we move into another year.
It still is just so sad that Flanny won't be around with them.