Former Orioles outfielder Ken Singleton, now a broadcaster for the New York Yankees station YES Network, is a native of the Baltimore area. He has been with the network for the last 14 years, and travels every time he covers a Yankee game by train up to New York.
On the trip up, he constantly gets questions about the Yankees. Who is their hottest hitter right now? He would say Robinson Cano.
Who in their pitching staff is struggling right now? He would say C.C. Sabathia.
And on the way back to Baltimore, he gets questions about the Orioles. He bleeds both blue and white, and orange and black in another finger. But there is one question he has not been asked.
He has not been asked to return to the organization that he calls home-the Baltimore Orioles, who he won a championship with in 1983 and the one where he was selected an All-Star three times.
“As far as helping the Orioles…I have a lot of orange and black in my veins,” Singleton told Drew Forrester this morning on “The Morning Reaction” here on 1570 WNST. “That’s never going to go away. But no one’s ever asked me before.”
And in a way, Singleton likes the situation he’s in. He has been a broadcaster the last 26 years-14 with the Yankees-and he loves being close to his family and being around an organization he grew up around in the early part of his life.
“I’m kind of satisfied with what I’m doing,” Singleton said. “When you have a good product, it makes my job easier.”
“They[the Yankees] have a tradition. Originally I’m from New York. I saw Mickey Mantle play. I saw Yogi Berra play. I saw some of the greatest Yankees to ever play. I enjoy what I’m doing.”
There is another reason why Singleton cant return to the Orioles, or to any other team for that matter. His wife.
“I dont think I’m going back down on the field,” Singleton explained. “That’s a commitment where you’re in for 162 games, and if I told my wife I was going to be traveling with the team every day, she would go nuts. That’s not going to happen.”
But that does not mean that Singleton has kept his head in the sand regarding the recent struggles of the team down I-95 near his current home.
He said to Drew that he thinks that Orioles starting pitcher Kevin Millwood has gotten himself into some bad luck this year with the lack of run support his team is giving him at the plate, and he feels like the other team in New York, the Mets, may be calling Andy MacPhail soon regarding his services.
And to be honest, watching the Yankees and the Orioles go in opposite directions has made Singleton sick to his stomach.
“I’ve seen a culture that has changed from a winning culture, and a winning legacy that continued for many years and went in the complete other direction completely. I don’t know how they’re going to get back other than getting good players and people in here with winning attitudes.”
People might say that Rick Dempsey, his former teammate and MVP of the 1983 World Series that Singleton played in, could be that spark at the managerial position.
When asked if Dempsey would make a good manager for the Orioles and turn things around, Singleton was a bit hesitant to throw his hat in the ring for Dempsey, but said that the Orioles could use a man like him at the helm, because Dempsey certainly helped him and his other Oriole teammates out.
“I think Rick would bring a lot of enthusiasm to the ball club. He would bring a lot of things that Earl Weaver used to bring to the team, which which maybe isn’t a good thing since you can’t manage like that anymore.”
But Dempsey certainly left his impact on him as a player.
“I think Rich has a way of making a point to what should be done. Every team needs a player like Rick Dempsey, and I don’t think the Orioles have that player now.”
“He wasn’t always the best player on the field,” he continued about Dempsey. “What we depended on Rick was to keep everyone up and ready to play, and he was good at that.”
For now, Singleton will continue to do what he is good at. Being a Yankee broadcaster, something George Steinbrenner once said he wouldn’t be able to do in New York given his history with the Orioles.
“He once told me: ‘Our fans aren’t going to like you’. And I said, ‘With all due respect, how come?”
“Cause I can’t recall all the bad things you used to do to us.”
Singleton says now New York fans have grown onto him, and vice-versa.
“I’ve been there fourteen years, and New York fans have kind of accepted me.”