Kevin Brown doesn’t generally look up at the scoreboard during games. He has his own scorebook in front of him. But on that late August evening on the West Coast, with the Orioles trailing the San Diego Padres by 10 runs in the sixth inning of a game that pushed midnight in Baltimore, Brown’s eyes wandered.

The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network play-by-play broadcaster noticed a fun fact on the big screen at Petco Park in San Diego: Ryan Mountcastle’s favorite karaoke song is “I Miss You” by Blink-182. And, when Mountcastle flied out, that song rang out from the stadium loudspeakers.

So Brown mentioned it on air, befuddling his broadcast partner Ben McDonald in the process.

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The game continued in the background, but Brown sang a viral part of the lyrics to “I Miss You” in the distinctive nasally voice of Tom DeLonge to jog McDonald’s memory: “Where are you? And I’m so sorry.”

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“What else is there to talk about? We’re trying to entertain people,” Brown told The Baltimore Banner. “Honestly, at that point, I’m trying to entertain myself as much as I’m trying to entertain a general audience, so I just thought, ‘Oh, this is a fun, random thing that just happened.’”

At the time, he never thought his impersonation of DeLonge would strike such a chord.

In the months since, the minutelong clip of Brown and McDonald discussing Blink-182 has continued to circulate. And on Wednesday, as part of an interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, the members of Blink-182 remarked on Brown’s sublime execution.

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“It’s so good,” said bassist and vocalist Mark Hoppus. He later commented on McDonald’s inability to place the band until Brown offered his rendition of DeLonge. “He has no idea until the guy goes, ‘Hey you know, Where are you? ‘Oh yeah, I know that guy, totally.’”

There’s nothing that could’ve excited Brown more on a slow offseason day in Baltimore than to hear the heroes of his high school music scene comment on him, even if they only referred to Brown as “the sports announcer.”

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“It’s one of the more surreal things that has happened to me, even if I never meet those guys,” Brown said. “Even if they have no idea what my name is. The fact that something I did in this late-night, noncompetitive baseball game was amusing or interesting enough to reach their ears, that’s really cool. That’s a clip I can play for the rest of my life.”

Lowe said Brown’s enunciation of “I’m so sorry” in DeLonge’s style is the “most flawless impression.”

“If you had told 15-year-old me, cruising around in Mark Henesy’s car on the way to school, that Mark Hoppus and Tom DeLonge would have a good laugh over my impression of them at an Orioles game,” Brown said, “I probably would’ve fainted, and/or taken the steering wheel out of his hands and driven the car off the road.”

He tweeted his appreciation and invited DeLonge, Hoppus and Travis Barker to sit in on an Orioles broadcast.

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Brown is the self-proclaimed No. 1 Oasis fan in America. His music palate extends far beyond the British rockers, however, with the pop-punk genre playing a particularly prominent role in his teens. There are Blink-182, Green Day, All Time Low, Fall Out Boy, Sum 41.

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“I didn’t listen to a ton of music until high school, so the music from that time is still welded pretty deeply in my mind,” Brown said.

He credits McDonald’s role in engaging the Blink-182 conversation that August night. Oftentimes, Brown joked, his references bypass McDonald or Jim Palmer and the former Orioles pitchers let the comments evaporate. This time, McDonald didn’t let the moment pass.

As the lead play-by-play broadcaster on MASN, Brown has become a character unto himself for Orioles fans. They connect with Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson; they also connect to Brown and his personality. During Baltimore’s champagne celebration after the Orioles clinched the American League East, Brown and Mountcastle briefly sang a duet of “I Miss You”.

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In that way, Brown allows his personality to show through more on MASN than he might when calling a college basketball game for a national audience on ESPN. Still, he remembers listening to a podcast with broadcaster Dave Flemming on it, in which Flemming noted that the most important story of the game is the 2-2 pitch.

The intricate details of baseball matter. While Vin Scully, the legendary baseball broadcaster, enthralled audiences with his off-field stories, he was also revered for how he called a game.

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“But sometimes there are moments when you can absolutely let loose,” Brown said. “I’m mindful of not overdoing it, because the game matters. But baseball is the sport where you can, above all else, enjoy some relevant digressions. There are slower games and slower innings and there are blowouts and there are just so many games, so there are just so many opportunities to have fun or just kind of see where the game takes you.”

On that night, it took him back to high school — back to Henesy’s car, where Brown first perfected DeLonge’s tone.

andy.kostka@thebaltimorebanner.com

Andy Kostka is an Orioles beat writer for The Baltimore Banner. He previously covered the Orioles for The Baltimore Sun. Kostka graduated from the University of Maryland and grew up in Rockville.

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