Best wishes and Godspeed to Jen Royle

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At the end of the Ravens’ season (whenever that is), a void will be left in the Baltimore sports media. Jen Royle of 105.7 WJZ (“the fan”) will be leaving her post in order to move back to her native Boston, Mass. Ms. Royle had previously covered the New York Yankees for YES prior to coming to Baltimore, where she originally worked for MASN as well as WJZ covering the Orioles and Ravens in 2010. This past year (2011-12) Royle moved full-time to WJZ where she covered both teams and co-hosted WJZ’s Baltimore Baseball Tonight show (with Bob Haynie, former Oriole Joe Orsulak, and Jim Duquette), which aired an hour prior to every weeknight Oriole game.

Jen Royle’s views on the Birds differed at times with those of fans, however I have a lot of respect for someone like her who can express her unadulterated opinion without fear of what people might say or think. I’d be lying if I said I agreed with 100% of everything she said about the O’s or Ravens, however it takes more guts to state what you feel to be the truth than it does to go along with the flow. She said on numerous times that people aren’t always supposed to agree with her. I think that’s a good lesson in all walks of life, not just sports reporting. If everyone agreed with everything everyone else said, we’d have a pretty boring world. Often times hometown fans are so blinded by loyalty to their teams and their towns that they either don’t want to see what’s going on or they can’t see it. In general there’s no more to an opinion than meets the eye, meaning that there’s no malice intended behind it. Again, it takes guts to state what you feel under any circumstances, especially if it’s going to be deemed as unpopular.

Through various means such as twitter as well as in person, I’ve gotten to know Jen over the two years she’s been in Baltimore. Bearing that in mind, I’ll miss her and her coverage of the teams. First off I was always impressed by the way she conducted herself in interviews, on air/camera, etc. However she’s also a very warm person, and quite frankly we could use a few more like her in this world. She comes across as extremely approachable, and to anyone that’s ever read her twitter handle where she’s constantly talking about her family and her dog Truman, it’s easy to see that she’s very family-oriented. In short, she “gets it.” Sports are just that…sports. What’s more important in life is the world in which we live, and the people around us. Again, Ms. Royle seems to “get that” much more so than do the rest of us (especially me).

As I said, there will be a bit of a void in the Baltimore sports media landscape once Jen leaves. WJZ may well trot some other reporter out there in her stead; however whether or not that person has the same experience, qualifications, and spunk as her is another story. On my own behalf as well as on that of Birds Watcher, it’s been a pleasure getting to know Jen Royle during her time in Baltimore. I wish her the very best in all of her future endeavors as she returns to her hometown of Boston. Fortunately – or perhaps not so fortunately – for her, one never knows when the Birds Watcher column might turn up on the road with the Orioles…field trip to Fenway anyone?!

Follow me on Twitter @DomenicVadala