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Leafs Announcers Get Screwed

Jason Barrett

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First they were turfed from the team charter and now Leafs radio broadcasters Joe Bowen and Jim Ralph have been banished from the road altogether.

Broadcast and NHL sources confirmed on Monday that the veteran announcers will call road games from a Toronto studio rather than press boxes at road arenas around the NHL. For one of the richest teams in all of professional sports – and a franchise owned by two broadcasting giants – it’s a move ridiculous as it is stunning.

For a clearly disappointed Bowen – the long time colourful voice of the Leafs – the development is an obvious gutting.

“Unfortunately this is true,” Bowen wrote on his official Twitter account. “We will try to recreate the excitement and do the best we can.”

The gutting of the two veteran radio men began when the team decided it no longer wanted broadcasters on the team charter flight. That meant that Bowen and Ralph as well as Leafs TV staff would need to arrange their own transportation.

In the case of Bowen and Ralph, it’s clear that Rogers and Bell – co-owners of the storied Original Six franchise – don’t want to foot that bill. Neither of the telecommunications giants are commenting on the development and it’s possible public outrage could lead to change, but don’t bet on it.

As for keeping charters to team personnel only, a source said it’s a shift in philosophy under new general manager Lou Lamoriello. The thinking is that the flight will be an extension of the dressing room and that “the team charter is for the team.”

Just how Bowen, one of the more energetic broadcasters in any sport, will recreate that excitement from a dark studio remains to be seen. But there’s no denying that Leafs fans are poorer for it.

Credit to The Toronto Sun who originally published this article

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Mike Mulligan: Idea Shohei Ohtani Used MLB Media to Increase Price is ‘Pretty Wild’

“I think that’s been reported or that’s the conspiracy theory, right?”

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Mike Mulligan
Courtesy: Audacy

When Shohei Ohtani inked a 10-year contract reportedly worth a record $700 million to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers, it sent the baseball world in a state of shock and euphoria. Mike Mulligan and David Haugh speculated on such as well and reacted to the events of the previous few days on Monday morning.

Specifically on Friday, social media users noticed a private jet flying from Anaheim to Toronto, prompting people to assume that it was Ohtani traveling to the country to officially sign with the Toronto Blue Jays. It turns out that the plane transported Shark Tank investor and entrepreneur Robert Herjavec and his children back from a vacation in Southern California, much to the disappointment of fans who were hoping that it was Ohtani making his decision.

Instead, Ohtani announced the news of his agreement with the Dodgers on Instagram on Saturday afternoon, completing a protracted pursuit to land the two-time American League MVP that reports say lasted over a year.

Moreover, it brought inaccurate reports to light from several venerated members of the media who have been covering MLB for many years. MLB Network insider Jon Morosi in particular confirmed that Ohtani was on the plane, but later issued an apology for promulgating misinformation.

“It was a crazy Friday in Major League Baseball media,” Haugh said on Mully & Haugh on 670 The Score. “I wonder how much Ohtani’s agents worked and manipulated the process behind the scenes; maybe fed some respected reporters some bad info to get the Dodgers thinking that the Blue Jays were going to be all in.”

According to an in-depth story from Tom Verducci at Sports Illustrated, the Dodgers were uncertain whether or not the team would land Ohtani on Friday night. It also claims that the team saw the report of the private jet flying to Toronto and decided to go all-in by increasing their offer. Although much of the remuneration is expected to be deferred, Ohtani is now projected to make $11.7 million per month, $432,099 per game and $50.01 per second under this new deal.

“I got to tell you the idea that they used national baseball writers to jack up the price is pretty wild,” co-host Mike Mulligan said. “They fed information to people that they were headed to Toronto. I think that’s been reported or that’s the conspiracy theory, right?”

The discussion on the Chicago sports radio program continued to surmise as to why the Chicago Cubs did not land Ohtani. The team had been reported as being involved in the bidding process, although much of the information surrounding the free agency has been shrouded in secrecy. As a former reporter for the Chicago Tribune, Mike Mulligan is familiar with having to verify information.

At the moment, the Dodgers have yet to officially announce the deal that Ohtani is signing with them, which could indicate that the deal is pending the completion of a physical. Once everything becomes official, the Dodgers will officially have a lineup featuring three players that have won a combined five Most Valuable Player awards, along with plenty of depth up and down the roster.

“I think that the Dodgers always seemed to be the team that he was going to land on,” Haugh said regarding Ohtani earlier in the segment. “It seemed inevitable from the beginning. We built up our hope here; it seemed a little bit remote all the time. You kind of knew it, but it was fun to dream a little bit because of how good he is.”

“I just think that the Cubs probably stopped bidding on this; I’m guessing $550 [million] tops, something like that,” Mike Mulligan added. “That was one of the rumors. It starts going up and you kind of must know at that point that if you jump in and you pay more than the next guy, you’re going to get him.”

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CBS Sports Producer Defends Army/Navy Halftime Show

“They’re doing their pre, halftime and postgame jobs just like we would.”

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CBS Sports College Football
Courtesy: CBS Sports

On Saturday afternoon, the Army Black Knights and Navy Midshipmen faced off for their annual matchup – the 124th such occurrence of the signature contest – and broadcast by CBS Sports. Army extended its win streak to two games over Navy, but the day was about much more than the game on the gridiron.

Outside of Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass., ESPN College GameDay was situated and featured guest picker and New England Patriots general manager and head coach Bill Belichick. Additionally, there were the traditional ceremonies that took place inside the stadium featuring the Army cannon that has become synonymous with the game itself, fired at kickoff and during other momentous occurrences during the matchup.

The matchup was televised on CBS Sports featuring play-by-play announcer Brad Nessler, analyst Gary Danielson, and sideline reporter Jenny Dell on the call. On Monday morning’s edition of Boomer & Gio on WFAN and simulcast on CBS Sports Network, a caller expressed their opinions of the broadcast – not during play itself, but rather pertaining to halftime.

“Now halftime is all about pomp,” the caller said. “…Why did CBS Sports bring the counterfeiters, those three jabronis; why did they have them talk and not let us show the viewers the actual halftime?”

Appearing on the halftime program Saturday included host Adam Zucker with analysts Rick Neuheisel and Brian Jones. The presentation that was televised on CBS Sports seemed to perturb this caller though, as he would have rather seen what was taking place inside of the stadium. Instead, the panel discussed the game at hand and performed the task that was assigned to them by the company, and in so doing was subject to the vitriol of viewers missing out on the on-site festivities.

Luckily for Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, the program had CBS Sports producer Stephen Waldron on the line, who was asked by Giannotti to answer the question from the caller.

“I would say they’re definitely not jabronis,” Waldron explained, “and I didn’t watch the game, so I can’t comment on it.”

Esiason is a member of The NFL Today and will be on the road for the AFC Championship game in January to determine one of the two teams playing in the Super Bowl in Las Vegas, Nev. He compared the jobs of members of College Football Today to what they are doing on the NFL broadcast, simply fulfilling the roles and parameters thereof assigned to them.

“They’re doing their pre, halftime, and postgame jobs just like we would,” Esiason said.

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Mike Felger: Being 2nd Chair in Sports Radio ‘Sneaky Hard’

“I’m just used to running my mouth and setting the pace, and that sort of thing.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Mike Felger
Courtesy: Nantucket Current

Morning drive on Boston’s 98.5 The Sports Hub will have a new co-host alongside Fred Toucher starting in January, and speculation continues to swirl about who will replace longtime co-host Rich Shertenlieb.

The Boston Herald last week reported the latest in the station’s search for a new morning co-host. Kendra Middleton, a familiar voice in the mornings, has interviewed, and other current station talent like Jim Murray and Rob “Hardy” Poole are believed to be getting consideration.

Mike Felger, co-host of Felger & Mazz on The Sports Hub, has been jokingly suggested as the next co-host. But Felger said in a digital video reported on by the Herald that it would certainly be a challenge, and that he and Toucher would have success.

“I think it would go well,” he said. “What is a sneaky hard spot is to be in the second chair, to be in the Mazz chair, the B chair, because listening is harder than talking… that would be the only discomfort.”

Felger added that it would be an adjustment.

“I’m just used to running my mouth and setting the pace, and that sort of thing,” he said.

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