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Joe Buck: Intimacy Is Gone Because You’re Talking To a Screen

” think the real issue when they’re doing Zoom calls is you don’t know the person who’s the subject on the other side of that call. A lot of that intimacy is gone because you’re talking to a screen, and it’s a total disconnect.”

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The 2021 Major League Baseball season has arrived, and with it comes questions about the way announcers, reporters, and writers will cover each team and game. Last season, media members everywhere were impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, forcing all to operate with controlled and limited access. In a normal world, professionals would engage in intimate conversations with players, coaches, and executives, allowing members of the media to gain the inside track on news, helping them create better feature stories for their brands or in the case of an announcer, being able to relay valuable information to their viewers and listeners during game broadcasts.

But unprecedented times required unprecedent adjustments. Yet as we begin the 2021 season with fans being welcomed back into stadiums, and light starting to appear at the end of the tunnel, signaling that the world could soon be headed to a return to normalcy, the question lingers, “will sports media professionals have a chance to do their jobs the way they did previously?” 

During an appearance this morning on “101 ESPN’s – Karraker & Smallmon” which included midday host and St. Louis Cardinals announcer Dan McLaughlin, Fox MLB play-by-play voice, Joe Buck said not being able to have intimate conversations with people has made it harder to not only connect with players but also to share details with viewers when calling a game inside the booth. 

“I think the real issue when they’re doing Zoom calls is you don’t know the person who’s the subject on the other side of that call” said Buck. “A lot of that intimacy is gone because you’re talking to a screen, and it’s a total disconnect. I would love for it to go back to the way it was. I just hope that these different sports don’t say ‘well, we got along fine during the pandemic without you guys having face to face contact with players and coaches so we’re going to do it that way going forward’.”

Buck continued, “When you don’t have that personal knowledge, and it becomes a quote machine, and nothing of substance on these Zoom calls, there’s something that’s gone that I think we as announcers can relay to an audience that cares, the information they can’t or don’t read, and it’s fresh.”

While Zoom does provide a platform that allows groups of people to come together and have a conversation, intimate discussions are difficult to have in a public setting. Forming personal relationships is significant for journalists and national broadcasters who are looking to garner information that their audience, who might be watching the team for the first time, might not be aware of. 

McLaughlin mentioned towards the end of the discussion that the game of baseball is seen by some younger fans as being too slow, making it even more important for broadcasters to have access because they’re thrust into situations where they have to relay information and share stories during lags in the action, and become the conduit to educating the audience about the players. With access reduced though, it makes it much harder to do the job.

Buck responded to that point by explaining that broadcasters get to know players on a different level due to being around them at the hotel, inside the ballpark, on the plane or the bus. He said MLB is aware of the challenges with the game but the MLBPA isn’t in a rush to make major changes. Buck added that his partner John Smoltz loves the game, but is frustrated with where the game is headed, and the way it’s managed and taught. What specifically frustrates Buck is the game’s lack of logic and how it impacts results.

Entering the 2021 season, Zoom calls with players will continue. With the country receiving vaccinations at a high rate, it’ll be interesting to see whether the league makes these interactions permanent or allows broadcasters and journalists to once again have the personal interactions pre-pandemic. 

Sports Radio News

Craig Carton Making Responsible Gambling Content For FanDuel

“He will help shape the company’s responsible gaming policy, play a role in FanDuel building AI that can spot problematic gambling patterns, and host events in which he will help younger bettors understand what an addiction looks like.”

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FanDuel announced yesterday that it has hired its first ever “responsible gaming ambassador”. WFAN’s Craig Carton has agreed to take on the role. He has been open about his gambling addiction and advocated for those that believe they have a problem to seek help on air since returning to New York radio last year.

The content he creates for FanDuel will have a very specific focus. A press release says Carton will promote messages of “advocacy, prevention awareness and content development focused on the importance of wagering within limits”.

Craig Carton was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in a ponzi scheme to defraud investors of money they were told was being invested in tickets for resale. In reality, Carton was using the money to repay some of his gambling debts.

“My story and personal history with gambling has been well documented,” said Carton. “More than ever, I want to use my experience and platform to shine a meaningful spotlight on the issue of problem gambling. It was important to me that I find a real partnership with a company that shared my passion for this issue. It became clear FanDuel shared the same goals and was comfortable working transparently with me for the sole purpose of protecting people.”

FanDuel is planning to utilize Carton in a number of ways. He will help shape the company’s responsible gaming policy, play a role in FanDuel building AI that can spot problematic gambling patterns, and host events in which he will help younger bettors understand what an addiction looks like.

He will also create audio and video for FanDuel’s Play Safe Campaign. FanDuel will help Carton’s WFAN program “Hello, My Name is Craig” find a bigger audience. The show airs on weekends and features Carton discussing his addiction and offering advice to others seeking help.

“We are absolutely thrilled to partner with Craig to place even more emphasis on responsible gaming behaviors,” said Mike Raffensperger, FanDuel Group’s Chief Marketing Officer. “Everyone at FanDuel understands the importance of protecting our customers who are also our family, friends, neighbors and community members. Craig’s powerful personal story will help fuel our mission of making sure no bet placed results in hurting a loved one.”

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Marc Malusis: Stephen A Smith Spouting ‘Complete & Utter BS’

“Listen, I get he’s on ESPN and we’re doing out thing here, but it’s affecting a team we cover on a day-in-day-out basis with the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving, who is a very polarizing figure in this city.”

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WFAN’s Marc Malusis wants Stephen A. Smith to acknowledge that he either has inside information regarding the Nets or that he completely made up a trade rumor on First Take earlier this week. Smith said on First Take that the Brooklyn Nets would trade Kyrie Irving to Philadelphia if it meant they got Ben Simmons back in return, but the idea has been nixed by Kevin Durant.

Stephen A. Smith accused some in the media of lying about his report. He tried to claim that he what said on First Take was that the Irving for Simmons deal is a trade the Nets could do. That was enough to sett Malusis off.

“This is just complete and utter BS,” he shouted. “I mean, get the boots on!”

Marc Malusis claims that the idea of an Irving for Simmons trade isn’t totally absurd. Having James Harden on the roster would allow Brooklyn to bring in someone that does everything well but shoot. Still, he says Smith framed his stance as something he knows happened and Malusis is adamant it didn’t.

He was even more upset that Smith would say people in the New York media “lied” about what Smith had said. Marc Malusis pointed out that when you are the local media, you have to dive into a rumor like that. It doesn’t just get to be something that was said on ESPN.

“Listen, I get he’s on ESPN and we’re doing out thing here, but it’s affecting a team we cover on a day-in-day-out basis with the Brooklyn Nets with Kyrie Irving, who is a very polarizing figure in this city.”

It sounds like Malusis’s greatest objection is to Smith’s indignation at the idea that someone took his trade rumor seriously.

“Don’t all the sudden start waking back and saying ‘everyone’s spewing lies about what I had to say yesterday’ because you know what? We had to weed through the BS of what you said yesterday.”

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104.5 ESPN’s Matt Moscona Sets Up $100K Donation to Local High School

”It’s been tough on these kids, and this will definitely help us.”

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Guaranty Media and 104.5 ESPN in Baton Rouge recently invited a local Athletic Director from South Lafourche High School Brian Callais to come and promote an upcoming fundraising event host by Central High School on After Further Review with Matt Moscona.

During the phone interview, Callais informed listeners of the impact that Ida had on their school, including major damages to the high school that there are no funds to repair. Additionally, the school’s sports teams will be forced to travel for every game this season as their facilities are not fit to host other schools.

Little did Callais know, Matt Moscona had invited the founder of a Baton-Rouge-based cryptocurrency business called Game Coin to join him in the 104.5 ESPN studio to surprise Callias with a donation of $100,000 dollars to the school.

“This will go a long way,” said Callais after learning of Game Coin’s donation to his program. “Our [senior] student-athletes have not had a normal high school year since their freshman year…Their sophomore year, they were hit with the pandemic, and we’re looking forward to a regular senior year for them. It’s been tough on these kids, and this will definitely help us.”

Gamecoin is one of the few cryptocurrencies that is not totally for profit, as 4% of their 10% transaction fee goes to charitable donations to help youth sports groups.

“Growing up, I didn’t have everything that I thought I should have,” said founder of Game Coin David Mahler on Moscona’s radio program. “I just always wanted to be able to provide for people…and since I’m able to do that now, I added that as a part of Game Coin.”

Mahler also said in the interview that three more similar donations are already arranged and they will be announced within the next two weeks.

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