For the first time in 26 years, labor peace was disrupted between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association with the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement. Prior to Wednesday, Major League Baseball had not seen a stoppage in normal business since the 1994-95 strike, which lasted 232 days and resulted in the cancelation of the remainder of that season, including the Postseason and the World Series. The last lockout occurred in 1990, and was resolved in a month’s time, avoiding the league having to cancel any regular season games.
Fast forward to December 2021. Baseball fans would certainly be justified in calling this past month a valid depiction of the state of the game. From the surface, it may seem oxymoronic that over $2.2 billion was spent in contract extensions and free agent signings over that time period, perhaps a verisimilitude for the league’s recovery after lost revenues due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Some baseball fans, even those extremely passionate about the game, yearn for everything to be figured out, and the words “Play ball!” to be shouted at the ballpark again as scheduled this spring. Despite this work stoppage, “People will most definitely come [back]” to patronize America’s pastime, says John Kincade, the eponymous host of The John Kincade Show on 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia. And if anyone says otherwise, he’ll be there to call them out on what he says is “The biggest lie ever told in sports radio.”
“Five times on this radio station [yesterday], I heard the biggest lie that’s ever told in sports radio,” said Kincade. “‘I’m done with this sport. I’m never watching again. I’m finished. This is the last straw.’ This is such the biggest load of crap, and it’s documented [and] proven over and over again… You’re lying. You know it. I know it. But nobody will call you on it. I will. You’re a fraud. You know you’re coming back. You talk a big game, but you always cave.”
A seasoned radio veteran who has hosted local and national shows around the country, Kincade has a wealth of experience talking about sports on the air. By virtue of that experience, he has also heard and responded to opinions from callers and other hosts that he knows are mendacious, not always by intent, and/or an overreaction. Therefore, he came prepared with facts to back up his claim, and prove why the fans will come back no matter how grotesque these negotiations might be portrayed by those with knowledge of the proceedings.
“Baseball has set ten new attendance records since [the strike in 1994],” said Kincade. “Baseball teams have tripled in revenues. Baseball teams’ values have quadrupled.”
Some baseball fans are already preparing for a disappointing summer without the game, including co-host Bob Cooney. If the lockout stretches into the regular season, he admits that baseball will undoubtedly lose part of his fandom.
“I’m watching golf now because I really want to get into it, [and] because I’m anticipating baseball’s going to screw me come April, May, June, whatever,” expressed Cooney. “I don’t speak in… absolutes, but I’m sitting there saying: ‘If they’re going to do this, I’m really going to look for another form of entertainment in the summer.’ I really am.”
Jamie Lynch, who has been a staple of morning programming on 97.5 The Fanatic since 2015, was discontented with the 1994-95 strike since it happened in the midst of an ongoing season. He fears a similar outcome could befall young people this time around, especially if it drags on for an extended period of time.
“The [1994-95 strike] damaged me,” explained Lynch. “It changed me as a fan of the sport… I honestly couldn’t comprehend why grown men were saying ‘no’ to playing a game. There’s probably kids out there now that are going: ‘Wait. Why aren’t they playing?’”
Kincade hopes more on-air hosts, when they hear ‘the biggest lie in sports radio,’ will call the disseminators of that message out for the falsity inherent in that statement.
“I want to hear a host go, ‘You know you’re coming back. You’re full of it. You’re coming back…,’” said Kincade. “Over and over again, the proof is there that people come back, and they come back in bigger numbers than they ever had before – and they spend more money, by the way.”
“I’ve heard hosts do that,” said Pat Egan, co-host of the morning drive program in the “City of Brotherly Love,” “but it’s a very reactionary statement… When the games restart, and they always restart, eventually, you’re back. You’re watching – every time – because you’re a sports fan.”
Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP
“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”
Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.
One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.
“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”
More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”
Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”
An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.
“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.
“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.
Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”
Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road
“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”
When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.
“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.
No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.
Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.
On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.
“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”
If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.
Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”
Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.
On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.
This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”
McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.
“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”