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.”
Derek Futterman is a contributing editor and sports media reporter for Barrett Sports Media. Additionally, he has worked in a broad array of roles in multimedia production – including on live game broadcasts and audiovisual platforms – and in digital content development and management. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks, wrote for the Long Island Herald and served as lead sports producer at NY2C. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @derekfutterman.
Dan Bernstein: Media Reaction to MLB Winter Meetings Outrageous
“It doesn’t make any sense to me.“
The MLB Winter Meetings have come and gone, without the sport’s biggest fish — Shohei Ohtani — being caught by any one team. Several MLB writers shared their displeasure with the lack of movement by players at the meetings, which dumbfounded 670 The Score host Dan Bernstein.
During Bernstein & Holmes Thursday, Dan Bernstein shared his sentiment that the expectations from MLB national media members bordered on ridiculous.
”So many people had a problem with (the Winter Meetings). ‘Do something! Entertain us! Do something!’ and this whole group of seemingly unionized national reporters are echoing this ‘How dare that not do something!’ (sentiment),” Bernstein said. “Other sports have a salary cap. That’s the difference. And if you’re advocating for MLB to have a salary cap, you’re doing Rob Manfred’s work for him, and that doesn’t make any sense.”
After co-host Laurence Holmes mentioned that a player making a decision on their future home required due diligence and time, Dan Bernstein continued by claiming that the idea that Ohtani needed to pick a destination during the Winter Meetings to appease the national media showed a lack of empathy from reporters.
“It doesn’t make any sense to me. How dare Shohei Ohtani be careful and deliberate and exercise power when he’s the most powerful person in baseball right now,” said Bernstein. “He’s deciding his professional future. How dare he! What does he owe you?”
Boomer Esiason: Joe Benigno Was Just Doing His Job
“Good for Joe B. for letting everyone know who he is. That was his job. And I guess still is his job to some point.”
Former WFAN host Joe Benigno continues to make headlines after he revealed sensitive text messages he had with New York Jets head coach Robert Saleh. Despite the controversy, Boomer Esiason believes Benigno was simply doing what was necessary.
After Boomer & Gio played a clip of Saleh saying he “still likes Joe B.”, Esiason argued that Benigno was doing his job by revealing that Saleh “didn’t like” Jets quarterback Zach Wilson.
When fill-in update anchor Chris Lo Presti pointed out that Saleh wouldn’t call Benigno by name — referring to him as “Joe B.” — Esiason said “That’s cause everyone knows who he is”.
“Good for Joe B. for letting everyone know who he is,” Esiason said. “That was his job. And I guess still is his job to some point. But man, I would think that Rob Saleh was pretty floored by all of that, I’d imagine.”
Co-host Gregg Giannotti agreed, questioning if Jets owner Woody Johnson spoke to Saleh about ceasing texting with the former WFAN host.
After originally revealing the text messages, Benigno has shared he wishes he hadn’t mentioned the comments made by Saleh in private. He later clarified that he took the coach’s statements out of context and misinterpreted them.
Anthony Lima: People Will Watch NFL Games No Matter Who the Quarterbacks Are
“The ratings show that people are going to watch no matter who the quarterbacks are; no matter how bad the teams are.”
As the NFL begins week 14 with a Thursday Night Football matchup that pits a pair of backup quarterbacks against one another, 92.3 The Fan morning hosts Ken Carman and Anthony Lima agree it doesn’t matter who’s under center, fans will still be tuning in.
The Pittsburgh Steelers are slated to face the New England Patriots as Mitch Trubisky and Baily Zappe will start at quarterback for each team. During The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima Thursday, the hosts agreed they’ll still watch the broadcast.
“Do you think fans are bored by the league with this or are they more interested?,” Carman asked, referencing the Steelers-Patriots matchup.
“Well the ratings don’t show that,” Lima said. “The ratings show that people are going to watch no matter who the quarterbacks are; no matter how bad the teams are.”
Indeed for its Week 13 Thursday night game, Amazon Prime Video recorded an all-time high average of 15.26 million viewers, according to data from Nielsen Media Research. The matchup between the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys marked the 11th consecutive week of year-over-year, double-digit viewership growth for the property, and helped engender a 29% increase from last year’s 11-week average viewership.
Carman offered an analogy pertaining to wrestling, conveying how many people are interested in the sport when they are younger. He enjoyed the sport in his youth but it then began to phase out until he went to middle school and became interested again. These phases, however, do not seem to apply when it comes to the game of football.
“We line up for years,” Carman said of football. “There’s people who haven’t missed Monday Night Football no matter what incarnation [it is] for 30+ years. Is it an enjoyable thing to sell all the quarterbacks down?”
Lima is cognizant of what has happened at the quarterback position this year and feels that it makes him want to watch a game less, affirming that the starters on Thursday night will need to earn his attention.
“I think I’ll give it a quarter,” Lima said. “I might even be a little late… [but] I’ll put it on and see where the game’s at.”
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