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Dan Le Batard Fears Giving Away Hall of Fame Vote Cost Barry Bonds

“They made an overhaul of the voting system and one of the things they did was change it from 15 years of eligbility to 10 years.”

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Did Dan Le Batard giving his Hall of Fame vote to Deadspin eight years ago end up costing Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens election to the Baseball Hall of Fame?

Appearing on 95.7 The Game’s Damon and Ratto in San Francisco, Le Batard said his decision led the Baseball Hall of Fame to reduce players’ eligibility on the ballot from 15 years to 10 years. It’s entirely possible losing those five years cost Bonds and Clemens. Many voters still weren’t ready to elect them to Cooperstown, but those two controversial figures could’ve gained support over five more years.

“I didn’t want my vote to be something that kept people away,” Le Batard said. “But they changed the rules when they banned me. I thought the punishment was just going to be to ban me. I’m banned for life; I can’t vote anymore and that would be the end of it.

“But also because they didn’t want anyone else to do what I did in crowdsourcing the vote ever again. They made an overhaul of the voting system and one of the things they did was change it from 15 years of eligbility to 10 years, and I’m guessing that’s part of why Barry Bonds won’t be in the Hall of Fame by these voters.”

Le Batard expressed the same belief on his show, which is what prompted Damon Bruce and Ray Ratto to invite him on.

“I’m not OK with denying someone their excellence because I’m doing jazz hands on being Performance Troll,” said Le Batard.

In 2014, Le Batard’s ballot was taken away after he revealed that he was the writer who gave his vote to Deadspin. The site filled out Le Batard’s ballot based on reader votes, which ended up voting for the three players who were elected to the 2015 class: Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, and Tom Glavine.

The intention was to make a mockery of Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) voters who had used the process to draw attention to themselves, trying to make statements with their ballots. Additionally, Deadspin wanted to show that fans could do just as good a job with Hall of Fame votes as BBWAA members.

But was Le Batard’s “stunt” really that disruptive? Eight years later, the Hall of Fame vote still causes outrage and resentment. It’s one of the most unpleasant periods in sports media, as WFAN’s Gregg Giannotti said this week.

As Ratto said, Le Batard’s move alone didn’t cost Bonds a Hall of Fame election. But the Hall of Fame did change the requirement for BBWAA voters, stating they must be active with an organization for 10 years. Those no longer working in media would eventually lose their eligibility. Maybe that had an effect on a Bonds vote, as well.

Also making the conversation enjoyable was the chemistry, the sexual tension between Le Batard and Ratto. It’s probably a good thing this interview happened over the phone, not with the two of them in the same room.

Sports Radio News

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.”

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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.”

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Sports Radio News

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.”

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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.

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Sports Radio News

Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’

“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”

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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.”

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