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Tony Massarotti on Calling Games for NESN: Big Challenge Will Be Pace

“The big challenge for me is going to be the pace. Not just because it’s baseball. But we move much faster. Talk shows move much, much faster.”

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Tony Massarotti made his NESN debut as a Boston Red Sox TV analyst for Saturday’s spring training game with the Tampa Bay Rays. Earlier this month, he was named as one of three new color commentators with Kevin Youkilis and Kevin Millar to the NESN broadcast team.

Naturally, his Felger & Mazz co-hosts Mike Felger and Jim Murray were going to ask about Massarotti’s experience and allow him to share some insights with the 98.5 The Sports Hub audience when they returned from the weekend.

But first, Felger had to tease Massarotti about using different words for hard-hit balls. “Spanked,” “tattooed,” etc. Credit to a writer for not wanting to use the same verb more than once, especially when different words are needed to express just how hard and far a home run was hit.

“We didn’t get the full Mazz, which I will just say, I think that’s smart on everyone’s part,” said Felger. “To go Full Mazz in the first couple of games is courting sort of blowback, and then we disrupt the whole thing.”

Massarotti was then asked what he struggled with or was surprised by during the TV broadcast, and he gave some intriguing insight into the difference between calling a baseball game and keeping the conversation moving on sports radio.

“The big challenge for me is going to be the pace,” said Massarotti. “Not just because it’s baseball. But we move much faster. Talk shows move much, much faster. There’s a pace to it. You want to keep going. Baseball, the game’s slow, the conversations are more level-headed, for lack of a better term. So that’s going to be an adjustment for me.”

Felger then praised Massarotti for something that’s worth noting since it’s been part of the sports media discourse in recent weeks.

“On the broadcast end, I thought it was impressive, Mazz,” said Felger. “Right out of the chute, you’re not telling a story going into the second out of an inning. The ball is put in play with two outs, you sort of shut up and make sure [Dave] O’Brien goes to commercial. Coming back with the reads, knowing when to fill dead time, was dead-on… It sort of shows you how many guys can’t do it.”

Some critics and fans have knocked Amazon hiring Kirk Herbstreit as its Thursday Night Football analyst because he wasn’t a star NFL quarterback. But observers including Dan Patrick and Andrew Marchand have defended Herbstreit by pointing out that he’s an accomplished broadcaster who knows how to get through a telecast smoothly.

Obviously, a baseball telecast is different from a sports radio show. But the point still applies. Radio hosts, especially when working with a partner or group, have to make their points succinctly without rambling on and hogging the conversation. And there’s an art to saying what you need to say before going to a break or coming out of one. At the very least, Massarotti knows how to do that.

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Kirk Herbstriet Wants To Be Held To Same Standard For NFL As College Football

“Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.”

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The NFL schedule was released last week, and Thursday Night Football has a lot of interesting matchups for its first year on Amazon Prime. It is also a new broadcast booth with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit on the call. 

With Herbstreit now adding Thursday Night Football to College Gameday, he has already started preparing for the upcoming season. Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.

“I’m just trying to lay a foundation,” said Herbstreit. 

Herbstreit told McAfee that whenever anyone asks him to talk about a college team, he can quickly tell them what the DNA of that team is. Now he wants to bring that level of preparation to his NFL broadcasts. He will look at a different matchup every week this summer to get a more detailed idea of what each team is about: 

As for his connection with Al Michaels, Herbstreit mentioned he has gone out to dinner with him a couple of times and he wants to make going out to eat with his broadcast partner a frequent deal.

“Hung out with him 2-3 times. Had a chance just to get to know him. When you go into a new deal, I love like Wednesday night dinner, I want to make a staple and just hang out and get to know him and hopefully he will get to know me. When you do that, it allows you to have natural chemistry.”

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Andrew Mason To Succeed John Clayton At 104.3 The Fan

“Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.”

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John Clayton passed away earlier this year. That left 104.3 The Fan without a lead Broncos writer for the 2022 season. On Monday, the station announced that it had hired a successor in Andrew Mason.

Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.

“Mase’s work speaks for itself as one of the market’s most respected analysts when it comes to writing about and discussing the Broncos,” Raj Sharan, The Fan’s program director, said in a press release. “Replacing someone of the legendary stature of John Clayton was not something we took lightly, and we believe Mase is the perfect person to pick up that mantle and bring tremendous credibility and content to our rapidly growing digital platforms.”

Andrew Mason has a lot of credibility with Broncos fans. He has covered the team for 19 years. He has also written a book called Tales from the Denver Broncos Sideline.

The Fan won’t be his first foray into Denver radio either. Mason has previously been a host on Mile High Sports Radio and the defunct KDSP- AM.

“I’m thrilled to join The Fan team and add what I can to the efforts of building Denver’s premier online destination for Denver fans,” said Mason. “Being tasked with replacing a legend like John Clayton is a responsibility I take very seriously, and I’m honored The Fan has entrusted me with this opportunity.”

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Gregg Giannotti: ‘Drew Brees Isn’t Used To Not Succeeding’

“He’s succeeded at everything he’s ever done and then he gets into the booth and they kick him out after one year. It’s a tough spot.”

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What does the future hold for Drew Brees? Andrew Marchand reports that he is set to leave NBC. Brees himself says nothing is decided yet.

On Monday morning, Boomer & Gio discussed why the former quarterback is in this position just one year after making his broadcasting debut. Gregg Giannotti noted that if Brees was brought to NBC with the idea that he would eventually be the top game analyst, the criticism he faced last year and the network’s decision to stick with Cris Collinsworth in the Sunday Night Football booth were likely unexpected blows to his ego.

“That’s a tough spot, man, for him,” Gio said. “The guy’s been beloved his whole career. He did go through a little bit of it when people were all over his ass for saying the wrong thing one time, but here he goes. He’s succeeded at everything he’s ever done and then he gets into the booth and they kick him out after one year. It’s a tough spot.”

Boomer Esiason added that the criticism Drew Brees received for his work in the broadcast booth did not apply to his work on Football Night in America or the Sunday Night Football halftime show.

“He was good in the studio,” Boomer Esiason said. “I saw him in the studio and I liked him.”

Brees prefers calling games to work in the studio. According to Marchand’s report, that is what is at the heart of his potential exit from NBC.

The color commentator role may come with more prestige, but it isn’t easy. Esiason has experience with both positions. He calls games on the radio for Westwood One and has been a staple of CBS’s The NFL Today since 2002.

“Some guys are not meant to be game analysts, that’s all.”

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