Major League Baseball is officially back under a new collective bargaining agreement for another full 162-game season that began last week. The game itself, while at its core is still “America’s Pastime,” has fundamentally shifted in terms of how it reaches and appeals to consumers – one shift being the placement of box scores.
One of the media distributors that has published the league’s box scores is the newspaper, a place where consumers have learned of the previous day’s news and happenings in various areas of society. While most newspapers have focused their content on the digital domain amid a decline in daily physical circulation, there remains a fraction of people who prefer to get their news by receiving the traditional, physical copy of the paper.
Veteran host Norm Hitzges has openly acknowledged that he falls into that category, which he refers to as the “‘I need a paper in my hands’ group,” as he continues to receive the physical newspaper each morning. Amid the medium’s gradual transition to digital content though, Hitzges expressed to his co-host Donovan Lewis on Norm and D Invasion on The Ticket in Dallas that he is mourning an omission from the newspapers that he just noticed this week.
“I’m mourning the fact that The Dallas Morning News no longer publishes box scores of other [baseball] games,” said Hitzges. “I used to pour over box scores, and unless I’m missing something, I haven’t seen box scores of other games since the season opened.”
Hitzges started as the industry’s first full-time morning drive host in Dallas, and has been on-the-air for over 30 years, including a non-sequential stint as a cable television announcer for MLB’s Texas Rangers. In that time, he has frequently had to look at box scores to follow games around the league, something he did in the newspaper – until 2022.
“That was a childhood ritual of mine,” recollected Lewis, “to grab the newspaper in the summer and pour over all the box scores from the other games…I would run out in the morning, get the paper, and I think at first my dad was a little upset because he wanted to read the paper first, and he’s a sports guy also. But he gave up that fight a long time ago after I would run out.”
As he was assimilating into the broadcasting space, Lewis worked a paper route in the Dallas-Fort Worth area for a year-and-a-half. His connection to newspapers, while it has remained strong through the evolution of media, has, like many others, wavered to the degree that he only receives a physical newspaper on Wednesdays and Sundays. Yet his co-host seemed unaware as to how Lewis would receive information about something that happens on a day in which he does not receive the physical newspaper.
“Once you get it a couple days a week, you can always check it out online,” explained Lewis. “I’m just talking about the physical copy of the paper. My parents got it every single day, and I don’t even think they get the paper every day now.”
Hitzges, a member of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame, knows that media outlets in today’s society are evolving with changing technologies and consumer trends – both of which are concentrating in the digital space. Convergence has led to the extinction of newspapers and the amalgamation of content, and it is something that is forcing those reluctant – including Hitzges – to adapt.
“I think we’re getting older and getting smaller,” Hitzges said regarding those who continue to read physical copies of newspapers. “Obviously, some cities have totally lost newspapers… That seems to be the trend – that newspapers are slowly, especially in rural areas, slowly but surely disappearing.”
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.”