Oakland was once a three-sport city. Throughout each year, Oakland-based fans could catch Athletics baseball, Raiders football and Warriors basketball without having to drive across a bridge to San Francisco. That all changed in 2019 when the Warriors left Oracle Arena in Oakland and relocated to the glamorous new Chase Center in San Francisco. After the first metaphorical domino fell, the Raiders officially relocated to Las Vegas, Nev., and now play home games in the new $1.9 billion Allegiant Stadium.
The Athletics are the lone professional team remaining in Oakland and play their home games at RingCentral Coliseum. Yet proposals within different cities, including Las Vegas and Portland have made it entirely plausible that the A’s may follow the Warriors and Raiders out of town.
The Athletics are in the midst of a two-game series against the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park, a stadium that was entirely privately-funded and has consistently attracted many fans. After a photo of empty seats at the ballpark last night was shared online, Oakland Athletics Team President Dave Kaval tweeted an emoji and tagged a Twitter account that posts pictures of empty stadium seats – despite the total attendance figure of 32,000. The Athletics, through their first seven home games of the season, are averaging a crowd of just under 8,000 fans per matchup. Kaval questioned whether San Francisco-based media would comment on the lack of attendance after he had opined earlier in the day that Oakland does not receive “fair and balanced” media coverage.
Damon Bruce, the co-host of Damon & Ratto on 95.7 The Game in San Francisco, replied to Kaval saying that the station’s parent company Audacy has not directed him to discuss a single subject, including fan attendance. Additionally, he claimed that Kaval and his team are tacitly engaging in “intentional fan suppression” because of the owner’s direction of the team.
This began a Twitter exchange between the two, which ended in an agreement to hold a live-streamed Twitter debate about the Athletics organization’s treatment of their fans.
Bruce has a $5,000 appearance fee which he will donate to the Alameda Food Bank, and Kaval said that he will match it by contributing another $5,000 of his own.
While Kaval originally thought the debate would be this Friday, Bruce has yet to agree to a date and has refused to partake in it live on his show.
“Because we’re not giving three hours to any single subject in the middle of the NBA playoff[s] and the day after the NFL draft,” said Bruce in a tweet as to why he prefers to have the debate off the air. “There are levels to this.”
On Wednesday, The Morning Roast on 95.7 The Game reacted to the Twitter exchange between Kaval and Bruce.
“When you’re led by a guy like that, it’s no wonder that your fanbase has dwindled,” co-host Joe Shasky said of Kaval, “and I don’t blame the fans at all. You’re being run into the ground and they’re trying to leave.”
Kaval appeared as a guest on The Morning Roast last year and, according to show co-host Bonta Hill, did not directly answer any of the questions they posed to him. While he is not an Oakland Athletics fan himself, Hill said he feels bad for those who root for an organization Kaval runs.
“You’re a team president,” stated Hill. “You shouldn’t be commenting on whether or not a stadium’s empty…. Everything about it was minor league…. He’s a carnival; He’s a circus act.”
Hill believes that Kaval’s Twitter exchange and forthcoming Twitter debate with Bruce is a plea for attention amid an inauspicious start to the 2022 regular season both on and off the field.
The sentiment around the Bay Area seems to be that the team will soon be headed elsewhere, leaving the city of Oakland with no professional sports teams of its own. He does not blame Athletics fans for being dismayed with the current state of the team and for neglecting to show up to games this year.
“It’s just tone deaf,” asserted Hill. “You can’t draw 5,000 people right now because you’ve lost all the faith in your fanbase.”
Derek Futterman is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. In addition, he serves as the production manager for the New York Islanders Radio Network and lead sports producer at NY2C. He has also worked on live game broadcasts for the Long Island Nets and New York Riptide. He previously interned for Paramount within Showtime Networks and wrote for The Long Island Herald. To get in touch, find him on Twitter @derekfutterman.
Rob Dibble, 97.9 ESPN Help Collect Nearly 5,000 Turkeys
“This year, the support from listeners, sponsors, partners and volunteers helped make a remarkable state-wide impact.”
The station, along with other iHeart Connecticut stations, also raised more than $189,000 during the 23rd annual Turkey Tuesday at Connecticut Foodshare’s headquarters.
“We are continually grateful of the outpouring of donations from our listeners and Connecticut community on our annual events to ensure a Thanksgiving for all,” said iHeartMedia Hartford and New Haven Vice President of Marketing Vanessa Wojtusiak. “This year, the support from listeners, sponsors, partners and volunteers helped make a remarkable state-wide impact.”
Dibble has been a longtime support of Connecticut Foodshare, hosting its director Al Marino on his show several times throughout the year to ensure families in Connecticut have access to the food bank.
Danny O’Neil is a sports media columnist for BSM. He has previously hosted morning and afternoon drive for 710 ESPN Seattle, and served as a reporter for the Seattle Times. He can be reached on Twitter @DannyOneil or by email at Danny@DannyOneil.com.
Ray Didinger Subject of NFL Films Feature, Tells Angelo Cataldi He’s Stayed Busy in Retirement
Former 94WIP host and Philadelphia Daily News and NBC Sports Philadelphia writer Ray Didinger retired earlier this year, but he told Angelo Cataldi he’s remained busy even though he stepped away from his media career.
“It’s been busier than I thought,” Didinger said. “Just because of the way things have gone in the city. The Phillies going to the World Series, the Eagles are 10-1, I don’t think any of us thought it was going to be this kind of run. Consequently, my phone hasn’t stopped ringing. I had no idea everyone in the world has a podcast so I’ve been getting all those calls. My name and my phone number are on way too many rolodexes all around the country. When somebody says ‘Hey, let’s do a piece about Philly’, my phone rings. It’s been busy but it’s been good. It’s been great to see what this has meant to the city.”
Didinger hosted shows from 10:00 AM-1:00 PM on Saturdays and Sundays for 94WIP. In total, he spent more than 50 years covering the NFL before retiring in May.
After Cataldi asked for Didinger’s opinion on the 2022 Eagles, he asked the now-retired reporter if he was still using his yellow notepad. Didinger admitted he does still use the notepad, and Cataldi chastised his former colleague after he said he would retire the notepad. Cataldi joked when he retires after the Eagles season concludes, he hopes to lose co-hosts Al Morganti and Rhea Hughes’ phone numbers.
Didinger will be the subject of an NFL Films feature about his longtime career covering the league. The program will air on FS1 on Friday at 12:30 AM.
Colin Dunlap: ‘Insane’ What Tom Rinaldi Has Done During Last Week
“He’s going from Doha to Dallas and Kansas City to Doha and Columbus to Doha. Something’s up! There’s two Tom Rinaldi’s.”
It was a banner week for FOX Sports during the Thanksgiving holiday, and no one got more work than the network’s Tom Rinaldi. 93.7 The Fan morning show host Colin Dunlap believes Rinaldi deserves props for his schedule.
“It’s insane what he’s done,” Dunlap said. “I wrote it down and I saw somebody tweet it. Listen to this schedule — and I don’t even know if it’s worth it — but listen to what Tom Rinaldi has done: Wednesday? Qatar. Thursday? Dallas for the Cowboys game. Friday? Back to the US-England match in Qatar. Saturday? In Columbus, Ohio for Michigan/Ohio State. Sunday? Kansas City for the NFL game.
“And then if you’ve gotta guess, he’s gonna be at the American game tomorrow so he’s travelling back to Qatar today. I don’t even travel back and forth to Baltimore like that. He’s going from Doha to Dallas and Kansas City to Doha and Columbus to Doha. Something’s up! There’s two Tom Rinaldi’s.”
Dunlap, co-host Chris Mack, and producer Adam Crowley then discussed whether FOX Sports was using Rinaldi enough. While noting that he’s travelling to all these locations, they believe he isn’t being utilized enough for the bigger stories he’s been known for.
They also joked about whether Rinaldi was flying back and forth on Rupert Murdoch’s private jet and whether or not that would make life easier.