On Monday, Dennis Eckersley decided to make it known that this season would be his last with NESN in the booth. He mentioned that after 50 years in baseball, it was time to go be with the grandchildren in San Diego.
His broadcast partner for a lot of those years in the NESN booth was Dave O’Brien. On the latest Sports Media Mayhem podcast, O’Brien joined show host Alex Reimer to talk about the retirement of Eckersley. Reimer pointed out that it took awhile before Eckersley became the main color analyst for the team. O’Brien remembered the time well.
“When he started, he was pre- and post- and he did that most of his career at NESN,” said O’Brien. “It was really, only the last six or seven years that he really started to get on as a game analyst.”
O’Brien was named the lead play-by-play announcer for NESN’s Red Sox coverage in 2016 which is about the same time Eckersley slid into the role of game analyst. In the time since, O’Brien has seen the work of Eckersley up close and is floored that he was working for a regional sports network and not somewhere more nationally prominent.
“I think the national people totally blew it on Dennis Eckersley,” blurted O’Brien. “And that includes Turner. They had an opportunity, I can say that because a lot of those people there now didn’t make the decision. He should have been the lead analyst doing national games. He should have been on ESPN on Sunday Night Baseball or FOX. I don’t know how they blew it as badly as they did but Dennis Eckersley should have been a national icon… they made a mistake on that. I hope somebody regrets it.”
Rob Parker to Launch ‘Sports Rap Radio’ in Detroit
“It will be young people getting opportunities and former athletes, from Detroit or with ties to Detroit.”
Rob Parker, co-host of The Odd Couple with Chris Broussard on Fox Sports Radio, is launching ‘Sports Rap Radio’ in Detroit. Parker and a group, which includes former NBA player BJ Armstrong, will air the programming on WXYT 1270 AM through an LMA with Audacy who owns the signal. Currently, the station airs Audacy’s BetQL Sports Betting network.
The Detroit News was first to report the announcement and said the brand will feature an all-Black host lineup and plans to hit the airwaves in mid-May. Parker said the lineup will be all local from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will also then carry The Odd Couple at its normal time of 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. About the lineup, Parker told the newspaper, “It will be young people getting opportunities and former athletes, from Detroit or with ties to Detroit.”
Parker said the intent is to build a network of stations in the top 20-25 black markets. He also said he will use the overnight hours to air podcasts with Black hosts.
Andrew Fillipponi: Jac Collinsworth “Was Dreadful” at Play-by-Play
“Jac Collinsowrth was underqualified…for the position he was in in. He didn’t deserve to have the job, I’m glad he doesnt have that particular job anymore and I dont even feel remotely bad about sayiing it.”
Count The PM Team with Poni & Mueller hosts Andrew Fillipponi and Chris Mueller amongst those who will not miss Jac Collinsworth on Notre Dame broadcasts. The 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh hosts were responding to the news Andrew Marchand of The Athletic had reported earlier in the day that Collinsworth was being taken out of the play-by-play role for Notre Dame games on NBC.
“He just was terrible on those broadcasts,” Fillipponi said. “… if anyone thinks I’m being too hard on a guy who got his job in large measure because of who his dad is, feel free, if I ever lose my job to just dunk on me endlessly…Jac Collinsowrth was underqualified…for the position he was in in. He didn’t deserve to have the job, I’m glad he doesn’t have that particular job anymore and I don’t even feel remotely bad about saying it.”
Reminded that Collinsworth is a Notre Dame graduate, Fillipponi asked, “Do you know how bad you have to suck at the job to be a Notre Dame alum and they don’t even want to keep you on the broadcast?”
“Taking him off that assignment, I bet he’s livid,” Mueller said. “Because he wants to call his alma mater’s games. I wonder how Cris Collinsworth takes it? And it makes me think, ‘is Collinsowrth, the elder, the dad, how much longer is he going to be at NBC?’ If Cris Collinsworth is seeen as their top analyst and someone they want to have call their games until he’s ready to retire ten years from now, they are basically firing his son off of Notre Dame football games.”
“He was dreadful at the job,” Fillipponi added. “As a desk guy, in all those roles, pretty much dreadful.” Fillipponi also went on to say if the response is for Cris Collinsworth to leave NBC, he had a suggestion on who could take his place. “I’d put Greg Olsen with [Mike] Tirico on Sunday Night Football in a heartbeat…I think [Cris] Collinsworth is very good…the fact that virtually every fanbase hates Cris Collinsworth and thinks he hates thier favorite team, is proof positive that he is good at his job.”
In case anyone thought Fillipponi was just mad Jac Collinsowrth got the Notre Dame job because he is the son of Cris Collinsworth, he said, “You don’t hear me going on and on about nepotism with Noah Eagle, because I think Noah Eagle is excellent already at the job.”
Christian Fauria: I See the NFL “Icing Out” Broadcasting Partners
“If I’m the league, does it make more financial sense by selling off a game here, a game here, to five different partners and really trying to fleece them…making it realy competitive, and having them overpay. Or, to farm it out ourselves, like to really own everything ourselves.”
Former NFL player Christian Fauria said on his WEEI show, Gresh & Fauria, that he believes the NFL will soon own and control their own television and streaming rights . Fauria and his partner, Andy Gresh were discussing the recent reports of Amazon Prime Video paying $120 million (or $150 million depending on which report you read) to stream one exclusive playoff game.
“It’s just one game and it’s $120 million dollars,” Gresh said. “I just go back to, this is where it’s going. At what point is the NFL tapped domestically?…I just wonder how do you extract more from the domestic marketplace? How do you find a way to squeeze more blood out of the rock? There are no more TV networks to go to. The streaming services are what they are, but at the end of the day, isn’t owning it yourself and going to pay-per-view the only real remaining revenue stream for the NFL here in America?”
Fauria said he sees the NFL potentially going all in. “If I’m the league, does it make more financial sense by selling off a game here, a game here, to five different partners and really trying to fleece them…making it realy competitive, and having them overpay. Or, to farm it out ourselves, like to really own everything ourselves. One platform that we own, that we regulate that we control and we can reach a world-wide audience and they all go to one particular [place]…one platform that everyone goes to and they pay a fee. Eventually, I see them icing out all their partners.”
Gresh took a different point of view, noting how desperate the networks will be to keep the NFL programming and all that would be involved if the NFL took over all of the broadcasting responsibilities. “I don’t think it’s going to get that deep because then the NFL would start to get in to paying production costs, flying people around, hiring crews. If the NFL just housed it on their own, they are then just incurring the expense that they have had the luxury of having someone else incur, on top of paying them a ton of money. To me, the only carve out can only be the Super Bowl and these sort of standalone deals.”
Fauria then added how he can not only see the NFL taking it all on themselves, mainly due to the owner’s greed, but added he can also see the addition of at least two more teams which would create more inventory for the league to sell. Gresh didn’t disagree about adding more teams, his belief, however is that adding the teams will continue to drive the price up for the broadcasting partners and the NFL may try different things with single games like the exclusively-streamed playoff game.