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Nick Wilson: ‘MLB Needs Its Own Pat McAfee’

“When Pat McAfee’s on college football; the NFL; Major League Baseball; the NBA – he does lose some of his luster.”

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Nick Wilson; Pat McAfee
Nick Wilson - Courtesy: Twitter | Pat McAfee - Courtesy: Scott Clarke, ESPN Images

ESPN presented two different broadcasts of Monday night’s T-Mobile Home Run Derby from Major League Baseball All-Star Week in Seattle, Wash. No matter which one you tuned into, they were outright horrible, according to 92.3 The Fan afternoon host Nick Wilson. Taking the air on Tuesday afternoon, Wilson and his co-host Dustin Fox had no idea that Toronto Blue Jays infielder Vladimir Guerrero Jr. captured the Derby title last night, largely because they felt the broadcast was unwatchable.

Whenever it pertains to one of the accompanying All-Star Week events in any sport, such as All-Star Saturday Night in basketball or the Derby in baseball, Wilson turns it on his television and requires it to keep him engaged and interested. While he feels baseball has perfected the Home Run Derby in terms of the format and engrossing the crowd, the broadcast did not live up to the same expectations.

“The broadcast now does not match what’s happening on the field,” Wilson said. “….They just suck. It was Karl Ravech and Eduardo Perez on one, and then the other one.”

The traditional broadcast paired with the Statcast-driven telecast on ESPN2 featuring Kevin Brown, Jessica Mendoza and Mike Petriello. On both fronts, Wilson conveyed that the broadcasts were treating it too much like a genuine event than an exhibition contest.

“No sport has needed their own Pat McAfee the way baseball needs [its] own Pat McAfee,” Wilson said. “Just a big-mouthed, opinionated [analyst].”

Fox replied by suggesting that ESPN could consider putting McAfee on a surfeit of its sports coverage including Major League Baseball. After all, the company inked him to a lucrative multiyear, multi-million dollar contract to bring his eponymous digital program, The Pat McAfee Show, to its platforms. Because of this, Fox assumes the company may explore broadening the scope of coverage McAfee provides, accentuated by recent layoffs of niche talent. Yet the exclusivity associated with certain commentators makes them all the more appealing, impeding a palpable and comfortable situation.

“See that’s a problem,” replied Wilson. “When Pat McAfee’s on college football; the NFL; Major League Baseball; the NBA – he does lose some of his luster.”

When Fox asked Wilson if the broadcast would have been better with Stephen A. Smith, he profoundly shot that possibility down and referred to it as “even worse.” Wilson then suggested future broadcasts implement rhapsodic broadcasters such as Dallas Braden of NBC Sports California or Kevin Millar of MLB Network. Conversely, Wilson was tired of listening to Ravech, who is frequently utilized across ESPN’s baseball coverage, for much of the night.

“Baseball is, every year, just a leaky ship trying to make it from one point to another,” Wilson said. “They finally sprung the biggest leak of all – it sucked; it was boring and they’ve changed it. They’ve made changes that were necessary for about 25 years and they finally did it. Then you watch the products and you’re like, ‘Oh, now it’s the announcers that are the problem.’”

In order to make the game more conducive to fan interest, the show suggested the league adopt the model popularized by the Savannah Bananas and “Bananaball,” intriguing fans and adding entertainment value to the sport. Wilson thought of a team obvious to take on the comedic routine – the Oakland Athletics – and believes the NBA would have been better off with the Harlem Globetrotters 30 years ago.

“Make them the Las Vegas Bananas – steal the bit,” Wilson said. “Then make Pat McAfee the play-by-play guy.”

After reading a quote from Executive Director of the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), Tony Clark, regarding an adjustment of the pitch clock in the postseason, Wilson made a vehement assertion. Essentially, he believes that if baseball was to shave as much as one second off of the pitch clock, it would presumably admit defeat and lose a barrage of fans. Across the board, the average length of a nine-inning contest is down by 26 minutes, engendering rises in league-wide attendance (8.1%) and a three-year dip in the median age of people purchasing tickets (43) – all year-over-year.

“I think baseball is more watchable,” Wilson said. “I think the in-game product feels fresher, so kindly to Tony Clark, ‘Bleep off.’”

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Jonathan Hood: ‘I Don’t Understand the Chip on the Shoulder from John Schriffen’

“If any of those radio losers clip it and try to make fun of you, nobody cares about them anyway.”

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Photos of Jonathan Hood and John Schriffen

The Chicago White Sox have not been much to talk about this season; however, their new television play-by-play voice has been talked about a lot in the first quarter of the baseball season. John Schriffen had big shoes to fill when he took over for fan-favorite Jason Benetti and some have been critical of his upbeat style while others have taken him to task for particular things he has said. This was a topic on the Kap & J. Hood morning show ESPN Chicago with Daniel Kaplan and Jonathan Hood.

Kaplan and Hood played a recent clip of Schriffen where fill-in analyst Gordon Beckham had made a mistake during an ad read. After the read Schriffen remarked, “If any of those radio losers clip it and try to make fun of you, nobody cares about them anyway.”

“That is one of the stupidest things I’ve heard…that’s just a dumb comment, dumb,” said Kaplan.

Hood added, “He has, what I consider to be a dream job. To be the voice of a team is just amazing. People turn to you, especially during these dark times for the White Sox, for some optimism, some entertainment, some hope. And you decide that you want to be able to take time out of the broadcast to address criticism that you’ve received as the voice of the White Sox?

“…You always have big shoes to fill when you are the new guy. And so, for you to step on the rest of the Chicago media, saying people that clip things you say are ‘radio losers’ and ‘they don’t matter’ you’re not currying favor with your listeners or the people that are supposed to be here to support you.”

Kaplan added, “All you did was set yourself up for that to be another drop that continues to get played on multiple stations.”

Hood talked about the difficulty of being in a new market and mentioned Benetti had not had the smoothest of transitions taking over for Hawk Harrelson. Still, Hood said he is just not understanding why Schriffen would go after the media. Hood said, “I don’t understand the chip on the shoulder from John Schriffen…I don’t get that, I don’t understand that…No one is out to get John Schriffen…he is new to this city, he is new as a White Sox broadcaster. What I would say to him is “what is the point of all of it if you’re arguing with The Score or you’re arguing with us about clips?’ How about just focus on being the best broadcaster you can be.”

Kaplan later said he would probably react similarly to how Schiffren has to some of the criticism saying, “I actually sort of respect Schriffen doing it, I just think he did it in the wrong place. You shouldn’t do it on the broadcast.”

Hood added, “It’s just not been a good start for him.”

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Fred Toucher Takes a Jab at Rich Shertenlieb

“At 8:20, a new bit ‘Putting You on Blast.’ I put you on blast and then I give a nice chunk of change to charity and let you know all about it.”

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Photos of Fred Toucher Rich Shertenlieb

Boston radio had a major change this morning when former 98.5 The Sports Hub host Rich Shertenlieb started his new morning show, The Rich Shertenlieb Show, on 100.7 WZLX. Shertenlieb was paired with Fred Toucher for 17 years before leaving the station just over six months ago.

On his debut show on the classic rock station, Shertenlieb addressed a feud he had with his former employer over access to social media accounts which he says were personal accounts he had started. He said he spent “five figures” with an attorney but then gave up and gave access to the station. “My rationale was this,” he said. “Instead of me spending all that money paying attorneys to fight this why not spend that money in a much better place…The minute I get back my 150,000 followers…I am writing a check to the Dana Farber Cancer Institute.” Shertenlieb’s X account currently has 18,000 followers.

Fred Toucher and Rob ‘Hardy’ Poole came out of a break during Toucher & Hardy talking about how someone told Toucher old promos for Toucher & Rich had accidentally aired that weekend and joked about putting their boss “on blast.” Then Toucher says, “At 8:20, a new bit ‘Putting You on Blast.’ I put you on blast and then I give a nice chunk of change to charity and let you know all about it…If you listen to me, I’ll give you a chunk of change to charity.”

Shertenlieb hosts his new show with Boston television personality and sportswriter Michael Hurley on a full-time basis and has a rotating cast that includes former New England Patriot Ted Johnson, Charlotte Wilder, formerly of FOX Sports, ESPN and Sports Illustrated and Mike Giardi of the Boston Sports Journal.

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Jim Rome Announces Launch Date on X will be May 28

“We have been building this thing since the end of Super Bowl, we are finally ready to roll it out, or we will be a week from tomorrow, I am hyped.”

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Screengrab of Jim Rome broadcasting on X
Screengrab from Jim Rome X Account

Jim Rome announced back in February he was ending his simulcast with the CBS Sports Network and that his show would go dark on video “for a short period of time.” That short period turned out to be about three months and will end on May 28 when the show launches a video stream on X.

Rome announced on his show today, “Tremendous news, tremendous news and I’ve been waiting but I am finally ready now to announce it…This radio program is going to launch on the X platform a week from tomorrow, May 28th…That’s how you can watch the show going forward on the live stream on X.”

Rome stressed that nothing changes as far as how people can listen to the show on one the many radio affiliates across the country or on SiriusXM. “But, if you want to watch this show, the live stream begins a week from tomorrow on the X platform,” he said.

Rome introduced the hashtag, JimRomeOnX, and told his fans they “have a much better chance of getting your post read and seeing your post on the stream as it is impossible for us to get to all of them anyway.”

“Tuesday, a week from tomorrow is the big day,” Rome said. “It is go time. We are all fired up. It is finally going to happen. We have been building this thing since the end of Super Bowl, we are finally ready to roll it out, or we will be a week from tomorrow, I am hyped. Make sure you’re a part of this. It’s going to look great. If you’re seeing this now you are getting a taste.

“We will be streaming for the first time ever. As many of you know, I have been on cable, some national TV, but we have never even streamed our content, ever.”

Rome then gave his fans a quick look at what the studio will look like for the X live stream, a screengrab of which is the featured image on this story.

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