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Gregg Giannotti: Video Production for Sal Licata, Mets Manager Reaction is ‘Outstanding’

“…whoever produced that video – I’m not sure who that is – but that person did an amazing job.”

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Gregg Giannotti
Courtesy: Peter Ackerman, Asbury Park Press

On Monday, several Major League Baseball teams reportedly made decisions on who would serve as their next managers, an important hire that will execute in-game strategy and contribute to the conversation regarding player development and how to maximize the value within talent. The hectic day began with the Cleveland Guardians announcing that they had inked former MLB catcher Stephen Vogt to a contract to succeed Terry Francona as the team’s manager, a role in which he will seek to bring the team back to the playoffs after falling out of contention last year.

Once that hire was made, all of the attention centered on Craig Counsell, the esteemed savant in the dugout who was expected to make a decision that afternoon. His incumbent organization, the Milwaukee Brewers, along with the New York Mets, were viewed as the finalists, but the picture became slightly more clear, at least to many onlookers, when Jon Heyman of the New York Post posted an update on X. It happened to coincide with a segment live on The Brandon Tierney and Sal Licata Show on WFAN, leading to a moment that will likely live on for years to come.

“Oh no dude; oh no,” Licata said. “Jon Heyman just tweeted this. Are you kidding me!?…. Come on! Mets are hiring Mendoza to manage, this according to Heyman and Joel Sherman.”

Licata was referencing New York Yankees bench coach Carlos Mendoza, who is reportedly leaving the organization after 15 years to go across town and manage the New York Mets. Tierney, who is a Yankees fan, could sense Licata’s indignation and exasperation towards the hire bereft of any major-league managerial experience. As a result, Tierney allowed Licata, an avid Mets fan, react live on the air to the situation that was unfolding.

“I knew it Counsell, you bum! I knew it, BT! All you guys sucked me into it…. I knew it! He didn’t want to be here; he wanted to stay in Milwaukee; his heart’s there,” Licata exclaimed regarding the managerial candidate, who ended up joining the Chicago Cubs later that day. “Fine, and the Mets had to go Mendoza, a Yankees bench coach. I am beyond, beyond disgusted with this – beyond disgusted with this!”

Tierney, trying to hold back his laughter, ended up spitting his coffee out on the air, audio that Boomer & Gio played several times on Tuesday morning to see if they could identify the moment. The video of Licata’s reaction has amassed more than 360,000 views on X as of Tuesday morning, eliciting comments from both New York baseball fanbases and listeners at large.

“As good as the audio is, whoever produced that video – I’m not sure who that is – but that person did an amazing job,” Giannotti said. “The cutting back and forth, because what was really great was they cut to BT when he wasn’t even saying anything, and his facial reactions were tremendous. They were just absolutely great, so I don’t know if that was [Anthony] Gallo or [Tom] Izzo. Whoever did that, it was awesome.”

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Sean McDonough: Lack of Energy Criticism ‘Bothered Me’

“I hope people who’ve heard me over the years know that’s not the way I usually sound, and maybe I shouldn’t have tried to power through it.”

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Sean McDonough
Courtesy: Joe Faraoni, ESPN Images

The Florida Panthers and Edmonton Oilers have faced off in an intense, hard-fought Stanley Cup Final series. Broadcast by ESPN on ABC and streaming on ESPN+, the games have featured the NHL on ESPN commentary team of play-by-play announcer Sean McDonough, analyst Ray Ferraro, reporter Emily Kaplan and rules analyst Dave Jackson.

During the broadcast of the Stanley Cup Final last Thursday, viewers felt that McDonough sounded under the weather, an observation that ESPN confirmed to be the case the next day. Nonetheless, McDonough was able to call the Panthers’ 4-3 victory in Game 3 and went behind the microphone two days later for the fourth game of the series. In a recent interview on Schein on Sports on SiriusXM Mad Dog Sports Radio, McDonough explained how he was feeling and being able to execute his role.

“I’m still a little under the weather, but we’re powering through it,” McDonough said. “It’s the playoffs – everybody’s playing hurt, certainly all the players are. It’s a grind – [the] playoffs started two months ago. We’re on the charter coming back from Edmonton here to Fort Lauderdale yesterday, and I would say as you walked up and down the aisle on that plane, half the people were coughing or clearing their throat or sneezing, so a lot of stuff going around.”

McDonough expressed his gratitude for Oilers head athletic therapist T.D. Forss and their doctor with how they helped to have him ready to call Game 4. By the time the game started, he felt a lot better and ended up calling an 8-1 Oilers victory to extend the series to a fifth game. Schein remarked that McDonough sounded incredible, which led the ESPN play-by-play announcer to mention a criticism he has been receiving from fans on social media.

“Well you know what, it just kind of bothered me – not that you should pay attention [to it] – but people [said], ‘Well, you’ve got a lack of energy,’” McDonough conveyed. “Yeah, I’m really not excited to call a Stanley Cup Final game. I’ve been doing this for, I don’t know, 30-something years now. I hope people who’ve heard me over the years know that’s not the way I usually sound, and maybe I shouldn’t have tried to power through it.”

McDonough divulged that it was a collaborative decision to have him try to call Game 3 of the series and is glad that it is behind him at this point. Schein was incredulous towards the criticism, remarking how McDonough has excelled in big spots on monumental events in the past such as the World Series, Michigan-Michigan State game and Monday Night Football. McDonough remarked that he read an article instructing consumers how to call a goal in the Stanley Cup Final, leading him to question if the author watched Game 2 of the series. He tries not to let it bother him and felt that by discussing the narrative, they were giving it more life.

“We do this to do the biggest games at the biggest moments, and the fun part, one of the many fun parts of the job, is when the big moments come, either you nail them or you don’t, and that’s what I love about it,” McDonough said, “and I’ve been lucky to be in the right place at the right time for a lot of really exciting games over the years.”

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Tom Ackerman Recalls Working at KMOX with Jack Buck

“I had to tell my mom, ‘I have to go, I’m sharing a pizza with Jack Buck and he’s coming back in the room.'”

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Graphic of the Jack Buck statue outside Busch Stadium and a photo of KMOX Sports Director Tom Ackerman

Today marks 22 years since Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck passed away at the age of 77. Buck grew up in Massachusetts and Ohio, but St. Louis became his home when he joined the St. Louis Cardinals broadcasting team in 1954 and he remained with the team through the 2001 season.

Buck received the Ford C. Frick Award from the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1987 and the Pete Rozelle Radio-Television Award from the Pro Football Hall of fame in 1996. He was also named Missouri Sportscaster of the Year 22 times, inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1995 and the NAB Broadcasting Hall of Fame in 2005.

Buck started with the Cardinals in the minor leagues before getting moved up to the major league team. He would work the first season on KXOK before the team moved its games to KMOX, where he would spend the next 47 years.

Buck held the position of Sports Director at KMOX, a title now held by Tom Ackerman who also co-hosts Total Information AM in morning drive in addition to overseeing the sports department. Ackerman told BSM about the first time he remembers meeting Buck after starting as a part-time producer with the station in 1997.

“Very early on at KMOX, he was in the sports office by himself, and I came in there. I hadn’t been on the job very long as a part-time producer working behind the scenes. I thought ‘this is my chance,’ so I walked in and introduced myself and told him what a big fan I was and that I had read his book multiple times.

“He sticks his hand out, shakes my hand, looks me in the eye and says, ‘What kind of pizza do you like, kid?’ I’ll buy it if you go downstairs and get it.” Ackerman said Buck called for delivery and he and Buck shared a pepperoni pizza and talked. “He took an interest in me and was talking to me, and he did that with a lot of people. Not longer after that I was around him a lot covering the Cardinals,” Ackerman said.

“I remembered my mom called me and asked me how my day was going,” he said. “I had to tell my mom, ‘I have to go, I’m sharing a pizza with Jack Buck and he’s coming back in the room.'”

Ackerman said early in his career he was hosting a Cardinals post-game show on KMOX. An outfielder who had been filling in for JD Drew hit a couple of home runs in the game. When Ackerman started the post-game show he said, “JD Who?” and talked about what a job the replacement did.

He said the next day, Buck invited him to lunch. At one point, Buck said to Ackerman, “So, I heard your post-game show last night and I heard you say, ‘JD Who?” If I were JD Drew’s parents, I wouldn’t like that very much…Be honest in your reporting but understand the people that you’re covering.”

“My mind was blown that Jack Buck listened to me first of all,” Ackerman said. “But then he was correcting me and praising me at the same time. It was incredible. It was his way of getting his message across but also lifting me up and encouraging me.”

Buck was well known nationally. He called 18 Super Bowls and 11 World Series. He did NFL games for CBS and NBC and did many years with Hank Stram on CBS Radio for Monday Night Football, and he also called AFL games for CBS. He did baseball nationally for ABC and CBS in addition to his duties locally with KMOX and the Cardinals. He also had called NHL and NBA games in St. Louis and had experience doing wrestling, boxing and bowling.

Many remember his famous call when Kirk Gibson hit his legendary walk-off home run during Game 1 of the 1988 World Series, “I don’t believe what I just saw,” and his memorable call of Kirby Puckett’s game-winning home run in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series, “Annnnnd we’ll see you tomorrow night.”

In St. Louis, where there is a statue of Buck outside of Busch Stadium, he is remembered for his “Go Crazy Folks, Go Crazy” call of Ozzie Smith’s walk-off home run in the 1985 National League Championship Series or simply his “That’s a winner,” which he would say following every Cardinals victory. He also had a great sense of humor. In 1998 when the statue was dedicated, Buck said, “I’ve given the Cardinals some of the best years of my life. Now I’m going to give them some of the worst.”

Buck was much more than a broadcaster to those in the St. Louis area. He was involved in the community and one of its strongest supporters. He also hosted and took part in more charitable endeavors than could be counted.

“I followed him to a lot of events when I could,” Ackerman said. “I spent time with him a lot at the Missouri Athletic Club Sports Personality of the Year dinners. To think that I now host it is amazing. I think about him every single time I am up there. I used to sit there and help engineer it and watch him and dream of what that would be like.

“He would go out of his way to emcee events, be part of the community, help people, take pictures and sign autographs, help kids, visit kids in the hospital. He was amazing. He was everything I hoped that he would be and then some. He was a fixture in the community…I think he just really liked people. He was genuinely interested in what people were about, what they did and who they were. I think that made him better at what he did. He was very approachable, and he knew his listeners very well. It felt like he was your companion.”

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ESPN Beaver Dam to Carry University of Wisconsin Women’s Volleyball

“By adding UW Women’s Volleyball to our lineup of premier brands and teams, we ensure that fans across the state can experience every thrilling moment.”

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Logo for ESPN Beaver Dam and a photo of Wisconsin women's volleyball players
Photo Courtesy: University of Wisconsin Athletics

Good Karma Brands has announced that ESPN Beaver Dam will join 100.5 ESPN Madison and 620 WTMJ in Milwaukee as a broadcaster for all University of Wisconsin women’s volleyball games starting in the 2024-2025 season. This expansion will guarantee that fans all over Wisconsin get live broadcasts of one of the strongest volleyball teams in the country.

“We are excited to join the group of GKB stations to deliver all the action and excitement of UW Women’s Volleyball games to fans,” said Sheri Sackett, market manager for ESPN Beaver Dam in a release. “By adding UW Women’s Volleyball to our lineup of premier brands and teams, we ensure that fans across the state can experience every thrilling moment.”

The UW Women’s Volleyball team finished the 2023 season at No. 3 in the AVCA Poll after a strong performance in the NCAA Tournament that led them to the semifinals. The addition of ESPN Beaver Dam will greatly increase the team’s exposure and audience reach.

In addition to UW Women’s Volleyball, ESPN Beaver Dam is the home for the Milwaukee Brewers, the Milwaukee Bucks, the Green Bay Packers, the Wisconsin Badgers, and the Beaver Dam High School Golden Beavers.

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