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Mike Mulligan: Idea Shohei Ohtani Used MLB Media to Increase Price is ‘Pretty Wild’

“I think that’s been reported or that’s the conspiracy theory, right?”

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Mike Mulligan
Courtesy: Audacy

When Shohei Ohtani inked a 10-year contract reportedly worth a record $700 million to play for the Los Angeles Dodgers, it sent the baseball world in a state of shock and euphoria. Mike Mulligan and David Haugh speculated on such as well and reacted to the events of the previous few days on Monday morning.

Specifically on Friday, social media users noticed a private jet flying from Anaheim to Toronto, prompting people to assume that it was Ohtani traveling to the country to officially sign with the Toronto Blue Jays. It turns out that the plane transported Shark Tank investor and entrepreneur Robert Herjavec and his children back from a vacation in Southern California, much to the disappointment of fans who were hoping that it was Ohtani making his decision.

Instead, Ohtani announced the news of his agreement with the Dodgers on Instagram on Saturday afternoon, completing a protracted pursuit to land the two-time American League MVP that reports say lasted over a year.

Moreover, it brought inaccurate reports to light from several venerated members of the media who have been covering MLB for many years. MLB Network insider Jon Morosi in particular confirmed that Ohtani was on the plane, but later issued an apology for promulgating misinformation.

“It was a crazy Friday in Major League Baseball media,” Haugh said on Mully & Haugh on 670 The Score. “I wonder how much Ohtani’s agents worked and manipulated the process behind the scenes; maybe fed some respected reporters some bad info to get the Dodgers thinking that the Blue Jays were going to be all in.”

According to an in-depth story from Tom Verducci at Sports Illustrated, the Dodgers were uncertain whether or not the team would land Ohtani on Friday night. It also claims that the team saw the report of the private jet flying to Toronto and decided to go all-in by increasing their offer. Although much of the remuneration is expected to be deferred, Ohtani is now projected to make $11.7 million per month, $432,099 per game and $50.01 per second under this new deal.

“I got to tell you the idea that they used national baseball writers to jack up the price is pretty wild,” co-host Mike Mulligan said. “They fed information to people that they were headed to Toronto. I think that’s been reported or that’s the conspiracy theory, right?”

The discussion on the Chicago sports radio program continued to surmise as to why the Chicago Cubs did not land Ohtani. The team had been reported as being involved in the bidding process, although much of the information surrounding the free agency has been shrouded in secrecy. As a former reporter for the Chicago Tribune, Mike Mulligan is familiar with having to verify information.

At the moment, the Dodgers have yet to officially announce the deal that Ohtani is signing with them, which could indicate that the deal is pending the completion of a physical. Once everything becomes official, the Dodgers will officially have a lineup featuring three players that have won a combined five Most Valuable Player awards, along with plenty of depth up and down the roster.

“I think that the Dodgers always seemed to be the team that he was going to land on,” Haugh said regarding Ohtani earlier in the segment. “It seemed inevitable from the beginning. We built up our hope here; it seemed a little bit remote all the time. You kind of knew it, but it was fun to dream a little bit because of how good he is.”

“I just think that the Cubs probably stopped bidding on this; I’m guessing $550 [million] tops, something like that,” Mike Mulligan added. “That was one of the rumors. It starts going up and you kind of must know at that point that if you jump in and you pay more than the next guy, you’re going to get him.”

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98.5 The Sports Hub’s Mike Felger Says He is Rooting for WEEI and Audacy “Big Time”

“We would want sports talk to be a really healthy space, a really healthy business in general, and then through competition, we win.”

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Mike Felger
Courtesy: Nantucket Current

98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston host Mike Felger said on Facebook Live earlier this week in reference to his station’s crosstown rival, WEEI and their parent company Audacy, he is “rooting for them big time.” The conversation was with former WEEI employee Mark Dondero, who had only recently moved over to The Sports Hub.

The “Off Air Show with Felger” airs on Facebook and on this occasion, Felger used the opportunity to get to know his new teammate a bit better. When the topic of his former employer came up, Felger asked, “So what’s the word over there? Are they going to make it…I hate the bankprutcy [stuff]. I hope they make it. I’m rooting for them big time.”

“You should be able to have two stations in Boston,” Dondero said. “It’s ridiculous with the amount of passion that’s in the area for the teams. I don’t see them going down. I hope they’re fine but I don’t know. They didn’t talk to me all that much with certain things, so I don’t know.”

Felger drew the comparison to Coke and Pepsi. “I am sure Coke wants to beat Pepsi, but if Pepsi went out of business and that meant that fewer people were drinking cola…you want the space to be healthy…you want the product itself, whether it’s your brand or not to be widely consumed and healthy,” Felger said. “And I would be worried that if EEI didn’t make it, it’s like sports talk was declining, not an EEI thing, it’s a sports talk thing. So I…hope they make it. They should be able to.”

Later, Dondero asked, “So you just want them to exist, but you just continue to dominate?”

“Yes, yes, absolutely,” said Felger. “We would want sports talk to be a really healthy space, a really healthy business in general, and then through competition, we win. That’s what I would want…Part of it is selfish. If my contract’s ever up, like it’s been in the past and the other station bids for you, like that’s healthy for people who work at the stations, but that’s obvious,” he added. “But beyond that, I think it’s healthy just that sports talk be vibrant, and important and widely consumed.”

Audacy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in early January and last week a US Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas approved a plan for Audacy to reemerge from its bankruptcy proceedings. Under the plan, Audacy will equitize more than $1.5 billion of funded debt, which reduces its debt load by 80%, down from $1.9 billion to $350 million.

In the latest ratings ratings report, Felger & Mazz earned the best number among local sports radio programs in the market. Mike and Tony garnered a 20.1 share for the quarter, up from a 17.2 share in the summer. 

In weekday prime hours (6a-7p), 98.5 The Sports Hub gained a 16.3 share, which placed the Beasley Media Group-owned outlet first in the market. WEEI dropped by three shares from the summer to fall book, finishing with a 4.4 share in the prime frame. That placed them seventh place for the quarter.

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Joey Votto Tells Dan Patrick He Has Analyst Job Offers; No Firm Offers to Play

“I’m on the show and I am here to hock my wares. I’m hopeful that a Dan Patrick push will get me a job. So, here I am.”

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Dan Patrick Show Logo with guest Joey Votto
Courtesy: The Dan Patrick Show YouTube

Joey Votto is campaigning for a job, but unfortunately the offers he continues to get are for media jobs and that is not what he is looking for, yet. Votto took to X to ask for an interview on The Dan Patrick Show and he made it clear when the interview began that he was looking for a push.

Patrick asked Votto how his morale is doing as Spring Training is underway and he has not yet received a solid offer to play. “Low, it’s as low as it gets, and I just don’t see it getting any better,” he said. “But, I’m on the show and I am here to hock my wares. I’m hopeful that a Dan Patrick push will get me a job. So, here I am.”

The veteran first baseman spent all 17-years of his big-league career with the Reds. The team declined a $20 million option for 2024, opting instead to pay a $7 million buyout.

Many have thought Votto will make a terrific baseball analyst when he does decide to hang up his cleats. Barrett Sports Media’s Andy Masur recently listed Votto as an athlete to watch when it comes to future standout analysts.

Masur wrote in part, “Votto’s personality is unbelievable. He was always talking to fans when he was on-deck or even in the field. A man of the people and a man that is really good behind the mic. While rehabbing from a shoulder injury in 2022 Votto did a couple of stints in the Reds’ TV booth, even doing a little play-by-play… Here’s hoping Votto considers this vocation when he’s done with his current one. He’s got what it takes to be really good. Perhaps the most important to current broadcasts, he respects the industry.”

As it relates to offers on getting a media career started, Votto said, “Funny enough, I’ve had 10-times the analyst jobs over this offseason than I have had any baseball offers.”

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Mike Stone Does First Fill-In Shift on 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit

“I drove across the state to thank [Tigers manager] A.J. Hinch for all he was able to do with me when I did the morning show.”

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Mike Stone
Courtesy: George Fox, 97.1 The Ticket

Mike Stone said he wasn’t retiring. Two weeks to the day after stepping away from the morning show at 97.1 The Ticket in Detroit, ‘Stoney’ filled in for Mike Valenti with Rico Beard.

Prior to the show starting, Stone did the crosstalk segment with Doug Karsch and Scott ‘Gator’ Anderson on Karsch & Anderson. Stone had said he was headed to Florida when he ended his final full-time appearance on the station. Today, he gave the hosts and listeners the insight on how his trip went.

“It was good, got to see a few innings of Tigers baseball,” Stone said. “I drove across the state to thank [Tigers manager] A.J. Hinch for all he was able to do with me when I did the morning show and I said ‘you’ll be more sick of me now, because now that I don’t have to get up early, I’ll be at more games.'”

Stone said his golf game is not doing badly, although he said one range session made him not want to play the game anymore.

Beard was excited to welcome Stone backto the station and said they had done one previous show together, which was a Lions based broadcast, however this was their first weekday talk show together.

Stone had told listeners the day of his last morning show, “I am not retiring. I will be here for two years filling in for a lot of shows, Lions football, I will have a presence at the draft. It’ll be different, yes…And when those two years are over, who knows, I might want to staty another two years.”

Stone signed on with The Ticket in 2009 and hosted with Rob Parker, Bill McAllister and Jamie Samuelsen before starting with Jon Jansen. Prior to his time with the outlet, he was one-half of the Stoney and Wojo Show on WDFN with Bob Wojnowski.

Jim Costa has taken Stone’s place and the show is now known as Costa and Jansen, as he joins Jansen and Heather Park.

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