DL409: T.O. & The Bengals, Pitchers v. Walk-Offs & MLS All-Star Buzz

We actually have four topics today:

• T.O. to the Bengals and why it’s so crazy it basically has to work.

• Jay Glazer and Daryl “Moose” Johnston to the NFL Network and what that could mean for the league’s network and, most specifically, for Glazer having to balance breaking news for the NFL and for Fox.

• A ton of numbers in .

• Talk about the MLS All-Star game tonight and how the U.S. pro soccer league has really capitalized on soccer’s popularity coming out of the World Cup.

Thanks for listening.

DL397: What Else? LeBron. Plus: Howard, Votto, All-Stars, Derby, More

We discuss the unavoidable: LeBron’s personal signing day.

Specifically, we discuss the news that ESPN will have an hour-long special. It’s a great get by the WWL, even if the hour is going to be completely and utterly ridiculous. My suggestion is that LeBron should name a team without cap space for him and give them an hour on live TV to make room. That would be great TV. Nick thinks it should be like a wrestling PPV…Oh my gawd that’s Chris Bosh’s music!

Either way, it’s ridiculous. But should we expect anything less from “King James.”

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What a holiday weekend in sports. We start with a conversation about Roy Halladay’s perfect game, but rather than discuss the game between us – full disclosure, I was watching the hockey then switched over and tracked back to watch after the fact while Nick had the foresight to watch both – we thought it would make more sense to talk with one of the men who had the opportunity to call the 20th perfect game in Major League history.

Scott Franzke, radio play-by-play man for the Phillies, joins the show to talk about that amazing performance, and what it was like in the booth. At what point did they start to think they might be witnessing something special? How was Larry Anderson during the game, and were they conscious of superstition throughout the broadcast? How many times did Franzke mention the word perfect? Did he say “perfect game” before it happened?

We also discuss the historic nature of calling something like a perfect game. After Dallas Braden’s perfect game this season, Nick and I talked about beat writers crafting the “perfect game story” knowing that more people will be reading that day than, perhaps, any other in a writer’s career. For someone doing play-by-play, Franzke doesn’t have the luxury of thinking out what he’s going to say, and hitting a delete key. So how perfect did he try to be? Did he have something in his mind for the last out should Halladay complete the perfect game?

And seriously, how nervous were they in the booth? More on this later today on The Sporting Blog.

The Weekend that Was:

Nick and I rundown the weekend in sports, including the Stanley Cup finals (and the ratings for game one that some people — looking at you John Gonzalez — thought wouldn’t be good because of the holiday). We also discuss the rest of the series, and if the Flyers should be worried or feel fine with the fact that, on the road, they were in both games.

Next, we spend a lot of time talking about the game both of us attended on Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field. The U.S. men’s soccer team defeated Turkey in their final Send-off Match before heading to South Africa for the World Cup.

I worked the match for Sporting News, so we give a rundown of some of the storylines that came out of the even. I also try to convince you, Nick and myself, that soccer is now for the cool kids. If a member of the media says they don’t watch soccer now because it’s boring, that’s an old and tired meme that will, finally, make them look stupid. Soccer isn’t boring, we just weren’t any good at it. Now, we might be.


We talk about Lakers Celtics and if we’re rooting for the Lakers (and Kobe) or just rooting against everything related to Boston. We also talk about which is a more lame way to win a game, a walkoff balk or a walkoff grand slam where you break your leg.

Thanks to Scott and click here to listen…

DL368: The Weekend That Was

Nick and I talk about the goings on in sports this weekend. We talk about the perfect game and wonder if the reporters writing about it felt they had to write the perfect game story. Also, when do you start writing that game story, because on a normal day you’d be writing throughout the entire game. Is that the case, or at some point do you stop as not to jinx what you’re watching?

Also, Dallas Braden provided a great story on Mother’s Day, having lost his to cancer when he was younger. But is this the beginning of some great things for him, or will be be one of the few “who the heck is that guy” names on the list of 19 men to ever throw a perfect game.

We also touch on Jamie Moyer’s amazing two-hitter and have a conversation about how wins really mean absolutely nothing to indicate how well a pitcher threw.

We shift to golf to talk about Tim Clark finally becoming a PGA bride after all the years as a bridesmaid. Quite a tournament to get his first PGA win, too. Oh, and some guy named Tiger has a neck thing. That’ll dominate the headlines, eh?

We also touch on the English Premiership. Did you know Chelsea needed a win to bring home the championship and won 8-0 this weekend. Yikes. Can’t wait for the playoffs to start. Oh, that’s right, Bill Simmons reminded me last week that there aren’t playoffs.

Speaking of playoffs, lots of that kind of talk in NHL and NBA later in the week. Click to listen.

DL366: Will Leitch Talks Fathers, Sons, Baseball & Are We Winning

Will Leitch has a new book out. It’s about growing up, and our relationships with our fathers, through the game of baseball. You should buy it. Seriously. Go buy it.

Still not convinced? Read an excerpt from the book on Deadspin where he (adeptly) tries to humanize Steve Bartman. Leitch thinks that Bartman is him…or any of us who love baseball.

STILL not convinced? Here is . And another.

Oh, right, or you could just listen to this conversation about the book, where we discuss the following topics (note: a transcription of some of this interview is featured on .)

• The marketing model of promoting a book now that he’s not Will Leitch, basement dweller and has become Will Leitch, BFD.

• The niche-specific nature of a baseball book, and if he feels the book is more a story of his life that uses the game as a conduit, or if it’s a book about baseball and he uses his personal experiences as the narrative to tell the story of the game? Or is it both…can it be both?

• The fact that Leitch hates stories about your kids and how great you think they are.

• I challenge the notion that he’s actually never told his dad that he loves him. Damn Midwest sensibilities.

• I ask why he wrote the book now — right before he’s about to get married and presumably start a family. Does he fear that he’ll look back on the book in 10 years and with he had waited until he was a father? He provides a wonderful answer to this question, by the way. And yes, I do use Mike Lupica as an example.

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Kevin Kaduk of Yahoo’s Big League Stew joins the show to talk all about the current season in Major League Baseball. Of course we recorded the show yesterday afternoon, which was before news broke that the legendary Ernie Harwell had passed away.

Here’s my take at , with help from friend of the show and Tigers writer Ian Casselberry. Also, . It’s worth it today.

Kaduk and I talk about a lot of things. Descriptive, I know. We discuss the amazing length of the Ryan Howard contract debate that, honestly, seemed about as long as the extension itself. This obviously leads to a little talk about the “stat heads” who I’m sure, by now, hate me even though I am really far more on board with advanced stats than they seem to think.

We talk about the attendance issues in baseball and if it’s a real legit concern for MLB. What can they do to get more people in the stadium? Why won’t cities with strong baseball traditions, like Houston, show up for a game between Roy Halladay and Roy Oswalt? Why do the Nationals fans care more about a AAA start for Strasburg than the fact that their current team is right in the NL East race at the start of May?

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DL364: We’re Back In the Saddle Again

Hello faithful listeners. We’re back. We talk about some things today. Won’tcha come join us?

In today’s show, we talk about:
• The media horde during situations like the Virginia lacrosse murder
• Sports! Including hockey playoffs and the NBA. Well, it’s probably most about baseball, let’s be honest.
• TV! Namely a conversation using my Press Coverage column at TSB as a launching point about CNN asking viewers and readers to submit iReports, most egregiously during the investigation of the Times Square car bomb. How about this idea? Tell your fans to get the hell to Jersey, there’s a car that could explode.
• I forget to ask Nick if he has anything else and it turns out he has TWO things!

Good to be back. Click here to listen.

DL359: One Shining Moment For Duke, Shane Bacon on Tiger’s Presser & Masters Preview, Opening Day!

It’s the day after Sports Christmas and we’re still opening presents. The show is in three segments.

First, Nick and I talk about the National Championship game and I sound like, gasp, an NBA fan. People are talking about how great the game was, but does close automatically equal great? There was very little scoring at the end of the game – one point scored in the last 54 seconds and no baskets for the national champion in more than two and a half minutes to end it – but it was hard-fought and tenacious. Does that, alone, make the game as great as people are writing today?

Also, we apologize to Duke. They deserve the title. And we rip to shreds One Shining Moment and whoever at CBS thought it was okay to put FIVE different shots of Jennifer Hudson. .


Shane Bacon and I talk about the Tiger Woods press conference. For video clips, and my take, . For Shane’s take on the presser – other than our conversation – read him .

We also take some time to preview the Masters. Is Anthony Kim the guy? Is another young gun? How about a guy like Steve Stricker? Or maybe a guy named….Phil….something.

Can Mickelson compete after having a rough start to the season? And will he go into his presser this week and remind everyone that his wife and mother had cancer and it’s not all about Tiger’s big swinging…putter?

To read his preview, . (Lots of plugs today).


Opening Day. We can breathe again, as baseball is back. Nick and I talk about the winners and losers. Hey, look, a plug. .

Click here for audio. Thanks for listening.

DL358: Opening Day, McNabb Trade, National Title Game & More Important Things on Sports Christmas

Today’s show is more like a watercooler conversation than anything. We had topics — how could you not know the topics — so we just talk. Nick calls today “Sports Christmas.” I am unfamiliar with that term.

McNabb trade, Opening Day (a National Halladay in these parts), National Championship game with Duke and Butler and other important things.

Oh, and at some point my wife calls and I think she’s in labor. Thanks for listening.

We’re back. Please tolerate the congestion.

Pleased to have Gary Thorne, venerable broadcaster and the voice of MLB2K10 on the show. We talk a bit about the game and the process by which he records all those sounds. I never knew they do it in a booth with no visual aids. They are basically calling an imaginary baseball game? Wait not just one game…like 70 hours of imaginary games.

We talk about the fact that Thorne isn’t given a script – that he’s hired for the way he calls the game as much as his voice – and how different the game is when there’s nothing to cross-talk about. Isn’t the cross talk what makes baseball announcing so much fun?

We discuss actual baseball as well, as I ask Thorne about the differences between calling national games and local games for the Orioles. And being in Baltimore, does he find his audience is much more dedicated, and therefore baseball savvy, than a larger audience of bandwagon jumpers may be in, say, Philadelphia or Boston? Thorne does agree that it’s important to know the audience, but not to talk over them and get to inside baseball.

Speaking of that, we do discuss the balance of stats and sabermetrics in a broadcast with the “Joe Morgan” types of announcers. Thorne’s wife has a company that trains former players to become broadcasters, so we discuss the importance “having been there” with “the numbers indicate”. What is the balance? And could it be that TV and radio – due to the audience and the time constraints of the game going on in front of you – lend themselves more to “experience” as expertise while the number crunchers can have more focus in print and other non in-game mediums?

We talk a lot about , and if it’s a viable idea for change. In fact, is any change needed? Thorne does bring up the concept of buying a championship, which you can make the case that only a handful of teams can afford to do. Of course for every Yankees (or Red Sox of Phillies) there is a Dodgers or a Cubs, who can get to the playoffs, but can’t win anything – a concept to which Thorne rightly brings up the point that getting to the playoffs has been far too marginalized in baseball. It’s still a really big deal.

Last, we talk about hockey. Well, hockey and baseball and which Thorne likes to announce more and which he thinks he is more known for. The short answer: it’s like asking him which kid he loves more.

Continue reading and listen to the show…