Sports TV News
Hudler Shines By Being Himself
The loudest voice of the Royals is driving up I-35, and if there is a radar gun ahead, Rex Hudler is going to have a problem. It is 8:42 on a recent morning and he’s running a bit late, but he’d probably be speeding anyway. The Royals broadcaster doesn’t do slow. Never has.
The alarm went off at 6 this morning. His wife, like most humans, likes to lie in bed for a bit. Hit the snooze button. Hudler’s feet hit the floor within seconds. He is like a red-headed 54-year-old windup toy, only you never know what’s about to come out of his mouth, and one pull of the string lasts all day.
He is in the middle of, like, the fourth of a hundred stories in a day that started at 6 and won’t end until around 11 that night, after he broadcasts the 126th of 162 games in what is shaping up to be a historic Royals season.
There was the time he got promoted from Class A by writing George Steinbrenner a letter. The time he took out a teammate with a slide during a spring training B-game at 9 in the morning. The time he bought two engagement rings just to make sure she said yes.
All the times he’s talked to God, the big man always calling him Hud, and the time he got fired by the Angels, then hired by the Royals, and mostly hated by his new city. That was hard. There was also the time he found out his first son had Down syndrome. That was harder.
But at the moment, he is talking about baseball, so he is smiling and taking his sunglasses off to look you in the eye even as he speeds down the highway and steers with his leg.
“The feeling I get coming to the ballpark now is the same as when I played,” Hudler says. “I know who’s pitching that night, and I’m thinking about that (expletive). He’s the guy I’m going to make a living off of. He’s the man who’s going to pay my family, and my future. That’s how serious it is. I’d stand in the batters box, ‘My family against yours, (expletive). Let’s go.’”
By the time the day is over, Hud — even his wife, Jennifer, calls him that — will have laughed and cried and kissed each of his three sons.
He will have talked about experimenting with drugs, of starting six straight seasons with the same minor-league team, and of asking to play one last game before retiring at the age of 37 — a game in which he got hit in the neck with a pitch, then lost the game by whiffing a routine grounder at second base.
For three hours every night, he is the goofball announcer some call Uncle Hud. Every day, Royals fans come up to him and say they never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. And every day, he tells them, “That makes two of us.”
Once, his tongue got tied and he ended up calling a backup Royals outfielder “Paulo Homo.” Another time, he called the moon a planet. He said the Astros use the metric system. He laughs these things off, even when Jennifer playfully calls him an idiot, and (not as playfully) begs him to stay away from big words on the air.
The stories come out in real life the same as they do during his broadcasts: fast, loud, occasionally mangled, often self-deprecating and usually out of nowhere. The difference is they are about a complicated life, not a simple game, and he doesn’t have to watch his language.
To read the rest of the article visit the Kansas City Star where it was originally published
Jason Barrett is the owner and operator of Barrett Sports Media. Prior to launching BSM he served as a sports radio programmer, launching brands such as 95.7 The Game in San Francisco and 101 ESPN in St. Louis. He has also produced national shows for ESPN Radio including GameNight and the Dan Patrick Show. You can find him on Twitter @SportsRadioPD or reach him by email at JBarrett@sportsradiopd.com.
Sports TV News
Michael Wilbon to Resume Traveling After Foot Surgery
“Am I going to games right now? No, but I probably wouldn’t be going to many games in March anyways before the playoffs.”
If you watch a lot of ESPN, you are used to seeing Michael Wilbon on screen in front of a desert backdrop. That is pretty standard when the PTI and NBA Countdown star is broadcasting from his home in Arizona.
That backdrop has been seen a lot this year as Wilbon has been off the road. He is recovering from surgery to repair an ulcer on his right foot. They are part of his struggle with Type II diabetes. He had the surgery in April.
Since then, he has been getting around on a scooter, which he joked with the New York Post’s Ryan Glasspiegel is exactly what LeBron James is doing right now.
“When you’re 64 years old, you’re not gonna come back from that overnight — I don’t know if you would at 44 either.”
Michael Wilbon says that he expects to return to the road this week. From what he told Glasspiegel, it sounds like we are more likely to see him in the studio than at an arena.
“I can still work,” he said. “Am I going to games right now? No, but I probably wouldn’t be going to many games in March anyways before the playoffs.”
Sports TV News
Paul Byrd, Brian Jordan Won’t Return to Braves Broadcast Booth
“Brian Jordan was part of the team of analysts covering the Braves on TV last year. Byrd was a studio host.”
Atlanta Braves fans will be greeted with a very different television broadcast when Major League Baseball’s regular season begins later this month. Bally Sports South has undergone a full talent overhaul.
When the network announced its talent for the 2023 season, two names were missing. Neither Paul Byrd nor Brian Jordan will return. Justin Toscano of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution noted that Byrd’s decision was a personal matter, while the team made efforts to bring Jordan back.
Brian Jordan was part of the team of analysts covering the Braves on TV last year. Byrd was a studio host. He was at the front of a season preview show, which premiered last week.
The Braves have been hit with plenty of other changes this offseason. Chip Caray will be replaced by Brandon Gaudin on play-by-play after Caray decided to leave Atlanta for St. Louis. Also, Tom Glavine returns as a game analyst after taking time away from the team in 2022.
Sports TV News
ESPN Employees Brace For Major Layoffs
“According to Front Office Sports, 700 jobs have been cut, including those of anchors, reporters and analysts, since 2015.”
As the restructuring at Disney continues under CEO Bob Iger, tough decisions regarding people’s careers with the company are being made.
The jobs of 7,000 Disney employees will be eliminated as the company tries to save $5.5 billion in costs.
Stephen A. Smith, on a recent episode of his podcast K[no]w Mercy, said ESPN is not going to escape unscathed.
“ESPN is under the Disney umbrella,” Smith said. “They’re going to have cuts coming.”
ESPN has gone through multiple rounds of layoffs in recent years. According to Front Office Sports, 700 jobs have been cut, including those of anchors, reporters and analysts, since 2015.
Stephen A., who has an annual salary of $13 million, said no one’s job is safe.
“Hell, for all I know, I might be one of them,” Smith said. “Now, I doubt that. But it’s possible. No one knows.”
Jordan Bondurant is a features reporter for Barrett Sports Media. He’s a multimedia journalist and communicator who works at the Virginia State Corporation Commission in Richmond. Jordan also contributes occasional coverage of the Washington Capitals for the blog NoVa Caps. His prior media experiences include working for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, the Danville Register & Bee, Virginia Lawyers Weekly, WRIC-TV 8News and Audacy Richmond. He can be reached by email at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @J__Bondurant.