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Bill King Gets His Long Awaited Call To Cooperstown

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Holy Toledo! Bill King has been called to Cooperstown.

One of the most prominent sports announcers in Bay Area sports history has been named the winner of the 2017 Ford C. Frick Award after finishing as a finalist for the honor seven times. King passed away in 2005, after spending more than four decades calling the action for many of the Bay Area’s sports teams.

During his career, King served as the voice of the Oakland Athletics for 25 years, the longest tenure of any A’s announcer since the team’s games were first broadcast in Philadelphia in 1938. He was the club’s radio announcer from 1981 to 2005, and called the team’s World Series victory over their crosstown rivals, the San Francisco Giants in 1989, Rickey Henderson’s record-breaking stolen base in 1991, and Scott Hatteberg’s pinch-hit walk-off homerun in 2002, which helped the A’s extend their league-record winning streak to 20 games.

Ironically, it was the Giants who gave King his Bay Area play by play start. He was part of their original broadcasting team, working alongside Russ Hodges and Lon Simmons.

After working for the Giants, King joined the Golden State Warriors as their play by play announcer when the franchise moved to San Francisco in 1962. He announced Warrior games until 1983, including the team’s first NBA Championship on the West Coast in 1974-1975.

If holding two high profile jobs for over two decades wasn’t enough, King also had a historic run as the voice of the Oakland Raiders. He became the team’s play by play voice in 1966, working for the franchise through the 1992 season. He even commuted to Los Angeles from 1982-1984 when the Raiders relocated to Southern California. During his time working for Al Davis, he called all three Raiders Super Bowl victories.

King’s stepdaughter, Kathleen Lowenthal told the San Francisco Chronicle that she got the call Wednesday morning from Hall of Fame President Jeff Idelson.

“When he called, I was like a little kid, and crying,” she said. “I had no idea I’d cry. Then Ken Korach called me, and he was crying. I just wish Bill were here. He never thought this would happen. He didn’t seek it. That was never a motivation. It’s his time, and I’m thrilled.”

King was behind the microphone to call the famous Oakland Raiders “Holy Roller” touchdown against San Diego in 1978. It’s one of the most memorable play by play calls in sports history.

One person who’s been a strong advocate for King’s entry into Cooperstown has been current A’s radio play by play announcer Ken Korach. His 2013 book Holy Toledo – Lessons from Bill King: Renaissance Man of the Mic drew additional attention to King’s stellar work, and earned high praise from other members of the sports media.

When Korach learned that King had finally earned the call to the Hall he said “It’s just incredible. A lot of tears, to be honest with you. It’s so heartwarming. I’ve heard from broadcasters, writers. It’s really emotional. This is going to be such a wonderful celebration for A’s fans and that’s the definition of a Hall of Famer — someone who had that kind of impact on so many people. Bill King was a one-in-a-million person.”

Current Raiders play by play announcer Greg Papa, who has served as the voice of the Silver and Black for the past 21 seasons, has said of King, “He is without a doubt the best radio play-by-play announcer in all of sports. His energy, preparation, his thoroughness, his word choice—he is without peer.”

The Baseball Hall of Fame issued a press release on King’s pending honor, adding, “Bill King’s enthusiasm for every game he called carried through the airwaves and into the hearts of fans throughout Northern California for 25 incredible years with the Oakland Athletics. From his distinctive word choices in describing the action to his unabashed love of Oakland and the Bay Area, King crafted a career that became synonymous with the action at the Oakland Coliseum and throughout the sports world.”

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Dave Rothenberg Can’t Stand Hearing Kenny Albert Mispronounce ‘Raleigh’

“I would think a true professional, like somebody that cares about their craft, would get that kind of feedback and welcome it.”

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Dave Rothenberg has a tiny bone to pick with Kenny Albert, and it’s over the way Kenny pronounces the Carolina Hurricanes’ home city.

Talking on his show on ESPN New York on Tuesday, Rothenberg, who spent three years working in Raleigh on 99.9 The Fan, said he wished someone would get in Albert’s ear and correct the way he’s been saying it adding that it has made him wish one of the top play-by-play voices in hockey wouldn’t be on the call for the playoff series between the Canes and New York Rangers.

“I would think a true professional, like somebody that cares about their craft, would get that kind of feedback and welcome it,” Rothenberg said.

Albert has been pronouncing the city’s name as “RAW-lee”. It is properly pronounced “RAH-lee”.

Co-host Rick DiPietro and the rest of the show crew thought Albert would take offense to the correction, especially since it’s such a minor thing, but Rothenberg thought that was ridiculous.

“See, no one can deal with tough love anymore,” Rothenberg said.

The New York Rangers and Carolina Hurricanes series shifts back to Raleigh on Thursday for Game 5. The series is tied 2-2.

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NBC Sports Names Al Michaels To Emeritus Role

The partnership will keep Michaels on for the Olympics and NBC’s NFL playoff coverage.

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Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

NBC Sports, which had been the home of Al Michaels since 2006, will still feature the veteran broadcaster despite Michaels’ moving to Amazon for Thursday Night Football.

The network announced that Michaels will still be a part of NBC Sports’ high-profile broadcasting properties including the Olympics and NFL Playoffs. Michaels’ last broadcast with the network had been Super Bowl LVI in February, his eleventh Super Bowl.

NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua said in a statement, “Revered by viewers and colleagues, Al has been the soundtrack for many of the greatest moments in sports television history. We are thrilled that he’s staying in the family and raising the stature of our events for years to come.”

“I’m looking forward to continuing my longtime NBC relationship while also launching the Thursday Night Football package on Amazon this fall. A special thanks to NBC Sports Chairman Pete Bevacqua and the folks at NBCUniversal for their help in making this happen,” Michaels said.

Michaels moved to Amazon Prime Video this season for their Thursday Night Football package. He will be paired with ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit. This season will mark his 37th NFL play-by-play campaign in primetime.

Following another historic broadcasting moment in which Michaels deftly demonstrated his expertise and versatility, he became just the second sportscaster in history to receive a News Emmy nomination for his coverage of the San Francisco earthquake during the 1989 World Series.

In addition to the 11 Super Bowls, Michaels has worked nine Olympics and called eight World Series.

In December 2020, Michaels was honored with the 2021 Ford C. Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum. Michaels is one of only five distinguished broadcasters to be recognized with the baseball honor and the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s Pete Rozelle Award (Dick Enberg, Lindsey Nelson, Jack Buck, and Curt Gowdy).

One of television’s most respected journalists, Michaels has covered more major sports events than any sportscaster, including 20 years as the play-by-play voice of Monday Night Football. He is the only commentator to call the Super Bowl, World Series, NBA Finals and host the Stanley Cup Final for network television. In addition, Michaels called the classic 1985 championship boxing match between Thomas “Hit Man” Hearns and “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler.

Among his many accolades, Michaels has captured eight Emmy Awards – seven for Outstanding Sports Personality – Play-by-Play and one in 2011 for the Lifetime Achievement Award, and has three times (1980, 1983 and 1986) received the NSSA Award from the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association; he was inducted into the NSSA Hall of Fame in 1998. Michaels was named Sportscaster of the Year in 1996 by the American Sportscasters Association, and, in 1991, he was named Sportscaster of the Year by the Washington Journalism Review.

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Thom Brennaman Continues to Search for a Second Chance

Brennaman has been searching for a broadcasting gig since he spoke a homophobic slur in August 2020 on a Cincinnati Reds broadcast.

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USA Today

The last time Thom Brennaman sported the microphone for a major broadcast was August 19, 2020. It was game that featured a doubleheader between the Cincinnati Reds and the Kanasas City Royals and in between the two, Brennaman blurted a homophobic slur that has thus far kept him off radio and television.

Brennaman has struggled to find his footing since that error. Recently, Brennaman recorded an episode of Tell Me A Story I Don’t Know, a podcast hosted George Ofman. That episode was available Tuesday and in it, Ofman asks where Brennaman thinks he’ll be in six months.

Brennaman said, “I have no idea. I really don’t. There were a couple of times I thought that maybe somebody out there was going to give me a chance to broadcast again and then this same thing comes up again.”

Brennaman sounded baffled that he’s still searching for work, citing other influential local leaders and what they opined in the days after the incident. “You know what you find out George, the guy who’s considered to be the leading voice of the LGBT community here in Cincinnati, he’s a big executive with Johnson and Johnson, a guy named Ryan Messer. He had written, and I had never met Ryan Messer at this point in time, like two days after what I said, he wrote a letter to the editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer, local paper, that Thom Brennaman should not be fired. There is room for growth here in so many areas and a great opportunity for him, for the gay community, for the Reds, for our society.”

Brennaman added that the two met as well as did Brennaman with other leaders in the LGBT community at the time. “I reached out to the guy and made contact with him and he’s the guy who’s house we went to that I made reference to earlier in listening to a bunch of the stories with some gay leaders. But anyway, I said ‘if you have people there – and I know you do – that are gay that work there, I would put up the amount of hours that I have spent in the gay community in some form or fashion over the last year against anybody you have that works in that office that’s gay’.”

Despite his efforts, the broadcasting veteran is dismayed that it’s failed to sway opinion, “it’s almost like in some cases it just falls on deaf ears.”

Regardless of where he is at now, he’s confident that eventually he’ll be afforded another opportunity. “But I ‘d like to think there’s somebody out there – and there will be and all it takes is one – is just to say ‘you know what, this was a mistake. Here’s the documentation of what the guy’s tried to do since then. We’re going to take a chance – answer some tough questions – and take a chance and get him back in the booth.”

And if another opportunity doesn’t present itself? “If it doesn’t happen, it’s not going to be the end of my life.”

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