Less than a year after getting what he deemed the “opportunity of a lifetime,” the Charlotte Hornets and radio play-by-play voice, Chris Kroeger have parted ways. Kroeger, a Charlotte native, will be replaced by his predecessor, Steve Martin for the remainder of this season.
The Hornets made the announcement Thursday afternoon via Twitter. “Radio broadcaster Chris Kroeger is no longer with the organization. The Hornets thank him for his contributions,” their PR team tweeted. When reached for comment, a spokesperson told WBTV, “We don’t comment on personnel matters.”
At 31, Kroeger was the youngest radio play-by-play voice of any NBA team, but his tenure lasted just nine months after being hired by the Hornets on June 4th of last year. Kroeger’s departure comes less than one week after his enthusiastic call of Jeremy Lamb’s game winning buzzer-beater was featured on SportsCenter and replayed by radio stations around the country.
After growing up listening to Steve Martin, Kroeger had the opportunity to succeed his idol. Now Martin will succeed the young broadcaster, as he comes out of retirement to finish the year. Before retiring at the end of the 2017-18 season, Martin never missed calling a Hornets game in team history, now he’ll have eight more to add to his iconic resume.
Kroeger left his weekday radio show on the Hornets flagship station, 102.5 and 610 WFNZ The Fan when he was named the team’s new play-by-play announcer last June. A Charlotte sports radio staple since 2014, Kroeger has yet to make a public statement regarding his surprising departure from the Hornets.
KNBR’s ‘Murph and Mac’ Examine Barry Bonds’ Baseball Hall of Fame Exclusion
The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly joined the show to explain Hall of Fame balloting in baseball’s steroid era.
Amid the current team owners’ lockout, now the longest in Major League Baseball history, the sport is still generating publicity. But the headlines have nothing to do with the labor dispute between the owners and players.
Generating debate is the controversial omission of Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens from being elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York in their final year of eligibility.
This year, 394 members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America (BBWAA) voted in the election, with former Boston Red Sox slugger David Ortiz being the only player on the ballot to surprass the required 75 percent threshold. Ortiz received 77.9 percent of the vote in his first year of eligibility.
Bonds and Clemens both allegedly used performance-enhancing drugs during their careers, significantly impacting their candidacies for baseball immortality. There was outrage in many corners of the baseball world Tuesday night following the announcement, and widespread disappointment from fans of the game who feel that an apparent “blemish” on baseball history is trying to be forcibly erased rather than remembered.
On Wednesday morning, Murph & Mac on San Francisco’s KNBR welcomed The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly to their program to discuss the exclusion of Bonds from Cooperstown and the negative perception the voting process is receiving by members of the media and fans alike.
“In 2014, the Hall of Fame sort of unilaterally changed its rules and reduced the time you can be on the writers’ ballot from 15 years to 10,” Baggarly explained. “There’s no doubt that was intentional to clear the way for steroid-era players that would otherwise linger on the ballot forever.”
Bonds is widely regarded as one of the best hitters to ever take the field, and is baseball’s current record holder for both the most career home runs (762) and the most single-season home runs (73). He also won the National League Most Valuable Player award a record seven times, also receiving 14 All-Star Game selections and 12 Silver Slugger awards.
“When I hear guys like Chris Russo tsk-tsk… Bonds for using steroids, [I say] ‘What, are you kidding me?’” said Brian Murphy, co-host of the Bay Area morning drive program. “How widespread it was in the game, how owners and GMs and team presidents never told players that they would be facing penalties and kept giving them money, and everyone collectively participated? Now, [it’s] ‘No, Mr. Bonds, you can’t do that.’”
For those who are not members of the BBWAA, the perception of the Hall of Fame announcement has generated negative publicity for Major League Baseball during an already-contentious negotiation towards a new collective bargaining agreement. Baseball’s all-time home run leader in Bonds and a seven-time Cy Young Award winner are barred from Cooperstown – for now.
There is another way in, but it is sure to cause even more public controversy, according to Baggarly.
“Now [Bonds] goes to the committees,” outlined Baggarly. “All of [these] committees meet twice every five-year period. It just so happens that the Today’s Game Committee will meet at the Winter Meetings in December… and they can consider as many as 10 individuals [for the Hall of Fame]… Can you imagine if the panel who elected Commissioner Bud Selig will be the same people who don’t elect Bonds? If you think the writers are getting blasted, just wait.”
Parker Hillis Upped To APD At 104.3 The Fan
“Hillis has been at The Fan since April of 2019.”
All on-air talent at 104.3 the Fan in Denver now reports to Parker Hillis. He has been promoted to become the assistant program director of that station and ESPN Denver 1600.
“Parker has been critical to the success of our Bonneville Denver sports properties,” 104.3 The Fan and ESPN Denver 1600 Program Director Raj Sharan said in a press release. “He’s absolutely earned this opportunity to take on increased responsibilities managing our sports stations on a daily basis.”
Hillis has been at The Fan since April of 2019. He came from Dallas, where he worked for Audacy’s 105.3 The Fan.
With the promotion, the station is now looking for a new executive producer. Parker Hillis will oversee that search.
“I’m excited to work with our hosts in a greater capacity on a day-to-day basis,” Hillis said. “The opportunity to lead collaborative efforts among our amazingly talented team is truly an honor.”
Doug Gottlieb Calls Out Jeff Passan, Others Arguing For Barry Bonds in Hall of Fame
“Tell me a museum that puts an artist in it who cheated, who takes credit for what someone else did. Do you think it would hang in the Louvre?”
The Baseball Hall of Fame election results were announced Tuesday evening with some big names up for induction. Most notably, David Ortiz was elected while longtime nominees Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds were once again snubbed.
Many fans and media personalities believe Bonds specifically should have been inducted because of his on-the-field accolades and achievements. They seem to believe his alleged steroid usage is irrelevant. or at least not worth the snub.
Doug Gottlieb, on his Fox Sports Radio show, took the Hall of Fame’s side and called out ESPN’s Jeff Passan, who advocated for Bonds on television. The host used several analogies to explain why society does not honor those who have cheated in their respective fields.
“The core of what you are as an athlete is how hard you work,” said Gottlieb. “You’ve got natural ability, how can you get better, and at some point you come to that end. Clemens and Bonds robbed Father Time, and they robbed baseball. Shame on you, Jeff Passan, calling it a museum. Tell me a museum that puts an artist in it who cheated, who takes credit for what someone else did. Do you think it would hang in the Louvre?”
Gottlieb makes a strong argument. As he mentioned, Bonds not only broke the rules but was also caught. While other players who used steroids may have snuck in somehow, Gottlieb compared it to being pulled over for speeding.
“It’s like you get caught speeding,” he said, “somebody else was going 90 and zips past you five minutes before you were speeding, and you’re sitting there going like ‘Yeah, I was speeding but that guy was going faster.’ That doesn’t actually work in real life.”
You can listen to the rest of Gottlieb’s thoughts at the Fox Sports Radio website.
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