Some people are scared to say something unpopular. FOX Sports Radio and FS1 host Jason McIntyre is not one of these people. His style doesn’t resemble a conservative play-caller in football. It’s more like the rapper Bone Crusher repeating, “I ain’t never scared,” from his 2003 hit song. Jason doesn’t operate a dink-and-dunk offense on the sports radio airwaves. He slings it, takes chances, and is aggressive. He’s a fearless host that will gladly face the listeners he riles up.
There is often a misperception that a strongly opinionated and unapologetic host has to be a bit of a wild card — a loose cannon comparable to a rabid dog. This definitely isn’t the case with Jason. He’s a very nice guy who is also incredibly smart. It isn’t a requirement to be a jerk in order to produce strong stances. Jason is like a pitcher delivering some sweet chin music to a hitter only to then tip his cap and wish his competition a nice day.
As the previous owner of The Big Lead, Jason points out some interesting parallels between the sports blog and sports radio. He also talks about his days of owning the site anonymously. As a guy who has already accomplished a lot and loves to challenge himself to reach new heights, it’ll be fun to keep track of what Jason accomplishes next. Enjoy.
Brian Noe: What gives you the most enjoyment as a sports broadcaster?
Jason McIntyre: One of the big things in our industry, you know this, you have to be fearless. You can’t care what people are going to say about your take or your opinion. It does feel good when you’re out on a limb, out on the ledge saying something like, listen, I don’t want to be in the Odell Beckham business. If I were the Giants I would trade him. And all these Giants fans — “You’re an idiot! He’s so good.”
What happens like two months later? They trade him. Now the Browns after one year, “I don’t know we might move on.” Now the recent Odell Beckham mishap. It’s like come on; you couldn’t see these things coming from a mile away? But people are kind of nervous and scared to go out and say something unpopular.
I had the same thing with Baker Mayfield. His rookie year, I’ll never forget they were playing the Jets and they win the game. Baker was tremendous, he comes off the field and what’s he doing? He’s looking at his cell phone. Huge win. That’s the first thing you’re doing before you do any interviews? You’re looking at your cell phone.
I had been saying this guy’s out there. He likes to read social media and favorite comments by people. He’s favorited stuff I’ve said on FOX Sports Radio. He uses that as ammunition. You’ve got to have that inner drive to be better, not I want to get back at Joe in Milwaukee who said this about me. I just think that’s the wrong attitude. He’s so into the social media, it kind of scares me. What happened to Baker Mayfield this year? He was atrocious. I’m not picking on the Cleveland Browns here or anything. I’m just saying the idea of being fearless and going out there on the ledge all alone on an island and turning out to be right, it feels like you’re in a good place, like you’re not afraid of anything.
BN: What’s the biggest challenge for you as a broadcaster?
JM: One of the issues that I’ve found — and again I’m pretty new to this stuff. I’ve only been in radio for I think four years. I did one year at Yahoo! Sports Radio and then my agent parlayed that into FOX. Then I came out to do the TV stuff for FS1. I would say the one thing is just being consistent across the board. If one day I’ve got to do a video for FOX on NFL picks, the next day I’m going on Lock It In, then I’m going on the radio, you kind of change your mind. It’s tough to be like, yes, I think this is going to be the score on Tuesday. Then new information comes out like injuries. Oh, I kind of changed my mind a little bit. Then you see by Saturday morning, hey, all the money is on one side. Whoa, maybe I need to change my mind.
I guess it’s a good thing because I’m not afraid to admit I was wrong. You’re going to be wrong a lot. I’m on the wrong side of this. There’s new information presented to me. You know that as a host. You might do your Portland show and talk about breaking news and then boom within the next five days a whole new narrative emerges and you go on your radio show on FOX and you say, listen, I got it wrong the first time. There’s nothing wrong with that. I think the biggest challenge is being consistent. A lot of guys, they don’t want to admit when they’re wrong. Me? I have no problem.
BN: Which is better — to come right out with honesty and say, I really don’t know how this game is going to play out, or just pick a side and almost make yourself believe that’s the way it’s going to go?
JM: Yeah, that’s a tough one because you can’t do a segment on TV where you just come on and say I have no idea. You can’t. They’ll just be like, all right, well we’ll find someone who can. That’s the reality. You have to have an opinion. That’s why you’re here. You got to this place because you are fearless. You’re not worried about being wrong and you have interesting opinions that are going to make people think.
BN: What’s something that you’ve carried over to sports radio from your days of owning The Big Lead?
JM: The best part of owning a website was you could see every 10 minutes, every 30 minutes, every hour what posts work and what doesn’t. You pretty quickly realize that, hey man, the NFL is super popular. It’s number one. The NBA is number two and then there is a huge drop off. There’s just not as much interest in terms of debatability or topics in baseball. There just isn’t. Now obviously the Houston Astros are a phenomenal story right now. I think that has potential, but I’m curious to see whether or not it drives traffic or if it’s a social media story.
I’m sure you’ve seen, Brian, there’s a colossal difference between what works on TV, what works on radio, what works on the internet, and then there’s social media. Because you know social media skews very left. People are easily outraged at anything. All these people would get worked up on social media, but then when it came to clicking on these stories, they didn’t. We saw a disconnect between stories that you have to read and social media where you can be flippant and have comments. I thought that was fascinating.
BN: How did you get your start in the beginning of your career?
JM: So I got out of college — this was of course before social media had popped — I get out of college and I wanted to work at a newspaper. My dream all along had been I want to cover the Lakers for a newspaper. I would have season tickets also, which made no sense, but that’s when you’re a little kid and you think, oh, Magic Johnson’s awesome and you want to be there. I got into newspapers and then about three years in I was on the staff with Adrian Wojnarowski and a couple other guys at the Bergen Record. It was just like wait a sec; this newspaper thing is starting to hit some walls here. The internet is starting to pop.
I’ll never forget I had a moment where I decided — let me buy my URL JasonMcIntyre.com. I’ll put my resume on there and my clips so I can get noticed around the country. I put that out there and one of my colleagues on staff sees it and reports me to the top guy. I get called into a glass office at the Bergen Record, “Jason, I don’t know if this is legal. You’re republishing our stories.”
I said how different is this than clipping out my stories from the newspaper and sending it to somebody? I’m not making any money off of this. What are you talking about? I realized at that point these are some old folks in the newspaper industry. They don’t get the internet. I need to get out of here.
I had left for a better job at Us Weekly magazine and lived in New York City. Within two years I started The Big Lead. It’s hard work. It’s luck. It’s a combination of a lot of factors. Everything lined up perfectly. My girlfriend at the time, who’s now my wife, had a good job so I was able to not make any money off the website for a good year after quitting my job. It was just like “This is where I want to be. This is perfect.” Then the next thing you know the website leads to TV and FS1 and the radio. It was a springboard to me being in sports and all this fun stuff.
BN: What were your big breaks while you were still running The Big Lead
JM: The big one was when Colin Cowherd was at ESPN. I don’t necessarily remember what was written, but it was something on The Big Lead. This was when it was anonymous by the way. Nobody knew I was running it. He read something and he’s like, wouldn’t it be great if we could just blow this website up? It just so happens that it was his first day replacing Tony Kornheiser and he had a lot of new listeners. All of these listeners went to the website and it was like a mom-and-pop shop back then. Our server was like in Romania for $27 a month. Super cheap, because I’m not spending tons of money. I didn’t really spend anything out of pocket to start the website. The website basically blew up. It was knocked offline.
NPR reached out to me and was like, hey, we want to interview you. “I’m like can I do it anonymously?” They’re like “No, you have to put your name on it.” I was like, “All right, I can’t talk to you guys.” But they still wrote about it. Then the ESPN ombudsman wrote about it and Cowherd got reprimanded. That was the one big one that kind of put me on the map.
The one after that was Sports Illustrated’s Richard Deitsch, who I’m sure you know him, does a lot in the media. He did the unmasking of me when I was ready to put my name on it. Once I started making money I was like, okay, I’ll put my name on it. I revealed that I was the guy behind it. Sports Illustrated wrote about it, which was very cool. Then I guess the third one would be when it sold. It was written about in The New York Times. My parents clipped it and framed it and all that fun stuff. That I think got the eyeballs of TV. I met with FOX, which turned into FS1 and then it went from there.
BN: Why were you so careful about not revealing that you were the guy running it?
JM: A couple things. Number one was I had the magazine job at Us Weekly. I didn’t think it would be a good look if posts were going up on the site as I’m sitting there in the office at Us Weekly or wherever I was reporting. I wasn’t really doing stuff while on the job. I would just wake up at 6am, listen to Howard Stern, and then set up like two or three posts. I would set them to post throughout the day. I was able to do both at the same time, which was nice.
The other aspect was I didn’t know where this was going. I think the fact that it was anonymous — there was like an air of mystery. Who the hell is this guy? Where is this guy getting his information? Of course you know how the media works, once you start writing about the media, they definitely want to be on your side because they’re afraid of you. I had all of these media guys reaching out to me trying to become friendly. I got to be friendly with some of them obviously. They would give tips and they would be like, oh, I heard this is happening at ESPN or at Sports Illustrated. Then that would become a story. Next thing you know it wasn’t just sports fans reading, it was the important people, the decision makers at magazines and TV and radio. I guess once you get the media and the fans it’s a big win.
BN: How did you become friends with Cowherd?
JM: Well it’s funny. After he did that whole blow-up thing, I guess maybe six months later was the Sports Illustrated reveal. Then six months later I had started doing interviews with media people, but more in-depth. I spent the day at the Big East Tournament with Jay Bilas and hung out with him. I was showing that I’m not just a guy who would do hot takes and media gossip, so I would do these longer form pieces.
I emailed ESPN for one of them. I was like, hey, can I come up and interview Cowherd? They reached out to Cowherd and Cowherd was like, “Oh yeah, that’s great.” Next thing you know I went up to Bristol for a night and hung out with Cowherd for the day. It was pretty incredible. I guess in a way he kind of liked or respected what I had built and that I was a normal guy.
Listen man, Brian you’re in radio, you meet some of these guys, and there are some strange individuals to say the least. I like to think of myself as a normal dude. I have a wife, kids, regular guy, and I guess he liked that and we just kind of got to be friendly.
BN: That’s cool, man. What would you consider to be your biggest strength and your biggest weakness as a sports radio host?
JM: I would say the strength we kind of covered a little bit, just a fearless mentality. I’m not afraid of anybody. If somebody’s going to come after me, whatever. Hey, you want to talk sports? That’s fine. Discuss other stuff? There’s no reason to be afraid of anyone. I’ve always had that mentality.
I play a lot of pickup basketball. I always want to guard the best guard on the other team. I want to challenge myself. I don’t want to guard some scrub. I’m not going to get better. Being fearless I think would be my biggest strength.
My weakness I guess I get too into sports sometimes if that’s possible. I know that’s kind of nerdy to say. I don’t like to focus on weaknesses. There are a lot of guys in the TV industry who basically are like, hey, this person can’t do this. My thought is who cares what they’re not good at? Focus on what they’re good at. It applies to sports. All these teams were like “I don’t want Lamar Jackson. He can’t do this.” The Baltimore Ravens said “No, no he can do this.” Then they basically built their franchise, their offense, around him and he’s the MVP of the league putting up historic stuff. I know they had a playoff stinker there, but he had like 500 yards of offense. I think that’s a mentality — don’t focus on the negatives, focus on what you do best and really hammer that and build off of it.
BN: What are some of your goals that you would really like to accomplish?
JM: Well we always want forward momentum in anything we do. I’ve been doing weekend radio for three or four years on FOX. I would love to have a five day a week show. I’ve been doing TV now at FS1 for three years. I’d love to have a daily show, but I’ve become a lot more patient. It could be living out here in L.A. I grew up in the Northeast. You may or may not know this, but in the Northeast you better be 15 minutes early if you want to be on time. Out here in L.A. it’s like you’re 30 minutes late, oh well, glad you showed up. You’re on time. It’s just totally different and a different speed.
I’ve gotten a lot better I think with just being patient and letting things come to you. You never want to force anything whether it’s a radio show you’re not ready for, or a TV show you’re not ready for because you’ve seen a lot of people really want things badly. They get it and what happens? It doesn’t end well for them quickly. I’m in no rush. I’m having fun. I’m learning practically every day from some of the best in the business. I’ll see Skip Bayless in the building and chat him up and learn something. I’ll see Cowherd. FOX has great executives. I love talking to Scott [Shapiro]. I had breakfast with Scott and Don [Martin] last year and learned a lot of stuff. I like those guys a lot. I’m just a sponge out here in the industry trying to get better every day as cheesy as that sounds.
Brian Noe is a columnist for BSM and an on-air host heard nationwide each weekend on FOX Sports Radio. Previous roles include stops in Portland, OR, Albany, NY and Fresno, CA. You can follow him on Twitter @TheNoeShow or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Adam Hawk Knew Life Outside Radio Was Possible
The funny thing about radio is you may leave it but it takes time for it to leave you. Meaning, your daily routines in the business don’t just go away the day after you walk out of the studio for the final time.
Waking up at a normal time the day after the Super Bowl was another pleasant reminder to Adam Hawk that his life wasn’t consumed by the grind of radio. For the previous 15 years, watching the Super Bowl meant the stress of constantly taking notes, and trying to create content for everything that was happening, all while facing the inevitability of waking up at 4 a.m. the next day to prep for the biggest The Jim Rome Show of the year.
But not this year. Instead, Hawk spent the night with family and friends and even indulged in a few drinks, all while watching a classic finish between the Rams and Bengals. It was his first Super Bowl in several years where he wasn’t an executive producer of a nationally syndicated radio show. And he loved the change of pace.
However, that feeling is in no way indicative of what his time on The Jim Rome Show was like. It’s just the opposite. Hawk left the show in late July of 2021 because he wanted a different lifestyle than what radio could offer. He was always passionate about creating the best show possible daily and doing it with a group of coworkers he calls close friends, but he wanted a less demanding lifestyle.
“I feel like I’ve lived a couple of lifetimes since leaving The Jim Rome Show and radio in general,” said Hawk. “It’s just been a completely different lifestyle. I’ve been super busy with my own business, working another job for a golf association, and then two kids. I filled up my schedule and I felt a sense of freedom that I hadn’t felt in a long time before. That’s not necessarily indicative of The Jim Rome Show, that’s just radio. You’re always chasing content and glued to your phone and TV. Just to have that away from me, it’s felt like five years, in a good way, not a bad way.”
The funny thing about radio is you may leave it but it takes time for it to leave you. Your daily routines in the business don’t just go away the day after you walk out of the studio for the final time. If you’re used to waking up at 4 a.m. like Hawk was every weekday, you’re bound to find yourself waking up at the same time for several days after.
“The two things I couldn’t shake right away were, my body clock was still waking me up at 4 in the morning,” laughed Hawk. “The show started at 9 a.m. but we were showing up at 5 a.m. I also couldn’t shake the feeling of whenever I would see sports on television, the idea that I needed to form an opinion about what I’m seeing and then turn it into content. When it sunk in that I didn’t have to do that anymore, it was a massive relief.”
Deleting Twitter has also been a massive relief for Hawk. Like so many others in radio, it used to consume his everyday life. It never allowed him to leave work at his actual workplace. Work was always on the screen of his iPhone even at home. So when he decided to leave radio, he couldn’t wait to delete Twitter. Sure, it was odd at first, but he swears by a lifestyle that isn’t controlled by an app.
July 25th marked one year since leaving the radio business. On that day, some reflection likely happened with Hawk on his decision. Though he’s still happy with the way he decided to take his professional career, you can bet there was a moment when he looked back at the great times he had on The Jim Rome Show. Those good memories that popped into his mind were the camaraderie he had with the rest of the staff. The days were everyone pulled together to accomplish something great. That happened a lot as an executive producer and those are the days he looks most fondly at over his 15-year career.
“I’ve also missed the invitation to be creative every day,” Hawk said. “Radio affords you the opportunity to be creative because every day you have to build a sandcastle, a wave is going to knock it down and you start all over again. The content changes and you have to start over every single day. There aren’t a lot of jobs where you start from zero every day.”
Hawk will always have a special legacy with The Jim Rome Show, seeing as he was the executive producer at the time Rome was elected to the Radio Hall of Fame in 2019. Not only was he there at the time of the highest honor in show history, but he pushed to make it happen. Hawk was even mentioned in Rome’s speech, which was one of the most surreal moments of his entire career.
“Jim had to stump for votes, which was kind of demeaning for a guy of his skill set, talent, and importance to the industry,” said Hawk. “But I can see how the Hall of Fame, in order to get some buzz going, would want to have these hosts ask their listeners to vote for them because at the very least it gets the hosts talking about it. We had to ask our listeners to vote and find a way to entice them to do so. We created this thing called The Box of Chaos, where we threw a bunch of things into this box, like, we’re going to do these things if we beat the hosts we were up against.”
“We were up against some conservative talk radio guys, where we had no shot, because they had this built-in fan base that’s so much bigger than even Jim Rome’s, but we ended up thanking the listeners and pulling some of that stuff out because they went so hard for us. The box of chaos was super, super fun and it ended with my good friend James Kelly, who works on the show, reading mean tweets about the size of his forehead and it was one of the funniest payoffs and one of the most fun couple of weeks. I got to work really hard on something I really believed in, which was Jim getting into The Hall of Fame. Ultimately it didn’t work, but he got in the next year on his own merit. I got name-checked by Jim Rome in his hall of fame speech which, as a kid, that’s something I would have never imagined. Radio was some of the best times of my life.”
There’s also the thrill and excitement of producing Smack-Off which is one of the most well-known sports radio features the business has ever seen. It’s a huge time for the show and likely a stressful time, as well.
“Every Smack-Off was a proud moment because there’s a lot of things going on behind the scenes in terms of producing that show,” said Hawk. “That show, in my opinion, is still the most important radio show of the year for our genre, because it’s been around for 30 years and it trends on Twitter and people take it very seriously. It was always a proud moment to produce those.”
Those memories were undoubtedly on Hawk’s mind when he started to consider leaving radio in 2020. He didn’t leave the business until 2021, but the pandemic contributed heavily to his decision. Hawk watched as so many people around him transitioned into a work life from home, where they could set their hours. He was envious of their ability to work remotely and reconnect with family and friends on a different level.
“I know people have Comrex setups and things like that, but you can’t do The Jim Rome Show from home,” Hawk said. “That’s not possible. I realized that I was in this business where it’s incredibly hard to get time off because content never stops. I think anyone in radio can attest to this. It’s stressful around Thanksgiving and Christmas to think about taking time off because everyone wants it but someone has to be on the air. There’s a lot of games during the holidays. It’s not a normal life. After 15 years of this, I finally thought, I want to trade this in for a normal life. Everyone is thinking, with us, this is the greatest gig in the world. And in some respects it is, but it’s not what the general public thinks. It’s not sitting courtside at Laker games. It’s not flying on private jets to the Super Bowl or being best friends with Odell Beckham Jr. it’s a lot of work and that content doesn’t produce itself.”
If Hawk was going to leave sports radio, he wanted to chase something he was passionate about. He found that in 2020 with a company that specializes in preserving the swanky style of a well-dressed golfer. Nation Golf is a clothing brand for golfers and a style that Hawk believes in wholeheartedly. He was immediately drawn to the business and knew it was a venture he wanted to chase.
“I’ve always been drawn to the timeless, aesthetic of yesteryear,” said Hawk. “You look at these old timers that are wearing these clean pressed shirts and slacks, you’re just like wow, they look as good today, as they did 50 or 60 years ago. It’s the pure definition of timeless. You turn on TV and watch the PGA Tour, nobody is dressing like that, they’re like NASCAR drivers covered in logos or clowns like Ricky Fowler in his bright Orange. There’s no style, charisma, or charm and I think when those guys see photos of themselves in 10 years they’re going to be embarrassed.
“I started looking immediately for vintage golf clothes and Zuckerberg is listening to everything you’re thinking so he put Nation Golf in front of me. I was like, holy s***, I can’t believe someone is doing this and I can buy it new, I don’t have to go to a thrift store. I can buy it new. I just got immediately sucked into it.”
Hawk noticed the Instagram following for Nation Golf was much lower than he thought it should be for a brand so cool. Something clicked for him at that moment. As the executive producer of a Hall of Fame radio show, he had confidence in his abilities to operate promotions and social media on a big-time level. He was curious if he could apply those skills and apply it to the business. He was out to see if he could do just that with Nation Golf so he reached out to founder and CEO Ryan Engle.
“I loved the logo, I loved the name, I loved the clothes and I ended up loving the guy,” Hawk said. “He told me he had taken it as far as it could possibly go on his own and it was the perfect time for me to come down and pitch him. He said, hey, Let’s play 18 holes together, if you’re not a serial killer, we can do this. And we did.”
Business for Nation Golf has gotten progressively better to the point it’s grown exponentially. But he never wanted to rely on The Jim Rome Show to help with the growth of the company, even when he was balancing both jobs daily. Rome was fully supportive of Hawk’s side hustle and only reminded him to ‘keep the main thing, the main thing.’
“I take a lot of pride in the fact I never used Jim’s platform to sell the company,” said Hawk. “I didn’t feed callers to him that were going to talk about it. I didn’t put emails in front of him that were going to talk about it. I tried to keep it as separate as possible. Even on my last day when Jim asked me on the air what was next, I did say ‘Hey, I don’t want to turn this into a commercial for what I’m doing next, but I am going to run my own business’. Didn’t even mention Nation Golf by name, because I felt like he had been sailing that giant yacht of a radio show for 30 years and I didn’t want to be the clown who’s about to jump off and pulling the parachute that has a giant logo of the company on it. That just wasn’t my thing.”
Tyler McComas is a columnist for BSM and a sports radio talk show host in Norman, OK where he hosts afternoon drive for SportsTalk 1400. You can find him on Twitter @Tyler_McComas or you can email him at TylerMcComas08@yahoo.com.
Sports Talkers Podcast – Tim Kurkjian
Fresh off of his induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Tim Kurkjian joins Stephen Strom to talk about his love for the sport and his appreciation of his place in it.
Stephen Strom can be heard hosting ‘The Sports Talkers Podcast’ for Barrett Sports Media. In addition to hosting here, Stephen works as a broadcasting assistant for the Miami Heat and color analyst for Nova Southeastern. Additional career experiences include working for SiriusXM, performing analyst duties for Princeton basketball, and hosting shows for TalkNorth.com. You can find him on Twitter @SStrom_.
A Great Catchphrase Can Make a Baseball Broadcast Iconic
Baseball has lent itself to some of the greatest ‘catchphrases’ to ever grace radio and television.
Baseball has lent itself to some of the greatest ‘catchphrases’ to ever grace radio and television. Some are clever and some are excellent. A few have been made into t-shirts. Many of those phrases are delivered back to the announcers when fans see them in public. These catchphrases can be for any play during a game. A great defensive play, a walk-off win, but mainly you hear them during a home run call. That’s where a lot of the ones used today are featured.
For example. “See. You. Later!” from Nationals television voice Bob Carpenter. When a Washington player hits one out, Carpenter gets very deliberate and articulate with the three-word phrase.
Hall of Famer Eric Nadel in Texas exclaims, “That ball is history!” when a Rangers player goes yard.
Michael Kay on the YES Network says, “Going back, at the track, at the wall… SSSEEYA!”, really drawing out the “s” sound.
A jubilant Tom Hamilton on Guardians radio, belts out, “Swing and a drive, deep to left, a “waaaaaay” back and it is gone!”, and the fans eat it up.
Pat Hughes on Cubs’ radio, “that ball has a chaaaance gone!”, building in an ‘out’ if you will incase the ball falls short of the fence. One of the more unique ones these days is from Pirates broadcaster Greg Brown, “Clear the deck! Cannonball coming (to the Allegheny)”, a very team centric phrase. Also, after a win, he “raises the Jolly Rodger!”
There are others, but it would take several columns to go through all of them. Growing up in Chicago, I was treated to many great announcers calling games. I remember some of their better home run calls. For Jack Brickhouse it was punctuated with a “HEY HEY!” on a Cubs home run. Harry Caray said, “it might be, it could be, it is! A home run! Holy Cow!”.
One of my favorite announcers as a kid was Vince Lloyd who paired with Lou Boudreau in the Cubs radio booth. Lloyd was known for “Holy mackerel!” He morphed into adding “It’s a bell-ringer!” after a fan sent the guys a cowbell to ring when a Cubs’ player hit a home run. That might have been a bit excessive, but I was a kid and loved it.
Fans throughout the years have been treated to some great phrases by equally great announcers. Here are a few of them, again knowing I left many of out. Many.
Dave Niehaus, Seattle Mariners – “Get out the rye bread and mustard, grandma, it is grand salami time!”, that was his signature call for a Mariners’ grand slam. His normal home run call was pretty good as well. “That ball is belted, deep to left field…and it will fly away!”, a great visual aid for those at home picturing the ball leaving the park.
Ernie Harwell, Detroit Tigers – “Called out for excessive window shopping.”, that was one of his calls for a strikeout. I like this one better though, “He stood there like a house on the side of the road.” How Midwest is that? Iconic.
Mel Allen, New York Yankees – “How about that!”, pretty simple, but relatable. That legend lived on thanks to “This Week in Baseball” back in the day.
Ken “Hawk” Harrelson, Chicago White Sox – “You can put it on the booooooard…. Yes.”
There was no greater “homer” as in hometown guy, than the Hawk. That was just his home run call. There was also “Can of Corn” for a routine catch, “Duck Snort” for a bloop hit and a long drive that went foul, “Right size, wrong shape”. Throw in “stretch!” and “Mercy!” Pretty good and natural sounding stuff.
Red Barber, Brooklyn Dodgers – His signature was just “Oh, doctor!” Simple yet effective.
Vin Scully, Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers – Vin didn’t have a catchphrase. He didn’t need one. Vin was the quintessential wordsmith and his use of the English language was better than any catchy saying. Setting the mood, the drama and the moment was what Vin did best. An amazingly talented broadcaster that was able to span generations and the country.
That’s a good spot to pick up. One of the best broadcasters in any sport anywhere, really didn’t have a catchphrase. There are many big-league announcers that don’t have one either. It’s not something to me, that’s a mandatory thing. I remember one well known announcer asking me when I first started with the Padres if I had a catchphrase. My answer was no. I thought he would tell me how important it was, but instead he said ‘good’. I asked why? He said a couple of things to me that I haven’t forgotten.
First this very talented announcer said something to the effect, it’s more important for you to establish yourself as a great game caller. He stressed this a couple of times. The meaning behind it, be good at what you were hired to do and worry about the rest of the flare later.
He also said if you have a signature home run call, it’s strange sometimes, because a homer in the first inning is different than a meaningful homer late in the game. I think the first point holds more water than the second. I mean if you’re not a good game caller, what’s the point of even having a catchphrase, right?
Like I said at the beginning, I don’t begrudge those that have their own phrases. Those that have made it to the upper echelons of the profession are already excellent game callers, so why not have one to use. I’ve got nothing against them, in fact, I got jealous of a few, wishing I was the one that came up with it!
I don’t think it’s imperative for up-and-coming broadcasters to have one just yet either. Instead, I would advise them to concentrate on doing a good broadcast first and foremost. That’s how you get noticed for the right reasons.
Andy Masur is a columnist for BSM and works for WGN Radio as an anchor and play-by-play announcer. He also teaches broadcasting at the Illinois Media School. During his career he has called games for the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres and Chicago White Sox. He can be found on Twitter @Andy_Masur1 or you can reach him by email at Andy@Andy-Masur.com.