The question for Major League Baseball has recently turned from ‘when can they start the season,’ to ‘how can they start a season?’
Everyone is eager for sports to return from its COVID-19 caused hiatus, and fans are seemingly ready to take games any way they can get them. Without fans in the seats, with fake crowd noise, without traditional divisions, with the DH in both leagues – various scenarios have been discussed.
Last week, MLB offered their proposal to the players union which included financial givebacks and specific guidelines of how to keep everyone safe. During his Sunday morning show on WFAN, iconic radio host Mike Francesa reacted to some of those “absurd guidelines.”
“You’ve always wanted to get close to the players if you’re a fan, well maybe not anymore,” Francesa said. “Because players will be discouraged from showering at the stadium after games.”
Francesa, a noted stock trader, also offered fans some advice regarding Uber and Lyft, because according to the recently proposed plan by MLB, players won’t be allowed to use taxis or ride-sharing services.
“If you own Uber or Lyft stock – sell it,” Francesa said. “Because the players aren’t using it, they’re being discouraged from using ride-sharing. So on Monday, check Uber, see how it does because this could be a major hit for them because no taxis and no ride-sharing apps are to be used on the road.” Major League Baseball has discussed increasing team roster sizes to 50 players for the unusual season, which would mean 1,500 less Uber and Lyft customers.
Francesa touched on more of the proposed guidelines, including MLB encouraging fielders and baserunners to practice social distancing during games.
“How absurd is this, this almost makes you wanna close it down. Fielders would be encouraged to retreat several steps away from baserunners between pitches. Really,” Francesa said with disgust. “The guy takes a lead from second, instead of the second baseman cheating toward the bag to make sure he’s holding the runner on you want him to run away from the player? That sounds like a good strategy.”
Francesa also commented on the league mandating multiple temperature screenings for each player daily. Mike took the idea one step further, suggesting they post the players temperatures on the scoreboard and selling sponsorships for it. “You’re not only posting their batting average, OBP, RBIs and homeruns, you post their temperature at game time. ‘Game time temperature 98.6.’ You know Trout will have a 98.6 anyway, you don’t have to worry about it, he’s the perfect player,” added Francesa.
“How utterly ridiculous has this whole thing gotten,” he later said.
While Francesa does not appear to be a fan of the guidelines that Major League Baseball deems necessary for the sport to safely return to action, he’s also been notably outspoken against President Trump’s handling of COVID-19.
His late March tirade about the president garnered close to three million views before Francesa had it removed from social media.
Tony Bruno Relives Favorite Moments With Angelo Cataldi on 94 WIP
“I loved every day. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that.”
Tony Bruno has been a staple of the sports radio business for decades. Bruno is from Philadelphia and was teamed up in the early nineties with a duo still dominating the local airwaves there today, Angelo Cataldi and Al Morganti. The three reunited Thursday morning on 94 WIP to remember the glory days of their partnership and friendship.
One of the first moments Cataldi asked Bruno if he remembered was the update he did from a tree outside of their studio and the answer was an emphatic yes.
“Absolutely, it’s one of the highlights of my life – other than interviewing four Presidents and every sports athlete in history – there’s no bigger moment than me climbing up in the tree, which was obstructing our view of William Penn and the city skyline. That’s what I do, I was a man of action. I’m not one of these guys that talks the talk, I climb the tree to do whatever is necessary.”
More frivolity followed when Cataldi harkened back to a segment of ‘Damsels in Distress’ and a time in which Bruno was sent on the street during a snowstorm to help shovel people out of their driveways. Bruno quickly recalled, “Man of the people. I should run for – I should of run for Governor of Pennsylvania or Senate or something.”
Bruno added that his favorite rant (and one that Cataldi loved too) wasn’t about the Cowboys or sports at all. “My favorite was my Infinity Broadcasting rant where I went on one day and even ripped our bosses, all the way up to the top of Infinity Broadcasting.” Cataldi cackled and praised Bruno’s rants more before being interrupted by Bruno saying, “yeah, my only regret is I never really ripped Al (Morganti) the way I should have ripped him. I let him of the hook so many times.”
An insightful moment came at the end of the call when Cataldi asked rhetorically if Bruno ever thought they (Cataldi & Morganti) would still be doing this thirty years later and then asked if Tony ever regretted leaving.
“It was a tough decision, Ang,” Bruno answered. “I was given an ultimatum. When I came to work with you guys, I loved every day. Every day we had fun. We did stuff that put Sports Radio in Philly on the map and I’m proud of that. It wasn’t one of those, ‘oh I got to go; I’m too big for these guys’. I even turned the ESPN job down a couple of times.
“My kids were still younger then, I didn’t want to move. I didn’t have to move. They said just come up here on weekends and that’s how ESPN Radio started. So I was doing weekends and Tom Bigby (Program Director) didn’t like that either, told me it wasn’t going to work. It was a philosophical thing. When he told me, ‘you should go because we are not going to pay you what they’re paying you,’ I said ok.
Cataldi began to sign off with Bruno with genuine thanks: “I got to tell you something Tone, we are indebted to you for the rest of our lives because we both learned so much from you and you are one of the great talents that radio has ever had.”
Dodgers Temporarily Pull Broadcasters Off Road
“If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road.”
When the Los Angeles Dodgers visit the East Coast later this week, the men that call the action on TV and radio will not be with them. The games will instead be broadcast on AM570 LA Sports and SportsNet LA from their respective studios.
“Due to a few members of the Dodgers’ broadcast team having recently tested positive for COVID-19, and out of an abundance of caution, the Dodgers have decided to not travel their broadcasters to upcoming games in Philadelphia and Washington,” the Dodgers announced in a statement. Similar to the 2020 and 2021 MLB seasons, the games will be broadcast from Los Angeles,” reads a statement on the team’s Twitter account.
No further details are available, so the severity and the number of cases remain unknown.
Last September, both members of the Dodgers’ television play-by-play crew were forced into quarantine. Joe Davis was the first to test positive, followed later that month by Orel Hershiser.
On Wednesday, manager Dave Roberts told the media that the Dodgers’ roster and coaching staff are not effected.
“There’s there’s no symptoms in the clubhouse. I think that as far as the upstairs, as an organization, we’re all just trying to be very cautious. But as far as in the clubhouse, coaches, training staff, nothing like that.”
If the broadcasters’ are not dealing with severe cases of Covid and they have cleared health and safety protocols, it appears the team is open to sending them back out on the road. 2022 was supposed to be a return to normal for the Dodgers and many other teams after not letting broadcasters travel in 2020 and 2021.
Pat McAfee: ‘No One Will Disrespect Jim Rome On My Show’
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle.”
Jim Rome is a sports radio icon and Pat McAfee recognizes that.
On The Pat McAfee Show on Wednesday, McAfee was talking to co-host A.J. Hawk about how Rome trended recently on Twitter.
This happened after news of Tom Brady’s FOX Sports deal surfaced, and a list of the top paid sports media personalities was compiled. Rome came in behind Brady at number two making a reported $30 million a year, and many were surprised by that number. McAfee wasn’t.
“That’s because you need to respect the f–king jungle,” he said. “I have nothing but respect for Jim Rome.”
McAfee gave props to Rome, 57, saying he’s been doing sports talk probably longer than anyone. He’s one of the most widely distributed hosts in the country. Pat said he won’t tolerate anyone talking smack about the Smack-Off King.
“No disrespect will be said on this show of Jim Rome, ever,” he said. “Love that man.”