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Tony Massarotti on Calling Games for NESN: Big Challenge Will Be Pace

“The big challenge for me is going to be the pace. Not just because it’s baseball. But we move much faster. Talk shows move much, much faster.”

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Tony Massarotti made his NESN debut as a Boston Red Sox TV analyst for Saturday’s spring training game with the Tampa Bay Rays. Earlier this month, he was named as one of three new color commentators with Kevin Youkilis and Kevin Millar to the NESN broadcast team.

Naturally, his Felger & Mazz co-hosts Mike Felger and Jim Murray were going to ask about Massarotti’s experience and allow him to share some insights with the 98.5 The Sports Hub audience when they returned from the weekend.

But first, Felger had to tease Massarotti about using different words for hard-hit balls. “Spanked,” “tattooed,” etc. Credit to a writer for not wanting to use the same verb more than once, especially when different words are needed to express just how hard and far a home run was hit.

“We didn’t get the full Mazz, which I will just say, I think that’s smart on everyone’s part,” said Felger. “To go Full Mazz in the first couple of games is courting sort of blowback, and then we disrupt the whole thing.”

Massarotti was then asked what he struggled with or was surprised by during the TV broadcast, and he gave some intriguing insight into the difference between calling a baseball game and keeping the conversation moving on sports radio.

“The big challenge for me is going to be the pace,” said Massarotti. “Not just because it’s baseball. But we move much faster. Talk shows move much, much faster. There’s a pace to it. You want to keep going. Baseball, the game’s slow, the conversations are more level-headed, for lack of a better term. So that’s going to be an adjustment for me.”

Felger then praised Massarotti for something that’s worth noting since it’s been part of the sports media discourse in recent weeks.

“On the broadcast end, I thought it was impressive, Mazz,” said Felger. “Right out of the chute, you’re not telling a story going into the second out of an inning. The ball is put in play with two outs, you sort of shut up and make sure [Dave] O’Brien goes to commercial. Coming back with the reads, knowing when to fill dead time, was dead-on… It sort of shows you how many guys can’t do it.”

Some critics and fans have knocked Amazon hiring Kirk Herbstreit as its Thursday Night Football analyst because he wasn’t a star NFL quarterback. But observers including Dan Patrick and Andrew Marchand have defended Herbstreit by pointing out that he’s an accomplished broadcaster who knows how to get through a telecast smoothly.

Obviously, a baseball telecast is different from a sports radio show. But the point still applies. Radio hosts, especially when working with a partner or group, have to make their points succinctly without rambling on and hogging the conversation. And there’s an art to saying what you need to say before going to a break or coming out of one. At the very least, Massarotti knows how to do that.

Sports Radio News

Mike Rhyner Leads 97.1 the Freak For Its Debut in Dallas

“So, where were we?” began Rhyner.

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Ben Torres / Special Contributor Dallas Morning News

The dawn of a new sports radio signal in Dallas has come and who else to be the first voice you hear, but the Old Grey Wolf Mike Rhyner.

97.1 the Eagle stopped their regular programming late Monday morning and began stunting, the technique radio stations use to separate listeners from old programming into new programming. They began by playing songs with the word “freak” in them then went into a continuous loop of “The Waiting is the Hardest Part” by Tom Petty until 3p CT. Then, a voiceover detailing the Eagle’s history transitioned into the voice that Dallas-Forth Worth residents have gotten to know so well, Mike Rhyner.

“So, where were we?” began Rhyner.

He would go on to relive his final moments at The Ticket in Dallas. He said he was getting his “head around being a Paw Paw” before getting a call from Ben Rogers of the Ben and Skin Show and thus an idea for The Freak began to take shape.

After that, the show’s intro music played and Rhyner welcomed in Mike Sirois and before you knew it, the guys were wondering about a quarterback controversy in Dallas. 97.1 The Freak is off and running.

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Sports Radio News

Howie Rose Plans to Travel for Mets Postseason Games

“Oh, I’m all-in if they play in Timbuktu,” Rose said.

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Howie Rose has cut back on his travel schedule as the radio voice of the New York Mets in 2022, but he says that no place is off limits during the playoffs.

“Oh, I’m all-in if they play in Timbuktu,” Rose told Newsday. “A lot of this was designed to make sure that I had enough reserve to be able to handle anything that comes up in terms of road trips.”

Rose, 68, readies for what is likely to be a Wild Card series start to the playoffs and because of their Wild Card status, a win there could mean a trip to Los Angeles for the National League Divisional Series.

“It’s not exactly like managing Edwin Diaz’s innings, but I think that doing the number of games that I have and more to the point, being able to take the breaks that I have, has enabled me to approach the postseason with a clear mind and the full-speed-ahead attitude that you need to have.”

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Sports Radio News

Jake Chapman Named Orlando Magic Radio Play-By-Play Voice

Chapman will make his debut as the team’s radio voice during its preseason opener tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies.

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Jake Chapman has been introduced as the new radio play-by-play voice of the NBA’s Orlando Magic.

Chapman is beginning his 10th overall season with the franchise. He has previously served as the pre-game and post-game host for the team, as well as the radio producer. He joined the club as in intern in 2006 before becoming a producer in 2009. He then joined the Detroit Pistons Radio Network in 2014 to become its pre-game and post-game host as well as executive producer. He later joined 92.3 The Fan and the Cleveland Browns Radio Network as a producer. He returned to the Magic in 2019.

Chapman will make his debut as the team’s radio voice during its preseason opener tonight against the Memphis Grizzlies.

Brandon Kravitz will serve as co-host for pregame, halftime and postgame. The network pregame show, Magic Tonight, will hit the air 30 minutes prior to tip-off. Magic Tonight is scheduled to premiere on October 11.

96.9 The Game is the radio flagship of the Magic Radio Network.

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