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Willard and Dibs to MLB: I Should Always Know When Shohei Ohtani Is On

“If MLB treated Shohei Ohtani’s sporting life like they did the Barry Bonds home run chase, where Barry Bonds is coming up to bat, we are going to go live to Barry Bonds in the on-deck circle, he’s swinging a donut… Shohei Ohtani should have that treatment.”

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Shohei Ohtani Willard and Dibs

In a world with the NFL dominating television ratings and the NBA crushing social media numbers, Major League Baseball is trying to find it’s place. The progress that is currently happening might be considered slow, but there is an attempt. Still, nationally, the sport is struggling to garner large swaths of support. This week’s accomplishments by Shohei Ohtani are a clear indicator of how far MLB has to go.

Ohtani struck out a career-high thirteen batters on Wednesday night in a 5-0 win by the Angels against the Kansas City Royals. That followed a performance on Tuesday in which the man drove in eight batters. Wild, right? That’s what Mark Willard and Dan Dibley of Willard and Dibs on 95.7 The Game thought and wondered why it hasn’t been a bigger deal.

Willard asked who is to blame. “Is that a Major League Baseball problem? Is it because baseball doesn’t showcase their players? Or is it a baseball problem that people don’t care about baseball anymore?

Dibley chimed in with a shot at the league and it’s social and marketing arms.

“It’s all the above. I put the majority of the blame on Major League Baseball because it is so hard as a fan to share their content. If you were to capture the video of one of his great outings and you tweet it out or put it on your social media, MLB shuts you down… They want to be bale to share it, use it own their way. But MLB, ‘without the expressed written consent of Major League Baseball’ and all that malarkey. As a result from a marketing standpoint, they’re god awful.

Dibley asked the listener to think about it in terms of an NFL performace.

“Patrick Mahomes goes out and he’s 27/35, 412 yards and 4 TDs… and he had 12 tackles and a pick-six and a forced fumble. I mean, what? Our minds would be blown right?

Willard then said he think that the sport and the viewers’ attention span are at odds.

“I think part of it too, baseball is out of step with the pace of our lives now,” Willard said. “Baseball is like a novel that takes a long time to unfold… people are like ‘give me something that matters now’. That’s just how we are geared right now.”

That could be a problem, but Dibley said things could change if MLB seized this opportunity for attention like they did once before.

“If MLB treated Shohei Ohtani’s sporting life like they did the Barry Bonds home run chase, where Barry Bonds is coming up to bat, we are going to go live to Barry Bonds in the on-deck circle, he’s swinging a donut… Shohei Ohtani should have that treatment.”

I should always know when he’s batting,” continued Dibley. “When he’s pitching, how long it’ll be until that happens, where can I go to watch it live. If you didn’t follow the Angels and if you don’t follow baseball, you weren’t aware that Ohtani was going to pitch the day after he had eight runs batted in.”

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Sports Radio News

NEW STUDY: Listeners to MLB on Radio Are Willing to Spend

More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team… 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

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MLB Radio

When it comes to advertiser’s attempting to reach an affluent and engaged audience, sports talk radio might have a whale on their hands. Major League Baseball play-by-play features an audience that has money and has no problems spending it.

In a recent MRI-Simmons study, data shows that consumers who listen to MLB broadcasts on the radio are the perfect audience for sports marketers. According to the analysis, done by Katz Radio Group, nearly two thirds (62%) of those surveyed consider themselves “super fans” of baseball. That number is 58% higher than the average.

Radio Listeners to MLB

Those “super fans” are willing to spend to support their team, as well. More than one third (34%) of the respondents recently purchased clothing/apparel that features their favorite team. Those fans are also far more willing to make the trip to see their team. The study found that 27% have visited a ballpark in the past year. That compares to only 19% of the average MLB fan base has made an apparel purchase to support their team while just 11% have gone to a game in person in that same time span.

The news continues getting better for advertisers. Continued analysis reveals that 66% of listeners are currently employed and have a median household income greater than $106,000.

Listeners to MLB games on the radio are also 34% more likely to place a sports bet and 106% more likely to be a participant in fantasy baseball.

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Jeff Dean Signs Off At ESPN Tucson for Final Time

Dean said on Facebook: “…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

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Jeff Dean Show

Fans will no longer be able to tune into ESPN Tucson and hear Jeff Dean hosting his show. Friday morning was his last show, according to his Facebook and Twitter pages.

The Jeff Dean Show had been airing from 7-9a MT weekday mornings. Dean took to social media to relay the news and the reason behind him stepping away from the microphone. Dean said on Facebook:

“This morning I signed off from my radio show on ESPN Tucson for the final time. I have been devoting too much of my life and my time to working multiple jobs…the years of burning the candle at both ends has taken a dire toll on my health and for the first time in my life, I’m going to put myself and my livelihood first”

Jeff Dean Facebook

Dean went on to emphasize that he isn’t stepping away from ESPN Tucson, he’s just taking himself off the air. He also added that “gladly, I will be continuing my position as PA announcer of University of Arizona Football and Men’s basketball.”

Dean would also go onto Twitter to add even further context for his self-removal from the ESPN Tucson airwaves. He added, “It’s not a decision I arrived at hastily, as it’s been a 6 month mental grind to make the ultimate decision that had to be made, and I’m not particularly happy about it, but I have to put my health first, we all do, and make sure we’re around long enough to enjoy life”.

Dean had been ESPN Tucson’s morning host since November 2019.

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Jonas Knox: Adrian Wojnarowski’s NBA Draft Reporting Was Desperate Ratings Ploy

“The idea that Woj is going to get duped by Orlando Magic in the draft! The first time he’s ever been duped in his career?”

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Thursday’s NBA Draft is a moment the guys waiting to hear their names called had been waiting for since the day they picked up a basketball. While his draft came decades ago in the NFL, LaVar Arrington could relate to what they were feeling.

“It’s a dream recognized,” he said on Friday’s episode of FOX Sports Radio’s 2 Pros and a Cup of Joe. “You work so hard for so long. So, when you’re sitting there waiting for them to call your name, it’s a surreal moment.”

His partner, Jonas Knox, wasn’t in such a nostalgic or celebratory mood. He had a problem with the information leading up to draft night and just how much the narrative that Auburn’s Jabari Smith would be taken by the Orlando Magic with the first pick was pushed before all the sudden, it wasn’t.

“What a bunch of crap that we are being fed by Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN, the Orlando Magic,” he said. “Whoever’s feeding it is full of crap.”

Wojnarowski tweeted an hour before the Draft that Jabari Smith was still the favorite to be taken, but he was hearing that the Magic weren’t ruling out Duke’s Paolo Banchero. 

When the first pick was announced, it was Paolo Banchero that heard his name called, not Smith. 

“One of three things happened,” Knox said. “Either ESPN is so desperate for ratings and for people to give a crap about the NBA Draft and their sport that they waited until the final hour to pump up some interest, realizing we’ve got a problem here based on some ratings and some reports on some ratings in the NBA Finals, so they waited until an hour before and had Woj drop a ‘Woj Bomb’ that it could not be Jabari Smith, that it could be Banchero who’s gonna go number one overall. It’s either that or Woj is in some kind of cahoots with the Orlando Magic.”

That is a powerful accusation. Knox finds it hard to believe the information got to ESPN’s renowned NBA Insider so late in the process.

“The idea that Woj is going to get duped by Orlando Magic in the draft! The first time he’s ever been duped in his career?”

He didn’t rule out that someone was trying to make money behind the scenes. As late as Thursday afternoon, the Duke Forward was still in plus territory to be the top pick on many sportsbooks’ odds boards. The odds had gone as high as +1600 last week.

“I call BS. I think it’s all shenanigans and I think somebody needs to get called out for it,” Knox concluded. “That pisses me off, man.”

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