Brog: Nats’ Radio Ratings Less Than Park Crowds

Paul Farhi of the WASHINGTON POST reports Washington Nationals’ radio broadcasts this season featuring Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler, “attracted a cumulative weekly audience of about 26,500 from May through July, the most recent period measured by Arbitron.

Washington Nationals Radio Broadcast

(We now join a Nationals Radio Broadcast, already in progress)

That means the Nats have the “unusual distinction of being a team that has far more people watching its games in person (average attendance has been 29,990 per game) than listening to them on radio.

The scary part? Farhi writes that the owner of the radio stations broadcasting the games says the ratings numbers are probably a little high:

Bonneville Int’l VP/News & Programming Jim Farley, whose company owns the stations, conceded that the “actual radio audience for the Nationals is ‘probably lower’ than the average reported by Arbitron.”

Farley added, “There’s no storyline for this season. Who’s the hero? Who’s the big star? Even the (famously terrible) ‘62 Mets had Marv Throneberry. The Nats don’t have a character like that.

Lastings Milledge Myspace Page Photos

The Nats don’t have a character? Apparently Mr. Farley is unaware of Lastings Milledge’s Myspace page.

From The Basement Nationals Radio Ratings

(Great hed from WaPo - had to cap it)

The worst part of all of this is that Slowes and Jageler are being associated with those stinkbomb numbers. I worked as a MLB and minor league radio announcer for nearly ten years, and I can tell you that the contract status of broadcasters is often (inexplicably) tied to the success of the team.

I know of two cases in which the jobs of baseball announcers were probably saved by their team winning the World Series. One was the 2002 Angels, which featured the duo of Rory Markas and Terry Smith. Both are good guys (I worked with Terry on AAA Columbus broadcasts have met Rory a couple times), but were hired by the Disney regime. Rory and Terry had barely been on the job when Arte Moreno bought the club and as we all know, it isn’t uncommon for new ownership to come in and clean house.

But when the Angels won the Series, Rory and Terry were forever tied to that championship. Both remain with the club to this day. I’m not saying they definitely would’ve been let go when Disney sold the club, but from what I heard at the time, it was a possibility.

Another example was the ‘96 Yankees. I was working in the organization at the time as one of the club’s announcers for the AAA Columbus Clippers. There were rumblings around that time that John Sterling’s job status was less than rock-solid. But just as Sterling’s slippage was starting to be whispered about in broadcast circles, the Yankees won the ‘96 Series - and then began their championship run. And now Sterling is a Yankee for life.

John Sterling ice cream

(John Sterling, still a Yankees employee. Just be sure to not get behind him in the dessert line.)

I’m not saying any of the aforementioned deserved the pipe. I’m merely pointing out how the radio and TV broadcast biz really works. Besides a precious few, there’s no untouchables.

Today I’m starting a regular feature. Spotlighting the hottest sports ticket of the day.

For that, I’ve turned to the ultimate inside source, the largest ticker broker on the west coast, My Boy Barry: “The Dodgers disembark in D.C. to face off against the Nationals. With Manny Ramirez coming to town, maybe Nats fans will finally show up at their spiffy new ballpark for once. Also tonight, the Red Sox & Yankees renew their rivalry in the Bronx, much to ESPN’s relief. And Toronto hopes that Roy Halladay can sway the Jays to victor-ay over the Rays. Oy vey!

When I heard about Jenna Jameson’s “shock” over being pregnant, this is all I could think about (real media file).

Scarface Michelle Pfeiffer

Scarface fans know where I’m going with this. Listen to the end of the clip if you can’t figure it out.

Read more…

Sterling Needs To Work on His Ice Cream Etiquette

• Better grab your dessert before Yankees announcer John Sterling gets his hands on it - literally.

John Sterling ice cream

• The Warriors may have missed out on Elton Brand, but they did capture a Clipper in Corey Maggette.

Manny Ramirez earns $49.56 just for forgetting to cash a $10,000 check.

David Cutcliffe is determined to clean up the Duke football program - and the campus, too.

• One thing A-Rod & John Rocker have in common - making it with fitness model Alicia Marie.

Read more…

Yuck: Sterling Dips Finger Into Media’s Ice Cream

To be a member of the New York Yankees you have to be comfortable with living under the NY media’s microscope. It’s usually the players that have to deal with the negative press, but now team broadcaster John Sterling has made his way to Page Six.

New York Yankees Broadcaster John Sterling

Sterling, a Yankees radio announcer since 1989, is being called out for his less than savory behavior in the team’s stadium press dining room. It seems that if you get to the chow line behind John Sterling you’re better off passing on the meal. Read more…

Brog: ABC Might Want To Freshen Up NBA Display

I’m happy to report that I’m back in Los Angeles for the summer, after five delightful days driving from Miami. First day back, I was at Game 5 of the NBA Finals, which extended the inevitable Boston series triumph by at least one more 48-minute epoch (has a team ever looked worse in a win than Sunday @ Staples?)

Brooks Bill Walton Stephen A Smith

Before the game, I waited for Jerry Buss to pull up with a limo-full of teenie strippers drank in the *electric* atmosphere outside the arena, which featured a chance to admire an embarrassingly outdated display of ABC NBA broadcasters. Best part: Getting to let Stephen A. know how the vast majority of respirating, bipedal NBA fans felt about his past on-air contribution.

Mike Tirico Jeff Van Gundy

The fan photo-op broadcast desk was part of an RV-display that featured cutouts of ABC’s NBA broadcast team, which as you can imagine had passing fans bursting with excitement. One small detail: Smith and Bill Walton aren’t on ABC’s coverage of the NBA Finals.

Staples Center Parking

It’s also nice to see the (Celtics-operated?) Staples-area parking guys weren’t in a mood to gouge Game 5 attendees. Let’s see, buy a quarter-tank of gas, or park for the game?

I traveled around Los Angeles (Pasadena down to Venice) quite a bit yesterday to acquaint myself with how my town was feeling before the game. I was surprised. No car flags, no lines outside of sports bars, no buzz. I know it was Father’s Day, and the Lakers were down 3-1, but I expected at least some excitement around town. But it’s been exceedingly flaccid, especially compared to the early ’90s championship Shaq-n-Kobe era.

Apparently, the country is similarly laissez-faire. The ratings have been better than last year’s putrid numbers, but as Barry Horn of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS wrote, “(ESPN/ABC and the NBA) dreamed of a return to double-digit ratings with Lakers-Celtics, but the numbers have been a disappointment. America knew Michael Jordan. Apparently, Kobe Bryant is no Michael Jordan.

Rocco Mediate as a poker player, from WICKED CHOPS POKER:

Rocco Mediate Poker

More golf coverage after the jump … Read more…

Brog: Buss Blows Off Boston, Busted In Las Vegas

If you travel this space regularly, you know I’m going to be moving from South Beach to L.A. shortly. Now if I’m able to make it back home by this weekend, I’ll goto Game Five of the NBA Finals at Staples between the C’s and Lakers. And have coverage on SbB.

Jerry Buss Lacey Jones

(We’d rather have poker pro Lacey Jones play with our stack too, ol’ Doc Buss)

I didn’t make it to the first two games of the Finals in Boston, which isn’t all that surprising. But what may have left some Boston fans befuddled is that Lakers Owner Jerry Buss and daughter Jeanie Buss (also Phil Jax’s GF) didn’t go either.

Jeanie stayed back in her Marina home, ordering in (C & O?) for the games. Meanwhile, her father decided a poker tournament in Vegas was a higher priority, which means “double-down” is now taking on a whole new meaning for ol’ Doc Buss.

Now, anyone who follows the Lakers is in no way surprised at this revelation. In the case of elder Buss, this is the same guy who refused to come home from a vacation in Italy to attend to the final, fateful Shaq-Kobe blowup - which eventually led to O’Neal’s ouster (hindsight: that was Buss’ plan all along).

Jeanie Buss basketballs

(Jeanie’s priority #2 - after Phil’s Doan’s pills - score Hef courtside seats)

The only thing surprising regarding Jerry passing on Game 1 & 2 in The Bean is that he didn’t do it from the O.G. in Vegas.

Wait a minute, who said he didn’t?

And of course, Jeanie has her priorities too, like setting up Hef for his Game 3 digs on 1111 South Fig. Playboy’s Hugh Hefner will make a rare appearance at a Lakers game on Tuesday. More importantly, he’s bringing his three fake girlfriends with him.

Girls Next Door

(Yes, the old goat will be courtside too)

So, I think I might be able to make it out of Miami by Tuesday night. If I do, I’ll be filing from the road. Hopefully I’ll be able to scare up something interesting along the way but don’t hold your breath. Read more…

John Sterling To Sing Showtunes - Reason For Broadway Strike Rooted Out

WE’D MUCH PREFER SEEING KEN SINGLETON IN SPAMALOT: The WESTCHESTER JOURNAL-NEWS reports that Yankees announcer John Sterlingwill appear Saturday at Irvington (NY) Town Hall Theater, singing showtunes.

John Sterling

MORE: “He’ll appear alongside Broadway friends Brad Little (”Phantom of the Opera”) and Barbara McCulloh (”The King and I”) in a one-night-only performance. Sterling chatted by phone last week.John Sterling singing showtunes this Saturday? Now the suddenness of the Broadway strike makes perfect sense. Fight on, brave stage hands!

Will Yankee Announcer John Sterling Use A-Bomb For A-Rod Home Run Call Against Dice K?

YANKS “A-BOMB” RADIO CALL ROLLS DICE WITH PC POLICE: In case you haven’t heard John Sterling’sAn A-Bomb from A-Rod!” call of Alex Rodriguez’s game-winning home run against the Indians yesterday, here’s the audio.

Dice-K A-Rod A-Bomb

Dave Smith of Sporting News Radio asked today what many will be thinking as the Yankees embark on their Red Sox rivalry beginning tonight, “If John Sterling had said ‘A-Bomb’ and Alex Rodriguez had hit it (the home run) off of Dice-K (Japanese pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka), would he get in trouble for that?”Do you think the Yankee organization needs to send a memo to Sterling that says ‘We love that call but not when there’s a Japanese pitcher on the mound. After the Imus thing we don’t need that kind of trouble in our corporate lives here in New York.’”

Smith then concluded, “I wouldn’t do it if I were Sterling.

Dice-K fans

Maybe it’s just me, but knowing Sterling, I’m guessing he just thought the call was clever and didn’t attach a potential ulterior meaning to it. And if Dice-K had been pitching, I wouldn’t have been surprised if he’d let it slip out. The fact that he used it now (and people are now bringing up the Japanese connection) probably will save him from making the mistake in the future.

John Sterling Iron Chef

Otherwise, Sterling might’ve ended up on the Iron Chef trying to explain himself.