Tag Archive | "Broadcast Team"

Party crashers

The Kansas City Royals and the Los Angles Angels will be the last two teams in Major League Baseball to begin their season. The Oakland Athletics and Seattle Mariners have already started theirs. The Miami Marlins and St Louis Cardinals will start theirs in Wednesday evening. Finally, six days from today, after twenty-eight other teams have started, the Royals and Angels will start at 9pm local time. Even though these two teams will be the last to step off, I think they will get the most media coverage, and it’s not because the national media is in love with the Royals.

This guy and the Royals are going to crash the Angels Opening Day Party

It seems that the Angels have signed a couple of big name free agents over the off-season in the name of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson. It is a compelling story in the national media. Albert Pujols graced the cover of Sports Illustrated’s MLB Preview. ESPN is televising the opener, and FOX added Saturday’s game to their regional coverage. If you live in the Royals television market don’t expect to watch the ESPN telecast. It will be blacked out to protect the FoxSports Kansas City broadcast. In Los Angles, the Orange County Register is hopping on the “mob” fad, and plans to cover the Royals-Angels Opener like never before.

The Royals track record doesn’t lend itself to the Royals being anything more than facilitaters for a game of baseball disguised to be a celebration of Arte Murano’s shopping spree during the winter. The Royals are like the convicted being lead into the Roman Coliseum to be eaten by lions. The cards are even stacked against the Royals liturgically. That’s right, Christian Royals fans will be rooting against the Angels on Holy Weekend.

I think the Angels are a good out of division rival for the Royals. Southern California is a hot bed of baseball talent. George Brett is from there, and so are a bunch of other Royals players. The Angels broadcast team consists of Victor Rojas and Mark Gubicza. Mark Gubiza needs no explaining. Victor Rojas is the son of Cookie, and grew up in Kansas City. If you follow him on Twitter you’ll notice he remains a Chiefs and KU Jayhawk fan. The Royals broadcast team has many ties to the Angels. Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler were Angels broadcasters for 11 seasons. Ryan Lefebvre is also from Southern California. If that’s not enough these two teams have seen a lot of each other in Cactus League play. Including a little dust up when Everett Teaford hit Peter Bourjos with a fastball after surrendering three straight home runs. This opening series shapes up to be exciting and hotly contested.

There is always opportunity in adversity. What better time to come out in punch the other team in the mouth than when they congratulating themselves? The Royals have a power hitting first baseman of their own. The Royals have some electric bullpen arms. The Royals have an excellent outfield. The Royals also won the last season’s series 7-3.

Earlier in the winter I was concerned that the Royals were getting too much media attention. It appeared they had become the next trendy pick in the surprise baseball team sweepstakes. I’m sure the Angels organization is not overlooking the Royals. I’m glad to see that for one weekend it appears the national media is. It’s a good recipe for “Chip on our shoulder”. It’s time for the Royals to crash the Pujols Party and shock the world.

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2012 Royals Broadcast Breakdown

On Friday the Royals made their speculated radio and television broadcast moves official with this press release. Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star, being the Royals beat reporter, followed up with this story. These moves in the broadcast booth have received a little more attention than normal because of the firing of Frank White.

I don’t think they’re getting enough attention. From an entertainment standpoint the talent on the broadcast team is almost as important as the talent on the field. Even if you have a full-season ticket package the majority of your baseball consumption will be through a teams “Voices”. When a season is 162 games long you will see and listen to the broadcast team; television and radio, more than some of you talk to your parents. They are a part of your family. I’ve listened to enough Royals baseball games what the first time I hear Denny Matthews voice in the spring, the temperature automatically raises to 90 degrees regardless of the actual weather. From my childhood I remember Denny graveling out the play-by-play on hot and humid evenings. Denny Matthews’ voice is as much a sound of summer in Royals Nation as tornado sirens and the long buzzing of cicadas.

A few weeks ago I touched on this situation. I think we can all agree that firing Frank White was a bad public relations move. From hearing Frank White speak in radio interviews I’m not sure he’d go back even if the Royals wanted to kiss and make up. This probably means Frank White isn’t coming back. Because of that I guess we as Royals fans will have to adjust to our “new normal”

Here is what jumps out at me from reading the available public information:

Rex Hudler, Analyst, 120 TV games: As I mentioned a few weeks ago Rex Hudler is a cheerleader. I would be shocked if he ever said anything critical of the Royals on the field or off. Maybe that’s what the Royals front office wants? If you’ve played MLB The Show video game for any length of time you know what you’re in for. I think I’ll think he’s funny for the first week of the season. After that I’ll be looking for twitter handle @FakeRexHudler to get me through the season. As of this writing that account does not exist. Some one who is funny please make that happen. It’s your chance to become legend.

Jeff Montgomery, Analyst, 20 TV games: Montgomery has filled in as the analyst before. He’s capable, professional, and has ties to the city and organization. He has that going for him. He usually drops a bit of pitching knowledge on me. Which makes me wonder: Is he not the first string analyst by his own choice?

Steve Physioc, Play-by-Play, 50 TV, 112 Radio: This came out of nowhere. I knew Physioc was a Kansas City native before this was announced. I have always enjoyed his calls, mostly of Pac 10 (It was the Pac 10 then) College Football. I have not heard all that much of him calling baseball. He has a deep, booming, professional voice. I think I’ll enjoy having him as part of the broadcast team.

Ryan Lefebvre, 90 Play-by-Play TV, 72 Radio: There were a few weeks in December that I thought Ryan Lefebvre would be heading back to the Twins organization. That’s his home, and it’s not uncommon for people to return home given the right opportunity. From reading the articles Ryan wanted more of a radio role. Which is good, I think he’s better on the radio side. Nothing unique stands out to me in his broadcasts. However, I know what I’m going to get, he’s a familiar voice, and most of all he works really well with…

The Voice of the Royals, Denny Matthews, 110 Radio: 110 games seems like a reduced roll for Denny. I could be wrong, I didn’t take the time to look it up. Either way he deserves to keep his job and get some time off through out the season. Out of all the broadcast teams we see/hear with the Royals I enjoy Denny and Ryan together on the radio the most. They seem to have a good chemistry and I enjoy their dry sense of humor, probably because I have a dry sense of humor.

You’ll notice I have not talked about Bob Davis. According to the articles his roll will be reduced to pre and post game duties, and fill in when needed. To KU Fans Bob Davis is legend. However, I did not enjoy him calling baseball. He often left out key information like whether a batted ball was a line drive, a fly ball, or even which outfielder was coming in to make the catch. This will never come out in public. When Bob was calling games with Denny the chemistry seemed strained as there was no banter between the two creating a that dreaded awkward silence. Bob Davis having a reduced roll is a good thing.

Other Notes: The total television broadcast package with FS Kansas City is 140 games. I touched on this last September when I noticed that the Royals were abandoning any day they had to compete with College or NFL Football. It is the same this September. That’s one thing when you’re confident that September games will not mean anything. However, September games may mean something this year. I hope there is contract frame work to add games should the Royals be in contention. It would be very Royals of the Royals to not televise games in a divisional chase.

FS Kansas City will televise two Spring Training Games. Friday March 30th against the White Sox in Surprise. 8pm local start. Tuesday April 3rd against the Padres from Petco, 9pm local start. Note the Cardinals and Marlins open the regular season the next evening. My only complaint, can they braodcast a game earlier in Spring Training? By the time these games are televised all the prospects will be sent to minor league camps and most of the depth chart battles will be decided. I know advertising dollars is what drives these types of things, but I’m a lot more likely to watch an early Spring Training game than a later one…Who am I kidding? I’d watch baseball whenever it was on. However, it’s disapointing that once again if I want to watch the Royals in Spring Training I’ll have to do it on another teams network. Because you know, other teams get on TV more than twice during Spring Training.

Once I get passed how the Royals fumbled the Frank White situation I can see that they did improve the broadcast team. At least I think they did. I know I offered criticism of Rex Hudler earlier but something to consider. Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler worked together in the Angles booth for 11 years. That is a long time, and it’s a really long time in the broadcast industry. They must do their jobs pretty well to last that long. There is less Bob Davis and Denny Matthews, and more Ryan Lefebvre and Denny Matthews. That is a good thing. All I know is, just writing and thinking about baseball on television and radio makes it seem like that snow outside is melting faster.

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The Winter Warm Up: Day Two And A Numbers Game

Today at the St. Louis Cardinals Winter Warm Up, a slow morning turned rapid-fire with Matt Adams, Brandon Dickson, Daniel Descalso, and J.C. Romero all taking turns in front of reporters in a short span of time.

Adams and Dickson will enter Spring Training trying to break camp with the big league club, having built reputations as important pieces of the Cardinal farm system already. Descalso, after making a name for himself in 2011 as a versatile player whether starting or coming off the bench, expects to be in the thick of the competition for the second base job. And Romero comes to the Cards looking for redemption both personally and professionally.

The afternoon promises to be exciting as well. Former manager (weird) Tony LaRussa has been in the house all morning signing autographs and talking with fans. But he’s not the only star from the 2011 World Series Champions making the rounds today. Jason Motte, Jake Westbrook, Jon Jay, Jaime Garcia, Lance Berkman, and Matt Holliday are among the big leaguers still scheduled to appear. A formidable lineup indeed.

Not to be outdone, the Cardinal alumni will be out in force today as well. Tom Lawless, Chris Duncan, Danny Cox, Todd Worrell, and Tom Henke are just some of the former Redbirds scheduled to appear. And the Cards’ radio broadcast team of Mike Shannon and John Rooney will also be entertaining fans this afternoon.

But the biggest drama to unfold today may be the resolution of just which number new Cardinal Carlos Beltran will wear. Historically, Beltran has worn #15 and on last year’s Cardinal team, that number belonged to Rafael Furcal. Even though Beltran has a little more tenure as a Major Leaguer (which may normally sway a player to give up his number), Furcal has obviously been a Cardinal longer. And yesterday, the Cardinal shortstop told reporters he was not giving up #15…after all, he did win a World Championship with the number on his back. Apparently that information made it to Beltran because last night he tweeted (@carlosbeltran15) a request for input on what his new number should be. So perhaps Beltran will make his decision before his scheduled Winter Warm Up appearance Monday, or maybe he and Furcal can come to some kind of agreement on a swap. Or maybe someone will solicit a decision from former Cardinal Jim Edmonds (@Jedmonds15), clearly the franchise’s most famous #15 from the last decade.

Oh, the suspense. Stay tuned.

Chris Reed is covering the 2012 Winter Warm Up all weekend for I-70 Baseball. Follow him on Twitter @birdbrained.

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Frank White Leaves Royals

Maybe that title is not completely honest. Frank White is no longer employed by the Kansas City Royals, but will continue to provide his voice to the games broadcast on the local Fox Sports affiliate.

White officially resigned his position with the front office of the Royals franchise when the two sides could not come to a mutual agreement on a salary. White’s responsibility on the broadcast team has seen significant increases over the past few years and this year would be no different.

With White’s increased workload on the broadcast side, the Royals are siting an inability to utilize him for public appearances as much as they feel they would need or want. Due to this fact, they offered a pay decrease to continue his role with the franchise.

White, according to reports, seems upbeat and holds no ill will towards the club for the recent events. He has shown an interest in developing his broadcasting career and mentioned other opportunities that may be arising.

While the two sides have been playing nice to the media and in the public eye, I have to wonder what the franchise is thinking when it comes to Frank White. One of the team’s most recognized and decorated stars, White has spent the majority of his time since the end of his playing career giving the Royals every opportunity to maximize the potential of his involvement. From manager promises broken to this latest slap in the face of a pay cut, the team just does not seem to get the value of the man that resides in their own Hall Of Fame.

Frank White deserves better than what the Royals are providing him with. Hopefully this latest string of events will afford him that opportunity.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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