New York Radio Hosts At Odds Over Joba Start

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New York Radio Hosts At Odds Over Joba Start
(Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

New York drive-time hosts Mike Francesa and Michael Kay are a study in contrasts.

Unlike the majority of callers to his show WFAN's Francesa tends to not overact to the whim of daily wins and losses, while ESPN's Kay is prone to hyperbole and sensationalistic outrage. This was reversed during Wednesday show's as each host chimed in to comment on Joba Chamberlain's latest outing.

Putting to bed the rotation or bullpen argument for a second, as I'm sure we are all loath to do, Francesa and Kay had very different takes on the young pitcher's performance Tuesday night. 

In the Kay camp were many New York columnists, including the knowledgeable Joel Sherman of the Post. Under the headline, "Game shows Joba Belongs in Rotation" Sherman wrote, "(Tuesday) was (Joba's) most impressive, most encouraging" outing of his young career. 

Michael Kay agreed. Setting aside his daily outrage, he agreed with the assessment of Joba's successful outing.

True, as Francesa uncharacteristically screamed, he did surrender four runs on five hits during a shaky first inning against Boston. And yes, he did leave in the sixth with his team trailing—not the ideal for a supposedly dominant pitcher.

But after the opening inning Joba settled down and allowed only one hit, looking very much the part of the dominant starter Yankees Brass thinks he can become. He struck out the side in the fourth and fifth, while recording 12 K's in 5.2 innings. 

Yes, Francesa makes a good point—Joba did get the loss after leaving the game after giving up four runs and six hits in just over five innings work. This is not a stellar start, but Francesa misses the point by blasting those that applauded his progress.

As Kay correctly pointed out, after early trouble Joba settled down nicely, like a veteran starter and was dominant after the first inning. 

This was an unusual role reversal for the New York giants of sports radio as Kay is daily outraged about some issue, and seems to daily treat his listeners to a haterade-fused diatribe on any manner of topics. 

Francesa on the other hand is still the best listen in New York, if not the entire country. The show has only improved since Chris “Mad Dog” Russo departed for a boatload of money and satellite radio obscurity.

But he was wrong on this point. After a shaky beginning, Joba showed guts and was dominant, only being pulled due to pitch count obsessed, Joba-ruled manager Joe Girardi.

 

Midday Shows Can’t Compare to Kellerman

When ESPN radio host Max Kellerman abruptly departed the station this spring he left a huge void for sports radio junkies from 10-1. Kellerman was reportedly unhappy about the direction ESPN suits were taking his show in, and understandably annoyed that radio hack Colin Cowherd’s generic national show was to cut off an hour from his rants.

Listeners may have balked at Kellerman’s shtick—his massive ego could be off-putting, but there was no denying his charisma or wealth of New York sports knowledge.

Kellerman’s unique takes touched on topics many hosts would consider taboo. From Mike Vick’s dog fighting to the Michael Phelps bong photo, there was no topic Kellerman was afraid to comment on honestly and intelligently. He took controversial positions on both topics—not to incite a response, but that’s what he believed.

Brandon “BT” Tierney is no hack, but isn’t nearly as compelling a listen. He is a capable radio man, and that’s it.

From his occasional comments on rap music, urban culture, and Yiddish influenced shtick Kellerman spoke to and for a new generation of sports fans that appreciated his pithy dialogue and brazen New York style.  

The midday show to listen to now is Joe and Evan on the other side of the dial. Evan Roberts, now only 26 Roberts has been in the business many years and is as knowledgeable and interesting as radio veterans twice his age.

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