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Hudler Shines By Being Himself

Jason Barrett

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The loudest voice of the Royals is driving up I-35, and if there is a radar gun ahead, Rex Hudler is going to have a problem. It is 8:42 on a recent morning and he’s running a bit late, but he’d probably be speeding anyway. The Royals broadcaster doesn’t do slow. Never has.

The alarm went off at 6 this morning. His wife, like most humans, likes to lie in bed for a bit. Hit the snooze button. Hudler’s feet hit the floor within seconds. He is like a red-headed 54-year-old windup toy, only you never know what’s about to come out of his mouth, and one pull of the string lasts all day.

He is in the middle of, like, the fourth of a hundred stories in a day that started at 6 and won’t end until around 11 that night, after he broadcasts the 126th of 162 games in what is shaping up to be a historic Royals season.

There was the time he got promoted from Class A by writing George Steinbrenner a letter. The time he took out a teammate with a slide during a spring training B-game at 9 in the morning. The time he bought two engagement rings just to make sure she said yes.

All the times he’s talked to God, the big man always calling him Hud, and the time he got fired by the Angels, then hired by the Royals, and mostly hated by his new city. That was hard. There was also the time he found out his first son had Down syndrome. That was harder.

But at the moment, he is talking about baseball, so he is smiling and taking his sunglasses off to look you in the eye even as he speeds down the highway and steers with his leg.

“The feeling I get coming to the ballpark now is the same as when I played,” Hudler says. “I know who’s pitching that night, and I’m thinking about that (expletive). He’s the guy I’m going to make a living off of. He’s the man who’s going to pay my family, and my future. That’s how serious it is. I’d stand in the batters box, ‘My family against yours, (expletive). Let’s go.’

By the time the day is over, Hud — even his wife, Jennifer, calls him that — will have laughed and cried and kissed each of his three sons.

He will have talked about experimenting with drugs, of starting six straight seasons with the same minor-league team, and of asking to play one last game before retiring at the age of 37 — a game in which he got hit in the neck with a pitch, then lost the game by whiffing a routine grounder at second base.

For three hours every night, he is the goofball announcer some call Uncle Hud. Every day, Royals fans come up to him and say they never know what’s going to come out of his mouth. And every day, he tells them, “That makes two of us.”

Once, his tongue got tied and he ended up calling a backup Royals outfielder “Paulo Homo.” Another time, he called the moon a planet. He said the Astros use the metric system. He laughs these things off, even when Jennifer playfully calls him an idiot, and (not as playfully) begs him to stay away from big words on the air.

The stories come out in real life the same as they do during his broadcasts: fast, loud, occasionally mangled, often self-deprecating and usually out of nowhere. The difference is they are about a complicated life, not a simple game, and he doesn’t have to watch his language.

To read the rest of the article visit the Kansas City Star where it was originally published

Sports TV News

Troy Aikman Believes Tom Brady Has Bright Broadcasting Future

“He has some real opinions. He hasn’t always voiced all of those, of course. Now he will have a platform to where it will be expected.”

Ricky Keeler

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Troy Aikman

Troy Aikman has been in the NFL broadcast booth since 2001 and he knows first-hand what Tom Brady will have to go through as he goes from the playing field to the booth. The game has changed over the last 20 years, particularly the speed at which the game is played.

Aikman was a guest on the Green Light with Chris Long podcast and he was asked about the biggest adjustment he had to make when he entered the FOX booth at the time. The Hall-of-Fame QB mentioned how a lot goes on in the booth and it takes a little bit to adjust.

“There is a lot going on in a broadcast booth that it just takes a little bit of time to understand and have things slow down a little bit. There’s this idea that whether you are a player or a former coach when you go into a broadcast booth, I can’t wait to be able to educate the viewer on X and explain this.

“There’s less time now than there was when I got into the broadcast booth because all these offenses are playing up-tempo. You have to be done talking before the snap of the next play so you just don’t have the kind of time to get into a lot of that.

“What I learned early on is you start down this road of explaining something and then you have to somehow wrap it up to be done talking before Joe jumps back in. You leave something hanging and then a big play happens and you never get back to it…Adjusting to all the action and all the activity going on in the broadcast booth and the timing of everything is probably the biggest challenge.” 

When he is in the booth, Aikman mentioned that he never wants the audience to feel like he has all the answers when he analyzes a game and there are only a few times when he will get very critical.

“I don’t go into a broadcast feeling like I have all the answers to what’s happening on the field and I don’t want to come off as though I do have all the answers because these guys spend an enormous amount of time giving it everything they have and it’s more important for them to win than anyone watching the game. I tend to give the coaches the benefit of the doubt.

“Where I’m critical is just not very smart plays, lack of effort, lack of discipline. Those things are when I tend to then react pretty strongly.”

As for his thoughts on Brady becoming an analyst, Aikman believes Brady will do whatever he can to be successful and he is looking forward to hearing some of the opinions Brady has on the game that now he will be able to say as an analyst.

“I think that for him, he has some real opinions. He hasn’t always voiced all of those, of course. Now he will have a platform to where it will be expected and I think he will deliver. I fully expect him to have a really great broadcasting career.

“My only advice is just be you, be authentic, be honest, speak your mind. He will find his niche. He will do that respectfully and I think he will add a lot to the broadcast.”

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Sports TV News

Jay Williams Tells Stephen A. Smith His Criticism Of Kyrie Irving ‘Seems Personal’

“You say I’m being sensitive and I don’t know why, but you’re the one that’s very emotional right now.”

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Kyrie Irving is a lot of things. Boring is rarely one of them. Discussions of Kyrie Irving can get heated, particularly when those discussions involve Jay Williams and Stephen A. Smith of ESPN.

Williams was a guest on First Take Monday morning. He was part of a panel discussing Irving’s trade request, which ultimately ended with him as a member of the Dallas Mavericks. He and Smith butted heads

“First off, I’m not the one yelling,” he said to Smith. “You say I’m being sensitive and I don’t know why, but you’re the one that’s very emotional right now.”

That comment was met with an “Oh my God!” from Smith, who laid back while Williams told him that it seemed like Smith is considerably harder on Irving and more triggered by stories about him than about any other athlete.

Smith answered that he is always triggered. Williams, as a regular viewer of First Take, said that did not feel true. He said that it seemed like Stephen A. Smith has a personal problem with Kyrie Irving.

“You — of all people, with all the interest you have — have the nerve to sit here on national television and tell me I’m getting personal with a player?” Smith responded. “I don’t lose no sleep. I don’t lose any sleep over Kyrie Irving.”

Smith then claimed he’d to have too much to say. Jay Williams said he did too, to which Smith started saying “Just say it, Jay.”

Williams met those demands with “I’m not here for that” and “I am on your show,” as host Molly Qerim tried to bring the temperature down.

When it comes to daytime sports television, there will always be questions about how authentic the arguments really are. Last year, Jay Williams was a guest on The Jason Barrett Podcast. He admitted on that show that Smith’s discussions of Kyrie Irving are something he has seized on to create conflict when they are together.

“The way he went at Kyrie all of last year ‘Well, you know some people don’t like to come to work. Some people don’t like to be here’ and then all the sudden for him to flip and be like ‘I’m choosing Kyrie Irving for my MVP’ I’m like ‘No! No, you can’t do that!’

Whether this was co-workers genuinely butting heads, a disagreement played up for the cameras, or some combination of the two, will likely only be known by Stephen A. Smith and Jay Williams. Plenty of their sports media colleagues took notice though.

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Sports TV News

FOX Sells Out Super Bowl Ad Time

Some advertisements were sold for more than $7 million, while the average price slotted between $6 and $7 million.

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FOX Sports has reportedly sold out its allotment of Super Bowl ads, with some fetching $7 million for a 30-second spot.

According to a report from Deadline, the average price per ad was between $6 and $7 million, per FOX Sports Executive Vice President of Ad Sales Mark Evans.

Evans also told Deadline the ad slots for the event sold out two weeks ago. Volatility with some advertisers — like cryptocurrency brand FTX — and economic conditions were listed as reasons for why it took until three weeks before the event to sell out.

“As things have now settled down a bit and people feel better about the economic trajectory, a few of those units that were available picked up in earnest,” Evans said.

FOX claimed in September it had sold 95% of its available ad space for television’s largest event.

The $7 million price-tag for a 30-second commercial is in line with what first-time Super Bowl ad buyers paid for in 2022 when the event aired on NBC. That network’s reported asking price for commercials was between $5.8 and $6.2 million, with 40 advertisers joining the fray for Super Bowl LVI.

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