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St. Louis Media People Impacted By Rams Move

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The Rams’ departure has an impact on people who have covered their games, though certainly not to the extent of those who work for the team and stand to lose their jobs or move far away. For the Post-Dispatch’s Jim Thomas, reporting on the Rams has been his full-time job. For radio broadcasters Steve Savard and D’Marco Farr, it is moonlighting.

Thomas has reported on the team since it arrived in 1995, the only person to have covered each of the 431 “St. Louis” Rams’ games — including playoffs and exhibitions. Post-Dispatch sports editor Roger Hensley said “it’s too early” to know what Thomas will do next, but there is a possibility he’ll continue to cover the NFL.

“Those conversations will take place next week,” he said.

Thomas said he hasn’t looked ahead much.

“We’re almost like players during the season, were focused on what’s immediately ahead,’’ he said. “I’m sure we’ll sit down in the near future and talk about it. We have to follow this (NFL situation) for a while, to see if St. Louis has the desire to pursue another team. It may not have been enticing to Kroenke, but $400 million could be enticing to a team in a normal-size market.”

There have been hard feelings expressed locally, with Mayor Francis Slay saying he has no interest in pursuing another team. But, as Thomas points out, things can change and cites Rams coach Dick Vermeil, who retired shortly after the team’s improbable Super Bowl victory to cap the 1999 season. but regretted the decision and soon thereafter returned to the sidelines, in Kansas City.

“They always say, ‘Step away from something like that for a while’” before making a decision, Thomas said. “Maybe St Louis will do that.”

Savard has been the team’s radio play-by-play broadcaster since 2000, hired after Mike Bush stepped down following his only season (the Super Bowl winner) in the booth.

Savard, who then was the sports director at KMOV (Channel 4), now is the station’s lead male news anchor and assumes his Rams days are over.

“I haven’t been called, I’m sure that’s not a priority for them now,’’ he said. “I’m also sure there are many capable, able-bodied, play-by-play guys chomping at the bit in Southern California to do the job.

“I’m operating under the assumption that I probably have called my last Rams game. I had 16 great years, fortunate to have 16 years calling Rams games as a second job.”

He did not want to amplify on the possibilities of commuting to continue doing the broadcasts.

“I have gainful employment to fall back on at KMOV,’’ he said. “For me to talk at any more length right now about the play-by-play job would be disrespectful to those who are losing their jobs at Rams Park because of the move. There are lives and careers being interrupted by this and I’d be a horse’s patoot if I made myself a topic of discussion. I’m fine, my focus is on my job at KMOV right now.

“I feel bad for the fans who showed up on Sundays, screamed their lungs out and paid there money to support the team. And I feel bad for anyone whose job and career are in jeopardy. I sincerely mean that.”

Farr has been the radio analyst since 2009, when WXOS began broadcasting the games and the year he was hired as a key member of the station’s afternoon drive-time show — on which he remains. He could not be reached.

To read more visit STL Today where this article was originally published

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UConn Basketball’s Mike Crispino Less Critical of Referees As Official Himself

“I’ve changed completely since I started doing this. Because I realize how hard it is.”

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@mikecrispinonyk on Twitter

While basketball broadcasters may not have as contentious a relationship with referees as coaches, players, and fans, part of calling the action can involve criticizing a call. And with broadcasters typically positioned at courtside, there is certainly more opportunity for exchanges with officials than in football or hockey, for example.

But as David Borges writes in a feature for CT Insider, UConn men’s basketball play-by-play announcer Mike Crispino might go a bit easier on referees than his colleagues. And that’s because Crispino works as a referee himself when he’s not at the mic, officiating high school basketball and baseball games in Connecticut

Crispino has been a referee for 12 years and says it completely changed how he viewed officiating while calling play-by-play for the New York Knicks and UConn Huskies. Prior to donning the stripes, he would often question calls during a broadcast.

“I’ve changed completely since I started doing this,” Crispino told Borges. “Because I realize how hard it is. It’s not easy. You’re on-call all the time. You’ve got to have two hours of being sharp. You can’t get lazy, you can’t get distracted, you can’t listen to too many people barking about stuff. You have to be on it. Otherwise, you’re not doing the service that you’re getting paid to do.”

Despite having the perspective of a working referee, Crispino — who’s been broadcasting UConn men’s basketball for the past four years — still gets caught up in the moment and questions certain calls, sometimes with the officials standing right in front of him.

Unlike broadcasting, where young announcers are always trying to break into the industry, Crispino is concerned about the future of officiating. He says fewer people work as referees because of stories about angry parents and coaches.

Of course, Crispino has also experienced such exchanges from the other side with high school coaches disputing his calls as a referee. But he’s only issued one ejection during his officiating career, along with just a few technical fouls. Seeing referees work at the college and NBA levels as a broadcaster has helped him understand how to deal with such situations. That perspective has clearly been beneficial in both jobs.

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Pat McAfee Irritated At Fans’ ‘Throw Rogan’ Nickname For Aaron Rodgers

“His haters got very loud.”

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The Pat McAfee Show

Many NFL fans, both casual and diehard, were ready with jeers and nicknames for Aaron Rodgers following the Green Bay Packers’ 13-10 loss to the San Francisco 49ers in Saturday’s NFL divisional playoff game.

As Pat McAfee pointed out on his show Monday, fans were eager to throw insults at Rodgers, waiting for the opportunity like a batter waiting for the ideal pitch to hit.

“People were sitting on ‘Throw Rogan,'” said McAfee, who naturally supported the person who appears on The Pat McAfee Show every week and made those conversations must-see viewing.

That particular nickname is a play on Joe Rogan, the popular podcast host whose advice Rodgers followed for batting COVID-19. As Rogan recommended, Rodgers took the drug Ivermectin, which is typically used to treat roundworms and other parasites.

McAfee cited last week’s ESPN.com feature on Rodgers by Kevin Van Valkenburg in which the reporter detailed the turn perception has taken toward the Packers QB this season and Rodgers’ strident belief in himself as a free thinker and intellectual.

Co-host A.J. Hawk agreed, adding another popular nickname posted to social media Saturday. “QAaron Rodgers” mocks the quarterback’s stated belief in conspiracy theories regarding the vaccine.

On the field, the Packers were the No. 1 seed in the NFC and considered in prime position to advance to the Super Bowl. Rodgers will likely win the NFL Most Valuable Player award (despite some voters feeling otherwise) for the second consecutive season after passing for 4,115 yards and 37 touchdowns (to just seven interceptions), while completing 68.9 percent of his throws and leading Green Bay to a 13-4 regular-season record.

But off the field, Rodgers gained national notoriety and became a controversial figure for his stance on the COVID-19 vaccine. Rodgers refused to get vaccinated, which put him at odds with many throughout the country. But what became the subject of national outrage and discussion was the quarterback giving the impression that he’d been vaccinated by saying he was “immunized” against the virus.

That turned many people against Rodgers for the past three months and those fans took delight from him losing in the playoffs. (The quarterback also lost some fans for trying to force a trade during the offseason and it’s possible Rodgers played his final game in Green Bay on Saturday.) And they flooded social media with nicknames.

“His haters got very loud,” said McAfee. “But I will say, I don’t think he has a lot of haters in general managers around the NFL on whether or not they can get him in the building.”

The trade rumors will begin gaining heat soon. Will fans tossing out derisive nicknames right now — especially those supporting the Broncos, Raiders, Giants, Saints, and Steelers — eventually embrace him as their quarterback? You know the answer to that.

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Sports Radio News

Jeff Rickard Out At WEEI (Update)

“In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.”

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Jeff Rickard’s tenure in Boston did not last long. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe tweeted yesterday that the WEEI brand manager has left Audacy and intends to return to Indianapolis.

Rickard was announced as the new brand manager of the legendary Boston sports talker in August. He left his role as morning show host and PD at The Fan in Indianapolis at that time.

In the memo, new Audacy Boston market manager Mike Thomas says that the station will be naming a new brand manager in the future.

In the meantime, Ken Laird has been promoted to operations manager for the station. Laird announced yesterday that this means he is leaving the Greg Hill Show, which will be on the lookout for a new producer.

On Monday, Jeff Rickard took to Twitter to update fans and followers on his situation. He did not have anything negative to say about WEEI, Audacy, or anyone involved with him coming to Boston. He even noted that this move is likely what is best for him and his family.

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