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Dan Le Batard Fears Giving Away Hall of Fame Vote Cost Barry Bonds

“They made an overhaul of the voting system and one of the things they did was change it from 15 years of eligbility to 10 years.”

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Did Dan Le Batard giving his Hall of Fame vote to Deadspin eight years ago end up costing Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens election to the Baseball Hall of Fame?

Appearing on 95.7 The Game’s Damon and Ratto in San Francisco, Le Batard said his decision led the Baseball Hall of Fame to reduce players’ eligibility on the ballot from 15 years to 10 years. It’s entirely possible losing those five years cost Bonds and Clemens. Many voters still weren’t ready to elect them to Cooperstown, but those two controversial figures could’ve gained support over five more years.

“I didn’t want my vote to be something that kept people away,” Le Batard said. “But they changed the rules when they banned me. I thought the punishment was just going to be to ban me. I’m banned for life; I can’t vote anymore and that would be the end of it.

“But also because they didn’t want anyone else to do what I did in crowdsourcing the vote ever again. They made an overhaul of the voting system and one of the things they did was change it from 15 years of eligbility to 10 years, and I’m guessing that’s part of why Barry Bonds won’t be in the Hall of Fame by these voters.”

Le Batard expressed the same belief on his show, which is what prompted Damon Bruce and Ray Ratto to invite him on.

“I’m not OK with denying someone their excellence because I’m doing jazz hands on being Performance Troll,” said Le Batard.

In 2014, Le Batard’s ballot was taken away after he revealed that he was the writer who gave his vote to Deadspin. The site filled out Le Batard’s ballot based on reader votes, which ended up voting for the three players who were elected to the 2015 class: Greg Maddux, Frank Thomas, and Tom Glavine.

The intention was to make a mockery of Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA) voters who had used the process to draw attention to themselves, trying to make statements with their ballots. Additionally, Deadspin wanted to show that fans could do just as good a job with Hall of Fame votes as BBWAA members.

But was Le Batard’s “stunt” really that disruptive? Eight years later, the Hall of Fame vote still causes outrage and resentment. It’s one of the most unpleasant periods in sports media, as WFAN’s Gregg Giannotti said this week.

As Ratto said, Le Batard’s move alone didn’t cost Bonds a Hall of Fame election. But the Hall of Fame did change the requirement for BBWAA voters, stating they must be active with an organization for 10 years. Those no longer working in media would eventually lose their eligibility. Maybe that had an effect on a Bonds vote, as well.

Also making the conversation enjoyable was the chemistry, the sexual tension between Le Batard and Ratto. It’s probably a good thing this interview happened over the phone, not with the two of them in the same room.

Sports Radio News

Jeff Rickard Named Program Director of WFNZ in Charlotte

“After our first conversation I knew Jeff was the one to take us to the next level.”

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Jeff Rickard is headed to Charlotte. The sports radio veteran has been named the new program director of WFNZ, one of the Southeast’s premier sports radio brands.

Rickard replaces Terry Foxx who announced in February that he was leaving Charlotte to take over KUT in Austin. 

“We are committed to making sports radio even bigger in Charlotte, adding the 92.7 FM signal in March was just the beginning of that commitment,” Marsha Landess, Regional Vice President of Radio One, said in a press release. “Having a successful veteran like Jeff Rickard join our team will help take us to the level that a passionate sports city like Charlotte deserves. Jeff brings to WFNZ extensive sports experience, talent, drive, and a passion for success. He will be a great complement to our incredibly talented local Charlotte on-air team. After our first conversation I knew he was the one to take us to the next level. As the flagship station for the Charlotte Hornets as well as Charlotte FC we are looking forward to an incredibly successful future with Jeff leading the charge.”

Rickard’s resume in sports radio speaks for itself. He was most recently the brand manager at WEEI in Boston, a role he exited in January. Prior to that, he spent six years at 107.5 The Fan in Indianapolis serving as both a weekday host and the station’s program director. He has also worked nationally for ESPN Radio, FOX Sports Radio, and SiriusXM, and spent time during the early part of his career working in Denver and Salt Lake City.

“I had been planning on taking a professional sabbatical this year but after meeting with Marsha Landess and learning more about Radio One, I began to get more excited to get back to work,” shared Rickard. “Radio One as a company, combined with Marsha’s leadership and the potential for WFNZ, was just too appealing to not be a part of. I am extremely grateful to Radio One for this opportunity and can’t wait to start working with the talented staff in Charlotte. My family and I are all in on this situation and can’t wait to get started on this new chapter.”

Not one to waste time diving in, Rickard officially stepped into the Charlotte offices today to meet his new staff.

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Sports Radio News

Kirk Herbstriet Wants To Be Held To Same Standard For NFL As College Football

“Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.”

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The NFL schedule was released last week, and Thursday Night Football has a lot of interesting matchups for its first year on Amazon Prime. It is also a new broadcast booth with Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit on the call. 

With Herbstreit now adding Thursday Night Football to College Gameday, he has already started preparing for the upcoming season. Herbstreit was on The Pat McAfee Show on Friday and he said he is already at Pro Football Focus in Cincinnati doing his research.

“I’m just trying to lay a foundation,” said Herbstreit. 

Herbstreit told McAfee that whenever anyone asks him to talk about a college team, he can quickly tell them what the DNA of that team is. Now he wants to bring that level of preparation to his NFL broadcasts. He will look at a different matchup every week this summer to get a more detailed idea of what each team is about: 

As for his connection with Al Michaels, Herbstreit mentioned he has gone out to dinner with him a couple of times and he wants to make going out to eat with his broadcast partner a frequent deal.

“Hung out with him 2-3 times. Had a chance just to get to know him. When you go into a new deal, I love like Wednesday night dinner, I want to make a staple and just hang out and get to know him and hopefully he will get to know me. When you do that, it allows you to have natural chemistry.”

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Sports Radio News

Andrew Mason To Succeed John Clayton At 104.3 The Fan

“Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.”

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John Clayton passed away earlier this year. That left 104.3 The Fan without a lead Broncos writer for the 2022 season. On Monday, the station announced that it had hired a successor in Andrew Mason.

Mason comes to The Fan from DNVR, a digital outlet where he provided written and audio content for the last three seasons.

“Mase’s work speaks for itself as one of the market’s most respected analysts when it comes to writing about and discussing the Broncos,” Raj Sharan, The Fan’s program director, said in a press release. “Replacing someone of the legendary stature of John Clayton was not something we took lightly, and we believe Mase is the perfect person to pick up that mantle and bring tremendous credibility and content to our rapidly growing digital platforms.”

Andrew Mason has a lot of credibility with Broncos fans. He has covered the team for 19 years. He has also written a book called Tales from the Denver Broncos Sideline.

The Fan won’t be his first foray into Denver radio either. Mason has previously been a host on Mile High Sports Radio and the defunct KDSP- AM.

“I’m thrilled to join The Fan team and add what I can to the efforts of building Denver’s premier online destination for Denver fans,” said Mason. “Being tasked with replacing a legend like John Clayton is a responsibility I take very seriously, and I’m honored The Fan has entrusted me with this opportunity.”

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