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Tony Massarotti on Calling Games for NESN: Big Challenge Will Be Pace

“The big challenge for me is going to be the pace. Not just because it’s baseball. But we move much faster. Talk shows move much, much faster.”

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Tony Massarotti made his NESN debut as a Boston Red Sox TV analyst for Saturday’s spring training game with the Tampa Bay Rays. Earlier this month, he was named as one of three new color commentators with Kevin Youkilis and Kevin Millar to the NESN broadcast team.

Naturally, his Felger & Mazz co-hosts Mike Felger and Jim Murray were going to ask about Massarotti’s experience and allow him to share some insights with the 98.5 The Sports Hub audience when they returned from the weekend.

But first, Felger had to tease Massarotti about using different words for hard-hit balls. “Spanked,” “tattooed,” etc. Credit to a writer for not wanting to use the same verb more than once, especially when different words are needed to express just how hard and far a home run was hit.

“We didn’t get the full Mazz, which I will just say, I think that’s smart on everyone’s part,” said Felger. “To go Full Mazz in the first couple of games is courting sort of blowback, and then we disrupt the whole thing.”

Massarotti was then asked what he struggled with or was surprised by during the TV broadcast, and he gave some intriguing insight into the difference between calling a baseball game and keeping the conversation moving on sports radio.

“The big challenge for me is going to be the pace,” said Massarotti. “Not just because it’s baseball. But we move much faster. Talk shows move much, much faster. There’s a pace to it. You want to keep going. Baseball, the game’s slow, the conversations are more level-headed, for lack of a better term. So that’s going to be an adjustment for me.”

Felger then praised Massarotti for something that’s worth noting since it’s been part of the sports media discourse in recent weeks.

“On the broadcast end, I thought it was impressive, Mazz,” said Felger. “Right out of the chute, you’re not telling a story going into the second out of an inning. The ball is put in play with two outs, you sort of shut up and make sure [Dave] O’Brien goes to commercial. Coming back with the reads, knowing when to fill dead time, was dead-on… It sort of shows you how many guys can’t do it.”

Some critics and fans have knocked Amazon hiring Kirk Herbstreit as its Thursday Night Football analyst because he wasn’t a star NFL quarterback. But observers including Dan Patrick and Andrew Marchand have defended Herbstreit by pointing out that he’s an accomplished broadcaster who knows how to get through a telecast smoothly.

Obviously, a baseball telecast is different from a sports radio show. But the point still applies. Radio hosts, especially when working with a partner or group, have to make their points succinctly without rambling on and hogging the conversation. And there’s an art to saying what you need to say before going to a break or coming out of one. At the very least, Massarotti knows how to do that.

Sports Radio News

Boomer Esiason: ManningCast Proves Peyton Manning Can Never Be a Coach

“He’s got no patience whatsoever.” 

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Don’t expect to see Peyton Manning on an NFL sideline. He may be one of the best quarterbacks the league has ever seen, but Manning isn’t cut out to be a coach according to Boomer Esiason.

On Tuesday morning, Esiason and the rest of the Boomer & Gio cast listened to highlights of the previous night’s ManningCast. They enjoyed the audio of Peyton Manning losing his temper after Cowboys kicker Brent Maher missed his third extra-point attempt of the night.

The clip, which has since gone viral, includes Manning asking if a kicker can be cut at halftime of a playoff game.

“This is why Peyton can’t coach,” Esiason said in response to the audio. “He’s got no patience whatsoever.” 

The chemistry and authenticity of Peyton and Eli is often cited as the appeal of the ManningCast. Esiason noted that was what is on display in moments the brothers cannot control.

Boomer Esiason was a guest on the week eight ManningCast, which featured his former team, — the Cincinnati Bengals — playing Cleveland Browns. Esiason said at the time that while it was a distracting way to try and follow a game, being a part of the show is a lot of fun. He echoed that praise Tuesday morning.

“Those things are really unbelievably done. I mean, they are funny.”

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Sports Radio News

NHL All-Star Game Airing Exclusively on SiriusXM After Contract Extension

The game — held on Saturday, February 4th — will feature Steve Kouleas and Gord Stellick in the booth. Scott Laughlin will work as the broadcast’s rinkside reporter.

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SiriusXM and the NHL have reached an extension that will see the satellite service continue to carry every league contest. The new multi-year deal will run through the 2028-2029 season.

Part of the deal includes the NHL All-Star Game airing exclusively on SiriusXM. The game had previously been distributed by Westwood One before Sports USA Media took over the rights in 2021.

The game — held on Saturday, February 4th — will feature Steve Kouleas and Gord Stellick in the booth. Scott Laughlin will work as the broadcast’s rinkside reporter. All three are regulars on NHL Network Radio. Stellick and Laughlin serve as hosts of NHL Morning Skate, while Kouleas hosts the station’s afternoon show, The Power Play.

NHL Network Radio will also provide live coverage of the league’s All-Star Media Day on Thursday, February 2nd and the NHL All-Star Skills Competition on Friday, February 3rd.

The deal includes SiriusXM continuing to produce and distribute SiriusXM NHL Network Radio on the platform for the duration of the contract.

“Hockey fans are among the most passionate sports fans, and our long-term relationship with the NHL enables us to deliver those fans across North America comprehensive access to the league, offering them live broadcasts of every game and the only 24/7 NHL channel in audio,” said SiriusXM’s President and Chief Content Officer Scott Greenstein.

“Live sports, coupled with great, in-depth sports talk, is one of the key elements of our programming and we are very pleased to be extending our content agreement with the NHL for many more years.”

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Sports Radio News

Peter Rosenberg: Gio’s Rant ‘Gimmick Infringement’ of Don La Greca

The comment from Rosenberg comes after Giannotti was critical of he and La Greca last week. Giannotti claimed the pair were “bootlicking” Michael Kay.

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The war of words between WFAN’s Boomer & Gio and 98.7 ESPN New York’s The Michael Kay Show continued Monday, with a quip from Peter Rosenberg about a rant from Gregg Giannotti.

Giannotti, a Vikings fan, was discussing his viewing situation during Monday morning’s show as the franchise played the New York Giants. His wife, two daughters, mother, mother-in-law, and best friend joined him to watch the Super Wild Card game, and the WFAN host detailed that the situation grew more tense with each passing moment due to comments made by those in attendance.

Giannotti eventually admitted to yelling at his friend, and jokingly shouted “Not the time, Louise!” after his mother-in-law commented about how good the Giants had gotten during a Saquon Barkley touchdown run.

The rant didn’t go unnoticed by Rosenberg, however, and he replied to Giannotti’s video clip of the segment by saying “Fake Don Lagrecca (sic) much? This is called gimmick infringement”.

The comment from Rosenberg comes after Giannotti was critical of he and La Greca last week. Giannotti claimed the pair were “bootlicking” Michael Kay after walking back comments he made about getting a producer at the station fired by calling them “performance art”.

While criticising Kay, Giannotti could not identify Rosenberg, only calling him “whatever his face”.

“He’s gonna retire. It doesn’t matter whether you kiss his ass or not, it’s not gonna be the difference in you getting that job when he leaves,” Giannotti said of La Greca and Rosenberg. “Just stop it. Just stop kissing his ass.”

Rosenberg responded to the disapproval from Giannotti last week by tweeting “My favorite part of the trash talk from the guy on the fan is ‘pick on someone your own size Michael Kay… pick on me’…LOL who are you?!!!!”

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