It’s Finally Baseball Season for Local “Experts”

“What kind of ball do you want to talk about? The regular kind? Or the deflated ones?”

Late this morning, I left the house to run some errands when the 11:00 AM “Matt Thomas Show” started up on 790 AM radio. I would not have heard even the start of it, but Matt started talking before I could hit the button and go to the 1940s and 1950s music stations on Sirius satellite radio. Does anyone really listen to sports talk radio other than those habitual pattern times they are in their cars, driving alone? I do the “long time listener” thing once in a while, when the host is Charlie Pallilo, but most of the time, I much prefer listening to Tex Beneke singing  “I Gotta Gal in Kalamazoo”, et cetera on satellite.

Today I got a quick reminder from marketing genius Matt Thomas as to why my own preferences away from the general genre are only now stronger than ever. Before I punched out 790 in favor of Sirius today, Matt Thomas had the floor just long enough to get my attention.

Thomas led off with a little book-ends statement about the distance in time that now exists between the end of the Rockets basketball season and the start of the Texans football season. I’m paraphrasing here because I was driving alone when Matt first spoke – and I had not prepared myself in advance with pen, paper or electronic transcriber to record what probably a large number of other disinterested-in-baseball people feel, but we baseball people are out here too. Maybe big stars like Matt Thomas don’t need us.

What the man said was something along these lines:

“The Astros are doing a little better this year. The question here is – now that the Rockets season is finally over – are the Astros going to be good enough to hold our attention until the Texans begin their training camp for the next NFL season?”

Good enough, Mr. Baseball-Not-So-Much Thomas? – Good enough … you have to ask? C’mon, Matt! Even the sports jocks who don’t like baseball, or simply tolerate it as a time-compensatory air space filler, should be expected to already know what we are about to tell you.

Going into the games of May 28th, and approaching the traditional June 1st contender status date verifier,  the Houston Astros now lead the American League West by six games, the largest divisional lead in all of baseball. Their 30 wins is the highest total for any American League club and ranks only one win behind the National League St. Louis Cardinals for the Major League Baseball lead. The club possesses commanding ability in their starting pitcher rotation, effective and durable relief pitching, great team speed, good defensive ability, hitting that, so far, makes up in power and timeliness what it lacks in overall percentage work, a cool managerial hand, plus talent on the farm that seems ready to hatch at the big league level.

And those are the things that excite us baseball fans, even if our sport is only talking-time-filler for radio hosts like yourself.

You have helped me with one thing today. When I go out in the late morning for my next drive time run, I will remember to have my radio already set to pick up my Sirius stations – even if I had been listening to my guy Charlie Pallilo the previous night come home.

“Pardon me. Matt, let’s have a chat and choose my station!

Forties are fine! – You help me get there on time!

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4 Responses to “It’s Finally Baseball Season for Local “Experts””

  1. Brownie Says:

    The local media will have better attendance at the Texans OTA workouts than for batting practice if the normal pattern follows. It will be fun to see what happens if the Astros stay in first place for a long time.

  2. Randy Says:

    Wow. Speaking of media oversights……..the University of Houston Cougars baseball team hosts the opening regional round of NCAA playoffs starting tomorrow with Rice and HBU as well. C’mon man.

  3. gregclucas Says:

    Although it has been a number of years since I hosted sports talk radio the philosophy was far different than today. The object then was to lead the direction into what was significant NOT just what callers wanted to talk about. That was before 24 hour sports talk existed and four or five stations competing with each other. However, the only way that worked was for the host to work very hard and become knowledgeable (and interested) about all the sports of the day. He needed to be far more than just a casual fan with far more insight and knowledge than the casual fan. The majority of hosts in Houston are perceived to be less than fully interested or knowledgeable about little other than football. Since the majority of callers are in the same boat that is what has resulted.

    In the olden days when I worked radio sports talk caller totals were not important. Putting on good shows were. In fact, it was believed at the time that a good show would actually restrict callers since they would be so interested in what was being said (by the host and/or guests) they would be reluctant to try and interrupt. Success of the shows was not by caller counts but by ratings and sales numbers.

    Of course in those days sportscasters, like newscasters, to keep their credibility in part had no role in reading live commercials or doing commercials. They were separate. This also kept the hosts from earning extra money, but also kept them “above the fray” of being required to endorse services or products they may have little real confidence. The point was to keep those “voices” as that of authority and knowledge and not pitch men.

    The shows were on a far more intelligent and almost “teaching” level. The hosts didn’t talk down to the listeners or callers but tried to inform BECAUSE they had the depth of knowledge to do just that. The DID know more than the average caller. They were professionals who had worked their way up in both broadcasting, but also in their sports expertise. Opinions were based on real fact and experience, not something that just popped into their head.

    In Houston right now the one announcer who would have fit in that mold is Charlie Pallilo. He was well trained in college and during his early years in Houston at KTRH. I suspect he would love to be a sports talk host as his local mentors like Jerry Trupiano once were and the voices he heard growing up in the NY area. Things are just different now. Charlie almost apologizes when he mentions the Astros or local college sports or anything of national note. He shouldn’t. He should tell his listeners what they need to know and not pander to the lowest common denominator for easy caller numbers. But so should everyone else and I suspect those days are long gone around here.

    NEXT: A question whether the teams themselves care at all about who/how the pre/post games shows surrounding their games are handled.

  4. Greg Lucas: On Today’s Sports Talk Radio | The Pecan Park Eagle Says:

    […] Just another WordPress.com weblog « It’s Finally Baseball Season for Local “Experts” […]

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