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Hughes Makes Cubs Sound Larger Than Life on Radio

Jason Barrett

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On the eve of Game 3, Pat Hughes did a little dreaming.

“Nobody has ever heard anyone say: ‘The Cubs are the world champions’ because radio had just been invented in 1908,” he said. “Games on the radio did not come along until the 1920s. And if there is a recording from 1945, when the Cubs last won the pennant, I’m not aware of it.”

Hughes, who has put in 20 years and called more than 1,700 defeats, deserves the chance to deliver the historic call. If only the Cubs would cooperate.

But as Hughes mentioned in the seventh inning Tuesday night, they have not led for a moment in the series. The Game 3 dagger came on a 3-2 pitch from closer Jeurys Familia.

“And the payoff pitch … strike three called,” Hughes said. “The ballgame is over and the New York Mets take a three-games-to-none lead in the National League Championship Series.”

Hughes’ broadcast far exceeded the quality of the home team. Working on WBBM-AM 780 with analyst Ron Coomer, Hughes painted a picture the way Jacob deGrom painted the bottom edge of the strike zone.

I always get a kick out of Hughes’ description of what everyone is wearing — including home-plate umpire Ted Barrett and his “black hat, black shoes.”

“There’s something about baseball on the radio that is still a marriage made in heaven,” Hughes told me Monday. “You would think in this age of video, baseball on radio would go by the wayside, but that’s not the case. As testimony, look at broadcast fees, sponsorship and salaries … though not necessarily mine.”

Hughes is not one to complain, but his pipes were rusty Monday, the result of insisting on an open-air booth in the Sunday night chill at Citi Field in New York — and not getting home to bed until 5 a.m.

Early Tuesday evening Hughes said, “Boy, it is nice to be back home, isn’t it?”

Analysts love working with Hughes because he sets them up like a veteran point guard.

After Dexter Fowler took a low called-third strike in the first, Hughes said: “Take a look, Ron.”

Coomer responded: “I agree with Dexter. (He’s) 6-foot-5 and this pitch is below the knees. DeGrom got a break.”

Both came to life when Kyle Schwarber lined one into the bleachers in the first.

Hughes’ call: “He hits a drive to left-center field … It’s got a chance … GONE!”

Coomer: “Can you say ‘Welcome back to Wrigley’!?”

Coomer was not the only other contributor to Tuesday’s broadcast. Television play-by-play man Len Kasper subbed for Hughes in the fifth inning.

Kasper told a story about deGrom having broken a finger on his left hand while helping a neighbor in Florida castrate a calf in 2013.

Hughes couldn’t resist a friendly jab, saying: “More of a television story than a radio story, Len.”

Kasper: “We’re trying to paint a picture here, Pat. I apologize for that … no more conversations about livestock the rest of the night, I promise.”

It turned out to be a pleasant diversion on a night in which the Cubs could relate to that calf.

To read the full article visit the Chicago Tribune where it was originally published

Sports Radio News

BetQL Network Going to Arizona for Super Bowl Week

“Three shows will be at the BetMGM Sportsbook in Glendale.”

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BetQL is headed to Radio Row. Audacy’s sports betting radio network will be in Arizona ahead of Super Bowl LVII. 

Three shows will be at the BetMGM Sportsbook in Glendale. BetQL Daily and You Better You Bet will be live Monday through Friday. BetMGM Tonight will be live Monday through Thursday.

The network’s hosts will stay busy in the desert. BetQL is producing 52 hours of live audio and video content. Hosts are also scheduled to make 25 live appearances across other Audacy radio stations and digital channels.

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Sports Radio News

Stan Norfleet To Replace N.D. Kalu On SportsTalk 790 in Houston

“My affinity for Space City spans nearly two decades and I look forward to connecting with old friends and new listeners in the market.”

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Change is afoot at SportsTalk 790 in Houston. Chris Gordy will have a new co-host in middays as N.D. Kalu exits and Stan Norfleet comes aboard for Next Up.

Kalu, a former Houston Texans defensive end, has decided to leave radio behind. Instead, he will focus on his real estate business.

“N.D. is a tremendous talent and one of the most down-to-earth people I’ve ever had the privilege to work with. He will be missed,” said iHeartMedia Houston’s head of AM programming, Bryan Erickson.

Stan Norfleet comes to Houston after most recently being on WFNZ in Charlotte. He is no stranger to Texas, though. He finished his college football career at Texas Southern University. He also worked in the sales departments for both the Rockets and the Texans.

“It is a tremendous blessing and honor to join the renowned iHeartMedia Houston family. I have long been a fan and avid listener of Sportstalk 790 and respect the history and contributions of its personalities,” Stan Norfleet said in a press release. “My affinity for Space City spans nearly two decades and I look forward to connecting with old friends and new listeners in the market.”

In addition to his time on air in Charlotte, Norfleet has also been heard on 92.9 The Game in Atlanta and seen on Raycom’s regionally syndicated ACC Network. He is also a former columnist at BSM.

“Stan brings amazing passion to everything he does,” said Erickson. “He has strong local ties and we’re thrilled to add him to the team.”

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Sports Radio News

Mark Sanchez Jokes ‘Tom Brady Is Going To Ruin My Career For a 2nd Time’

“I get drafted to the guy’s division. Now he’s gotta come to FOX and ruin everything here. I can’t get away from the guy.”

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Photo: Getty Images

Now that Tom Brady is done on the field, it is only a matter of time before he makes his way to the broadcast booth. Before the 2022 season began, FOX announced that Brady had signed a ten-year deal with the network that will put him in the top NFL play-by-play booth and make him a brand ambassador.

That has created speculation and uncertainty for Greg Olsen, the current analyst on FOX’s top NFL crew, but it won’t stop there. The effects will almost certainly trickle down. Mark Sanchez was a guest on The Dan Patrick Show on Thursday and joked that he knows his place is a little less certain now than it was last week.

“I guess thanks for ruining the trajectory of my career for the second time, Tom,” Sanchez said with a smile. “I get drafted to the guy’s division. Now he’s gotta come to FOX and ruin everything here. I can’t get away from the guy.”

Mark Sanchez led the New York Jets to two AFC Championship Games during Tom Brady’s Super Bowl drought. He was also a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, Denver Broncos, Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears, and the then-Washington Redskins during his ten-year NFL career.

He began his broadcasting career in 2019. He was first with ABC and ESPN as a studio analyst for college football. Before the 2021 NFL season, he moved to FOX, where he joined Kevin Kugler in the broadcast booth.

With a few years and plenty of reps under his belt, Mark Sanchez is a broadcast veteran. He joked that that will give him some clout over Tom Brady when the GOAT makes his FOX debut.

“Hopefully he doesn’t get too annoyed with the hazing we put them through as rookies here at FOX. Hopefully, it doesn’t get too annoying for him.”

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