Category Archives: Sports Announcer

Steve to Guest Host Sunday on WFAN

On Sunday December 7, Steve will substitute host for Rick Wolff on WFAN (660 AM and 101.9 FM) from 8-9 AM on “Sports Edge,” the WFAN youth sports show.  Steve will be taking your questions at 1-877-337-6666.

Listen live by clicking below…

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Steve Kallas on WPIX 8/27/12

Gallery

DEFENSE RESTS IN THE TRIAL OF ROGER CLEMENS; JURY MAY GET THE CASE LATER ON TUESDAY

Kallas Remarks by Steve Kallas   –   At the start of the ninth week of trial (with 26 actual days of testimony), the case of Roger Clemens will finally go to the jury, probably later today (Tuesday) or, at the latest, … Continue reading

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Steve on WFAN with Boomer and Carton – More on Plaxico Burress

s2867112-01-08 The Boomer and Carton show spent time exploring the many ways Plaxico Burress shot himself in the leg and what he may expect in his near future.  Learn more from their site here

Steve Kallas was interviewed during the show.  To listen to this interview, follow link above.

THE REALITIES OF THE PETE ROSE CASE

                                Kallas Remarks By Steve Kallas

    

 We don’t get many pronouncements from the mountaintop anymore about Pete Rose and his insidious crimes against humanity.  But, since Fay Vincent has a new book out and the “Mike and the Mad Dog” (is Mad Dog one word or two? – I can’t tell on the YES Network) show is a good place to pop your latest book, we had to hear it again on Monday on WFAN in New York City.

Before getting to the book, Fay Vincent had to explain to us (people who think Rose should be in the Hall of Fame) what a terrible thing Pete did and how we don’t “grasp” how bad betting on baseball is.

    

The joke, of course, is that we are now looking at NINETEEN YEARS for Pete Rose.  No chance for the Hall of Fame, no ability to get back into baseball, no (correct) sympathy for a bad guy like Rose.

    

But now, 19 years later, that totally misses the point.  What Fay Vincent and everyone else on the keep-your-foot-on-Pete-Rose’s-throat-forever bandwagon can’t “grasp” is this basic tenet:  The punishment has to fit the crime.  Do people who kill other people get less than nineteen years?  You betcha (pun intended).

    

MAJOR LEAGUE RULE 21(d)    

    

So let’s start with Major League Rule 21(d) which, in pertinent part, states:  “Any player, umpire, or club or league official or employee, who shall bet any sum whatsoever upon any baseball game in connection with which the bettor has a duty to perform, shall be declared permanently ineligible.”  Many of you know that if the same person bets on a game in which he had no duty to perform, that suspension is for one year.

     

Understand the stupidity of this rule on its face.  If an outfielder on one team sees his buddy on the other team right before the game and says “I’ll bet you fifty bucks we win tonight” and the other guy says “OK,” they can both be banned for life.  Stupid, no?  Suppose that afternoon, an outfielder on one team says to his friend on the other team, “We’re dumping tonight. We’re not going to try to win.”  Do you see a difference?  Even an idiot could “grasp” the difference.

    

Understand that Rule 21(d) was made in the wake of the 1919 Black Sox scandal (did you know that Shoeless Joe Jackson was hitting .382 in September of 1920 (seriously) when he had to stop playing due to the scandal? – but that’s for another time).  We don’t even know if betting on your team to win, not something the Black Sox were involved in, was considered by Commissioner Landis when Rule 21(d) was implemented in the early 1920s.    

     

Unfortunately for Pete Rose, no differentiation was ever made between betting on your team to win and betting on your team to lose.  Anyone remotely objective has to see the difference.  If you’re betting on your team to win, obviously you’re going to make every effort to win.  If you’re betting on your team to lose, well, you can figure out the rest of this sentence.  And while Vincent tells us how insidious betting on your team to win is, has there ever been ANY evidence that Rose hurt one of his pitchers or hurt his team’s ability to win the next game by blowing out a relief pitcher.  Did that ever happen with Rose?

     

So the best argument, aside from the stupidity of the same punishment under present Rule 21(d) if you bet $20 once or $2,000 a thousand times, is this:  If you bet on your team to lose, you should be banned for life.  If you bet on a team in a game you’re not involved in, you should get a year.  BUT IF YOU BET ON YOUR TEAM TO WIN, YOU SHOULD GET SOMEWHERE BETWEEN A YEAR AND A LIFETIME BAN.  You pick the number: two years eight years, 15 years, it doesn’t matter because Pete Rose has already been banned for 19 years.  When does the “punishment fitting the crime” come into play?  Never?  Why can’t these guys “grasp” that?

     

WHAT ABOUT THE DRUGGIES?

     

Fay Vincent was happy to tell us about the difference between the druggies who were banned for “life” (in some cases again and again and again – I won’t write again seven times) and could (and did) seek reinstatement after one year.  How (Howe) could this be?  Well, the rules state that if you’re banned for “life,” you can apply for reinstatement after one year.

     

So, when Pete Rose was banned for life, don’t you think he thought it was for a year?  Of course he did.  Was that stupid on his part?  Of course it was.

     

But make no mistake – the general feeling at the time was Rose would eventually get back in the game.  So, as the druggies came, were banned for life and were reinstated after a year, Pete Rose twisted in the wind for, for, for, forever, apparently.  Again this is just wrong.

     

WHAT IF PETE ROSE HAD “COME CLEAN”?

    

Perhaps the funniest/saddest thing of all is Vincent’s pronouncement that, if Rose had told the truth earlier, he would have eventually been reinstated.  This is really scary, because it confirms what many of us think:  Pete Rose isn’t being banned for life for gambling.  He’s being banned for life for gambling and then lying about gambling.  So, the “deterrence” that Vincent talks about isn’t based on people being punished for life for gambling.  It’s based on people being punished for life for gambling and then, however weakly, trying to cover it up.  See the difference?

     

The “deterrent” effect that Vincent talks about as being all-important is undercut by his own analysis.  Again, when he admits that Rose would have been treated differently and probably reinstated after a few years had he admitted his gambling right away, any notion of long-term deterrence disappears by Vincent’s own words.  That’s not too hard to understand, is it?

     

WHAT ABOUT GAYLORD PERRY?

     

While there are many Hall of Famers to put in this headline, Gaylord Perry takes the cake.  While still in the majors, Perry wrote a book entitled “Me and the Spitter” (you can’t make this stuff up).  In it, he explained how he started throwing a spit ball, Vaseline ball, etc.  Of course, he stated that he had stopped and then pitched ten more years after the book was published.  Who did more to hurt the game of baseball: a great player who bet on his team to win as a manager or, a 3-7 pitcher who experimented with a spitter (by his own admission) to stay in the majors and became a Hall of Famer?  If you’re remotely objective, it’s not even a conversation.  Put that on Gaylord Perry’s plaque.

     

WHERE DO WE GO FROM HERE?

     

Well, nowhere.  Bud Selig won’t make a decision (who hurt baseball more: a manager who bet on his team to win or (fill in the blank with the name of your choice), a steroid-user who did what he had to do to stay ahead of the pack?  Again, not even a conversation).

     

Pete Rose has served his time out of baseball and out of the Hall of Fame He should, at a minimum, be allowed to be voted into the Hall of Fame (he probably wouldn’t get there, but he deserves the opportunity).  He should also, with strict conditions imposed by Bud Selig, be allowed to return to the game in some capacity.

      

FINALLY, WHAT ABOUT VINCENT’S BOOK?

    

The book is called “We Would Have Played for Nothing” and purports, according to Chris Russo, to talk about baseball in the 1950s and 1960s.  Of course, the notion that these guys would have played for nothing is, essentially, a crock.          

 

 

Go ask Sandy Koufax why he and Don Drysdale held out as a tandem in the 1960s.  Look up the Mickey Mantle story when, the year after he won the Triple Crown in 1956, he “only’ hit .365 and the Yankees wanted to cut his salary.  Go ask Ralph Kiner about the Branch Rickey story he tells when Kiner, looking for a raise after leading the NL in home runs (again) for the lowly Pirates, was told “We came in last with you and we can come in last without you.”

    

This false notion of playing for nothing was never true – in the last 100 years, numerous players jumped to rival leagues for more money.  In the early 20th century, the owners had a salary cap of $2400 per player.  The Chicago White Sox threw the 1919 World Series because their owner was so cheap.  Sal Maglie and others jumped to the Mexican League.  And on and on and on. 

    

It’s a quaint notion that, in the ‘50s and ‘60s, players who had to get jobs in the off-season to support their families would have played for nothing.  But it’s simply untrue.

      

What these people need to understand is that there are other baseball fans with a clue who follow this stuff.  Whether it’s talking about the “good old days” or talking about the absurdity of the Pete Rose situation, a better grasp of the situation is necessary. 

     

© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved. 

IT’S A SIMPLE GROUNDER TO SECOND, MAN ON FIRST, NOBODY OUT: SO WHY DID THE YANKEE TV ANNOUNCERS HAVE SO MUCH TROUBLE WITH IT? (AND DID THE YES NETWORK COVER IT UP LATER?)

                                                                            Kallas Remarks By Steve Kallas   

 

If you watch plenty of baseball, it’s a play you see eight or ten times a year or so.  Friday night, Yankees at Twins, bottom seven, Yankees winning 6-4, Brendan Harris on first for the Twins, nobody out.  Carlos Gomez hits a slow grounder to Robinson Cano at second.  Cano catches it in the baseline and, as many of you know, his first thought is to tag Harris and throw to first for the double play.

    

But Brendan Harris has a clue and stops about halfway to second or so. Cano has to make a split-second (but not that difficult with a two-run lead) decision:  Should he get the lead runner easily by either tagging him or flipping to second (remember, Cano is in the baseline between the runner and second base)? (Answer, by the way: Yes). Or, should he throw to first and let the first baseman try to throw Harris out at second for a possible double play (of course, if Harris makes it to second, you’ve foolishly allowed a runner to get into scoring position in a two-run game and you also lose the force at second)?  (Answer, by the way: No).

    

Cano makes the wrong decision and throws to first to get Gomez while Harris then beats the throw and slides safely into scoring position at second.

    

Not a big deal – if you’re an announcer, you simply point out that, in this situation, you want to get the lead runner because you’re only up two runs and you will then, with a man on first, still have a chance for the double play when the next hitter steps into the box.

    

But, somehow, this escaped former professional baseball players and current Yankee announcers John Flaherty and Ken Singleton.  Michael Kay, the Yankees play-by-play guy (the game was shown on MY9 and replayed on YES), also didn’t get it at first.  But a short time later, he did (maybe somebody whispered in his ear that, over on the radio side, the radio announcers had said that Cano made a mistake by not getting the lead runner or maybe it just dawned on Kay), bringing up the fact that maybe Cano should have got the lead runner out.  But Flaherty and Singleton would have none of it, crediting Harris with a good play rather than saying the obvious — Cano made a bad decision.  When Kay continued with his correct shouldn’t-they-get-the-lead-runner question (most unknowledgeable (and maybe even most knowledgeable) fans would believe the two former pros over the play-by-play guy), Singleton actually said the play was caused by Harris’ good baserunning.

    

Well, yes and no.  The ONLY intelligent thing a baserunner can do in that situation is to stop.  If he keeps running, HE’S the idiot who allows the fielder to get an easy double play (by quickly tagging him out and throwing to first).  But when he does stop, it puts the onus on the fielder to do the smart thing – in this case, get the lead runner (for you sophisticated baseball people, you’ll understand that much of the decision of the second baseman is dependent upon where the runner is – for example, if he’s only 25 feet off first, then it is correct to throw to first first because the runner will either be out by 20 feet at second or, more likely, will get in a rundown).  But where, as here, Harris was halfway or even a little more to second, it was clear when Cano threw to first that the Yankees weren’t going to get the out at second.

          

Too picky, you say?  I don’t think so.  This is the kind of thing you see in baseball games.  It’s a play you see sometimes but, depending on the situation, has very different approaches.  For example, if there are two outs, none of this matters (because the inning is over on the out at first).  If you’re up 10 runs, rather than one or two, you should still get the lead runner but it’s not as important (because you’re up 10 runs).  Maybe if the next guy had singled in Harris from second (he didn’t), it would have dawned on Flaherty and/or Singleton that, in fact, Cano had made a mistake.

    

By the way, this incorrect television analysis went on for a couple of minutes.  So, to give you a better flavor with exact quotes, I taped the Yankees encore (a two-and-a-half hour version of the game shown later that night and/or the next morning) on YES (again, the game was originally shown on MY9 in New York with Yankee announcers and replayed on YES).               

    

But a funny thing happened on the way to getting these not-so-great (for the announcers) quotes:  YES simply decided to skip over the bottom of the seventh (YES does skip parts of a game to fit in the two-and-a-half hour window – why they don’t always show the whole game is beyond me since YES is the Yankee network).  It simply was eliminated from the replay of the game.  One could argue that nothing happened in the bottom of the seventh – after all, the Twins failed to score.  But one could also argue that an interesting baseball play took place and with a correct analysis on the radio and a terrible analysis on TV, YES didn’t want to show again and again mistakes made by their broadcasters.        

    

So, where does that leave us?  With a hope that announcers will see their mistakes quickly and correct them (good luck waiting for that).  Or, at least, that when the replays are shown later that night or the next morning or both, the fan who missed the game the night before won’t be deprived of interesting plays because the announcers didn’t quite grasp the obvious (or decided not to criticize a Yankee).

           

© Copyright 2008 by Steve Kallas.  All rights reserved.