Friday, November 11, 2005

Not Mickey..Not Andy...John Rooney

I should have seen it coming more than I did.

I knew John Rooney and Tim Dorsey were friends from way back. Both were at KMOX in the early 80's. In fact, I remember being at a KTRS Christmas party at John Carney's house with both Dorsey and Rooney in attendance. There were rumors then that Rooney was coming to work for KTRS. That would have been '97 or '98. I spoke with Rooney that night, (I was acquainted a bit with him from my KMOX days too) and he said to me that he would love to get one of the Cardinals' radio jobs whenever one became available, but was happy in Chicago.

So, it's no surprise that Tim would push for John in this situation. Especially since Rooney wasn't being retained in Chicago. If Cardinals/KTRS didn't strike now, they may have had to miss out on John for the length of another multi-year deal he made somewhere else. I'm sure the Cardinals were ready to shed Hagin too. What with his inability to get along with Shannon. His somewhat stiff approach to the broadcasts. And, of course, his PR debacle with the Todd Helton 'roids comments. I've already heard rumors that Hagin may wind up back in Denver. But, I'd be surprised if the Rockies would want anything to do with him after that mess.

What I do find somewhat interesting is that Rooney would be allowed to walk in Chicago after all those years...and as established as he was there with Ed Farmer. I'd like to know more about why the new flagship station wanted to make a change up there. Could John's less than diminuitive ego have gotten a little too big in the Windy City? Or was it a dollars-and-cents decision?

Aside from all the behind the scenes stuff, I think John will do a teriffic job on the broadcasts here. He is easily one of the most listenable and totally-informed baseball men in the country. He has won numerous awards and been recognized repeatedly as a top-notch guy, particularly on baseball. As someone who's been in and around sports broadcasting for a long time, I can't think of anyone who's any better.

During the introduction press conference today, Rooney said a few things that I harped on in a blog post several weeks ago when critiquing the Rams radio broadcast. He said that he enjoys being the eyes of his listeners. And that he is proud and happy to be on radio where you create "the theater of the mind". Hallelujah!! He gets it. It's an audio only medium. And he understands that the enjoyment level of the listener is totally dependent on including them in as many details of the game, and overall experience, as can be accomplished in the time given. He also showed that he likes to have fun (something Hagin was criticized for) with the broadcast by doing a "dead on" Harry Caray shtick during the press conference.

Even though you always feel badly for someone who loses a job, and it's hard to handle such a changing of the guard with class, I believe Lamping and Dorsey handled this as well as they could and did the right, the perfect thing...for Cardinals fans.


Ilikai said...

I think they got rid of the wrong man. I liked Hagin's style in the booth. Even doing an interview with someone, he still called every pitch. Shannon will ramble and you hear the ball smacking the glove in the background and not the count. It seems like Shannon is more interested in everything else than the game I.E. Birthdays, Anniversaries, His never ending cup of beer. Face it, by the 7th inning you can tell he is getting lit from that frosty cold one. Hagin kept you apprised of what was going on in the game. I think he would have been a better pick for Rooney.

Anonymous said...

Wayne was freakin boring... good riddance. And Shannon is called the "color commentator" for a reason. I would guess you're only one of about 6 people in America who think Mike Shannon should exit the Cardinals broadcasts.

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Anonymous said...

This is anonymous #2. In my view anonymous #1 doesn't know what he is talking about. Hagin was a tad boring...right on there. But Shannon was the "color commentator" when Jack Buck was the #1 guy. When Buck passed, Shannon became the #1 guy and the de facto play-by-play guy, a role which he is not qualified to fill.