Thursday, July 13, 2006

My Rant Against SportsTalk 980

I used to like SportsTalk 980. It had a solid lineup, with Mike & Mike in the Morning, then Tony Kornheiser, then Jim Rome (later swapped out for Dan Patrick, a better show with more of the East Coast bias that I love), then John Thompson, then The Sports Reporters, and you could pretty much listen to it the whole day until The Sports Reporters, and I considered myself lucky that they came on after my evening commute.

Mike & Mike is, I'm convinced, the best nationally-syndicated sports radio show on the air. They're funny, they're interesting, they get good guests, and it's just good for the drivetime. Plus they know their stuff and somehow they do it all while being NICE guys, which is unheard of in the shock-jock era.

So when SportsTalk 980 went "all-local," moving everything around to compensate for Tony Kornheiser's departure, they ended up with Mike & Mike, Sports Reporters, Brian Mitchell and John Thompson, and I was thankful that they at least kept Mike & Mike.

So I'm driving to work yesterday, and I turn on 980 hoping for my daily 45-minute dose of intelligent and amusing sports talk before I start my work day, and what do I get? STEVE CZABAN and "The First Team." NOOOOoooooooooooo. That means 980 is now the "All-Czaban" network, with six straight hours of "Czab," from 6 a.m. to noon with The First Team followed by The Sports Reporters.

Steve Czaban is everything Mike & Mike are not, and I mean that in the worst way. He's got the trifecta. Annoying, mean, and completely ignorant about most sports. He is a complete hack. He makes JT the Brick look like Shirley Povich.

Oh sure, he knows golf. But he doesn't talk golf in the popularized, 'I started watching when Tiger came on the scene' sort of way. No. He talks golf in the 'Women, blacks and Jews shouldn't be allowed in the clubhouse except to clean my spikes and fetch my beer' sort of way.

And he's fine if you want to hear about college basketball or NFL football two months before either season starts, because that's all he knows, but what if I want to hear about baseball or hockey or the NBA or, heaven forbid, soccer? I'm S.O.L. And now I'm S.O.L. for six hours straight.

I'm in the unfortunate position of being an Orioles/Ravens fan south of the Baltimore City line, because that means I can't get the Baltimore sports stations. Instead, I get the bigger market D.C. stations like 980, and I've accepted the fact that I'm doomed to hear nothing but Redskins talk from July to January.

So today Czab is doing his usual Jim Rome wannabe routine making fun of Sports Reporters co-host Andy Pollin, and he mentions to Pollin how on Monday they start "Two-a-Days." So I say to myself, "What the hell is that?" Thankfully, Andy Pollin asks the same question. And Czab explains that it's two full segments a day on the Redskins.

Kill me now.

I could take this if it were ANYONE BUT CZABAN. If Brian Mitchell wants to talk about the 'Skins for his entire three hours I would understand, the same way I'd understand if John Thompson wanted to talk college basketball for his entire show. But they DON'T. They at least take an interest in other sports and talk about them, and in John Thompson's case he has Smokin' Al Koken to pick him up on hockey and other sports. But not The Sports Reporters.

Really, calling Czaban and Pollin "The Sports Reporters" is a misnomer. They're The Golf, Basketball and Redskins Opiners. ("Redskins" instead of "Football" only because, as anyone in this area knows, the rest of the NFL does not exist; only the Redskins. That's why signing Antwaan Randle-El GUARANTEES them a Super Bowl. Just like signing Santana Moss guaranteed them last year's Super Bowl and getting Clinton Portis guaranteed them the 2004 Super Bowl.)

But this isn't an anti-Redskins thing. This is an anti-Czaban thing. Somehow, years after the "I'm bitter, I'm angry, I hate change and I'm taking it out on my callers" style of sports radio went out of fashion and the Fabulous Sports Babe went off the air, Czab still hangs on as the staple of 980's programming.

And the funny thing is, people don't like Czab. He's painful to listen to. When he used to fill in for Jim Rome it was like a root canal. He would try to be like Rome complaining about some pet peeve using long pauses and overly-emphasized words, but he'd be covering for his total lack of sports knowledge by bitching about how stupid his brother-in-law's motorboat is. And the story took forever to tell. And there was no punchline. And then somehow he'd segue into sports from that. Wait, did I say sports? I meant golf.

Now the only interesting and funny sports radio I'll get to hear on my morning commute is when Elliot in the Morning talks about the Caps or has Ben Olsen from D.C. United on.

Steve Czaban: worst thing on radio. Thanks 980.


Mike said...

I must say, you must be a metro sexual to thing Greenberg knows his stuff. The only thing he might no is baseball but most of the time he's worried about getting hurt, his hair, his make-up (on the radio), and his nails. Swtich over to ESPN radio or bring a portable TV and SAT dish with you if you don't like Sports Talk 980 because it "IS" local sports Thank God.

Mike said...

spelling in previous, not to good.