Radio Free America – Phillies Nation

Radio Free America

Columbus, Ohio–I’ve taken a weekend off from the drug-induced euphoria that is Phillies fandom of late to spend some time with Kate, the Long-Suffering Girlfriend, who’s in grad school at Ohio State. Though I’m currently being terrorized by a 10-week-old kitten who thinks he can eat my feet, the long, solitary drive gave me the opportunity to sample some sports talk radio from other cities. Since not everyone gets to listen to sports radio outside of WIP and WPEN, I thought I’d share some of the interesting tidbits I’ve learned:

  • Not all sports radio conversation involves Kevin Kolb, Cliff Lee, or enforcing some bizarre 1960s frat boy sense of masculinity, which, in Angelo Cataldi’s case, often involves inviting half-naked women into the studio and acting like a pig.
  • From WGN Radio in Chicago: former Cubs OF Matt Murton is hitting .350 for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan. Not particularly relevant to the Phillies, but I had been wondering what had happened to him. Seems like he’s landed on his feet.
  • From WHAS in Louisville, Kentucky: Former Astros 2B/OF Chris Burke, now a U of L coach, was on Lachlan McLean’s sports talk show to discuss the NL pennant race. Because Louisville (and most of northern Kentucky) is in Reds country, much of their discussion centered on Cincinnati. I wasn’t recording the broadcast, so I’ll just give you the highlights. Most interesting is that Burke, McLean, and much of the Reds’ fan base seems resigned to losing at some point in the NL playoffs, particularly to the Phillies, who Burke says look unbeatable right now. There seems to be genuine awe of the Halladay/Hamels/Oswalt trio in Reds country, and while they are pleased with what the team (particularly Joey Votto, who, predictably, was their choice for MVP) has done this year, they don’t expect much against Philly, Atlanta, or one of the NL West teams in the playoffs. If the Reds share their fans’ “happy to be here” attitude, things could go south very rapidly in the Queen City come October.
  • Burke also touched on Cincinnati’s closer situation. Despite a 12-year track record of success, Reds closer Francisco Cordero is not the most calming presence of late, posting his highest ERA in a decade and tying his career low in WAR. Since Sept. 10, Cordero has blown two of his five save opportunities, posted an 11.81 ERA, and staked opposing hitters to a .407 batting average. Burke, as you may know, was the second baseman on that 2005 Astros team that went to the World Series, and spoke at length on what it’s like to live through a Brad Lidge meltdown. Again, I’m paraphrasing, but Burke says that when a team’s closer goes tits-up, it’s very difficult to concentrate and affects the entire team. He went on to say that the Phillies have lived through both ends of the spectrum with Brad Lidge and that this year they don’t have the most worrisome closer situation in the playoffs. None of this, I’m sure, is particularly surprising, but it’s interesting to see a former MLB player come out and own up to some of the psychological ups and downs of that game.

Enjoy Phils-Mets tonight. Someone call me and tell me who won.



  1. bfo_33

    September 24, 2010 at 1:23 pm

    Votto is my choice for the MVP, Halladay 2nd. Carlos Gonzalez would be in there, if he wasn’t such a product of Coors field (only average away, triple crown threat at home – maybe the humidor needs to be recalibrated?). Tulo was out too many games, Holiday and Pujols cancel each other out, Adrian Gonzalez a distant 3rd.

    If Votto, Halladay, and Adrian Gonz. were taken out, their teams have serious challenges to make it to the post season. That to me is the true definiton of an MVP (don’t care much about big stats in a losing effort).

    I haven’t listened to WIP for 20 years – it’s strives for controversy over content, and isn’t very entertaining. When I listen to sports talk, I stick with Mad Dog radio on Sirius (Mad Dog and Dino Costas both very good).

  2. Bart Shart

    September 24, 2010 at 1:44 pm

    I actually found this article interesting as heck. I frequently ask my friends who live in locals other than the Philly area what their local sports fans think of the Philly teams. Always interested in our public relations presence throughout the nation. Incidentally, we collectively are considered to be passionate, knowlegeable blue-collar fans, who do not suffer fools very well.

  3. NJ

    September 24, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Amazed Chris Burke couldn’t stick in the majors…

  4. Lefty

    September 24, 2010 at 2:11 pm

    bfo_33 –

    I think Mad Dog radio has the best baseball coverage of all national sports radio stations. Russo himself being a Giants fan has been saying for quite a while that if his team makes it, in fact any team that makes it, wants to avoid playing the Phillies at all costs. He was saying that even before we overtook Atlanta. It’s a shame the programming is NY based, but at least they spend time dicussing other clubs.

  5. Phan in the outfield

    September 24, 2010 at 2:31 pm

    I was raised in Cols, OH. Love the Buckeyes. That’s good football. I’m inconsolable at the possibility of a loss to M*chig*n. (Can’t even type that state – may they freeze in their own weather.) Live in nyc now. The neighborhood I grew up in used to have bus trips to Cincinnati to see the Reds. All the parents would come back drunk & laughing whether the Reds won or not. My father always wore his Phillies shirts.

    You’re right that I guess nothing Burke said was surprising. But it is interesting that he discussed the psychology of the closer on the team. Being as Lidge is still kind of, sort of, a little bit an issue . . .

    Okay, Lidge still freaks me out. He started to put guys on base Wed night. I consider myself agnostic, but I started looking for an old rosary. Man, no kidding. That guy sends my BP into the stratosphere.

  6. bfo_33

    September 24, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Lefty, I agree. ESPN,…., seem to stop baseball coverage once football season starts. Even last year, when the Giants weren’t really in it, Mad Dog still gave baseball fair time. He also amazes me with his memory, analysis. With a voice/laugh like that, you know he must have a good knowledge base.

    While Lide may not be lights out, he’s blown less saves in the last month than Mariano. Trying to objectively look at all the competition, and it seems like any hole we have is far outweighed by the rest of the teams. I’m not a betting man, but I’ve got to believe right now the Phils are favored against the field straight up.

  7. biz

    September 24, 2010 at 3:19 pm

    Lidge since July 31st:

    21/22 in save opportunities with a 0.83 ERA. That’s lights out. Can we stop calling for the pepto every time he comes up? That’s getting old.

  8. Phan in the outfield

    September 24, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    I don’t have Pepto Bismol in my apt.

    I tend to mute the sound, pull my knees in, close my eyes for a 30 sec count, & hope it’ll be over when I look. And frankly if he’d stop walking guys when he’s called to close, which is also ‘getting old’, then I’d be more comfortable when he’s on the mound. Nobody wants him to succeed more than I do. Seems like he’s had a long time to overcome this.

    I didn’t realize Mariano was having trouble until I saw something about it this wk on MLB (and I live in nyc). Maybe it’s age, he’ll be 41 in Nov. He looked genuinely shocked to be having trouble in the video I saw.

    You really think the Phils have the edge? I don’t have any idea. I haven’t seen the other teams play enough & I don’t think numbers tell the full story.

  9. biz

    September 24, 2010 at 4:18 pm

    Guess you really have had your eyes closed if you think he’s been walking lots of guys.

    “Seems like he’s had a long time to overcome this.”

    What part of 21/22, 0.83 ERA since July 31st doesn’t look like “overcoming” to you? How about a 3.16 ERA for the season. When will you admit he’s “overcome it”?

    Tell you what, you stay in 09. I’m going to watch the 2010 Phillies and their closer win another World Series. I’ll let you know when it’s safe to open your eyes. Btw, you’ve missed some darn good pitching while you were in the fetal position.

  10. Bart Shart

    September 24, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    Lidge will be extremely important if we are to win the NL and World Series. Extremely important.

  11. Nunzio Scholeri

    September 24, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Phan, you hit on it perfectly when wishing that he’d stop walking batters. If you look at the stats, his Batting-Average-Against is really quite excellent, but his walk rate is not good. If he could just stop walking batters, then he could be much better at staying out of run-scoring situations.

    All that said, he has indeed been lights out for some time now, and I honestly feel confident with him coming into a game. For me, it’s gone back to that 2008 confidence, where you knew he might make it interesting and tense as hell, but he’d get the job done. That’s how I feel today – that he will get the job done, even on days when it doesn’t look pretty.

  12. biz

    September 24, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    Lidge and Madson have been absolutely dominant the last 2 months. A huge reason we’re where we are. Our 3 horses get through 7 and hand it over 2 these guys, and it’s a wrap.

    You can see the confidence Lidge has regained. That’s huge.

    Our top 3 starters and our 7th and 8th innings guys are the best in the league. You’ll find no other team even close. That 5 man combo is what the post season is all about. The back end of our pen can be god-awful, they won’t sniff the mound. KK? He won’t either. If Brad Lidge still scares you, get a dog. This team is winning another World Series, and there’s a good chance Lidge is going to close out the 4th win.

  13. Brooks

    September 24, 2010 at 4:42 pm

    Just received my Post Season plan in the mail, finally. The Post Season tickets have always been similar in looks to the ticket you might pick up on game day, very plain and unassuming. This year they finally displayed some class with tickets you would want to keep as souvenir. Dark blue – no players they look nice.

  14. Brooks

    September 24, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Lidge and Madson have both been incredible during this epic run and if they continue during the post season the series might run shorter than expected.

    It looks like all games (home games at least) are scheduled for 1:00 PM start times and most during the week (home games 3 & 4 of the WS are for 11/03 – Wednesday and 11/04 Thursday) – if needed of course.

  15. biz

    September 24, 2010 at 5:16 pm

    Brooks Says:
    September 24th, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Lidge and Madson have both been incredible during this epic run and if they continue during the post season the series might run shorter than expected.



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