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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.

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