JEFF PEARLMAN

Coming October 2022: "The Last Folk Hero: The Life and Myth of Bo Jackson"

ESPN 1050: This is the best you have?: Part II

Earlier today I blogged about the mindless drivel that 1050 ESPN Radio listeners are forced to endure while being subjected to the brutal ear rot that is Ruocco and Lundberg. Several readers seemed to agree, including the excellent Rob Adams, a man with 100 times more talent than either of these guys (and a man who wrote this on his blog).

That said, I feel like this morning’s post lacked a little … something. So here I go:

The reason I loathe listening to Ruocco and Lundberg is because they bring nothing to the table. Absolutely nothing. They offer v-e-r-y little knowledge of sports, and seemingly no historical context. They rely on stale one-liners (“Matt Dodge is so …”) and circa 1998 gag lines. They don’t know how to properly interview guests (Two tips: A. Let the friggin’ people talk; B. Ask questions that conclude with a question mark). They have this wanna-be Mike and Mike thing going, and it’s really sort of embarrassing. No, not embarrassing. Terrible.

When I hear older listeners call and ask a question, I always think the same thing: Why? What could these two guys possibly answer correctly?

Personally speaking (and I’m biased on this one), my favorite talk radio guy is ESPN Richmond’s Greg Burton, my old pal from the University of Delaware. Greg never talks over guests. He boasts an encyclopedic knowledge of sports. He rarely—if ever—delves into cliche, and he grasps the ludicrous nature of the whole thing.

That, to me, is a biggie. My favorite sports media types are the ones who understand how inane the world of pro and big-time college athletics is. Bob Costas is a perfect example. He gets it, and isn’t afraid to use that knowledge to confront a subject. Same actually goes for Tim McCarver, which is why so many people hate him. He’s very smart, and he doesn’t accept blather for the sake of accepting blather.

And, most important, he would never put out a video like the one above.