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Bobby V on ESPN 1050 Each Week, What Do You Think?

By Mike Silva ~ April 4th, 2012. Filed under: New York Yankees, Sports Media Commentary.

In an interesting turn of media events, Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine has signed up for a weekly segment with Michael Kay on ESPN 1050. The news was broken by Daily News media columnist Bob Raissman.

I have never heard of an out of town manager having a weekly segment on an opposing city’s station. In a way, this is a revolutionary move by ESPN. We all know that WFAN and Mike Francesa hammer Kay and ESPN in the ratings, so this might be a way of them trying to close the gap. The FAN has Terry Collins and Joe Girardi in weekly segments, neither of which is anything that would be considered “must listen” radio. On the flip side this doesn’t help with the challenges they face locally in New York since they are still viewed as a national outlet, and much of their content is still too broad.

We know the agenda with ESPN is to get Valentine to poke the Yankees on New York airwaves. It’s about ratings. But what exactly is Bobby V’s angle? Obviously, there is monetary reward, but I wonder if Valentine is doing this as a tool to motivate his club. Complacency was a huge reason for the Sox demise last season, and Valentine has never been afraid to call his players out. Todd Hundley and Pete Harnisch were two veterans that Valentine battled with early in his Mets tenure. Others such as Bernard GilkeyLance Johnson and Mark Clark were rumored to have issues with him, as well.

ESPN is branding this as “Kay, the TV voice of the Yankees, squaring off against Valentine, the manager of the hated Red Sox.” The whole Yankees vs. Red Sox might make for good radio if both teams are in the race. Many experts are down on Boston post-Theo Epstein, and have picked them as low as fourth place. Tampa and Toronto might be more of a rival this year. If the Sox are a second division club this might become the most overhyped segment in sports radio history.

For all the grief that many give Kay and ESPN (including me), they have done a great job with their lineup of guests during the football season with Rex Ryan, Eli Manning, Mark Sanchez and Joe Namath, among others, having weekly spots. The Kay Show may not have the history or real estate of Francesa, but it is no worse in terms of execution. In many ways, Kay is more modern with his foray into Twitter, as well as having Don LaGreca to volley ideas with. This is a breath of fresh air in comparison to Francesa, who continues to be cranky and boorish with his uneducated callers, which comprise a large portion of the five and a half hour program.

Will Bobby V swing the pendulum into ESPN’s favor? No. But I do think it shows the suits at ESPN are trying to think outside the box. Strong opinion and content are what drives radio; not Joe from Massapequa hearing himself call into the station or corny trivia contests (A WFAN and Mark Chernoff staple).

The big question is whether this is the right thing for Valentine to do. Is he setting himself up to be controversial, and in turn, creating animosity in his clubhouse and making an already tough job of playing in Boston, tougher.

We already have seen Valentine poke the Yankees with his comments during the Winter Meetings, and this spring by taking exception to Joe Girardi not playing extra innings. Former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling has reported that some veterans are already unhappy with Valentine’s rules and strong personality. This has the potential to be a fabulously dysfunctional group that could lead to results on both ends of the spectrum.

You know that Kay will try to get Valentine to say something that will make headlines in the next day’s newspaper. Whether he will have the classic battles that Francesa had with Valentine in the early years remains to be seen.

Do you approve of Bobby V taking a show on the New York airwaves? Let me hear your thoughts below.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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