Mavs Sports Radio attracting more “Ticket” hosts? Dallas Rookie Jaden Hardy Star Born?
WHITT’S END 10.7.22:
Whether you’re at the end of your coffee, your day, your week or even your rope party, welcome to Whitt’s End…
*While the Dallas Mavericks are rightly amplified by the 21-point preseason debut from 20-year-old rookie Jaden Hardy, wait until you get a charge from Victor Wembanyama.
The 18-year-old Frenchman will undoubtedly be the first overall pick in the 2023 NBA Draft. He can block shots. He can dribble coast to coast. He can end up on the edge. He made seven 3-pointers in a game this week. It is incredibly fluid.
And, oh by the way, he is 7 feet 4 inches. It’s as if Kevin Durant and Giannis Antetokounmpo had a son. Game. Changer.
*Memo to ESPN: Dallas Cowboys kicker Brett Maher is on the beat to break a football record that has stood for three decades!
It is time for him to be “judged”.
Maher, 10 of 11 this season, averages 2.5 field goals per game. At this rate, he’ll smash the record for most makes…in one season…in the NFC…by a right-footed kicker.
That current mark — though extremely filtered — is 40, set by Neil Rackers of the Arizona Cardinals in 2005. Maher is on course for 42.
David Akers of the San Francisco 49ers holds the NFL record of 44 set in 2011 but, alas, he is a southpaw. As ESPN dishonestly did with Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa during its breathless coverage of New York Yankees slugger Aaron Judge, let’s all assume his field goal record doesn’t count. one way or another in an effort to make Maher’s prosecution seemingly more important.
While shoving the most home runs in the American League down our throats, but only seventh all-time in baseball, ESPN taught us that we should really, really, really care about the records that correspond to a narrative, appeal to a large market and serve as a promo for future shows.
To hell with micro-categorization.
Therefore, I absolutely expect live break-ins from the network’s baseball playoff coverage this Sunday whenever Maher lines up for a field goal in his magical pursuit of “history.”
Maher, by the way, is also on track (with four already) to erase the NFL record of 10 field goals from 50+ yards in a single season.
Prepare these shared screens.
*Remember that radio industry source who whispered for me that Mike Rhyner was coming out of retirement and then it happened? Well, the same source says that the roster shakeup is not complete. First, I’m told that longtime ticket producer Danny Balis will be joining The Freak once his non-compete clause expires. Fairly common sense to connect these dots. But, bigger and more surprising, Ticket midi Snap area hosts Jake Kemp and Dan McDowell are seriously considering casting The Freak in early 2023. Again, I won’t believe it until I hear it, but…
*The Texas Rangers received nothing better after firing manager Chris Woodward in August. In fact, they got worse, going 51-63 (.447) under him and just 17-31 (.354) with interim Tony Beasley. Their real problem, of course, was the terrible pitching. They started to rectify it this week.
*Rangers have so perfected the unenviable art of being celebration fodder that they should turn Globe Life Field into Airbnb. Everyone uses their house to throw a party. Although he hasn’t won a squat in the GLF, the 2-year-old home of the Rangers has already hosted a World Series clincher (Los Angeles Dodgers), an AL Central Division championship (Cleveland Guardians) , two no-hitters (Joe Musgrove of the San Diego Padres and Corey Kluber of the Yankees) and Judge’s historic dinger. The Rangers are 64-75 in three seasons across the street from making back-to-back World Series appearances 11 years ago. Largest crowd in GLF history: 38,832 for Judge’s No. 62.
*Not only Texas-OU gets the dreaded Downgrading (also semi-usual) Kicking off at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Cotton Bowl, the Red River Rivalry also suffers the embarrassment of taking a back seat for … TCU vs. Kansas.
While ESPN College GameDay is in Lawrence this weekend for this shocking battle of undefeated Big 12s, the Longhorns and Sooners will be an early morning undercard with the two unranked teams for the first time since 1998. OU gave up 96 points in two conference losses . SEC offenses are licking their chops.
*All together now “We are not a sports station!
That’s the brand’s message that emerges from The Freak after its launch this week. But it is, of course, radio garbage.
Now, I don’t blame the station hosts for trying to position their new venture as a “unique” format with no peers and, therefore, no competitors. Any move to avoid a ratings war with The Ticket — in August, the station’s one-on-one shows resulted in a 5.9 to 1.8 crush — is a smart one. But also transparent.
Just because you don’t talk about sports 24/7 doesn’t mean you not a sports station. On The Ticket, you can hear entertainment news from Corby Davidson. On The Fan, Shan Shariff often divulges his grilling expertise. In Whitt’s End, I regularly launch into social diatribes. Does all this disqualify us as “sporting” entities? No.
If not careful, The Freak will turn into daddy Cleo in Coming to America: Sifting through the Golden Arches manual, cooking burgers, serving “Smiley Meals”, then tossing a salad to claim “McDowell’s” has nothing to do with McDonald’s. Freak’s format looks like part of Live 105.3, part Russ Martin Show and a sports part.
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Which simply makes Ticket Jr.
Within The Freak’s imagery are the voices and faces of local and national sports stars. The Freak’s network programming during the night from 12:00 am to 7:00 am is entirely sports. The Freak’s original Twitter bio – since edited – boasted of being a “sports station” and his social media specifically targets another sports station. Surprise! The ticket.
If the station is – as the hosts claim – reinventing the radio wheel for free-form talk shows about nothing, why didn’t they hire Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer? Instead, his confusing strategy brought together a few women and a bunch of bearded white dudes with about 100 years of combined experience on…sports stations.
If The Freak isn’t a sports station, Monday won’t be about “We’re Nobody’s Underdog!” Cowboys vs Rams. Spoiler alert: It will.
*It’s early days, but the Cowboys are playing their best defense in 50 years. Judgment Day 4.0? The last time they held their first four opponents under 20 points, they were trailing by five players destined for Ring of Honor; three for Guangzhou.
*If it looks like the Mavs just lost Game 5 of the Western Conference Finals, but you’ve had to brood over the Wild Cards losing the Cowboys all year, you’re both right. When the Mavs announce their new season on Oct. 19 at the Phoenix Suns, it will only be 146 days since their May 26 elimination at the hands of the Golden State Warriors in San Francisco.
The Cowboys, meanwhile, had to sit out 238 long, cold days between the Jan. 16 loss to the San Francisco 49ers and the Sept. 11 season opener.
The Dallas Stars’ off-season wait will end at 151 days when they drop the puck in their 2023 season opener next week.
And the next time we see the Rangers will be 176 days from now when they host the Philadelphia Phillies on Opening Day on March 30, 2023.
*You could have had some pretty inviting odds against someone by the name of Jesús Tinoco throwing the most important pitch of the Rangers season. The September 1 appeal threw the hanging cursor at the judge. Who was later captured by Cory Youmans of Dallas, husband of our very own Bri Amaranthus. No kidding. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer couple. The snag was mild. The projected reward of $2 million is even sweeter.
*Like we need confirmation, when you’re on the brink of baseball history, deadly utensils like garbage cans become optional.
*In case you avoid the sickening hype, the Philadelphia Eagles are gone 4-0 behind the best running game in the NFL. In four games, they had 10 rushing touchdowns, the second most in the NFL in the last 50 years behind only the 1995 Cowboys. En route to Super Bowl XXX that season, Dallas started with 11 scores in the ground in four games, nine of them by a running back named Emmitt Smith.
*Combined record of the four opponents of the Cowboys: 8-8. Combined record of the Four Eagles opponents: 7-9.
*50 years of baseball for the Rangers: No price. no pride. They remain baseball’s last homophobic bastion – the only team to ever host a “Pride Night” welcoming its LGBTQIA+ fans.
*Tyreek Hill gets the superlatives, but CeeDee Lamb gets the Statistics. The Cowboys receiver has as many 15-yard catches as the Miami Dolphins speedster: 11. Lamb also leads the league with 16 catches on first down.
*What did the half a billion the Rangers spent to sign free agents Corey Seage and Marcus Semien get them? A total of 59 home runs, 166 RBIs, a .247 average and, uh-oh, just eight more wins than in 2021. That’s almost zero for a lot of money.
*I hope the money is worth it for Seager, who had to endure defeat – to the tune of 26 games under .500 – for the first time in his career. In seven seasons with the Dodgers, he never finished less than 20 games more .500. In keeping with the always boom-or-bust Rangers DNA, Seager’s 33 home runs are a career high; his batting average of .245 is a career low.
*The Cowboys are 5.5 point underdogs of the Rams on Sunday afternoon in Los Angeles. But don’t tell that coach Mike McCarthy, who refuses to acknowledge any line in which his team is unfavored. It’s not exactly “How ‘Bout Them Cowboys?!”, but “Nobody’s Underdogs!” That sounds good.
*I’ve been called a lot of things in my 36 years in DFW sports media, but never a “Level 7 Sith Lord with 56 hit points.” Thanks?
*This weekend? On Friday, let’s try something different like, say, Shakespeare in the Park. On Saturday, let’s try something familiar like, say, Texas-OU in the Cotton Bowl. Sunday, let’s stick with the same old, like, say, Cowboys on the couch. As always, don’t be a stranger.
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