Like Marty Lurie a year ago, it looks like another guy who made his name with the Oakland A’s will soon be talking about the Giants on KNBR for a regular paycheck. This is coming from an anonymous source, so take that into consideration, but I’m hearing that Eric Byrnes will be named the next “permanent” host of KNBR’s 7-10 pm weeknights show, Sportsphone 680.
For those who’ve observed KNBR’s hiring patterns over the years, this isn’t much of a surprise. In fact, the most shocking thing about this — if it comes true — is that it’s taking so long for KNBR to formally announce this. Whether that’s because Byrnes hesitated to make the time commitment, or the salary negotiations took a while, or Byrnes was weighing other offers, is up for speculation. However, with the Giants higher in popularity than ever, and as the most entrenched franchise calling KNBR its flagship station, the fact that Lee Hammer hired another ex-ballplayer for this role is hardly surprising.
As for Byrnes’ qualifications, he’s pretty similar to F.P. Santangelo in that they both can sound like they’re hosting a radio show in flip-flops and boardshorts while shaking the sand out of their hair. They sound alike even though their voices aren’t really that similar (if that makes sense). Byrnes had better numbers as a player. And while Santangelo was clearly pretty self confident, he at least flashed the ability to make fun of himself from time to time. Haven’t quite seen that from Byrnes-y in his multiple stints as a guest host.
One has to wonder if Byrnes will host the show for more than one baseball season, or even the entirety of this season. Like Santangelo, he’s sure to get offers to do TV throughout the country, probably even more so since he had a longer career and has already done national work with Fox and MLB Network. As for the Rays (Woodson and Ratto) who’ve done most of the fill-in work from 7-10 since Santangelo took off to be the color analyst for the Washington Nationals, Woodson will probably be back in his role as afternoon traffic/sports update guy, and Ratto will continue in his role as Sr. Sports Curmudgeon at Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.