Sometimes a commenter will act like they just cracked the case and are shedding the light on a massive Bay Area media conspiracy theory, and questions whether I’m getting paid on the side by KNBR. Or, if I have a vested interest in that station succeeding. Ha. Couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, the last 24 hours proved they can’t stand me.
First, they unfollowed me on Twitter, and KNBR follows any Bay Area sports fan with a pulse (and no, I’m not referring to Matt Steinmetz’s show on “The Game”). I thought it was because I opened up the Macbook after getting home from the not-so-Superdome last night and questioned the 49ers’ playcalling, secondary and hashtags. Write about hosts getting fired, how they refuse to work with one another or even when they ignore stories they don’t like due to the university they attended? That’s fine, but don’t question our flagship teams!
Maybe some intern was running the account who couldn’t handle my frustrated tone. Or, perhaps it had something to do with a host (whom I don’t particularly care for) announcing this:
Our vacation is coming to a close, kids. Nothing like an egotistical triathlete reminiscing on his days with the D-Backs to make an afternoon seem like torture — and not the fun kind celebrated by Duane Kuiper.
I was hoping against hope that KNBR would let Byrnes walk (or swim, bike, run, whatever he chooses as long as it’s not on terrestrial radio). But no, our days of intelligent sports banter between Tom Tolbert and Ray Ratto are probably coming to a close, at least on a daily basis. In its place will be the same old, “Hey dude, I beat you by 10 strokes with these $100K custom-fitted clubs” screech-fest I learned to avoid last baseball season.
Yes, Byrnes played baseball. He knows much more about what it’s like to reside in a clubhouse and lace ‘em up than myself and most members of the local media. But Ratto challenges Tolbert (like a certain you-know-who used to), and the two discussed almost all relevant sports intelligently. On the other hand, Tolbert once had to explain to Byrnes who George “The Iceman” Gervin is. Ratto also doesn’t plug his Twitter account before every … single … break (and don’t forget about Facebook!), or act as if his love for insipid pop songs somehow makes him seem hipper or younger than the average talk show host.
As much as I don’t appreciate Byrnes, I really like Ratto. He’s one of the smartest, hardest-working media personalities in the region, and he’s actually funny. Funny and loud are two different things.
KNBR probably doesn’t have much use for Byrnes during the MLB offseason. Perhaps that’s why they took their sweet time coming to an agreement with the man who, like almost everyone I’ve come across who’s done an Ironman, CAN’T STOP TALKING ABOUT THE FACT THAT THEY’RE TRAINING FOR AN IRONMAN.
Am I making it too obvious that in a former life I once managed a triathlon store and had to listen to these narcissists prattle on about personal bests for 40-50 hours per week? Did you know that they all shave their legs (and in many cases, most of the rest of their body)? Oh, they’ll show you. There aren’t enough mirrors in a triathlon store, because then you wouldn’t have enough room for the skin tight performance wear, running shoes, bikes, energy gel and all the other weird chemicals triathletes ingest to reach their VO2 max.
This probably doesn’t mean the end of Ratto on KNBR, since he clearly impressed the Cumulus higher-ups enough to become the clear fill-in choice (and we know that Byrnes isn’t about to work five days a week on a consistent basis). And who knows, maybe Byrnes will go back to hosting Sportsphone 680 … nah, that’s a long shot. Byrnes clearly liked that drivetime spot next to Tolbert, and if what I heard was true — Byrnes was holding out for more money, and that’s why he hasn’t been heard on “The Sports Leader” for several weeks — they won’t pay him more just to field calls from drunks and stay until midnight doing postgame shows for the Giants. And, in some cases, even the Warriors.
With Byrnes probably returning and making 3-7 pm a designated “Bro Time” for KNBR, I guess it’s time to start listening more to Chris Townsend and Ric Bucher. I’ve tried to get into The Game’s marquee show, but I’ve had a hard time listening much longer than during the commercials for Tolbert and Ratto. But I’ve got to listen to something, right? I guess there’s always music…