Playoff Reset: Orioles, Royals look to wrap it up

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It’s do-or-die time for two of the clubs — the favorites, to many — on the AL side of the postseason bracket. Let’s break down Sunday’s action …

The Game: Baltimore Orioles vs. Detroit Tigers, American League Division Series Game 3
The Time: 3:30 PM Eastern
The Place: Comerica Park, Detroit
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: Bud Norris vs. David Price
The Upshot: It’s cliché, but here is the reason is the Tigers acquired Price. Detroit’s bullpen has been an embarrassment through the first two games of this series, so Price needs to be both good and efficient versus the O’s, taking his start as deep as possible. He’s gone eight innings or longer in five of his 11 outings since leaving the Rays. The Orioles have scored 19 runs already in this best-of-five and will try to break out the big bats again with the champagne on ice.

The Game: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim vs. Kansas City Royals, ALDS Game 3
The Time: 7:30 PM Eastearn
The Place: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City
The Channel: TBS
The Starters: C.J. Wilson vs. James Shields
The Upshot: Kansas City’s second postseason home game in 29 years — the first was Tuesday night’s Wild Card thriller — could be a Division Series clincher. What a story. The scrappy, underdog Royals grabbed two extra-inning wins in Anaheim and now “Big Game James” can pitch them into the ALCS. The Angels probably aren’t overjoyed that Wilson has to play the role of savior. He had a rough 4.51 ERA (81 ERA+) and 1.45 WHIP in 175 2/3 innings during the regular season. The Halos will need some offense.

UPDATE: WEEI denies it will change Red Sox broadcasts to a talk show format

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UPDATE: WEEI is pushing back on this report, denying that it is true. Finn’s source for the story was the agency posting job listings which said that, yes, WEEI was looking to do the talk show format. WEEI is now saying that the agency was merely speculating and that it will still be a traditional broadcast.

Both WEEI and Finn say they will have full reports soon, so I guess we’ll see.

9:47 AM: WEEI carries Boston Red Sox games on the radio in the northeast. For the past three seasons, Tim Neverett and Joe Castiglione have been the broadcast team. Following what was reportedly a difficult relationship with the station, Neverett has allowed his contract with WEEI to end, however, meaning that the station needs to do something else with their broadcast.

It seems that they’re going to do something radical. Chad Finn of the Boston Globe:

There were industry rumors about possible changes all season long. One, which multiple sources have said was a genuine consideration, had WEEI dropping the concept of a conventional radio baseball broadcast to make the call of the game sound more like a talk show.

That was yesterday. Just now, Finn confirmed it:

I have no idea how that will work in practice but I can’t imagine this turning out well. At all.

Hiring talk show hots to call games — adding opinion and humor and stuff while still doing a more or less straightforward broadcast — would probably be fine. It might even be fun. But this is not saying that’s what is happening. It says it’s changing it to a talk show “format.” I have no idea how that would work. A few well-done exceptions aside, there is nothing more annoying than sports talk radio. It tends to be constant, empty chatter about controversies real or imagined and overheated either way. It usually puts the host in the center of everything, forcing listeners — often willingly — to adopt his point of view. It’s almost always boorish narcissism masquerading as “analysis.”

But even if it was the former idea — talk show hosts doing a conventional broadcast — it’d still be hard to pull off given how bad so many talk show hosts are. There are a couple of sports talk hosts I like personally and I think do a good job, most are pretty bad, including the ones WEEI has historically preferred.

Which is to stay that this is bound to be awful. And that’s if they even remember to pay attention to the game. Imagine them taking a few calls while the Red Sox mount a rally, get sidetracked arguing over whether some player is “overrated” or whatever and listeners get completely lost.

My thoughts and prayers go out to Red Sox fans who listen to the games on the radio.