Before the beginning of the season, longtime pre-pre-game radio host and overall nice guy Marty Lurie was unceremoniously dropped by the A’s/KTRB. No reason was given, only an announcement that former KNBR update guy and Sports Byline late night host Chris Townsend would inherit the position. While I liked the direction because of Townsend’s edge and SJSU ballplayer roots, I felt bad for Lurie, who is as congenial and full of history as anyone local gets. I’m glad he was able to continue his work on the other side of the bay.
Townsend came in and didn’t immediately try to set the fanbase on fire. He measured the audience, sought to gain their confidence and a trust, which is not the easiest thing to do – Robert Buan was often vilified by anyone who wasn’t a regular caller to the post game show. Over the first month or so, that edge started to show itself, as Townsend implored callers to “bring it.”
Yesterday, after the Gio gem, we finally got to see that edge fully unleashed, and the callers (as well as this listener) fed off it big time. Was it emperor nobody who had what amounted to a nice, lengthy segment? And did Bleacher Dave seem a bit restrained, yet insightful as usual? Whatever the case, Townsend was in fine form as his San Diego boy roots showed, along with his full and complete hatred of the Giants. He ripped into bandwagon fans, Will Clark not becoming the next Ted Williams, the 51 years of no rings, and I was loving every minute of it for the entertainment value. (If you’re wondering, I don’t hate the Giants myself, I only pity them and their fans.) There was even room for T-rights and Oakland-vs.-San Jose in the discussion, and without the usual vitriol.
What you’re hearing is a changing of the guard. Townsend took over for Buan and Lurie. It’s only a matter of time before Carney Lansford takes over for Ray Fosse. Now, Carney definitely needs more seasoning at the analyst desk before he steps into the broadcast booth full-time, even if it’s the TV role. For the future, especially if it’s in San Jose, Carney’s the bridge to the previous era. He’s from Santa Clara and sent his sons to
Bellarmine St. Francis. He also was part of Baseball San Jose, and I fully expect him to pop up in a TV ad here and there prior to the November election. Come 2012 I would love to have Cotroneo/Lansford in the TV booth (where there’s more room for mistakes), and Korach/Hendu in the radio booth. Of course, there is the possibility that newly retired Eric Byrnes could step in, but I suspect he’ll have a national job coming soon enough, perhaps with MLB Network.
As I write this over Sunday brunch, washing it down with a Sierra Nevada, I have to say the future is bright.