Oakland Athletics’ radio fiasco is MLB slap in the face

Imagine being a Yankees or Mets fan when suddenly the teams pull all their radio broadcasts. Out, off, gone, kaput.

Imagine being in a car, at the beach, in the yard, a campsite, your desk, unable to hear a Yankees or Mets game on radio.

Last week the A’s announced the latest in MLB unimaginable. Oakland A’s games will no longer be heard on standard, over-the-air radio in Oakland, but through some streaming app, via the Internet. No local radio.

A’s fans living nearly 90 miles away in Sacramento, however, can catch the games on real radio.

But what was once out of the question — say, World Series games that by design end near midnight for more than half the nation’s population — have become sold-at-auction standard.

If I’m commissioner, that A’s move won’t happen. I don’t care if the team is forced to buy its own radio time and sell its own ads. No team will be without standard, all-in, live radio broadcasts.

But I’m not the commissioner.

Consider that on Rob Manfred’s watch the past two seasons, MLB sold “TV exclusivity” of games to Facebook, where far fewer would watch? So what?

If it ever comes up on a test, the answer to the question, “Did MLB and its teams ever take money to prevent games from being seen on teams’ local TV?” the answer is, “Yes, 32 times over the past two seasons.”

Instead of “No way!” Manfred and his seconds piped, “How much?”

Rob Manfred
Rob ManfredAP

Manfred and Roger Goodell are 21st Century versions of pre-World War II British prime minister Neville Chamberlain — trying to keep their kingdoms and kingmakers vibrant through compromises, capitulations and shamelessness sell-outs of allies.

This industrial-sized Astros’ cheating scandal provides MLB with an unexpected opportunity to try to scrub clean, stay clean.

But how do you devalue greed? MLB greed has been rationalized as, “Don’t forget, it’s a business.” But why must it be sustained and further eroded as a bad business?

MLB exists as a de facto American monopoly, exempt from Federal antitrust statutes. Thus to claim that MLB operates within a free, competitive market place — grab as much as you can — is an abuse of its antitrust waiver.

Thus, there’s no good reason — unless greed is one — why MLB can’t take less TV money to restore its authority over The Game for the good of The Game.

Who wouldn’t play baseball for $3 million a year rather that $6 million? Why must two tickets here cost $500 or more — before tack-on fees? Forty bucks to park, no refunds for a rainout? Three-hour weather delays, no ticket refunds?

Why can’t a cup of soda be sold for $1.25, still plenty of profit in it? Subway $5 footlongs for $14? Why must customers always be gouged and suckered until they wise up, rarely or never to return? NFL attendance is at a 15-year low. Wonder why?

Why are 1 p.m. Saturday afternoon baseball games disappearing if not for TV money? What compels MLB to bait-and-switch big TV market Sunday afternoon games to Sunday nights for TV money?

And customers are told to “Drink responsibly” while sold only salted peanuts.

Why can’t a World Series game appear on a Saturday afternoon? Who would publicly protest that as not in MLB’s best interests?

Team owners must cease hiring CFOs called “commissioners,” those assigned to pad their bottom lines or service their debts. Trade Chamberlain for Winston Churchill. Try a boss who genuinely serves the strong survival and greater good of the game.

The last to try was Fay Vincent, 1989-92. The owners dumped him with two years left on his contract.

For bad reasons, this is a good time to start tearing it all up and prepare to start it all over, not to add more playoff teams to further degrade the product with transparent gimmicks for TV revenue. The solution is not further dissolution.

MLB could start slowly, but decisively. First order of the New Order: Restore A’s baseball to the radio, but only for the good for The Game.

Ley to receive well-deserved honor from Hall

Seton Hall is plenty proud to have former ESPN anchor and old-school broadcast journalist Bob Ley as a Class of ’76 graduate. And Sunday afternoon, before Seton Hall’s game vs. St. John’s at Prudential Center, it will prove it with a reception and ceremony to honor Ley.

During the game, which begins at 2, Ley will return to his broadcasting roots, helping call the game on WSOU 89.5 FM, the school’s station and launch pad since 1948.

Bob Ley

Ley, with ESPN for 40 years, was a thoughtful, probing, literate and honest voices of sports. His “Outside the Lines” programs — they rarely were “shows” — provided well-written, sober overviews of issues with a strong blend of significant outside and inside investigation and examination.

Significantly, he only rarely was squeezed to serve as a shill for ESPN programming. But likely unknown to his bosses, the unfettered, independent Bob Ley was a great reflection on ESPN.

I don’t like hitting those who are down, out and wounded, but Peter Kostis, 73 and 30 years a CBS golf voice — mostly as an on-course reporter — continues to trash CBS for letting him go late last year, as if he’d been a tremendously popular presence. He wasn’t.

His continuing, on-the-record anger with CBS, while understood and worthy of sympathy, is heard and read as overly inflated self-evaluation. Kostis might’ve expressed more gratitude than fury toward CBS for employing him for 30 years.

Not that candor is encouraged on golf telecasts, but Kostis was another flat, cliché-driven participant given to saying that the course “is in pristine condition,” conducting dull, pro-forma interviews and noting slight shifts in the wind.

He had a very good run. Why go out kvetching?

Stanton whiffs on HR claim

Shame-shame on the Astros? MLB is already trying to cash in on their infamy. In the first six days of spring training games, MLB Network will carry three Astros’ games.

Giancarlo Stanton claims he’d hit 80 home runs if he knew, like Astros batters, what pitches were coming. But he did know — heat, up and away — yet whiffed anyway. In 2018, Stanton struck out swinging after fouling off three pitches against third baseman Matt Davidson, brought in with the White Sox losing 7-0 in the ninth.

How much are tickets to a Knicks’ game? According to Gametime, secondary market brokers, those to Feb. 26’s Knicks at Hornets can be purchased for $3 apiece. Or one can wait to see if the price drops.

One more ESPN “promotion” and Jessica Mendoza will be issued her severance pay.

According to inside sources, next season The Post plans to print full-page brackets for MLB postseason office pools.

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