“I got that wake-up call from Ryan (Lefebvre’s) game-saving throw out at the plate. I dozed off when it was 5-3 (Seattle).… I flipped on the old radio and then instantly was put right back to sleep.”
Doug Stewart, comparing the excitement of what Lefebvre is bringing to the Royals’ late-season broadcasts to the dullness and lifelessness that has enveloped Denny Matthews’ work even as the Royals fight to contend in September for the first time in over a decade, 810 AM
GH: Lefebvre made his signature call just the day before when he was lucky enough to me at the mic for the Royals radio call of Justin Maxwell’s dramatic game-winning grand slam. That call will define Lefebvre’s career for now – until he gets a chance to top it someday in the postseason. Doug Stewart is passively taking a shot at a Kansas City sports broadcasting legend – the HOF honored Denny Matthews. Stewart does not mention Matthews by name – rather he refers to the once great voice of the Royals only by his lethargic disregard for his craft, his profession and his audience. Read on.
“I got to be honest with you. It is an issue. It’s probably not one you’re going to hear about in a lot of places but…”
Soren Petro, responding to Stewart’s comments regarding Denny Matthews’ play-by-play work on Royals Radio, 810 AM
GH: It is not easy to negatively critique a legend – and Denny Mathews is a sports legend here in the Midwest or anywhere Royals fans have roamed for the past 45 years. Why aren’t we going to hear about it anywhere else? Great question. I love Denny’s work. Always have. Hell, I like Denny. I’ve spoken to him casually many times, interviewed him multiple times, even been to his home – but I have never been shy about voicing my displeasure with how he has allowed his work to deteriorate in a similar downward spiral as the team whose radio booth he occupies. Why are so few willing to say what we all (or most of us) know? Petro never mentioned Matthews by name either. Maybe we should refer to Matthews as Lord Voldemort.
“We’ve heard for a long time that you don’t get fired up about games that aren’t going anywhere. What do you keep in reserve? If this isn’t the time to unleash, if this isn’t the time to go Lefebvre… Time to get fired up! The Royals need to address that situation. That’s an issue.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: The Royals have a young, exciting and hopefully ascending team – for the first time in two generations. They also employ one of the crankiest and least exciting play-by-play radio dinosaurs in MLB. I listened to highlights of Matthews’ calls from Monday night’s game in Seattle – a game that was a novel all its own – and Matthews’ work was so weak it was fireable. It was that putrid. He sounded disgusted to still be sitting in his chair as the evening grew to 11:30 PM (PT) as Greg Holland closed out the game. Will the Royals do the right thing and force Denny to retire? Will Denny do the right thing and retire willingly? Either / or. The Royals do not need Matthews back for next season.
“If you don’t want to be at the game, you certainly shouldn’t be broadcasting the game. I’m going to put it at that and they can take that baton and go where they need to go with it. There’s got to be an interest in what’s going on on the field. There’s got to be a passion for this ball club. There’s a passion for this fan base that has to be reflected by the employees of the Kansas City Royals. And we’ll leave that there.”
Soren Petro, 810 AM
GH: I was disappointed that Petro refused to call Denny Matthews by name. He skirted that very important detail like a kid who still worships at the altar that was once Matthews’ throne. There is no throne anymore. There is no great call waiting to leap from Denny’s larynx. There is just an old man sounding like he is wishing he was anywhere but where he is but who has nowhere else to go. Gone!
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