Columnist Lowell Cohn wrote a column this week on Marty Lurie leaving the A's pre-game show and heading to KNBR to do similar duties for the Giants. It appears that KTRB, the A's home station, bumped Lurie in favor of Michael Savage, a polarizing and very controversial political talk show host. Whether you love Savage or hate him, no matter what your political views are, replacing Lurie with Savage for a baseball pre-game show is a head-scratcher, to say the least.
According to Cohn, the A's front office did little to retain Lurie, who was tired of going through uncertainty every offseason stemming from the A's frequently changing home radio stations. When KTRB failed to fully commit to Lurie this offseason, the A's told Lurie they wanted him to stay but that there is little they could do about it. Cohn's response to that is: "The A’s appeared to have no clout with the station, which strikes me as strange and disappointing."
Here at Baseball Oakland, we are big Marty Lurie fans. So, we're deeply disappointed that Lurie will not be returning to A's broadcasts. As Cohn wrote, Lurie's show cost the A's nothing. He sold his own advertising, booked his own guests and negotiated his own deal with the station. Couple that with his sterling reputation as a baseball man, and it boggles the mind why the A's wouldn't go to bat for him with KTRB.
Maybe it's just as simple as Cohn wrote: "I don’t believe the A’s understand what a treasure Marty is."
Lurie is the third popular radio personality that the A's have lost in the past 15 years. In October 1995, A's owners Steve Schott and Ken Hofmann let legendary announcer Lon Simmons go because they didn't want to pay his salary. Simmons was later given the Ford Frick Award from the Baseball Hall of Fame. Then following the 2003 season, Schott and Hofmann didn't retain Greg Papa -- a popular, well-respected A's announcer. Papa, who does Oakland Raiders play-by-play and formerly did Warriors play-by-play, recently was given the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association State Award for sportscasters for the second year in a row.
Both Simmons and Papa eventually were hired by the San Francisco Giants after the A's front office let them go. Now, the same has happened with Lurie. A sports franchise's broadcast team is a big part of how a ballclub is marketed. We wish that the ownership of our favorite team better understood that. Until they do, our losses will continue to be the rival Giants' gains.