NHL podcast with Len Shapiro: Bettman says $1 mil cap increase considered due to league profits; Habs Dvorak out for rest of season; plus much more

NHL top prospect Connor Bedard is top candidate for number one draft pick as the San Jose Sharks and the Columbus Blue Jackets could be the winner of the Bedard draft sweepstakes by season’s end. (photo from nhl.com)

On the NHL podcast with Len Shapiro:

#1 NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman says that the salary cap could increase by one million it may not sound like much but it could make a huge difference for club trying to make a trade, draft a player or just make it budget for that free agent. Bettman says revenues have exceeded expectations and an uptick just might be in the works.

#2 Gary Bettman said he’s not ready to reveal who will be the next owner of the Ottawa Senators. Bettman said there are multiple buyers vying for ownership of the Senators but Bettman did say there are bidders of magnitude of interest. Bettman said the sale is not tied to any future downtown arena as the Senators have played in the Canadian Tire Centre in Kanata Ottawa since 1996.

#3 Montreal Canadiens Christian Dvorak will miss the rest of the 2022-23 season. Dvorak had knee surgery Wednesday. When it rains it pours Dvorak has not played since Mar 7th when the Canadiens lost to the Carolina Hurricanes 4-3 suffered a lower body injury.

#4 While you don’t see too much NHL coverage on ESPN during daily programming and a lot of the talk shows and sports reports don’t discuss game recaps but one thing ESPN, ABC and TNT are acknowledging that viewership of NHL hockey is is averaging 1.1 million a 19 percent bump up. The networks are in their second year of their seven year deal with the NHL. That’s pretty good considering the league gets very little mention on ESPN’s daily schedule programming.

#5 Len, the race to the bottom might prove to be fruitful for either the San Jose Sharks 51 points and the Columbus Blue Jackets 49 points in their bid for NHL number one draft pick Conner Bedard. The Sharks just lost in overtime in San Jose to the visiting Blue Jackets on Tuesday night 6-5.

Join Len for the NHL podcasts Thursday nights at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary with Jeremiah Salmonson: Stephen A. Smith’s Ohtani can’t speak English comments weighing heavy; Olson and Bassitt representing A’s

ESPN’s Stephen A Smith apologized for saying that Los Angeles Angels designated hitter and pitcher Shohei Ohtani shouldn’t be the face of Major League Baseball that he’s a foreign player, can’t speak English and he’s contributing to harming the game (USA Today file photo)

Jeremiah filled in for That’s Amaury podcast this week:

#1 Jeremiah, please tell us your thoughts on New York Mets Pete Alfonso winning the home run derby two years in a row and the Oakland A’s Matt Olson participating in the derby as well.

#2 ESPN’s Stephen A Smith sure hit a nerve when he said that the Los Angeles Angeles Shohei Ohtani shouldn’t be the face of Major League Baseball, that he’s foreign player, can’t speak English, and he’s contributing to harming the game. Smith issued an apology for his comments on Tuesday.

#3 All Star game tonight in Denver A’s representatives first pitcher Chris Bassitt (9-3 ERA 3.28) is looking forward to participating in the mid summer classic particularly after having a fine first half.

#4 Matt Olson .282, 88 hits, 23 homers and 59 RBIs he’s seeing the ball well needless to say and participated in the home run derby on Monday night.

#5 The A’s first round draft pick Max Muncy 18 is hoping to be their future shortstop. Muncy no relation to the LA Dodger Max Muncy who was drafted fifth by the A’s in 2012 and shares the same birth date with the Dodger Muncy on Aug 25th.

#5 Jeremiah, the All Star game is tonight in Denver many a player who is there worked hard to get this far in the first half of the season who are the All Stars that we’ll see tonight that impressed you most?

Jeremiah Salmonson filled in for Amaury who is on La Mejor Musica on the Oakland A’s flagship station 1010 KIQI LeGrande San Francisco and look for his News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: ESPN Pedro Gómez dead at 58

The late great Pedro Gomez who worked in print at the Arizona Republic, Sacramento Bee, San Jose Mercury News among others and moved to TV at ESPN was a solid beat writer and investigative reporter during the Barry Bonds steroid era, well respected amongst his colleagues and the players. Gone at 58 (file photo Apple News)

ESPN Pedro Gómez dead at 58

That’s Amaury News and Commentary

By Amaury Pi-González

On Sunday, while watching the Super bowl, I learned that ESPN sports reporter Pedro Gómez had suddenly passed away at the age of 58 at his Arizona home. Since Pedro Gómez is a very common name in Spanish, I thought that maybe it was not true, that it was somebody else, some other Pedro Gómez, but too soon I found out -unfortunately- it was the Pedro Gómez I knew.

We used to run into each other at Spring Training in Arizona when he worked for the San José Mercury News and other newspapers as well in other cities and here in the Bay Area. Sometimes Pedro would be at a Golden State Warriors game and would join me to do commentary in Spanish over the radio during half time from the Oakland Arena.

I remember one time he took his little boy Rio to a Warrior’s game with his wife, he was holding Rio his son, a toddler, and he adored his kid who is now a man and a baseball player in the Boston Red Sox organization.

The Red Sox issued a statement on social media, saying … “Our hearts go out to the Gómez family, including Pedro Gomez’s son, Rio, a pitcher in our minor league system.” Pedro’s parents were Cuban exiles who arrived to the US in the early 1960’s, about the same I did, when there was a huge Cuban wave of exiles into the US.

We often talked about Cuba, and the time he went there to do a report for ESPN during a baseball exhibition between the Cuban team and the Tampa Bay Rays, we had a very nice conversation regarding his trip to the island and when he reported that his father pledged never to go back to Cuba as long as the Castro regime was in power, which is the sentiment of most Cubans who left the country.

I remember when he asked me If I have been back and if I planned to, which I responded, no, I am just like your parents in that regard, I am not going back as long as the country doesn’t have any freedom and the system doesn’t change.

Pedro was a people’s person affable and always seems to be in a good mood, a true professional always ready to cover any sports story that came his way and he did very well for many years. An excellent journalist.

I joked with him every time I saw him, because of his likeness to a young Camilo Pascual, the ex Cuban pitcher of the Washington Senators and later Minnesota Twins, I would ask him if he was sure he was not related to Pascual and he would laugh and say no, I am not.

During one Spring Training game at the Dodgers training camp in Arizona and inside the Press Box, Alanna Rizzo the Dodgers sports television on-the-field reporter, whose mother was also a Cuban exile, Pedro and yours truly were together and I joked saying that three Cubans is the most a press box could tolerate because more than three and there could be a revolution.

Pedro laughs and responded to me: “yo creo que si” trans- “I think so”. I like to remember him this way, talking baseball with me and about the things we had in common. I am very saddened because we have lost a very good man, and way too young. My sincere condolences to his family.

May he Rest in Peace.

Stay well and stay tuned.

Amaury Pi Gonzalez is the Spanish radio voice for the Oakland A’s at 1010 KIQI LeGrande San Francisco and does News and Commentary at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

Headline Sports with London Marq: Big fan push for changing NBA logo to Kobe; How Reid and Shanahan will coach to win on Sunday; plus more

nypost.com photo: Simulated look at new Kobe NBA logo if switched from the current Jerry West NBA logo

On Headline Sports with London:

#1 Huge fan push to change NBA insignia from Jerry West to Kobe Bryant and the push is catching on

#2 The Super Bowl is normally one of sports biggest events but after the death of Kobe his death has overshadowed the big game.

#3 Kansas City Chiefs head coach Andy Reid is looking for his first Super Bowl with the Chiefs while San Francisco 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan is looking to recover from the last Super Bowl he coached in. As an assistant coach Shanahan had the Falcons ahead in the Super Bowl only to cave and lose the Super Bowl. Shanahan is looking to get it done on Sunday.

#4 On ESPN Stephen A said there was no way that the 49ers quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo outplays the Kansas City Chiefs Pat Mahomes on Sunday

#5 How important is it that Dusty Baker hired by the Houston Astros who are trying to get away from the sign stealing scandal and Dusty is a player’s manager, doesn’t use technology or computers to manage a game or need to steal signs.

London Marq joins Sports Talk each Wednesday at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: ESPN Deportes saying Adios by September

Photo credit: espn.com

By: Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

Social Media has done it once again. They just about eradicated print media in this country as they continue to advance as part of the biggest media transformation of our lives. ESPN Deportes from Bristol, Connecticut confirmed that their radio channel in Spanish will cease to operate this fall. As a result, many full-time and part-time jobs will be going away. Most of these jobs are in Coral Gables (Miami) as well as in New York. However, while Miami and New York were their major hubs, they have stations all across the country. Maybe the best example of what has been happening for a decade with the social media transformation is the New York Times, the most famous newspaper in the country, received a loan from Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim in 2009. Slim gave the NYT $250 million dollars to keep operating.

“Hispanic audience consumer habits are changing rapidly and this requires ESPN to evolve as well,” the statement said. “It’s no secret Hispanic fans skew heavily on digital and social media, which is why we made the decision to discontinue ESPN Deportes terrestrial radio (ESPN Deportes radio) in September.”

It is obvious that the majority of people in the US get their news and sports via social media. Everybody has a cellphone and can now access live and instant information at their fingertips. Social media facilitates the sharing of information and ways of expression via virtual communities and networks.

The future of media is truly in the hands of social media, the main engine of transformation in this business. Print media was first, then radio and television finding a way how to “befriend” social media.

Until as recently as 2016, today’s Oakland Athletics flagship station KTRB 860 AM was part of ESPN Deportes. When it comes to social media in relation to “old” media, the best thing to do is listed below.

In other words, if you can’t beat them, join them!

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary: ESPN President says political commentary killed the network

Photo credit: @CornellNews

By: Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

James Pitaro, new President of ESPN, said: “My job is to provide clarity. I really believe that some of our talent was confused on what was expected of them.”

Pitaro admitted political commentary killed the network and vowed for change.

Pitaro added: “Our fans do not want politics mixed with sports.”

Alexandra J. Robert, a law professor specializing in trademark law, entertainment law and pop culture recently wrote in The Boston Globe how one business in particular feels. In this case, Dunkin Donuts said: “We are not Starbucks, we aren’t political, we aren’t gonna put stuff on our cups to start conversations. we don’t want to engage you in political conversation, we want to get you in and out of our store in seconds. It’s donuts and ice cream– just be happy.”

The majority of businesses have one agenda — to make money. I do not know of anybody that goes into business to lose money. Having said that we live in a free capitalistic free enterprise society, and people (even businesses) are allowed to promote certain causes. There is nothing wrong with that.

When it comes to sports, Pitaro has seen what has happened to his network and he is trying to change that. ESPN has always been a sports network. They do not tell you how to cook an omelet or how to elect somebody to Congress, while those watching the Food Channel could care less (well, at least when they are watching their favorite show) what was the score of the game. To each their own. I am old enough to remember when we had ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS and vice versa way before cable. Now, we have 200-plus channels to chose from.

For years, I have maintained that sports is one of the biggest escapes to the boring everyday life. Let’s face it, most people’s lives consist of going to work in the morning and coming home in the afternoon. The overwhelming majority see sports that should always be neutral, something to enjoy, escape and relax from a hard day of work.

Pitaro gets it. He knew he has been hired to heal a network that during the past few years have been going downhill, not only from the competition, but also because some who get paid to cover sports dived into politics.

Pitaro knows very well he has not been hired to save the world, but to save a sports network.

That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast with Barbara Mason: Will Irving reunite with LeBron in L.A.?; Leonard’s 4-bouncer rim shot gets Raptors in the semi Finals; plus more

Photo credit: @AFordTaurus

Barbara Mason is filling in for Amaury on That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary podcast:

#1 What about all the talk from ESPN radio that they can see a LeBron James and Kyrie Irving reunion at the Los Angeles Lakers especially if Jason Kidd had come on board as head coach but Frank Vogel got the job as Lakers head coach? Stephen A Smith says that not going to happen that his sources tell him that Irving is going to the Knicks and Brooklyn is trying to weigh in on Irving, but Irving is focused on going to the Knicks and Madison Square Garden.

#2 The Toronto Raptors’ Kawhi Leonard sunk a four-bouncer on the rim and got the Raptors into the next round defeating the Philadelphia 76ers 92-90 on a buzzer beater. Leonard had himself a game finishing with 41 points in a Game 7 elimination contest to advance to face the Milwaukee Bucks in the Eastern Conference Finals.

#3 The Portland Trail Blazers’ Damian Lilliard will be all the rage as the Blazers are coming off a narrow 4-3 win past the Denver Nuggets. It took seven games for the Blazers to advance. Do the Blazers have enough to go deep with Golden State? In game one the Warriors rolled past Portland 116-94.

#4 In hockey, the San Jose Sharks and St Louis Blues played Game 2 Monday night in the best of seven in this third round of the NHL Stanley Cup Western Conference Final. The Sharks have been getting help from all around, but the Sharks’ Timo Meier has been on fire with two goals scored in Game 1. The Sharks had home ice in game for the first two games.

#5 The Oakland A’s opened up a two-game series in Seattle on Monday night the A’s got five homers but couldn’t win it in the end. The A’s and M’s are battling for that third place spot in the American League West and are two games out of second place but eight games behind Houston. The A’s and M’s have almost identical records in a short series that could prove to test the A’s on the road and the M’s against an A’s team who’s capable to break out the bats and get good pitching.

Barbara does That’s Amaury’s News and Commentary every Tuesday night and is a freelance writer for Area Grande Spanish papers at http://www.sportsradioservice.com

San Jose State football games named to Mountain West national TV package

Photo credit: sjsuspartans.com

By: Ana Kieu

Three San Jose State Spartans home football games and one Mountain West conference road game are part of the conference’s 44-game national television package with CBS Sports Network and ESPN Networks.

San Jose State will be playing twice on Friday night starting with their Friday, September 27 conference opener at Air Force on CBSSN starting at 6:00 pm MT/5:00 pm PT. SJSU will be on CBSSN again the following Friday, October 4 for a 7:00 pm PT conference home game vs. New Mexico in CEFCU Stadium.

SJSU’s November 2 home game hosting Boise State now has a 7:30 pm PT game time and carried on CBSSN.

The Spartans’ final game in the conference’s national television package is Saturday, November 30 home game against Fresno State for the Valley Trophy. The game will be assigned to the ESPN Networks, but the game time will be announced at a later date.

With today’s announcement, AT&T SportsNet, Stadium, Spectrum Sports (Hawaii), CBSSN and ESPN will have an opportunity to select additional SJSU games for their respective broadcast packages.

Season tickets, group tickets and mini-plans are available for the entire San Jose State Spartans home football schedule at www.sjsuspartans.com/tickets or by calling (408) 924-7589.

Here’s the 2019 SJSU football schedule:

That’s Amaury News and Commentary: Exclusive Interview With WFAN’s Suzyn Waldman

Photo credit: @NYDNSports

By: Amaury Pi-Gonzalez

The New York Yankees paid their recent visit to the Oakland Athletics at the Coliseum. Prior to the last game of the three-game series, I spoke with WFAN’s Suzyn Waldman, who handles commentary on all Yankee games with play-by-play man John Sterling.

Suzyn has been broadcasting sports for 32 years. This interview was conducted inside her broadcast booth at the Coliseum a good three hours prior to the game that night.

Q: Suzyn, how did you got started in sports broadcasting after 30 years of doing this?

A: Oh boy, well when I started I was in theater before I did this and musical theater it was changing and the only other thing I knew was sports, because I had my own season-tickets at baseball games with my grandfather when I was three and I was a sports person, but it was always my avocation, because little girls didn’t do that, and I was on Broadway and I sang and dance did all that and I go to ballgames, and…a friend of mine who used to be the announcer for the Boston Red Sox, Ken Coleman–we were very very close friends he said, “you know I have a friend and this next year they are starting this thing in New York it’s going to be called WFAN…and I told him he’s going to meet you, because you know more about sports than anybody I know and you’re female and they’re going to need a woman so I made a tape.

I didn’t know what I was doing and I was hired to do updates, I was actually the first voice on WFAN in 1987 so that’s the beginning, but then I realized that nobody wanted me there because I was female, so then it became something else and it became don’t you dare to talk to me like that, and don’t you tell me I don’t know because I am female…and so that’s how that started with people saying “no.”

Q: How do you feel being a pioneer? Actually there still not that many women in sports broadcasting in baseball like, say Jessica Mendoza, anymore.

A: Well I wasn’t trying to be a pioneer, I was just trying to make a living and I didn’t like being told I didn’t know anything…to tell you the truth I expected there to be a lot more women, it is just me in the broadcast booth, I know Jessica does ESPN, but it is only one game a week … it is just me and I am waiting for someone else to do this I know there are women down in the minor leagues trying to to this to get a chance or whether or not they give up, I think there is no failures. It’s just people that give up too soon.

Q: Is this more fun that playing Dulcinea in Man of LaMancha?

A: Nothing is more fun that being Dulcinea in Man of La Mancha. You know I did get over theater, although I miss it everyday, but I am still on stage. This a different stage, but I’m still performing. I don’t sing and dance anymore and I don’t get applause … Yeah, I miss theater everyday … but this is important and this is where I should be”

Q: Your best message for a young female that aspires to be in sports broadcasting like you maybe in baseball.

A: Think of what you can do that’s difference from everybody else go and look in the mirror and say to yourself, “I have a different way of looking at this, and I am going to do this, don’t let anybody stop you, because people are going to say no, you do commercials on television, you’ll get 200 no, before you get a commercial, but don’t let people tell you ‘no.'” You will know … and don’t want to be me, don’t want to be Jessica, just be you, because if you take my job is just one, but if it’s you, then there are two of us. Don’t let anybody stop you.

It was truly a pleasure to interview Suzyn for the first time, despite the fact we’ve known each other for decades during baseball games at many parks across the country.

Amaury Pi-González is the Spanish voice of the A’s and since 2016, he’s in the Advisory Board of the American Sportscasters Association in New York City.

Raiders to host Rams in regular season opener on Monday Night Football

Photo credit: @Raiders

By Joe Hawkes-Beamon
SRS Contributor

OAKLAND — Yes, the NFL regular season is finally here. No more of watching unwatchable preseason football and hoping that both teams put on solid efforts.

The Oakland Raiders will begin their 2018 regular season on Monday night when they will welcome the Los Angeles Rams to the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. The game between the two clubs will be the second game of ESPN’s Monday Night Football doubleheader, which kicks off at 7:20 p.m. PT.

The New York Jets travel to the Motor City to take on the Detroit Lions in Game 1. Kickoff for that game is at 4:10 p.m. PT.

The Raiders met the Rams in Week 2 of the preseason in Los Angeles. The Rams won a snore of a game, 19-15, with both teams opting to hold out their starters.

This time around, things will be different as this is the regular season and the games count more than they do in the preseason.

The big story surrounding the Raiders has been the trade of defensive end/outside linebacker Khalil Mack to the Chicago Bears on Sept. 2. Oakland was unable to come to terms on a new longterm contract for the star defender.

The Raiders were hoping that Mack would return to the team and play under the franchise tag of $13.8 million but when it appeared that Mack wasn’t going to show up for any of Oakland’s training camp, head coach Jon Gruden and general manager Reggie McKenzie shipped the 27-year-old former NFL Defensive Player of the Year to the Bears for a boatload of draft picks: first- and sixth-round picks in 2019, and first- and third-round picks in 2020.

Along with Mack, the Bears received second- and fifth-round picks in 2020 as part of the deal.

Oakland will miss Mack no doubt. Mack amassed 40.5 sacks over the past four seasons for the Raiders and the name of the game on defense is to hit the quarterback and Oakland just let their best pass rusher walk out the door.

Last season, the Raiders finished 24th in defense last year despite Mack’s 10.5 sacks. This season, the Raiders will need to improve that ranking if they are to return to the playoffs after a dismal 6-10 season last year following a 12-4 campaign in 2016. That means rookies on the defensive line such as P.J. Hall, Maurice Hurst and Arden Key will be tasked to pick up the slack for Mack.

Quarterback Derek Carr is looking for a bounce back season of his own in 2018.

Last season, Carr’s numbers dipped a bit: throwing for 3,496 yards, with 22 touchdowns and 13 interceptions with a 86.4 passer rating after throwing for 3,937 yards with 28 touchdowns and just six interceptions to go along with a career-high 96.7 passer rating in 2016.

With Gruden back in town (after taking over for the fired Jack Del Rio), Carr’s play is expected to take off. Gruden is credited as being an offensive genius when designing plays and Carr’s performance will be critical for the Raiders’ offense that finished  23rd in production in 2017.

The Rams defense finished in 12th in scoring defense (20.6 points per game) and are loaded.

Defensive tackle Aaron Donald, the reigning NFL Defensive Player of the Year, leads the Rams into Oakland looking to build off of the team’s first postseason birth since 2004. Los Angeles won the NFC West title after finishing 11-5 last season and are one of the favorites to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl in Atlanta on Feb. 3, 2019.

Los Angeles added defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh to play next to Donald in the offseason, along with cornerbacks Aqib Talib and Marcus Peters via trades to shore up their secondary.

The Rams have one of the best offenses in the league, led by third-year quarterback Jared Goff and running back Todd Gurley.

After a subpar rookie season in 2016 in which he threw for just 1,089 yards with five touchdowns and seven interceptions under former head coach Jeff Fisher, Goff exploded in 2017 under first-year head coach Sean McVay throwing for career-highs in yards (3,804), touchdowns (28) and passer rating (100.5).

Goff threw just seven interceptions during the 2017 campaign.

Gurley had a bounce back season too under McVay after a disappointing 2016 season where Gurley rushed for a career-low 885 yards and six touchdowns. The fourth-year running back rushed for career-highs in yards (1,305) and touchdowns (13). Gurley finished second in the NFL in total rushing, falling just 22 yards short of league-leader in rookie Kareem Hunt of the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Raiders could have their hands full with a Rams offense that finished first in scoring last season, averaging 29.9 points per game.

After Monday night’s game, both teams will begin their divisional schedule Sunday, September 16, with the Raiders traveling to Denver to take on the Broncos, while the Rams will host the Arizona Cardinals at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Games will be scheduled for 1:25 pm and 1:05 pm, respectively.