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August 08, 2006

Michael Kay's Rant On The Radio

From Bob Raissman today -

Kay's meltdown (that's being kind) was triggered by the contention that baseball voices can jinx teams they work for. During the discussion, Kay was accused of putting the whammy on Chien-Ming Wang because he once informed viewers Wang was pitching a perfect game.

The notion any announcer could put the kibosh on a no-hitter or perfect game, by alerting viewers to the fact one is in progress, is absurd. Still, it is one of those age-old superstitions some fans still believe in.

Kay was right in taking issue with it. Unfortunately, he went about it the wrong way. And wrong is not nearly a strong enough word to describe the way he went about it.

In essence, a caller - Jimmy - pushed the right button to set Kay off. He sent Kay to Wig City by simply saying it is against "baseball etiquette" for an announcer or analyst to even mention that a pitcher is working on a no-hitter or perfect game.

Kay became extremely defensive and defiant. He flipped, going into a full scream/rant mode.

Kay: "... Why shouldn't I say it (that a pitcher is throwing a no-hitter or perfect game)? Tell me Jimmy. Why?"

Jimmy: "Because it's not baseball etiquette."

Kay: "... Don't tell me it's baseball etiquette. It used to be etiquette to have black people as slaves. ..."

You could hear Jimmy groan and the air going out of other listeners, too. Kay's inappropriate comparison was over-the-top.

A few seconds later, he topped it.

Kay: "Jimmy. Tell me why? Tell me why I can't say it."

As if he was waving a red cape in a bull's face, Jimmy, again, parroted his "baseball etiquette" line.

Kay: "That's a stupid, stupid thing to say. ... Baseball etiquette? There's a lot of rules that don't make sense. That's why there was Nazi Germany. Why did they march people into ovens? Well, that's what they told them to do ..."

While this incident was not a "Jimmy The Greek" moment for Kay, it's not a good thing for him that it happened.

What should the YES Network do about it?

I don't think that Kay should be fired. People in public positions have said worse things and not been fired.

But, Kay should be suspended for at least two weeks. He needs a reminder that you pay a price when you lose your cool in a public forum. Someone at his level, with his experience, should know better than to make references like those. And, since he doesn't know this - evidently - he needs that reminder.

Posted by Steve Lombardi at August 8, 2006 12:03 PM


My dislike for Michael Kay aside, I agree that he should be suspended. I am sure the intent was not to harm or insult anyone but you can't go around talking about stuff like that in such an off-hand way. It's amazing this story hasn't gotten more national attention. However, I don't think it would be YES' place to do anything about it, but rather ESPN Radio's call since it happened on his radio show.

Posted by: MJ [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2006 12:34 PM

King George should personally fire Kay just to send a message to the players. Wouldn't that be something?

Posted by: Mike A. [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2006 12:37 PM

I don't think he should be fired either, but he should probably apologize. I could barely listen to that recording I was so hideously embarassed by the whole rant. What a moron.

Posted by: jamesonandwater [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2006 12:54 PM

Kay so blithely slings around references to slavery, the holocaust, and Nazis that I thought for a moment I was actually listening to Rush Limbaugh or any one of his 3,000 imitators. If you guys think his little moron moment was offensive, boy, you obviously don't listen to talk radio these days. And when was Chris Russo suspended or reprimanded for his ignorant racist remarks concerning the Mets' roster being a concerted effort on Omar Minaya's part to Latinize the team? Never? That's right.

Posted by: JohnnyC [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2006 01:11 PM

I don't think it was offensive, but I do think it was stupid and added nothing to the discussion.

Then again, I don't listen to talk radio because I can't stand to listen to people yell at each other for little reason. And I've only read the transcript of Mike's little rant, not heard it, so I don't know how aggressive his tone was (or how aggressive the tone of his show normally is).

So, with all those caveats, I don't think he should be fined or suspended. I do think his higher-ups should tell him that they expect him to show slightly more respect for his callers and listeneres, and put him on probation as it were - but I don't expect they will do this, since controversy generates publicity and listeners.

I also think he should apologize - he should say, on the air, that while he stands by his opinion of jinxes and "baseball etiquette," he wishes he had expressed them in a less inflammatory way. I don't mean one of those bullshit "I'm sorry if anyone was offended" sort of apologies; I mean a real apology (see http://itre.cis.upenn.edu/~myl/languagelog/archives/000327.html ).

But either way, Michael Kay is a dork and a blowhard, and nothing he or the Yankees may do will change that. (see http://lozo.blogspot.com/2006/08/michael-kay-is-also-asshole.html )

Posted by: carla [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2006 01:47 PM

This in no way excuses his boorishness on the air but the reason Kay missed the trip to Baltimore was his mother was admitted to the hospital on Thursday night. He was probably a little "preoccupied" and the dumb call from "Jimmy" set him off.

Posted by: JohnnyC [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2006 02:19 PM

Carla, i also dont listen to sports talk radio anymore. i used to all the time. i guess i still do on Sirius, when they interview people, or when they have normal discussions, but the local stations in NY blow hard.

even though i hate kay, he's still not as bad as the wfan guys. they're even more pompous than kay (if that's possible).

they dont treat callers with respect, and when they're challeneged by a caller, they act like he's a total moron for disagreeing. Oh, and they'll never ever admit to being wrong about something. most of it is just mindless trash talking with zero redeeming value.

Posted by: 98Yanks [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2006 02:19 PM

also Carla, he was SCREAMING during this whole thing.

Posted by: 98Yanks [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2006 02:21 PM

Kay should be fired and Lou Pinella brought in as part of the YES team. Please, Mr. Steinbrenner, use this as an opportunity.... (prayer follows) Singleton, Kaat & Pinella in '06

Posted by: Athos333 [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2006 02:43 PM

I see no reason why Chris Russo should have been reprimanded, let alone suspended, for expressing his view. It was hardly racist. In fact the LA Angels owner has openly stated his desire to have many Latin players on his team.

It was hardly a stretch for Russo to make the point regarding Omar Minaya.

Posted by: Don [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2006 02:46 PM

Michael Kay is not intelligent, does not know very much about baseball history (almost bragged that he had "never heard of" Max Bishop), does not have a likeable personality, does not offer a former player's perspective of the game, does not have a good voice, and is not professional. Although they probably shouldn't fire him over this, I wish that they would use it as an excuse to dump him.

Posted by: jonm [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2006 02:55 PM

LOL - I almost choked on my own spit when he said that about Bishop the other night.

Posted by: Steve Lombardi [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2006 02:57 PM

Isn't the whole point of these shows to yell at everybody else in what amounts to a free-for-all pissing contest? And to get people talking about the show the next day? Kay's probably getting a bonus for this.

Posted by: hopbitters [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2006 03:36 PM

I think he should be fired.

But only becuase he is a terrible announcer and makes my ears bleed...not because of his comments on the radio.

Posted by: Jeteupthemiddle [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2006 04:11 PM

Oh, and did anyone catch Paul O'Neill calling Kay a jinx on during the game on Sunday (?). Singleton mentioned Melky's streak of not striking out, and then Paul O'Neill said "now if you were Michael Kay I would have automatically put a K in my scorecard. He has such bad luck."

Seemed to fit in this discussion.

Posted by: Jeteupthemiddle [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2006 04:13 PM

What is left off in most of the conversation about this event is that Kay ended it by saying that sometimes he doesn't even believe there are gods of any kind. I personally think he should be fired, it was Jimmy the Greek type stuff and the screaming, and I mean screaming, should be as much why as the content. Several places I have worked had "no fighting of any kind" clauses in their personnel handbook and I have seen people lose their jobs for screaming at each other or another employee in the fashion of Michael Kay in that event. I sort of liked him, but he should be gone for this one. It was bad if you listened all the way to the end.

Posted by: Scott Coulter [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2006 06:33 PM

If anyone wants to listen to the rant this is the url that has it:


Posted by: Scott Coulter [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 8, 2006 06:36 PM

As bad as the absurd comparisons, his screaming at the caller was so offensive.

And back to the point - I believe it IS bad luck to say that there's a perfect game or a no hitter going on. Kay's not the only Yankee announcer to have done it (as he pointed out Jim Kaat did it) but I hate it when they do it.

Posted by: redbug [TypeKey Profile Page] at August 9, 2006 06:25 PM

During a spring training game Kay actually said:That changeup from Bruney was 99 miles per hour!!!!

Posted by: alanwk [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 5, 2008 01:11 AM