Friday, November 27, 2009

The Air Goes Out Of Angels' Airwaves

What’s with Los Angeles radio? It’s as if we’re masochistic.

Here we have the No. 2 market in the country, and the airwaves treat it like Static City, Iowa.

We had Larry Elder, the sharpest libertarian on radio. Fired.

We had Tammy Bruce, the coolest righty on the air. Gone.

We had Doug McIntyre, the gutsiest oral hammer at illegal immigration. Axed.

We had Dave Smith, the aptly named Sports God. Goodbye.

We had Rex Hudler and Steve Physioc, the voices who kept Angel fans awake. Tell ’em bye-bye, baby.

What? Hud and Phyz off the L.A. baseball team?

You heard that right. The Angels announced the canning this week. Evidently had to do with money. The team had too many men in the booth. So they trimmed the staff.

Erased the face of the team: Hudler.

And bounced the top talent: Physioc.

Now Angel fans are stuck with a faceless foursome: Terry Smith and Jose Mota on the radio, and Rory Markas and Mark Gubicza on the TV side.

Fans hit the spit. Or at least bloggers did at the L.A. Times:

Wally Parks: The Angels will lose more fans off losing Hudler than if you have to get rid of Vlad or Figgy . . . (They’re) getting rid of your biggest Angels supporter and fan favorite, Rex Hudler.

Jeff: What a loss. He had a passion for teaching the game and pointing out details that other announcers missed. Many people assumed that because he was so pumped that he didn't understand the game. . . . My 8-year-old son knows more about baseball than most adults, thanks to Hud!

Dean: Rex Hudler is to Angel baseball what Tommy Lasorda is to the Dodgers, an unabashed homer and cheerleader, and a whole lot of people liked that and thought it made sense. . . . The Hud man is an icon.

And my favorite, from Angel Greg: Rory and "what's his name" are two of the most boring announcers in sports. Only the two Clipper announcers are more boring, and who listens to them? Hud pumped up us fans. Mota should go, but Arte won't let go of a Latino. After all, who would be his translator with all of the Angel players who won't learn to speak English?

Indeed, Mota spends more time translating Kendry Morales’ comments than on asking questions.

Hudler did it right — conducting an English interview with Erick Aybar. What a concept: a Dominican player speaking the language of the team paying him big bucks.

Hudler was practically the Angels’ logo. He was everywhere: radio, TV, charity events and every week co-hosting an hour of Jeff Biggs’ drive-time show on KLAA, the Angel station. That's Hudler on the right in the above photo.

Rex might’ve seemed like a loopy Wonder Dog. But he barked sharp insight — with zip. My favorite was his term for taking a pitch: "Spit on it."

The man offered a drier sense when it came to the condition of his son. He has Down syndrome? No, Up syndrome.

As for Physioc, I detected during the playoffs that something was awry. Here the Angels were in the meat of their Yankee series, and there was Phyz doing a Midnight Madness shtick for ESPNU all the way up in Seattle.

OK, the networks had the Angels covered in the pennant series. But Phyz missing his team at nut-cuttin' time in favor of some meaningless hoops seemed weird.

Now Hudler and Physioc are in the ether. The way of all the other vanished talent.

L.A.'s loss.

Bucky Fox is an author and editor in Southern California who runs

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