Fans of "Leading Off" with Joe Shuta on local radio shouldn't panic when they tune to ESPN Radio 1430 WVAM this Wednesday at 6 p.m. and hear something other than Shuta - he hasn't quit and he hasn't been fired - he's just moved.
Shuta's eclectic show, which has run locally for about 15 years, has moved to WFBG-AM 1290 and will begin its run this Wednesday. The regular air time will be from 6-7 p.m. It will run before the Pittsburgh Pirate games, which were moved to WFBG a few months ago.
This move makes sense because Shuta is a big baseball fan, and usually his programs in the past during baseball season were like pregame shows for the actual pregame show by the Pirates.
After the baseball season is over, Shuta's show will return to ESPN.
Gotta check out MLB
Baseball fans need to get a television subscriber that carries the new MLB Network.
The network, which debuted this past January, will run its highlight show starting at 6 p.m. each evening and will not end until the final out is made in whatever west-coast game is on the schedule. They are going to drop in for live coverage throughout the evening, plus offer highlights and commentary after the games are complete. It's going to be like ESPN's "Baseball Tonight," except it will run possibly for six hours a night.
Fans should also know that the new network will carry a live game-of-the-week as well, meaning pro baseball will be on Fox, aMLB, ESPN and TBS this year.
Raftery worth it
A lot of basketball fans have told me they miss having Billy Packer doing commentary on college basketball this year, but all it's done has made me appreciate guys like Bill Raftery even more than before.
The insightful and colorful Raftery, the one-time Seton Hall men's coach, has worked both CBS and ESPN games this season, and even though his knowledge of the game is dead-on, it's his enthusiasm for the sport that makes him, in my book, the best analyst on television.
Dick Vitale is entertaining, but he becomes bigger than the game sometimes, and Clark Kellogg is too technical for me. Raftery doesn't bleed all over the broadcast, but yet when he does his shoutouts such as "Onions," "With a sweet kiss off the glass," and my personal favorite - "Shoulder, shake and a little lingerie," it just adds to the enjoyment of the game.
Are you ready?
Mark your calendar NFL fans, the draft is slated for both ESPN and the NFL Network on Saturday and Sunday, April 25-26. The draft begins at noon on Saturday. The pregame shows started about two months ago.
If you're a fan of the NBA, you might want to tune in to ESPN Radio 1430 WVAM, which has been carrying a game-of-the-week on Sunday afternoons. Jim Durham does the play-by-play, and Dr. Jack Ramsey handles the color commentary.
Scott Franco can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 949-7032