On The Air
by Laura Nachman
Bucks County Courier Times
June 1, 2007

Newtown resident Jayson Stark's entertaining new book, “The Stark Truth: The Most Overrated and Underrated Players in Baseball History,” is the No. 1 baseball best seller on amazon.com.

“I wrote this book to start arguments,” said Stark, a columnist for esPn.com. Stark said he already has heard from many fans unhappy with his assessments.

The longtime Phillies beat reporter jumped to ESPN seven years ago. He appears on “The Mike and Mike Show” every Wednesday at 8:22 a.m. on ESPN2 and on ESPN News every Thursday at 3:40 p.m. He also appears on the ESPN 920-AM show with Dan Schwartzman every Thursday at 6 p.m. In this age of multi-platforms, his columns and video blog (take that, Rosie O'Donnell) are on www.espn.com.

Among those who played for the Phillies mentioned in the book were Robin Roberts, Bobby Abreu, Pete Rose, Richie Ashburn, Chuck Klein, Billy Wagner, Richie Allen, Scott Rolen, Lonnie Smith, Von Hayes and Lance Parrish.

According to Stark, the publisher of the book, Triumph, is so happy with the concept, it already has commissioned Courier Times football writer Reuben Frank and ESPN football reporter Sal Paolantonio to write the same kind of book about football players.

Stark appears on “Out of Bounds” at 7 tonight on CN8 and will sign copies of his book at the Newtown Applebee's Wednesday from 6-9 p.m. Books may be ordered in advance at the Frame Game in Newtown.

In the spirit of the book, here is a list of the most overrated and underrated sports broadcasters in Philadelphia:


Angelo Cataldi (WIP): The morning man may be popular with men 25-54, but what about everybody else? In radio, the morning show sets the tone for the day, and in the latest ratings, WIP ranked a pedestrian 16th place out of 30 stations for listeners 12 and over.

Gary Papa (6ABC): He's on the top-rated station in town, but doesn't do anything to distinguish himself. He's not responsible for the hiring of below-average underlings Keith Russell and Jamie Apody, but he also hasn't helped to make them better.

Michael Barkann (CSN): The “Mr. Everything” of CSN lost points this year with his uneven show “Monday Night Live” and a disconcerting anchoring stint a month ago.

Others considered: Howard Eskin, Don Tollefson, Leslie Gudel, Harry Kalas.


Glen Macnow (WIP): He broadcasts unique programs like “Pizzapalooza” and “The Movie Club for Men,” and co-hosts the popular Saturday football show with Ray Didinger.

Harry Donahue: Mired in the ongoing nightmare that is Temple football, the other Harry in town hasn't let the performance of his team bring him down.

Jody McDonald (WPEN): Being named the best personality on WPEN is faint praise, but the low-key McDonald does a nice job in the afternoon.

Vai Sikahema: Though NBC10 has dropped in the ratings, Sikahema always does everything asked with a smile, including the “myPHL news Powered by NBC10.”

Others considered: Rob Charry, Scott Franzke, Steve Bucci.

Channel flipping

Dei Lynam won't be taking Steve Mix's place on Sixers broadcasts this year. She is expecting her second child in October. ... HBO airs “Barbaro” Wednesday at 10 p.m. This moving documentary follows the 2006 Kentucky Derby winner from his birth through death. Philadelphia sports writer Dick Jerardi is interviewed in the special. ... Former relief pitcher Ricky Bottalico performed a relief stint on “Phillies Post Game Live” on CSN last week. According to CSN, he will be utilized in a fill-in role for regulars John Marzano, Mitch Williams, and Dave Gallagher.

E-mail: lauranachman@verizon.net

June 1, 2007 6:47 AM