WFAN’s Evan Roberts (and co-host Craig Carton) caused an internet stir earlier this week when he suggested the Rays could be cheating amid their blistering start to the season.
We did not write anything about it because anyone who listened could easily decipher Roberts was not being serious. This was not a page out of Michael Kay’s performative radio handbook. Roberts was fooling around with the fact the Rays have raced out to an incredible start with a bunch of guys putting together career years to date. At no point did Roberts offer any substantial accusation of cheating, much less lead anyone to believe he actually thought there was cheating.
Nevertheless, some Tampa sports talk guy is not going to let a good (fake) crisis go to waste. From Barrett Sports Media:
Needless to say, 95.3 WDAE midday host Jay Recher took umbrage to the show’s accusation, leading him to issue an impassioned response to Roberts on Wednesday. He is confident Roberts’s statement will ultimately blow up in WFAN’s face because of the exceptional play by the Rays and sports in the Tampa Bay area for that matter.
“Cracking this mic in any market, but especially when you have multiple sports teams, is a privilege. It is not a right,” Recher said. “Things you say will be criticized. You know that. But again, if you’re going to say something, say something. Don’t tiptoe around it. Don’t say, ‘Can’t wait for The Athletic article to come out.’ If you’ve got something to say, say it.”
Because of the actions taken by Carton and Roberts, Recher decided to issue a challenge to the show regarding sports in the Tampa area.
“I’ll fly up there on my own dime,” Recher said. “I’ll stay with my parents. I’ll give my nephew a hug and celebrate his sixth birthday with him. I will walk right into the WFAN studios, and we will debate any Tampa Bay or New York sports team that you would like.”
There is video of Recher’s on-air missive. He appears to be reading from a script, which makes this whole thing that much more comical. And he also suggests he and Roberts debate hockey, which goes to show you he has no idea what he is doing.
📽️ A challenge to @EvanRobertsWFAN
Signed, @jayRecher #RaysUp @WFAN660 @CartonRoberts pic.twitter.com/KW85j8sylT
— 95.3 WDAE & AM 620 (@953WDAE) May 10, 2023
Recher clearly sees this as a chance for him (and to a lesser extent his station) to punch up and get some publicity. Low-hanging fruit. So no he either gets ignored by Carton and Roberts, proving he is nothing more than an irrelevant yakker defending the honor of a team that has no fans. Or Carton dives into the mud and verbally destroys him with glee. Either way it’s a lose-lose. Back after this.
James Kratch can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @jameskratch.