Thursday, February 9, 2012

Fitzgerald and Papa uneasy on Comcast Warriors' Broadcasts; A little history between the two; Thursday dish

Awkward.

That's the best way to describe the brief, but very pointed tosses between Comcast Sports Net Bay Area's Greg Papa and Warriors cable PBP-broadcaster, Bob Fitzgerald. To the average viewer who doesn't know a little bitter history about the two, the short encounters would seem to reveal no big deal--both handle their responsibilities as professionals, but there is a frosty element that many Bay Area sports fans have little knowledge of, but still resonates on the radar.

Papa was the original Warriors PBP broadcaster in the 90's, (he actually got the gig in 1986-87 replacing the late, great Bill King, who had to give up the Warriors concentrating on his A's and Raiders' radio responsibilities). Ironically, after Papa secured his W's radio gig, he would soon land the A's gig as chief PBP man, (then "SportsChannel") and was widely praised for his efforts.

Midway through the 90's, a problem developed. The Warriors wanted exclusivity from their chief broadcaster. They, (actually Robin Baggett, ex-owner Chris Cohan's right-hand guy and legal counsel) were unhappy with Papa's committments with the A's and wanted more games from the Syracuse broadcast alum.

Enter Fitzgerald, then a KNBR talk host who had some PBP experience, who managed to maneuver his way, into the Warriors/Cohan/Bagget entourage. And in the process, many of those in the know insist, essentially ace Papa out of his Warriors gig and take over. Papa was privately seething over Fitzgerald's backroom tactics and the two have never spoke since. The affair made for spicy, local industry chatter and "Fitz" was belittled by the Papa supporters as a weaselly, nasty backstabber.

After dropping his "Chronicle Live" duties, Papa, (who is also the Raiders PBP radio broadcaster), began doing more pre-and post game show on CSN Bay Area, who, of course, broadcast Warriors' games. Papa's dishes to Fitz aren't long enough to view any real drama and even if they were, I would doubt any sign of friction would be discerned--again, both are professional enough to know that the slightest bit of on-air- nasty would harm both, that's pretty much a given.

But the usual cheery back and forth between studio and on-scene report from the arena is noticeably absent of any emotion. It's as if both are looking at an empty camera and trying dutifully to perform their chores without the slightest bit of laugh or giggle. And while the encounters are straight and simple, there is a definitive sense, still, that both can't stand each other. (More so on the Papa side--with good reason).

Where Papa is generally regarded as a more adept and non-homered professional tonsil, "Fitz" is perceived by many local observers, (and throngs of Warriors followers) as nothing more than a company shill, frequently toeing the organization line even amidst some of the franchise's most trying times.

That's most evident on Fitzgerald's KNBR talk show, (Noon-3PM M-F) where he's constantly defending personnel moves, has, from time to time, opine of the "talented" Andris Biedrins and making umpteen excuses for the team's overall meager displays over the years. It doesn't help matters too, that the smarmy Fitzgerald is most testy with the few callers that make it onto his Knibber show to dare question the team's tactics or play. Frequent "Fitzisms": "They have tons of injuries"..."They're the second-youngest team in the NBA"..."When healthy, this team, (pick a year) can compete with the Lakers" and  so on and so on. It's one thing to defend your team every now and then. Fitzgerald goes overboard, and his churlish persona, accented by frequent condescending giggles have been red meat for long-suffering Warriors fans annoyed with his "hack"-ness.

This is little potential drama worth watching. Concentrate "little", but interesting nonetheless.

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60 comments:

  1. Fitzgerals is useless all the way around...

    Actually, that would be an improvement.

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  2. No wonder Fitz isn't bothered,Papa is the one who at every sight of Fitz calculates the 2-3 million dollars(or more) over the last 17 years that never made it to the Papa household. And even though Fitz trys to make it sound like he's in big demand for PBP around the country,we all know without the Warriors he's destitute for work.

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  3. in a town that loves its pro sports pbp guys, fitz stands out as the one that is completely despised by his team's fan base.

    what makes no sense....why does a pro team let its spokesman regularly belittle its fans? it just shows how little the warriors think of their customers.

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  4. On his radio gig, "Bawb" can't talk for longer than 5 minutes without insulting callers' intelligence, Warriors critics, black people (yeah, I went there), or his producer (who deserves an award for successfully call-screening all those who may dare disagree with "Bawb"). I turned the channel two years ago and never came back. I hope Lacob permanently ships his ass to the D-League. Don't worry Fitz (and I know you're reading), I hear there's an active ND alumni group in Sioux Falls. You know, your kind of people.

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  5. You know last night was a full moon, right?

    Seriously, Bob Fitzgerald is the main reason I don't listen to KNBR anymore. I cannot stand his arrogant, know-it-all, condescending tone with callers. And his incessant happy talk regarding the Warriors at all times is way overboard. It is not difficult for me to see why Greg Papa (and others here in the bay area media industry, I am certain) to not care for him.

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  6. I think the Warriors ownership is trying to do the right thing but until he becomes either a talk show host or a PBP announcer their product is going to suffer. You can't be both and do justice to either role. He comes across as a shill, no broadcast integrity and the audience knows it.

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  7. Papa is a total pro. A pleasure to listen to and the only real heir to the great Simmons and King in the Bay Area. Fitzgerald is a smarmy punk... nuff said.

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    Replies
    1. Perhaps you never heard Papa on the old warriors broadcasts, but frankly he often sounded more like the announcer for the other team. I admit I don't need a dimwitted homer like fitz, nor, however, would I want Papa and his "national broadcasts". If you're used to listening to him as a raider's broadcaster.. well... Al Davis must have put him on a short leash, because his warriors broadcasts were nothing like that..

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  8. My favorite Fitz-ism that I recall before I quit listening was when he'd testily berate the caller with a shouted "What's your point?!?"

    Most times it was pretty clear what the point was

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    Replies
    1. the funny thing is fitz uses the "what's your point" shout-down only when the caller is making a good point, usually one that contradicts the company line that fitz is repeating. as soon as a caller starts making a good point that might actually prove him wrong (unfathomable in fitz's own mind) he starts to raise his voice, talk (yell) over the caller and eventually scream "what's your point?!" before he hangs up on them. thats one of his favorite tactics. douchebag.

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  9. Radnich giving his best ignorant comments to Krug and Kate concerning Bob Geren.

    Radnich should be looking over his shoulder due to how many people he has blatantly disrespected. Not saying Geren did good with the A's but he landed in the Yankees dugout as Girardi's bench coach.

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  10. Fitz on the Reggie McKenzie this and Reggie McKenzie that...
    Fitz on the Raider Coach used to block for OJ (not)
    Fitz on the "oh we just do that on our show" "We were kidding" Listen much (no)
    Fitz on the Bob Fitzgerald is related to all Fitzgeralds... (again we're kidding Bob says)
    Fitz Jesse Jackson is related to Reggie Jackson....

    KNBR listeners to Fitz - what is YOUR point....

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  11. IIRC, Ted Robinson replaced Bill King in 1983-84 for two seasons, went back to Minnesota to do Twins games, and was replaced by Red Rush in 1985-86. I believe those three seasons were simulcasts. Papa started on radio in 1986-87. All things considered, I'd rather have Robinson- next have been a Greg Papa fan- a little smarmy for my taste...

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  12. It's a shame that Guber & Lacob are either unable or unwilling to terminate Fitzgerald if the evidence shows he has committed chronic misconduct toward colleagues, present, past, & future. Let's hope after this season, the current Warrior ownership takes decisive action in choosing their PBP and not fall for Fitz' obvious manipulative pleas. W fans need to hope and pray for a change.

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  13. Fitzgerald = Serra High School. 'Nuff said.

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  14. Fitz is an empty suit and Fitz together with Rod Brooks are plain un-listeneable (not a word according to my spell checker but you get the idea.)

    More on Brooks - his exaggerated hip-brother shtick is painfully lame and embarrassing. Reminiscent of Sammy Davis Jr. in his final years with a touch of stale Arsenio Hall.

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    Replies
    1. "Reminiscent of Sammy Davis Jr"
      Agree.
      That one is worth a touchdown and the two point conversion.

      Delete
    2. For a long time I thought Brooks was a white guy trying to sound black.
      Don't forget Papa's radio show is on at the same time as Fitz and Brooks.

      Delete
  15. Fitzgerald have done the tv for W's the last 17 years and the W's have made the playoffs only one time. I rest my case.

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  16. Greg Papa has nothing to worry about.
    Papa is a professional broadcaster.
    Fitz is a testy and defensive spokesman for the Warriors.

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  17. I normally don't listen to Fitz and Brooks but my radio was on KNBR when I got into my car. I struggle with their humor and condescending attitude towards callers.

    Anyway this particular day a caller said that he thought Crabtree dropped too many balls and Fitz went off on him. He was arrogant and mean spirited and the guy kept trying to make his point and Fitz wouldn't let him talk.

    I never think twice about these things but on that day I felt bad for the caller. If he had been able to talk it seemed like what he was trying to say was well thought out.

    You can argue with people without making them feel small and stupid!

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  18. The very first thing Lacob and Guber should have done was fire Fat f-ck Fitz. I don't give a sh1t if he just signed a new deal. Pay the little pr1ck and show his @ss the door.

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  19. Fitz was the one who told Keith Smart that Jeremy Lin wasn't any good, and to get rid of him.

    Way to go, Fitz.

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  20. The 'Black Hole' of local radio from noon to 3pm is the time when
    Fitzie and Brooks are on KNBR. I've tried to listen recently, but have given up trying.


    Between Fitz's giggling and Rod's over the top comments, it's bad radio!

    The only reasons Fitz still working for the Warriors are probably:
    a.) He's got compromising pictures of Gruber and Lacob.

    or
    b.) They're too lazy to fired him and go through the process of
    finding a new announcer.

    The only reason Fitz is still working at KNBR:

    He's cheap and sucks up to Lee Hammer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's more B than A, but I wouldn't be surprised if it's A. LOL. The thing is, if the Warriors were to fire Fitz, who would replace him? Greg Papa could, but it would interfere with his Raiders duties, and Comcast duties. No offense to Scott Reiss or even Dave Benz but, I don't think I want them calling Warrior games on TV. Those guys are terrible calling the local college basketball games, such as a Santa Clara game or a University of Pacific game. They should stick to what they normally do on Comcast.

      Dave Flemming could work. He did a good job filling in for Tim Roye on KNBR, who filled in for Fitz on CSN Bay Area a couple of seasons ago, when the Warriors were on a short road trip. On the radio, Flemming sounded like a pro calling a Warrior game, even though I don't think he called an NBA game before that time. The only thing with Flemming is, calling Warrior games would interfere with his Giants duties, Stanford football duties, and his ESPN duties. He would have no time to see his family. I think if Dave Flemming wasn't calling games Giants game on KNBR 680 and/or wasn't calling Stanford football games on KNBR 1050, he could easily call Warrior games on TV or radio. He does a great job calling college basketball games on ESPN.

      But yeah, Greg Papa and Dave Flemming are the only real replacements I can think of for Fitz if the Warriors were to let Fitz go. They would probably have to get somebody from outside the Bay Area, even though Greg Papa would probably love to have his old Warriors job back.... As I said in my other post, I think Fitz does a good job on the Warrior telecasts. It's kind of funny how so many people, including a lot of Warrior fans, dislike him. Some of the reasons are understandable, but the guy is a good broadcaster, and you learn a lot during the Warriors telecasts, sometimes.

      As far as the reasons why Fitz is still working at KNBR, part of it could be that the Warriors might be/are paying his salary for him to be on KNBR. There was a rumor about this, but I don't know if it's true. Of course Fitz is not going to admit this. The Fitz and Brooks show used to be a really good show, but it's not as good now. It's unbelievable how you just can't criticize the Warriors on that show. Fitz will defend every move, even the dumb ones, and make excuses. Some of his excuses are valid (refs, fatigue due to travel and how many games are being played in a certain amount of days like 4 games in 5 nights or something like that), but he never blames the Warriors, or puts the Warriors at fault that often.

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    2. Could always bring Steve Albert back...

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    3. Hello! These are ALL white guys. Could we add a bit of color to this discussion. The Warriors have hired Monte Poole, but he does not make the starting five, which are all white guys. Hello! This is 2014. The NBA is 70? Black and/or mixed race? How about some color in the Warriors broadcasting team for the Warriors, huh?

      Delete
  21. Fitzgerald should be a greeter at those strip clubs ,on Broadway, in North Beach.

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  22. bob 'giggles' or 'fatty' fitzgerald....the local whipping boy
    of local radio and TV sports....


    Does he deserve it>? I leave it up to Richie's astute judgement to make that call!

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  23. I have listened to knbr off and on for 35 years, NOBODY WORSE than Fitz, NOBODY!

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  24. Smurf and Mook morning show is punishing to the eardrums. His whiny pseudo-intellectual banter drives me bananas. The Mooks song parodies are among the poorest written, least funny bits, ever aired on radio. That, and he just seems dumb. Kate Scott is a wooden, mono toned boor. But I digress :)

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  25. I think Fitz does a good job for the Warriors telecasts. Yeah, he's a Warriors homer, but him and Jim Barnett do a good job. They are probably one of the better TV annoucing crews in all the NBA. Have you guys heard how awful some other TV announcers are for some of the other teams in the NBA?

    As far as the Comcast thing goes, I'm shocked Comcast did that; having Greg Papa ask Fitz and Barnett questions after the games, on Warriors postgame. I do agree it is kind of awkward, knowing that there is a history between Fitz and Greg Papa. Sometimes I wonder if they are friends again, but I guess not. It's kind of funny to hear Fitz call Greg Papa "pop" and Greg Papa call Fitz "Fitz". I wonder if they both want to puke when they call each other by their nickname. LOL. But yeah, I was surprised that Comcast did that. I agree with Rich that they handle it as professionals though. They could easily call each other out in those small segments after the game.

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    Replies
    1. who cares if tv announcers in other markets are somehow more awful than fitz? we don't watch milwaukee bucks or memphis grizzlies games on a tuesday or wednesday night, we watch warriors games. just because other tv announcer may suck doesn't make fitz any better. he's horrible, nobody likes him, and we've been stuck with for almost 20 f'ing years.

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  26. Fitz is nothing more then a arrogant,pompous blowhole with that obnoxious giggle.Brooks can't stand him either, have no idea why the Warriors have kept him. Pappa is so much better play by play, then Mr. Infomercial

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  27. The big confrontation almost started the last broadcast as Bobo laughed at Papa's pick of Novitzki as an all star..his arrogant brush off of Papa came close though. Papa being the more mentally stable of the two was able to pull back.
    I think the Comcast producers must wish the sparks draw ratings for the pregame show..EVERYBODY in the bay area knows those two hate each other.

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  28. What is this 'LOL' thing that everybody now writes in blogs? I don't get it! Is it just a Gen X thing or am I missing something?

    How about just saying what you want to say and spelling it out, instead of hyphenating words and looking as if you're completely clueless, (not to mention semi-literate). Do young people today even read, let alone know how to spell simple words? I wonder!

    It's no secret then why this country is going into the crapper, if the only time most of our young people write anything is when they respond to a blog or send a text message.

    Very sad commentary!

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    Replies
    1. GET OFF MY LAWN YOU WHIPPERSNAPPERS!

      Delete
  29. My favorite Fitzism occurred when Kurt Warner was still with the Rams. Warner was thanking Jesus Christ his Savior every time he completed a pass. Instead of some informed commentary about religion in sports, Fitz went on a rant about how if its OK for an athlete to thank God, then it should be OK for an athlete to thank Satan, should he be so inclined.

    I know, it sounds crazy and weird. I stopped in my tracks when I heard it and never forgot it. I think he was fired (the first time) from KNBR shortly afterward. KNBR should be embarrassed to have him on the air, but it just shows how lazy KNBR is with actually broadcasting a quality product.

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  30. Fitz was fired originally in 2000 by then-GM Tony Salvadore because he wanted Fitzie to anchor the morning show after Salvadore's abject failure to find someone suitable (TV's Steve McPartland, then
    Gary), but Fitz would have had to have given up some of his precious Warrior work, and he didn't want to do that. He forgot that
    Salvadore gave him his first chance to go on the air....Salvadore didn't appreciate the lack of loyalty so he canned him.

    Six years later, when Cumulus took over and was cutting costs to save money, they didn't resign Rick Barry who was then doing the afternoons. So Fitzie was brought back and Rod Brooks was promoted from purgatory (KNBR 1050) to co-host what has now been the biggest disaster in the history of local sports radio from noon to 3pm each day.

    The reason Fitz still works at KNBR is that he's relatively cheap and he sucks up to Lee "I'm in charge" (no you're not Lee!)
    Hammer who fire his own grandma if Lou Dickey told him to do so!

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  31. Was Fitz handed the job by Bagget? Or did he really scheme - behind the scenes - for the job?

    Papa wanted everything, I guess, from hoops, to baseball, to the Raiders. Same as when he was a young married Warriors broadcaster, and he started dipping his pen in the company ink... in this case, the stewardess on his team flights! So he dumped his first wife, for wife (stewardess) number two. I guess when you're a PBP man at 26 in the NBA, you can be as arrogant and self-centered as the jocks you cover.

    Yes, he is better than Fitz.

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  32. Has anybody mentioned that it was uncovered a couple of years back that the Warriors pay for FItz's KNBR salary? He's basically a PR plant from noon to 3 PM each day for the W's. That's why KNBR keeps him around -- he costs them virtually nothing. (And that's what he's worth.) Personally, I think the guy is the most unlikeable on-air personality that I've ever heard in this market, and there have been some doozies, like no-talent Scott Farrell who annoyed me to no end. Still, Fitz is even worse, and that's saying something.

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  33. BORING. My goodness if you're going to be a tv critic at least write about something relevant and current. This story about Papa and Fitz not seeing eye to eye is as old as mummy dust. You're a talented writer but you harp on the same topics. Also, is it true you began to dislike CSN Bay Area after they refused to invite you back on Chronicle Live. I want to get your opinion on that, if that's the case it hurts your credibility. Don't hate simply because they won't put your face on TV.

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  34. ^^^^is that u fittzy????? ^^^^

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    Replies
    1. yeah, its him. if you google bob fitzgerald and start to look around in the many bay area online sports forums (rich lieberman, tim kawakami, warriors world, etc.), you'll see that this particular subject has been addressed many, many times. if you read all those forums of writers and fans who detest fitz, you'll notice that on just about every board fitz actually writes comments (under aliases, of course) defending himself. they are easy to spot, in a lot of them he uses some of his same catch phrases and tactics that we all know too well from listening to him on tv and radio, some of them literally verbatim. in most cases he attacks the writer's credibility as a way to try deflect the attention away from the subject (why people hate him). kawakami caught him in doing this, actually. no lie, fitz and the w's PR director were actually doing it from warriors headquarters and kawakami busted them by tracing their IP addresses. that should tell you everything you need to know about what a complete lowlife douchebag fitz is.

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  35. Papa is a professional and shitz just gives me the shitz, he is a natural enema

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  36. I really like listening to Fitz and Brooks. I am a Mom who likes sports and I listen to all the hosts. Love Murf and Mac....My husband and sons love Fitz and Brooks. Reading this blog is surprising. What a bunch of hate mail.

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    Replies
    1. hi bob, nice of you chime in.

      Delete
  37. Last week on the radio Geg Papa said that NBA phenom Jeremy Lin was "an everage player". Interesting.

    And today he scorhed the NBA champs for 28 points and 14 assists. Average?

    Search terms: New York Knicks, NBA, all-star game, Dallas Mavericks, Palo Alto, asian, syracuse, espn.

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  38. lacob and gruber are smart guys...well, except when it came to purchasing one of the worst performing sports franchises, um, ever. but seriously these guys are no dummies, how can they not understand how much this already long suffering fanbase is being insulted by keeping fitz on the tv broadcasts and paying him for his knbr gig? i mean think about it, lacob and gruber are paying fitz to berate and insult their customers (warriors fans) on a daily basis. what other owner of a pro sports franchise does that? it was one thing when it was chris cohan paying him to insult us, but for the new ownership to continue this charade is just baffling. this team has made the playoffs once in the last 17 seasons, haven't we been kicked in the collective groin enough? how much longer are they going to keep insulting us by continuing to have bob "fake laughter" fitzgerald as the talking head of their franchise?

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    Replies
    1. Hi greg, nice of you to chime in.

      Delete
  39. Fitz, is really overated and Greg Pappa got the royal hum job there....

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  40. I like most of the Bay Area broadcasters, but I can't stomach Fitzgerald at all. There are other guys out there who are homers, but he takes it to an all new level. I want at least some objectivity in an announcer. I don't root for the Giants, but I respect their announcers. They root for the Giants and their calls are quite naturally more excited when the home team does something positive. Fitzgerald comes across like an overblown windbag with a huge ego. I would much rather listen to Pappa.

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  41. I can't stand Fitzgerald and stopped listening to KNBR because of him...It's been wonderful watching Warrior telecasts without him...The Warriors should bring back Papa, please.

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  42. Today, Bob went on with a caller from Stanford about how the universities make money on the backs of student athletes and how the athletes should be compensated...the caller pointed out that Stanford makes way more money from patents they hold on the backs of student engineering...Bob said that was different because these students "were starting companies"...that's not true...the university is the richest in the world because of it's patent royalties...for the most part, the students get nothing...

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  43. I actually think Papa was very negative on the Giants last year until they got to the World Series...they won in spite of his crystal ball...don't like him...keep him in Oakland...

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  44. Stumbled on this a year+ late, but anyway...

    "Young Bob" (remember that?) is an annoying, smarmy, pompous D-BAG. I used to listen to KNBR back in the heyday early-90s when Radnich started, etc. But I hated "Young Bob" from the start, just struck me as an obnoxious little p***k.

    Now after having shunned sports radio for pretty much the past 12 years thanks to the suckfest that is KNBR, I'm getting back into it and enjoying it, but with 95.7 The Game. The morning show (Rise Guys?) ain't great, but it's 10x better than KNBR's show. But the real treat is The Wheelhouse from 12-3pm with Greg Papa...the dude is just a pro, is never a homer, very knowledgeable, and a great sense of humor. All of the afore-mentioned traits are those NOT possessed by "Fitz".

    I only wish Warriors mgt would right a grievous Bay Area wrong and kick Fitzgerald to the curb, putting Papa back with Jim Barnett.

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  45. FIRE BOB FITZGERALD ALREADY

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