The latest ratings showdown between Boston’s two sports radio stations turned into a runaway win.
The Sports Hub (98.5 FM) earned a 9.2 share overall in the men 25-54 demographic from the period of March 28-June 19 to finish first. WEEI (93.7 FM) was fourth with a 5.4.
WEEI’s number includes its online stream (0.4) and the share it gets from Providence-based WVEI (103.7) in the Boston market (0.4). Without that data included, flagship station WEEI 93.7 would have been fifth (4.6).
The Sports Hub’s online stream is included in its share.
In morning drive (6-10 a.m.), The Sports Hub’s “Toucher and Rich” show was first (9.1). WEEI’s “Mut and Callahan” was fifth (6.5, including 0.4 from WVEI and 0.4 from its stream).
In middays (10 a.m-2 p.m.), the Sports Hub’s “Zo and Beetle” show finished third (9.5), while WEEI’s “Dale and Keefe” show was fourth (6.2, including 0.3 for the stream and 0.3 for WVEI). Classic rock station WZLX’s “Carter Alan” program was first (12.2), ahead of while WROR’s Julie Devereaux-hosted ‘80s-music program was second (9.8).
In afternoon drive (2-6 p.m.), the Sports Hub’s “Felger and Massarotti” remained the highest-rated sports program in the market with a 12.1 share. WEEI’s “OMF” program was fourth (5.4, including 0.2 for WVEI and 0.3 for its stream).
In the 6-7 p.m. window, The Sports Hub, which usually airs Tony Massarotti’s “The Baseball Reporters” in that spot, was first with a 10.4, while WEEI’s Red Sox pregame show was ninth (4.2).
In the 7 p.m.-midnight period, The Sports Hub, which airs “The Adam Jones Show” weeknights and had playoff Bruins and Celtics broadcasts, was first (10.3). WEEI, which has Red Sox broadcasts among other programming, was tied for eighth (4.2).
NBC Sports Boston has been using Kyle Draper, Chris Forsberg, and Brian Scalabrine as the broadcast team on its Summer League telecasts of Celtics games, but they’re not on-site in Las Vegas. Instead, they’re doing it live from the studio in Burlington.
I usually don’t like this approach, but it works well here. Draper provides the basics of play-by-play, but the broadcast is much more casual, and the conversation feels authentic and genuine, like what they’d be saying if the cameras were off.
It especially helps that Scalabrine is candid and resists Summer League hype.
This approach would not work for games that are actually meaningful, but it’s terrific for Summer League, and NBC Sports Boston has the right trio doing it.
On the call
Sean McDonough will join Joe Castiglione and Lou Merloni in the WEEI broadcast booth to begin a three-game series with the Dodgers Friday night. McDonough, Castiglione, and Dave O’Brien will call the final two.
The rest of the Red Sox broadcaster groupings for July:
■ July 15-18: Dale Arnold joins Castiglione for the four-game set with the Blue Jays. Merloni will be the third voice in the booth for the final two games.
■ July 19-24: Josh Lewin pairs up with Castiglione for the six games in Baltimore and Tampa.
■ July 25-28: McDonough and Castiglione pair up for the first two games of a four-game series with the Yankees, with Merloni calling the third game alongside Castiglione. McDonough and O’Brien will call the fourth game of the set, with Castiglione off.
■ July 30-31: Castiglione and Arnold will have the first two games of a home series against the Rays, with Merloni the third voice on the second game.
I first read Jim Bouton’s seminal book “Ball Four” in high school, and every few years thereafter. So much of it stuck with me: The humor and humanity, of course, but especially the beauty in how he expressed it.
Have you ever read a finer description of baseball’s pull than “Ball Four’s” most famous line? “You see, you spend a good piece of your life gripping a baseball, and in the end it turns out that it was the other way around all the time.”
But there’s another passage that always stuck with me, too, about the loneliness of not fitting in.
“I know about lonely summers,’’ he wrote. “In my last years with the Yankees, I had a few of them. You stand in a hotel lobby talking with guys at dinnertime and they drift away, and some other guys come along and pretty soon they’re gone, and you’re all alone and no one has asked you what you’re doing about dinner. So you eat alone.”
Bouton died Wednesday at 80. I’m envious of my baseball writer friends who met him through the years and wrote wonderful tributes the last couple of days. But I feel fortunate to have met him through his words. Time to read “Ball Four” again.