The Mighty 1090: A Perpetually Confusing Radio Station

Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton announced earlier today that he would be taking over the Pregame and Postgame show for 2014 on the Padres flagship station, The Mighty 1090. This news may interest those wondering what 1090 would do with Hamilton after it had replaced him with Dan Sileo but I find it interesting* for another reason: Baseball fans will now get even less of Craig Elsten.

*Where I define “interesting” as “disappointing”.

Last season, Elsten’s primary duties included hosting the Pregame and Postgame shows on the weekend as well as filling in for Jack Cronin or Coach Kentera during the week when needed. All told, Elsten worked about half of last season’s games,  partnering with former Padres announcer Bob Chandler. The combination of Elsten and Chandler made for a great mix of something old and something new. This is now gone.

I catch a fair amount of Pregame shows prior to each Padres game whereas the Postgame show is usually something I only listen to when I’m returning home from Petco Park. I think the Pregame is worth listening to for the obvious reason, in that it provides all of the necessary team news and injury updates. But more importantly, I think that Craig Elsten is one of the most intelligent baseball people working in San Diego. And it’s one of the few places we can could actually find him with some level of regularity.

Craig Elsten is a forward thinking baseball mind. When he does get an opportunity to fill in for one of the regular hosts during the week we’re often treated to interviews with other baseball luminaries like Jonah Keri and Joe Sheehan.

Elsten is comfortable talking about advanced metrics like WAR and how it connects to potential free-agent contracts but without doing it in a way that wouldn’t confuse listeners who don’t choose to analyze baseball using newfangled acronyms.

Two years ago Craig had a local bio-mechanics expert come on air to discuss pitching injuries and preventative care – think such a guest might be welcomed on San Diego’s airwaves now?

Last season before Will Venable caught fire his OBP was terribly low yet Bud Black continued to bat him second. I called in to the Pregame show, discussed batting order optimization with Craig, and then asked him to politely question Bud about his thought process when constructing a batting order – Craig inquired about it within a few days.

The Pregame and Postgame shows represented one of the few opportunities for Padres fans to hear intelligent views on baseball and now with another line-up shuffle we are denied this chance.

I don’t quite understand the thought process behind 1090’s decisions. I didn’t understand the Mighty 1090 when they moved Darren Smith to the 12-3pm graveyard and I don’t understand them now with their use (misuse) of Craig Elsten.

I also don’t understand the shuffling of Lee “Hacksaw” Hamilton. Hacksaw’s program didn’t draw listeners during the PM drive-time slot so they moved him to the AM drive-time. When things didn’t work in the AM, 1090 found Hacksaw a partner in JD Hayworth, a decision which failed to generate ratings, leading to the former Arizona Congressman’s dismissal. Not long after Hayworth’s departure, 1090 removed Hacksaw from the regular line-up entirely in favor of a Miami radio host ignominiously fired for racist and misogynist remarks at previous radio stations.

Again, I just don’t get it.

If Hacksaw can’t draw ratings and hold an audience why is The Mighty 1090 positioning him as the Pre and Postgame host? More importantly why doesn’t The Mighty 1090 see that they have a real pro in Craig Elsten?

In the meantime I’ll wait patiently and quietly for news that one of the smart baseball guys in town has received a chance to give us something thoughtful.

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I contribute to Padres Public on Thursday mornings and when I’m feeling particularly inspired by Juan Uribe. I can also be found on twitter at @AvengingJM. The dusty archives of AJM are located at avengingjm.blogspot.com

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