Oklahoma City News, Entertainment & Occasional Humor • Established 2007

Sports + Talking + Radio = Not Good

Jim Traber

I had to stop and think hard about something this week. Something I’d never considered. Something I really didn’t think I ever would.

Why in the f-u-n-k do I listen to sports talk radio?

I had no answer for myself. What made this especially awkward was that I asked it out loud while in line at Taco Bueno. Everyone looked at me funny. One guy said, “Order a stupid burrito and think about it later. Douche.”

So alas, here I sit. I think what brought me to where I’m at is my little spat with The Ultimate over the past few months. You see, he doesn’t like me. He thinks I’m “little” and “a fool” and so on and so forth. The usual stuff.

To recap quickly if you don’t know: Back in August, Traber called out Nick Collison for liking Seattle and vowed to run him out of town. I said Traber was being an idiot. Traber actually admitted days later after Collison called he was probably wrong about the Collison thing, but yet, even though my column was saying exactly what he was now agreeing with, he was still peeved at me. That’s the Ultimate way. Then he diverted attention by taking  on Bill Simmons of ESPN.com because Simmons trashed the Thunder a bit by calling the team “Zombie Sonics” instead of its real name and also called Traber a moron for the Collison thing. Which if you remember right, Traber admitted he probably got carried away over. I said Traber was being ridiculous again and making OKC look bad. He flipped again.

This time, I guess he decided to fire up the wagon again and yell at Simmons for the same old things. And on top of that, he was going on about his whole “Russell Westbrook isn’t a point guard and never will be” again. On Twitter I said he was being a little silly about it all. Traber, not understanding Twitter at all and the concept of re-tweeting or the “at” symbol, yelled about it all on the radio the next day, using words to describe me as once again “little” and “boy” and “fool” and “pathetic.” He even pulled out this on Twitter:

“Very happy with my BB knowledge, played at a higher level than most. Definitely simmons and dailyboy.”

Isn’t he the best? Yeah, Traber played basketball at a high level. I’m thinking maybe he means he played a pickup game in Denver or something because surely he’s not trying to call high school a “high level.” He also went on to play the “mine’s bigger than yours” card saying my site gets 200 hits a day while he has 60,000 listeners and his message board gets more than my “punky little blog”. If that makes Trabes feel big, then go for it. I don’t care.

But here’s what frustrates me: Traber sees himself as this big (literally), bad, brilliant sports analyst and anything not sitting on his side of the fence is incorrect. And when you’re on the other side you’re a fool, you’re little, you get yelled at and you never get to let your side be heard. Traber told someone I know that he’d never let my call get through because he thinks I’m in this for exposure. And yet, Simmons sees Traber as doing the same thing, but Traber calls Simmons scared. So what does that make The Ultimate if he won’t hear from a little boy blogger? Poo in your pants, pass out, me-at-the-end-of-Paranormal-Activity terrified?

Anyway, my point is, why in the crap did I listen to all of this? Why do I care what some fat guy that played three years of professional baseball in Japan says? And why do you? It has nothing to do with sports. It has nothing to do with actual games being played. It has nothing to do with anything really. Probably 50 percent of Traber’s show is spent yelling at someone. It makes for good radio because it’s entertaining. But do I feel like a smarter sports fan as a result? Am I listening to gain knowledge from an insider so that I can relay that onto friends at a bar? Am I getting the scoop on big news? Or do I simply want to be entertained?

Because honestly, do you get anything out of what Al Eschbach says, other than feeling uncomfortable hearing him make some sexually charged joke? I do enjoy Mark Rodgers though because he speaks within himself, never gets too excited one way or the other and seems to genuinely want to talk about sports and not petty, stupid things.

I understand yelling is part of good sports talk radio. You let buffoon callers call in and they’re going to say ridiculous crap. And therefore the host is probably going to blow up. It happens. It’s the formula. But then again, is hearing some old guy that knows Cal Ripken talk about the Steelers third string fullback really better than music? Most of it isn’t something you’ve thought of already and 90 percent of us are just going to argue back with no one instead of calling in, because honestly, what fun is it to call in when the host just talks over you the whole time? Unless of course you bow down to his position and give it up to him, then he’ll call you “brother” and “my man” the whole time and you’ll gain some odd sense of approval. It’s how it works. Those are my favorite people ““ the Traber Suck Ups. The folks that want to be his buddy.

Most people understand you can’t get anywhere calling people “moron” and “idiot” at every turn. Especially when you’re just talking about something as simple as sports. I mean good grief, is yelling at a decibel only dogs can hear really worth it when we’re talking about basketball? I just absolutely cannot wrap my mind around why I want to hear this. It’s just four hours of total insanity.

ESPN has been running commercials promoting ESPN Radio and it’s funny, because they’re exactly spot on. Why would you listen to Jim Traber and Al Eschbach butcher Seinfeld lines, talk about things nobody understands and speak in tongues half the time, when you could get quality sports talk? Though I must admit, I do enjoy Berry Tramel running circles around Traber’s brain. It’s like watching a dog chase its tail.

Look, I’m not going to stop listening. I can’t. I must have it. I must have my Big Dog Daddy and my “Dominant”¦. DUOOOOOOO” and all that crap. I’ve got to hear Dean the Stream. I have to have some Be Happy Friday music and Shaping the Minds. I don’t know why.  I DON’T KNOW WHY. I’m obsessed with sports and I need them so much in my life that I can’t go five minutes driving in a vehicle without hearing someone opine on them. Even if that person is an absolute lunatic. It’s a disease I think.

So I sit here asking myself why do I listen? And I have no answer. I have nothing. Kind of like George Costanza’s rationale for why the show about nothing would work, we listen because it’s on the radio. I guess right now I listen to see if he’s going to smear my little name and talk crap about me like I’m Jenni Carlson’s stepson.

She really should write something stupid soon. That always makes for good radio.


  1. WOW. You just summarized my entire thought process regarding the Urinal in just over 1200 words.

    I highly recommend ESPN radio. I would like to say if you switch, you won’t look back, but that’s not true. The Total Dumbinance Hour is something that you just can’t help but listen to when it’s on, but it’s nice to have something to switch to during the 35 minutes it’s on commercial each hour.

  2. You know, I don’t mind Traber griping about Simmons’ disrespect of Oklahoma (because, unlike Traber, I am an Oklahoma Love guy), but I don’t see why Traber takes that disagreement and goes after the guy’s basketball knowledge. I mean, because really, does anyone think of Jim Traber and say, “That guy knows a lot about the NBA.” Seriously, does Trabes know enough about the NBA to even know whether someone else has knowledge?

  3. Great rant, Royce. But, I fear I have bad news for you:

    You have grown up.

    Now, go over to kgou.org, make a hundred-dollar donation, and when your Morning Edition coffee cup arrives, sip some Brazilian roast and wait for Frank DeFord and Daniel Shore to come on and discuss the miracle of the 1944 Saint Louis Browns’ pennant drive . . .

  4. Great post. What about when Traber fields a legitimate criticism by saying, “then don’t listen to me!!!” TRanslation: Don’t question my authority!!!!

    My favorite was when Traber referred to Simmons as a “peon”. Uh…Jim, Simmons is likely the most powerful personality at ESPN. If there is a peon at the Worldwide Leader it is not Bill SImmons. Anybody that thinks about sports for a living would know this.

  5. Never a “sports radio” listener before I became so interested (okay obsessed…) with our NBA basketball team(s), being a girl and all (NOT their target demographic–what with all the constant on-air urinating, and flatulence jokes!!) But I was appallled to the point of pulling my car off the road and calling the sex-offender hotline yesterday when I tuned in hoping to hear some Thunder talk, and instead got treated to Eschbach hassling some poor 22 year old baseball player from Pryor about how hot his high school prom dates body was, and if he would still “do” her?!?! Then he proceeded to drill this poor defenseless lad about whether he had ever been to “Night Trips”! To which the flustered yet still game young man answered “No!” (the correct answer no matter how many lap dances he had actually ever had…BTW)

    And then Eschbach goes so far over the line that it is a speck on the horizon behind him, and says “You don’t LIKE BOYS DO YOU?!?!”

    Unbelievable. There is no amount of wisdom or insight that Trammel can add that will ever make it worthwhile for me to listen to this crap again unless my husband is in the car and makes me.

  6. I think the Sports animal only exists because there is nothing else in the market. If a real sports talk station (like they have in Chicago or New York) ever started here, the animal would be over within a year. Aside from the poor commentary, they really have way too many ads and still can’t sell out their time (how many times does McGruff talk to Oklahoman football fans a day?). Couldn’t you add more content instead os PSA’s non stop?

    Traber lost all credibility to me when he (and Gotlieb) ripped Hybl and the Sooners on air after the Big 12 game. No one who is the least bit professional would have done that, and it was obvious they were about 10 years old. They reminded me of my kid self hating OSU so much, I ignored how good Barry Sanders actually was. Just retarded.

    That same evening my wife saw Al Esbach on TV, and she asked me what was wrong with him. She thought he had a DISEASE from just a cursory appearance :)

  7. @girlballer — that’s funny coming from Eschbach. I’d swear to God that I saw him in Othello’s one night with the black cross-dressing hooker from “Risky Business.”

    But I might be wrong. Then again, I don’t like boys. Or boys dressed like girls. Or Al Eschbach.

  8. I’m afraid to say that Trabes is rapidly becoming the Rush Limbaugh of regional sports talk radio. I’m afraid to say it because I know how excited that statement might make him. Awful, awful radio.

  9. @Eliot–I saw him @ the Skirvin bar with that same “date” once too! Could someone, anyone have actually consented to marry/cohabitate with that troll?

  10. Great job, Royce. New title suggestion, “Traber + Eschbach + Talking + Radio = Narcissistic Perverts.”

    @judgeinjury: Try KEBC Fox Sports Radio on 1340 AM.

  11. I have limited my sports animal listening to the 15 minute drive home in the evening. Even then, I will not hesitate to switch to something else, like during last nite’s inane crap from eschbach and the poor intern he was hassling. However, when Trammel called Traber a sissy recently, that was riveting radio. He also told him that just because he could hit a curveball did not make him an expert on everything sports.

    The only reason citadel puts up with the traber rants and the eschbach trash is that they make money for them, and a lot of it. They may not sell all their commercial time but they make major $$$ with all their suckup remotes.

  12. Wow I am so glad someone wrote this about this because I am in the same boat… I don’t understand why I listen, but I just have to listen to it all day and everyday even though I hate listening to the commercials I still sit here everyday at work and listen to it…

  13. @judgeinjury I never understood why he and Gottlieb ripping Hybl was such a big deal. At that point in my life, I listened to The Sports Animal all the time, and everything those two said about Hybl was tame compared to what the OU FANS were calling in to say about him. And while Eshbach and the other hosts were talking nice about him in Houston, they were egging on those callers prior to that point.

  14. I think Trabes gets his Thunder analysis from comments that he heard someone else say one time, like 18 months ago, and he’s been living off of them ever since:

    1) “Westbrook is not a point guard.”

    2) “Collison is a good role player who can grab some rebounds, but he’s not gonna be a superstar.”

    3) “Robert Swift sucks.” and…

    4) “Hey guys, listen…Kevin Durant is really, really good.”

    I enjoy the days when Mark Rodgers sticks around for 20 minutes or so just to patronize Traber. Sounds like an interview from Kids Say the Darndest Things.

  15. The last time I listened to the Sports Animal was over a year ago. The reason was because I had been driving and was waiting to hear some certain news on the Thunder or Sooners or something, and Traber, the Troll, and even Trammel spent an entire SEGMENT to movie titles, and not even Sports related movie titles.

    I’ll probably tune in here in the next couple of months because it makes for good entertainment, but calling the channel is a Sports station is grounds for perjury.

  16. I guess I’m in the minority that doesn’t listen to the Sports Animal. I like to catch Pat Jones, but that time slot doesn’t work for me. But Pat’s the only one I enjoy.

    I actually don’t like Traber or Eshbach on a personal level. I don’t mind Craig Humphries personally, but I can’t listen to the man stammer around on air. BBJ isn’t too bad actually, on the air. At least he can say more than 4 words per minute, unlike Humphries.

    But honestly, I don’t listen often enough to form much of an opinion on any of the hosts. Except Jim and Al. I can’t stand them.

    Royce, I think you should invest in satellite radio. If you’re an avid listener, you would probably enjoy it.

  17. Stopped listening a couple of years ago. Don’t miss it. Trust me, just listen to your iPod and forget about sports radio. You won’t regret the decision.

  18. “Though I must admit, I do enjoy Berry Tramel running circles around Traber’s brain. It’s like watching a dog chase its tail.”

    That’s the only reason why I listen to them on the drive home. Tramel equating Traber’s crab cake comments to Nick Collison’s Seattle weather tweets. That was radio at its finest.

  19. Jim Traber = Superdouche

    I lost all respect for him when he challenged Stacy Dales on air to a one-on-one basketball game the year she was a senior (All-American)and insisted for weeks that she stood no chance of scoring on him. I’m not a fan of women’s basketball in the least bit but come on.

  20. WWLS only gets listeners due to lack of competition, usually due to poor KREF signal quality in the mornings. If OKC had ESPN Radio fulltime, there would be absolutely no reason to listen to WWLS ever. Doesn’t WWLS have the OKC rights to, and therefore the ability to block, ESPN Radio?

    PS-Anyone choosing BBJ or Rodgers instead of Jim Rome has problems.

  21. Great, great blog. Well thought out. Traber is a control freak. He yells over others as an act of control. Lack of control allows others to have independence and ultimately see his fraudulence. That’s no way to live.

    So the lesson is, shouting and/or name-calling is a vice of the weak.

    If that’s the case, I hope that this site will consider that in future posts.

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