Off With His Mic!

Last Monday, October 23, the day after elderly Detroit Tigers southpaw Kenny Rogers might or might not have used a curveball-enhancing substance, KFNS (590 AM) host Kevin Slaten devoted his show to the controversy. He grilled Major League Baseball umpire supervisor Steve Palermo and asserted that St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa should resign for having failed to ask the umps to search Rogers on the mound.

Slaten's remarks weren't unique, but unlike those who called for La Russa's head before the Cardinals took the World Series, he stands by his comments. "I don't believe that because the Cardinals happen to have the World Series turn out in their favor, that should make us forget all the mistakes that were made," says he.

He's also peeved at St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Bryan Burwell, who this past Sunday wrote:

In the middle of the World Series, the idiot fringe rose up and actually demanded that La Russa either resign or be immediately fired after he didn't press the issue of having Kenny Rogers kicked out of Game 2 when the Tiger pitcher was caught with a foreign substance on his pitching hand.

Slaten believes the comments were directed at him.

Burwell denies it.

"Why does Kevin think that when I use the words 'idiot fringe,' I'm talking about him?" Burwell responds. "I don't listen to his radio show. I was referring to the e-mails that I got from people who were saying things like, 'La Russa is guilty of Cardinal treason.' I don't waste my time criticizing members of the media. But there's an old saying: 'If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, maybe it's a duck.'"

Slaten says that whatever the case, Burwell is guilty of "kissing up" to the Cardinals establishment. "You see this all the time; [writers] don't have the courage of their own convictions. They're supposed to be journalists and instead they hop on the bandwagon."

"Now, for Kevin to say I'm not a courageous writer -- who wrote the 'Albert Pujols is acting like an idiot' column the week before?" retorts Burwell, formerly Slaten's colleague at KFNS. "When I wrote that negative column about Albert Pujols, the next day I was standing on the field, so that when he walked by, he said something to me and we spent 25 or 30 minutes discussing why I wrote what I wrote. I'm a journalist. [Slaten]'s an entertainer. We don't work under the same rules.An entertainer says what he says in the comfort of a radio studio and never leaves that radio studio to stand up to the person that he said something negative about."

"Here's what I find funny," Slaten shoots back. "Not one guy who is a radio broadcaster wants to write a column, but everybody who writes in the newspaper wants to be on a radio or TV show. So they rip the industry and the people who are in it, and it's usually because they can't hack it as a radio or TV broadcaster. And then they turn around and whine about free seats in the press box."

A glimmer of agreement may have emerged somewhere in there.

"Do we wanna work in radio? Of course we do," says Burwell. "Because we like money."

-Ben Westhoff

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