Former Cardinal Jim Edmonds’ St. Louis radio job is on hiatus because of family matters.
There apparently are two situations pending. His first wife (Lee Ann Horton), with whom he has two daughters, has cancer.
He already had been spending a considerable amount of time in California, where she lives and he grew up (and played for the Angels, who are based in Orange County). But he now is spending more time there than he had been, and their youngest daughter recently moved back there from St. Louis to be with her mother.
Part II is that Edmonds’ current wife reportedly is being added to the cast of “The Real Housewives of Orange County” television show, on Bravo. That’s according to several websites that cover the entertainment industry, including People.
The reports say Edmonds and his wife since October, native St. Louisan Meghan King Edmonds, will be involved in the show that also will include the wife of the Angels’ Josh Hamilton.
In fact, LAlatenews reported that “the new season of Real Housewives of Orange County will feature St. Louis celebrities, STL sights, and enough elements to hint ‘RHOSTL (Real Housewives of St. Louis).’ ... BravoTV is expected to use (this) season to test the waters and see if a new Midwest spinoff (is) finally logical.”
Edmonds recently left the “Edmonds, McKernan and Moe Show” on WGNU (920 AM). He couldn’t be reached for comment but briefly discussed the situation on the air.
“We’ve got our hands full right now,” he said of his family on the day he signed off. “But I’m sure everybody ... has got their hands full of something. Just another reason why we’re real people.”
The latter remark certainly seems in line with the reports about the Bravo show. That led Riverfront Times blogger Lindsay Toler to write that “Daily RFT would like to be the first to formally welcome the circus of plastic surgery, cocktail throwing and overall absurdity that is Real Housewives to St. Louis.”
Edmonds, 44, recently sold his Orange County mansion for nearly $7 million, the Los Angeles Times reports. And he has said he and his wife were renting and hope to buy a smaller home in the area.
“I told my wife, ‘If we move, we’re going to see the ocean,’” he said on the air.
Edmonds, a center fielder who last year was inducted into the Cardinals’ Hall of Fame, had been doing a show on 920 since the start of last year’s baseball season and was successful enough that he was shifted in May from midday to the key afternoon drive-time slot. He worked there with Tim McKernan, whose insideSTL company controls the weekday programming at 920 AM. T.J. Moe later joined the cast.
McKernan, citing the personal nature of Edmonds’ situation, did not want to comment beyond what he posted on his insideSTL.com website regarding the matter.
“The goal is for Jim to return to the afternoon drive slot when baseball season starts,’’ he wrote. “But, that is all to be determined by the circumstances. (He) has more important matters to tend to with his family. We just want him to be able to do whatever he needs to do and not worry about having to be in St. Louis to do the show.”
Pat Imig and Dre Montez now are with Moe from 4-6 p.m. The 2-4 p.m. program also has been shuffled, with Kenny “Iggy” Strode, Ron Godier and Brad Mulholland now manning the microphones.
Jerry Gross made his mark in San Diego, where he did play-by-play of almost all the major teams, pro and college, and also was a TV sports anchor.
But before that, Gross, who recently died of cancer at 81, made his mark in St. Louis, where he was the radio voice of the NBA’s St. Louis Hawks and also worked on Cardinals baseball broadcasts in the 1960s. He did the Hawks from 1960-67 before being displaced by Skip Caray — son of Cardinals announcer Harry Caray. But it worked out for Gross, who landed in San Diego at first as voice of the NBA’s Rockets, and his career skyrocketed.
Gross had some rollicking times there, as a 1992 Los Angeles Times article called him “the hot-shot, play-by-play announcer, the flamboyant and controversial sports reporter battling the establishment.”
The story also detailed Gross’ fall from prominence to lower-level jobs. From the article:
“One of his more famous brouhahas came in 1973, when the late Gene Klein, then owner of the Chargers, revoked Gross’ press credentials. Klein was infuriated that Gross had suggested on the air that Klein was lying to the public. Eventually, his credentials were restored. And a few years later, Klein hired Gross to do play-by-play.”on Chargers radio broadcasts
Gross acknowledged the friction.
“My problem was I talked with my heart instead of my head,” he said in the story.
He also was a high-profile, opinionated sportscaster.
“In 1975, after three years of public squabbling with sports and television executives, Gross was fired from Channel 8,’’ the story said. “Among other reasons for his dismissal, surveys were cited that showed Gross was extremely well known and extremely disliked by large groups of San Diego residents.
“I never had any problems with the fans,” Gross said.
In 1980 he unsuccessfully sued former Padres president Buzzie Bavasi for hindering his career.
“Baseball legend Duke Snider, who had worked with Gross in the Padres broadcasting booth, testified that he quit because of Gross’ abrasive behavior,” the Times said.
After his flame burned out there, he had a short run back in St. Louis hosting a nationally syndicated sports radio show in the early 1990s. And he was congenial during his return engagement as he did his show from a short-lived sports bar in St. Louis Centre — a now defunct shopping and entertainment area downtown — that bore the name of Cardinals legend Lou Brock.
That’s when the Post-Dispatch’s Dan O’Neill caught up with him at a Cards game.
“It all came rushing back,’’ ONeill wrote then of his conversation with Gross. “The transistor radio clipped to the radiator. The nights tossing and turning with every syllable. The voice of the St. Louis Hawks. Jerry Gross.”
Gross brought up memories of covering the Hawks, who played at Kiel Auditorium, which at time was being gutted to make way for the Savvis (now Scottrade) Center.
“I remember going through that side door at Kiel every day for eight years, “ Gross told O’Neill. “I got a pang of sadness in my heart when I saw it.
“That building had a charm to it. It was old and rickety. And when we did the games, we weren’t in a press box or anything. We were right out there with the fans.
“I remember the game when (Celtics coach) Red Auerbach got hit in the head with an egg. It started a war with the fans in Boston. When we went there for a game, they were throwing eggs from the third floor. Auerbach finally got on the public-address system and said, ‘Please don’t throw eggs. Don’t be like those jerks in St. Louis.’”
WEBER IN SPOTLIGHT
Bowling finally is up the alley of ESPN’s “This Is SportsCenter” long-running promotional series.
St. Louisan Pete Weber, who has won 10 Professional Bowlers Association major titles and is a bowling Hall of Famer, recently shot a short piece that began airing this week. He acts as if he is a league bowler who has just finished his night and walks out behind sportscaster Kenny Mayne. He stops at the receptionist’s desk, leaves off his rental bowling shoes and picks up his street shoes — as would be expected of an amateur on his way out the door. The kicker — the receptionist then sprays the rental shoes with disinfectant.
Weber is widely known for his high-energy antics while bowling, and his bad-boy reputation, but this is his first national TV commercial. And he told PBA.com that he had a blast recording the piece.
It was “wonderful,” he said. “Everyone in Los Angeles looked at me and said, ‘Hey, that’s Pete Weber.’ I admit, I get a thrill when other celebrities recognize me.”
Weber couldn’t help but think about keeping his mischievous image during the process.
“Chantre (Camack, the talent director for the project) asked me if I’d like to do the ‘Sports Nation’ show,” Weber said. “I said, sure, but I didn’t know it was live. Otherwise I might not have displayed my middle finger.”
He apparently was kidding.
“Everyone was first class, A-1, as nice as can be,’’ he added. “It was an honor to be part of it.”
BIG BLUES RATING
Although the Blues lost their showdown Sunday with Chicago, they romped in the television ratings department. According to Nielsen, 7.5 percent of homes in the area with a TV tuned in to NBC’s coverage (KSDK, Channel 5 locally), making it the club’s highest-rated game of the season thus far.
No. 2 is their contest on Nov. 6, against New Jersey, which drew a 6.9 figure on Fox Sports Midwest.
It also was the Blues’ best regular-season showing on NBC or NBC Sports Network in recent seasons, No. 2 on that list was an NBC (KSDK) telecast of their contest, also vs. Chicago, last April 6. That rating was 5.3.