Why Is Angelo Cataldi Mad At Robert Huber? An Answer
Last Thursday, Philly Mag features editor Robert Huber posted a blog titled “Why Is Angelo Cataldi Mad at Me?” His father-in-law, David Stone, sent some words of comfort.
If Angelo’s calling you an asshole, there has to be a reason.
Now of course he’s wrong, I know you, and you’re not an asshole.
You might be a pest, however.
Unlike the ancient story of the boy who poked the hornet’s nest, who was naïve about the potential results of unnecessarily stirring up a problem, you are perfectly aware of what you’re doing when you take a swing at a guy like Angelo Cataldi. Because if the pen is mightier than the sword, then, sadly, the WIP airwaves are German tanks and our posts are the Polish cavalry.
What did the Nazis do with pests? They brushed them off. They stomped on them. And then they moved on.
Here’s the deal with Angelo, and you had to have known this: He’s an act. He is to radio what Hulk Hogan (or fill in the blank with your favorite WWF hero) is to wrestling. Love him, that’s great. Despise him, that’s even better. He doesn’t care. He just wants your attention, and the attention you might create for him.
What probably irks you — it does me, too — is that at one time he was on what we thought was the right track: Sheepskin from Columbia’s Journalism School. Terrific sportswriter for the Inky. A Pulitzer nomination. Then, probably without him even being aware, the Pod People struck.
In what I assume was a perfectly reasonable desire to make more than — ahem — six figures, he said yes to the opportunity to become the morning sidekick to good ol’ boy Tommy Brookshier at WIP. Brookie wasn’t really clever enough to be controversial — his career controversies were always goofily unintended, our own little Al Campanis. But Angelo spiced things up, started to say things that made the phones ring, which created more listeners, thus opening up the door for more advertisers and more moola.
Soon he was doing an Anne Baxter to Brookshier’s Bette Davis; Angelo’s star was born, and Tommy was shooed into retirement.
Angelo has to do what he has to do: The Phillies go to the playoffs three times in three years; he blasts Charlie, Ruben, the team. What a bunch of losers.
Flyers skate towards the Cup? They are chokers, not good enough to get it done.
Sixers … oh never mind.
And of course there are the Eagles. The city’s number one infatuation. Bobby my boy, Angelo has to belittle the Eagles. If he does nothing but say how wonderful they are, he won’t be doing his act. He might as well return to being the awkward on-air journalist he was when he started with Brookshier. The fact that he hates Lurie, despises Banner, loathes Reid, booed Donovan on draft day has nothing to do with his feeling towards Jews, Mormons or African-Americans. It has everything to do with making the station’s switchboard light up.
One of the things that always made me laugh is Angelo’s on-air routine about what a jerk Howard Eskin is. Because in the years since he started at ‘IP, Angelo has become Howard.
To many folks, Howard Eskin is defined by words and phrases like loud and obnoxious and know-it-all and cruel and rude and mean and sexist. And to many people, Angelo Cataldi is defined in exactly those same terms.
But I’m pretty confident that in Angelo’s case, it’s an act. It’s a routine. It’s the WWF. It’s all worked out backstage. He roars and stomps and belittles and appears on the cusp of danger and then, miracle-of-miracles, he smashes and humiliates his lame and unrighteous pest of an opponent.
Because that’s what he does with pests.
If he thinks you’re an asshole, it’s because he thinks you don’t get that.