Mark Neal

I am the Program Director at 1410 WING ESPN Radio in Dayton, Ohio...also host of Dayton Sports Scene weekdays at 5p!  Find me on Twitter @ESPNMark!
by Mark Neal posted Apr 15 2014 10:56AM
It is seen as a pocketed, regional sport. It is seen as a sport in the north...and maybe they are right. But as the NHL Playoffs prepare to begin this week, I wonder how close the league is to breaking out in popularity in this country?

I will be the 1st to admit, I used to watch hockey...lots of it! I am part of the ESPN Generation, and when the NHL was on the ESPN family of networks, I caught many games. Lock outs and franchise moves, but mostly newer TV deals have slowed mine, and many others in their viewing habits.

It is a fun sport, maybe more fun in person, but a fun sport. Some sports are great on TV, football for one...but hockey is incredible in person. It doesn't necessarily lend itself to the average fan with the constant line changes and fast moving small puck, but if you can get used to it, chances are you will enjoy it.

When I was younger, the league was filled with players like Mario Lemieux, Mark Messier, Jaromir Jagr, and of course Wayne Gretzky...players that transcended the sport. But most importantly, players even the passing fan knew. That is something that the sport lacks, not because of excitement, but promotion. The TV deal the NHL has now doesn't put it on the stage that it needs to be on, so many of us don't know the greats of today.

As the playoffs set to begin, exciting hockey, even for passing fans like me, is on the horizon. Almost nothing in the world of sports beats playoff hockey, especially those Game 7s. I will be watching, what I can, wishing throughout I had caught more games in the regular season.

It does make me think, how close the sport is to breaking out in popularity in the US...and I don't mean in Boston, Chicago, New York, and Minnesota, where the sport is already strong. I am talking about the West, the South, and large portions of the Midwest that see it as the sport going on during Basketball season. It might not be too far away.

The right TV deal, with a platform to promote the sport, like ESPN and ESPN Radio can provide, would be a huge step in the right direction. Whether you like it or not, ESPN is the Worldwide Leader, and people go to ESPN outlets in high volumes. It would have to share a crowded platform, but it is still a platform that would benefit the sport.

I look at Soccer, which was still trying to become big in the US back in 1994 when we were the host country. Since then, in 20 years, the sport has grown, and the popularity inside our borders has grown at an incredible rate. Sure, the influx of people from Soccer playing countries to the US can't be ignored, but never the less, Soccer is a real player now in this country within the sports landscape.

So, if you have time, take a few moments and check out some NHL playoffs...heck, the Columbus Blue Jackets made it in this year. How far away is the NHL from being something that you go from maybe watching, to can't miss TV?
Filed Under :
Topics : Sports
Location : BostonChicagoMinnesotaNew York
by Mark Neal posted Apr 15 2014 8:43AM
Due to Easter Sunday, the Bucknuts 90 will be live from the Roosters in Spirngboro from 11a - 12:30p on Saturday the 19th!
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Topics : Weather
by Mark Neal posted Apr 15 2014 8:41AM
The Reds will pick up their suspended game today with pregame at 5p, restart at 5:30p! The 2nd game will begin 20 minutes after!
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Topics : Sports
by Mark Neal posted Apr 15 2014 8:40AM
Due to the Reds suspended game, Dayton Sports Scene will go on at 4p today! We will talk Reds and hear from Dave Biddle of, as well as Anthony Castrovince from to talk Baseball!
Filed Under :
Topics : Human InterestSports
by Mark Neal posted Apr 13 2014 10:14PM
Tom Singer from joins us to preview Pirates/Reds! 6p
by Mark Neal posted Apr 13 2014 10:12PM
The Reds play the first of 3 with Pittsburgh Monday! Pregame is 6:40p on the home of the Reds 1410 ESPN Radio!
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Location : Pittsburgh
by Mark Neal posted Apr 13 2014 10:11PM
Huge Spring Game recap on Sunday! Click the Bucknuts 90 link on the homepage and listen in for all the latest on the Ohio State Buckeyes!
by Mark Neal posted Apr 9 2014 11:08AM
Following the Reds/Cards, we will hear from Hal McCoy for his regular Wednesday visit on Dayton Sports Scene
Filed Under :
Topics : Human Interest
by Mark Neal posted Apr 9 2014 11:08AM
The finale of a 3 game series in St. Louis is today with pregame at 1:15p on the Home of the Cincinnati Reds 1410 ESPN Radio!
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Topics : Sports
Location : St. Louis
by Mark Neal posted Apr 8 2014 10:40AM
Due to the Ohio State Football Spring Show at 6p this Thursday, the Thrush and Son WING Racing Show will move to 7p for just this week! Mark Neal and Corey Thrush will break down the world of NASCAR from 7p - 8p!
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People : Mark Neal
by Mark Neal posted Apr 8 2014 10:38AM
Pregame is at 7:45p from Busch Stadium...1st pitch is 8:15p! It's Homer Bailey vs Lance Lynn in GM 2 of this series
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Topics : Sports
by Mark Neal posted Apr 8 2014 10:37AM
5:20p Dave Biddle from joins us to preview Saturday's Spring Game! News, notes, and the latest info leading up to the Scarlet and Grey Game!
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Topics : Sports
People : Dave Biddle
by Mark Neal posted Apr 7 2014 12:27PM
Listen to the guys talk Ohio State Spring Football at 6p this Thursday...The Spring Game is Saturday
Filed Under :
Topics : SportsWeather
Location : Ohio
by Mark Neal posted Apr 7 2014 12:26PM
Pregame is at 3:45p...1st pitch is at 4:15p from Busch Stadium
Filed Under :
Topics : Sports
Location : St. Louis
by Mark Neal posted Apr 7 2014 12:26PM
3:20p Head Coach of the Dayton Flyers Archie Miller joins us
by Mark Neal posted Apr 4 2014 12:40PM
7p Giants @ Dodgers on 1410 ESPN Radio this Sunday
by Mark Neal posted Apr 4 2014 12:38PM
Talking Reds/Mets with Mets Beat Writer for Anthony DiComo
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Topics : Sports
People : Anthony DiComo
by Mark Neal posted Apr 4 2014 12:38PM
Reds talk to open...coming off a loss to the Cardinals, the team heads to Queens to play the Mets tonight!

5:20p Former Ohio State and NBA great "Dr. Memory" Jerry Lucas

5:40p Dave "Buzz" Baker from the Kentucky Radio Network to talk Final Four and Big Blue Nation
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People : Jerry Lucas
by Mark Neal posted Apr 3 2014 11:00AM
We are just over 1 week away from the Spring Game! We will dive into what we can expect, plus position battles!
by Mark Neal posted Apr 3 2014 10:59AM
We will hear from UK Broadcaster Dave Baker on Dayton Sports Scene today to preview Kentucky and Wisconsin!
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Topics : Human InterestSports
Location : KentuckyWisconsin
People : Dave Baker
by Mark Neal posted Apr 3 2014 10:58AM
12:05 Cardinals vs Reds on 1410 ESPN Radio
by Mark Neal posted Apr 2 2014 11:48AM
Opening Night at GABP! The Cincinnati Reds host the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 of the 2014 season. Coverage tonight begins with Network Pregame at 6:40p...1st pitch is at 7:10p on 1410 ESPN Radio!
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Topics : Sports
by Mark Neal posted Apr 1 2014 10:32AM
I don't want to be that guy. That guy who makes too much out of nothing. That guy who takes a small sample and makes it out to be everything...but I might just do that with the Cincinnati Reds following their 1-0 loss to the St. Louis Cardinals yesterday on Opening Day.

Let's set aside the fact it was the Cardinals...those hated Cardinals that run the NL Central seemingly year in, and year out. Set aside the fact that they were facing a former Cy Young Award winner in Adam Wainwright, a guy that can dominate any line up. It's not a loss to me, it is a loss that might be more than just a loss.

Most people felt if the Reds could stay healthy, they could once again go to the playoffs, and who knows, maybe even advance this year. Solid pitching was supposed to lead they way. They handed out good money, heck, great money, to Homer Bailey to keep him in the fold. They have Mat Latos, Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake, and other solid arms in the bullpen with Aroldis Chapman locking it down in the 9th.

The concern was the offense. Shin Soo Choo took his talents to the Rangers, and with him a lot of times on base and runs. In for him, a very green Billy Hamilton. We all know he can run, but you can't steal first base. I asked him at the Reds Caravan if he felt ready for the pressure of being the lead off hitter for the Major League club this season...he looked at me like I was crazy!

"Of course I feel I'm ready...5 years in the Minors is a long time." he remarked back to me

It is a long time, only if you are ready. The amount of time is's whether you are ready or not that is the timetable, not length of time. Yesterday, he didn't look ready striking out all 4 times to the plate. Expect plenty of off speed pitches, Billy, because they are coming.

The rest of the offense worries people too. Votto is the one "on base" threat on the team, and he is expected to do more than walk and single due to his salary and importance to the team. Jay Bruce is a good player, and getting better each year, but consistency has been his demon all along. Frazier, Ludwick, Cozart, Mesoraco...someone needs to really hit in 2014 to win big.

It's just one game, but it was what we feared most...Great pitching, no home...on Opening Day in front of 43,000 fans at GABP. It's a race, not a sprint, but we saw what we feared all off season yesterday. Here is to hoping it turns around quickly.

Go Reds!
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Topics : Sports
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Springboro High School
“High school athletics have helped me learn how to manage my time properly when it comes to school and training. Also, they have taught me the value of hard work, determination and teamwork.”
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