We hold on tight to our local success stories in Philadelphia. Represent Philly well and fans love you, turn your back on Philly and they destroy you. It’s the reason a statue of a fictitious boxer appeared in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum steps, it’s the reason East River Drive was renamed after a movie star, and it’s the reason fans despise JD Drew, Scott Rolen, and Kobe Bryant.
It’s also the reason we love John Kincade.
John grew up in Philadelphia and now hosts a local sports talk radio show in Atlanta as well as a national radio show. But that's not why we love him. We love John Kincade because he has our back. He may have an Atlanta mailing address, but if you hear him on his radio programs or as a guest on WIP, you know that his allegiance to Philadelphia has not faded in the slightest. It’s not uncommon for radio personalities to succeed in multiple markets, but you won't find many who openly proclaim a rooting interest in not one, but all enemy teams from another city.
John developed his rooting interests in his home town of Broomall. He attended Saint Anastasia School, Cardinal O’Hara High School, and Temple University, where he majored in Communications. John “began” his professional broadcasting career as a contributor to the WIP Morning Show from 1992 – 1994 before moving to Atlanta in 1995.
John’s career took off in Atlanta, where he hosted the Atlanta Thrashers Pre-Game and Post-Game shows, hosted a sports talk show on 790 The Zone, and became the very first hire for 680 The Fan, where he has hosted a radio show since 2000. John can also be heard nationally on his Sunday show on ESPN Radio, as well as a fill-in for several ESPN shows like “The Herd,” “Mike and Mike in the Morning,” and “The Dan Patrick Show.”
John is quick to point out that much of his success is due to the help of several talk show hosts in Philadelphia and jokingly admits he is a crook for stealing bits and pieces from each host and considers himself to be a mishmash of all of them. “I would not have a national talk show today without guys like Cataldi, Eskin, and Missanelli."
John particularly feels indebted to Angelo Cataldi, who "has been a mentor on so many fronts." What makes him so special to John is that Angelo wants those around him to become stars, even if it means competing with him or relocating to another city. That, along with Angelo's huge success at WIP, is the reason why John has been “studying his career for a long time."
I had a chance to catch up with the transplanted Philadelphian and ask for his thoughts on several personal, baseball, and Phillies topics.
A sports radio host who roots for another city's teams is a foreign concept to most Philadelphia listeners, but it seems to fit in Atlanta. ”I don’t hide my Philadelphia allegiance,” John says. If you listen to Kincade, you know that is quite the understatement. John thrives off being an outsider and says “the Philly/Atlanta thing creates a really good discourse.” Apparently so, since he has survived seventeen years in enemy territory. How is that possible? Well, according to John, as long as he’s “not a total homer” and is frank and honest with his opinions, “callers respect that.”
So, what’s the difference between hosting in Philadelphia and hosting in Atlanta? "The callers are all pretty much the same, they just have a different accent."
Some of Atlanta has definitely rubbed off on Mr. Kincade, as he has developed an infatuation with, ahem, Chipper Jones. The same guy with a .334 average, 47 home runs, and 146 RBIs in his career against the Phillies. Yes, that Chipper Jones. John considers Chipper to be “the Atlanta version of Mike Schimdt" and says Philadelphia would love Chipper so much that "there would already be a Chipper Jones statue.”
It's more than the Hall of Fame credentials that makes Chipper Jones so special. John views him as “a different breed,” "not at all aloof," and one of those “we’re gonna kick your teeth in kind of guys." Unlike today’s typical superstars, Chipper “cares about the 25th player on the bench.” During the two weeks he hosts his radio show from the Braves Spring Training facility in Orlando, John observed that Chipper routinely “shows up early and stands around giving advice to the young guys.”
If we would love Chipper Jones (the thought of which still makes me want to take a shower afterwards), there must be a Braves player Phillies fans should hate. Being the true professional he is, John wouldn’t bite on that question, but he did tell me Philadelphia will “grow to hate Craig Kimbrel” who will “be here for a long time and will only get better.” His Philly side didn’t escape completely as he continued to explain, “Other than that, nobody on the Braves roster has earned being hated.”
Moving on to the Phillies, I asked John a few questions about some of the key pieces on the team. We begin with the longest tenured athlete in the city: Jimmy Rollins.
If you heard John on the WIP Morning Show recently, you heard pointed comments about the Phillies' fearless leader. To say Jimmy has struggled so far this season would be an understatement (in fact, Jimmy's .229 average is 10th on the team). "After the Phillies lavished Rollins with a big contract, I expected a hell of a lot more,” John says. With the pretty new contract and with Howard and Utley MIA, John points the finger at Jimmy to take control. “You want to be paid like the man, you have to step up,” he says. After talking a good game when it was contract time, Rollins has talked the talk, but hasn't walked the walk. “Don’ talk about it, don’t Tweet about it, do it!”
With the Phillies tumbling further and further in the standings, one topic will become a bigger and bigger issue with every passing day. That topic is Cole Hamels and his upcoming monstrous contract.
John, should the Phillies re-sign Hamels?
“Absolutely 100% sign him. Every time, every day, 100%”
John is so emphatic about re-signing Hamels that he has a radical idea on how to retain Hamels AND Victorino, but you’ll have to wait for a future article to hear that one.
If you have been following the blog lately, you know how high I was on John Mayberry entering the season. His early struggles and just one home run has soured many on the John Mayberry experiment. Kincade still has hope for Mayberry. “Do you remember Jim Eisenreich? Do you remember Pete Incaviglia? Not every guy is going to be an everyday corner outfielder.” Mayberry may just have “talent that’s not meant to be a 145 game player.” A perfect example, John pointed out, is Hershel Walker. Hershel was never the guy everyone expected out of the University of Georgia, but he was still a “very good football player.”
Halladay's velocity is slightly down, he nearly overheated in a game, we watched in disbelief as Halladay blew a six run lead against the Braves, and he left that same game with personal issues. Asked if he is worried about Roy Halladay, John's response was simply, "No."
Now we reach the two most important questions.
Will the Phillies win the division?
“Yes, the Phillies will win their sixth straight...in a scuffling fashion.”
Will they win the whole thing?
"Will the Phillies win the World Series as currently constructed? No way.”