Sep 23, 2011; Cleveland, OH, USA; Cleveland Indians designated hitter Jim Thome (25) sits with his wife Andrea Thome during a ceremony honoring his career before a game against the Minnesota Twins at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

During Friday’s episode of ESPN Cleveland’s The Really Big Show, host Aaron Goldhammer sent an intern on a mission to convince Jim Thome to call into the show.

But what was supposed to be lighthearted segment to kill time on a Friday before the start of NFL free agency proved disastrous, with Thome’s wife stating that she was bullied as a result of the contest.

The entire ordeal started when Goldhammer ran a trivia contest among the station’s interns about his co-host, Tony Rizzo, who was on vacation for the show. The winner of the contest was then tasked with getting Thome to call in by the end of the show and if he was successful in doing so, he would receive a $100 prize.

With the Hall of Fame first baseman not present on social media, the intern turned his attention to Thome’s wife, Andrea Thome. The intern peppered Andrea with a series of requests to have her husband call into the show and even sent her a subsequent request after she responded by offering to call in herself.

In addition to tagging Andrea in multiple posts, the intern also tagged Thome’s high school-aged son and the high school baseball program he plays for and the former Cleveland Indians star’s coaches. Following the requests from the intern and listeners tagging her in their own posts about the contest, Mrs. Thome decided that enough was enough.

“I am all about kindness and connection, but this is my personal account—not a vehicle for booking my husband on talk radio shows. Please don’t berate me for that, and please don’t tag our children in those endeavors, either. He has an agent for a reason,” Andrea wrote, before adding: “I did not have grown men on @ESPNCleveland bullying me on International Women’s Day because I won’t interrupt my husband while he is working across the country to call in so your intern can win $100. How about I Venmo the kid and you guys back off?”

Mrs. Thome proceeded to refer to her appearance on Barstool Sports’ The Kirk Minihane Show earlier this week, in which she offered clues to a producer who had trouble recalling her husband’s name during a contest.

“I called in the other day for the first time ever to offer clues when Jim couldn’t because he was working one of his three jobs,” she wrote. “Now, I’m bound to engage with every copycat that tries these stunts to get him on talk shows? Come on. I guess it’s a good day to thin the herd.”


While such contests aren’t uncommon in sports talk radio, the reality is that the station put its reputation in the hands of an intern, who proceeded to go over the top in his attempt to get Thome on the show. Although nothing he said in his requests was disrespectful, it’s also completely understandable how Andrea Thome would have been overwhelmed by the sheer volume of messages from both the intern and ESPN Cleveland listeners. It also goes without saying that approaching Thome’s high school son on social media should have been off-limits.

All things considered, this largely seems to be an instance of whacky radio hijinks getting a little too whacky and an inexperienced intern proving to be too eager in his guest-booking duties. Hopefully bot hthe intern and ESPN Cleveland learned their lesson from all of this.

[Andrea Thome on X]

About Ben Axelrod

Ben Axelrod is a veteran of the sports media landscape, having most recently worked for NBC's Cleveland affiliate, WKYC. Prior to his time in Cleveland, he covered Ohio State football and the Big Ten for outlets including Cox Media Group, Bleacher Report, Scout and Rivals.