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Newz Forum: OTHER: Sports Announcers

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posted on Apr, 17 2005 @ 06:35 PM
I actually checked in to see The Masters because I wondered if there was going to be some kind of dramatic event there that would call down the rhetorical lightening bolts from the sky starting this evening. It sounded like the voice over commentary for the Pope's funeral - - and mind you, the level of solemnity in the golf telecast was possibly a bit greater than for the Pope's funeral.

I found myself talking to my television set - fortunately my long-suffering wife was out shopping at a crafts fair and did not hear me so I was spared her lecture on the futility of such behavior - and I started telling the announcers what to tell me and how to do it. And that got my mind off on a tangent thinking about what I'd like to tell lots of other sports announcers about what to tell me and how to say it. So now, I'm going to do that...

And by the way, I heard those snarky remarks from the peanut gallery about my mind always being off on a tangent and how much of my contact with reality comes via long distance radio communication with the Earth. Please keep such commentaries to yourselves in the future...

My most fervent request for announcers - the ones in the studio or at the games – goes to the guys who do college basketball. All of them seem to suffer from this problem to some degree and some of them have a case that is terminally annoying. Gentlemen, please stop slurping the coaches of college basketball teams. You know, some of them actually make mistakes once in a while; not every loss is due to player error; sometimes a coach makes a bad decision. Think about it, if all these coaches are such geniuses, how come one of them loses each and every game. Praise them when they do something praiseworthy because there's nothing at all wrong with that, but when they do something mundane, please do not make it sound as if they have just communed with that obelisk of insight and understanding that kept showing up throughout the movie, 2001 - A Space Odyssey.

Billy Packer is one of the serial offenders here. I am certain that no coach at any ACC school has ever done something boneheaded and the only time any other coach might come in for the mildest form of rebuke is when they are not able to match wits with one of the ACC certified geniuses. Regarding players, Packer is a scold. When trying to set the scene for a college basketball game - particularly late in the season - he tends to put it right up there with that which will solve world hunger. I really think he needs to take a year off and take up a hobby that will focus his attention on something other than college basketball and then try to come back in some reinvented form. Maybe he could use Al Gore as his guide to find a new focal point?

And by the way, I wish all of the game analysts would try telling a bit more of the truth about themselves too. Look guys, if you see a coach stand up to signal to his team on the floor that he wants a time out at half-court, you should not start saying how smart it would be for him to ask for time out at this exact moment and then pretend to be shocked and amazed that (a) he actually did that and (b) that you and he were on the same wavelength. You saw him signal to the players on the floor and went into your shtick; that's all it is.

I don't have anything against John Calipari, but other than a short run at UMass when his teams did very well, he has not been a howling success. But to listen to the "analysts" tell it, he is a genius who got jobbed by the NCAA Selection Committee. Really? So, how much commentary did you hear from these "analysts" about how Memphis did in the NIT and their quest to be #66? Let me give you a hint, their journey was a short one and it ended well short of NYC.

Notre Dame was also hosed over by the NCAA Selection Committee if you listen to the analysts and pundits. Mike Brey is a fine coach there and he has a couple of kids who can play. But he is not a genius or a force majeure; his NIT quest lasted one game and it was a home loss to Holy Cross. In case the analysts and pundits didn't know this about Holy Cross, Bob Cousy is no longer the point guard there...

I heard Dick Vitale say that Rick Barnes at Texas is one of the "great young basketball minds" of our day. Problem is that Vitale says that about at least five coaches a year and it's not always the same ones. Something does not compute here. And let's be clear about this, Dick Vitale raises his voice and speaks in exclamation points when he explains to me how Tuesday came after Monday this week. Presentational style and volume do not prove a point. If I tell you the Earth is flat and you are polite enough not to tell me I am dumber than doggy dooty but merely express some incredulity, my saying the same thing louder does not make the Earth flat. Keep that in mind as Vitale keeps yelling at you with his pronouncements; it can be very illuminating.

Brent Mussberger is another master of contrived exuberance. I do not need to hear from him how a third and three at the 50-yard line with 9 minutes left to play in the first quarter of a college football game could be a pivotal play in the entire game and will surely determine field position for the rest of the first half. Relax, Brent, there's lots of football left to play and this is an early third down situation; if these teams are well-matched - meaning that there is some reason to be exuberant at all because the final score won't be anything like 72-6 - you'll have LOTS more of these as the day wears on. Save the hyperbole and manufactured drama for some time when it might actually add something to an otherwise dreary contest.

When I hear that avuncular chuckle from Vern Lundquist over some goofy remark made by his "runnin' buddy", Bill Raftery, I am reminded of the shopping mall Santa Claus who is getting just a bit too much enjoyment from those little kiddies sitting on his lap. I'd like to hear that a whole lot less if that is possible.

Lots of people love Dick Enberg. I think he's OK and I also think that his best days are in the rear view mirror of his life. His signature call is, "Oh my ..." That was fine for the first 10 years of its existence but two things have happened to that call and Dick Enberg in the last 10 years. First of all, Enberg uses that line much more frequently than he used to so he has cheapened the currency of his amazement. And secondly, he is now amazed and surprised by some of the simplest things. Dick, there are guys who can hit a 25 foot jump shot; it is not something that rivals direct communication with a civilization from another galaxy in terms of amazement. Cut back on the caffeine, my man.

I enjoy John Madden on TV - - except when he goes off on his canonization program for Brett Favre. Talk about overdoing it just a bit, I sometimes find myself telling Madden - through the TV of course where I get my lecture from my long-suffering wife - that he and Favre need to get a room. I don't need to hear any more of that because I already agree that Favre is a Hall of Fame QB and a player that should be long remembered in the lore of the NFL.

I only need to put the words "Tim McCarver" and "minutia" on the same page of text and you immediately understand what I would like him to know. Enough already! It's a baseball game; it is not the solution to the equations that derive Unified Field Theory.

Don't even get me started on the NFL Pre-Game shows. I don't know if Terry Bradshaw is dumber than Paris Hilton or if he has a shtick down pat. Here's what I do know; it's old and tired either way. Dan Marino needs coaching on how to appear on the set of the show without looking as if he just got an icicle jammed up his butt. He need not convey to the viewer so clearly that he is not comfortable and might prefer to have a screaming case of jock itch than to be where he is at that moment. I would dearly love for Michael Irvin to be looking for a job right this moment.

I've said this before and I'll say it again here. There is an announcing tandem doing college basketball games on CBS that I get to hear infrequently here in DC. But when they do early round games in the NCAA tournament, I always enjoy them. I think they are the best tandem doing college basketball and I do not understand why the suits at CBS do not move Ian Eagle and Jim Spanarkel waaay up the food chain at CBS. Maybe next year?

But don't get me wrong, I love sports...

Copyright The Sports Curmudgeon

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