Thursday, February 24, 2011


Sportscasters are sort of an easy group to make fun of, though there's a variety of reasons why. Some of them are legitimately insightful and these get labeled "good" like Costas and Collinsworth, one in particular is ridiculously excited when things happen in a game, Gus Johnson of Stokeley fame. But the vast majority of sportscasters are masters of stating the obvious in slow and straightforward ways.

As designated by Seinfeld many years ago George would be unable to become a sportscaster because he's not a former ballplayer nor "in broadcasting," even though he would be an insightful color guy. The Play by Play announcers tend to just have decent voices without commenting on the actual process of the game, though some of them who are particularly good like Al Michaels do (and Hawk Harrelson pretty much takes over both roles singlehandedly, he's such a homer most people don't like him, he's my hero though). That leaves us with just the color guys.

Firejoemorgan was inspired by horrible color guys and mocked them for several years in posts which are still humorous to read today. Joe Morgan was recently released by ESPN along with Jon Miller, I liked Jon Miller a lot but Joe sort of went off in weird directions every time he spoke. There is an inner cult of stupidity within every sport and no matter how intelligent a player is while actually playing the game the vast majority of the ones that become color guys are colossal morons. Morgan decided moneyball was the devil and Billy Beane the source of all evil (despite Michael Lewis writing the book), McCarver is keen on mispronouncing as many names as possible even while trying to be whimsical, while generally stating nothing except the obvious.

I think ultimately the average sports fan (who is probably an idiot) likes to be told obvious and safe things when watching a game, with no desire for further insight nor complicated dialogue, the very best sportscasters are able to please and satisfy those fans but still state interesting things in relatively straightforward manners, but those are few and far between. The reason sportscasting is so terrible of late is because of the network's desire to please the average fan over the intelligent one and of course some insightful people have annoying voices or are incapable of getting a point across by speaking rather than writing.

For this reason there is little or no hope of sportscasting improving in the future and we continue to hope that the ridiculous overanalysis of sports that goes on today will gradually produce more competent members of the sports media rather than a bunch of idiots, but such hope seems futile. I still have a soft spot for John Madden even though he'd mostly just repeat himself 10 times in the same sentence. Despite being one of the greatest coaches of all time he really wasn't all that great of a sportscaster, but simply existing in my childhood and having that jovial fat guy distinctive voice makes him all that much more endearing.

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