Posted by Bob Biscigliano
I just can't seem to get Chip's masterful "Must Be That Time of the Month" article off my mind. The article, in case you ignorantly didn't read, picked apart the brains of avid sports fans who choose to pick on announcers during their favorite sporting events, which in turn pries them away from the event itself. I have since read the "Awful Announcing," blog and since then, I have scrutinized announcing more than ever. Admittedly, I have my fair share of times where I catch myself investing way too much time bashing announcers rather than worrying about the game itself. I felt like I made a compromise with myself though, and made a conclusion on poor announcers and announcing in general: Do as Chip says, worry about the sports game, and give respect when respect is due. (This could also be a fine model for success in life).
Tonight, I have been counting the number of days until Tigers' Opening Day on my abacus, platinum edition. Gotta respect the abacus! I've learned that in 182 short days, the 2009 Tigers will be taking the field and I will be a lot happier man. After counting, I became nostalgic and watched the above video exactly 182 times. Each time, the hairs on my naked body rising higher. The 182th and final time I watched it, I realized some things that differ from my original train of thoughts concerning announcers.
1) It's their job. I'd say if we are allowed to criticize the players we watch, we should be able to criticize the one's announcing those players--as long as we are fair in doing so. Although I agree 100% with Chip in that it takes too much away from the game itself if we focus on bashing the announcers, the poor announcing or stupid little sayings can also take away from the enjoyment of the games. Meanwhile, these little quips announcers tend to have every now and then, often provide some comical relief.
2) Announcers also need to be fair in their calling of games. I hate the obsessive homers more than anything. I understand there are team broadcasters, but they need to be fair to their viewers in that there might be some tourists tuning in as well. I think Mario and Rod on FSN Detroit are the epitome of fair homers.
3) Have you ever tried to commentate a game? Could you do it? If you can, then apply for the job so the 'bad' ones are weeded out. I think most of you haven't and are just cynics. However, it is a very hard thing to do. Especially, during a game's 'climax.' As Chip said, shut up and enjoy these moments.
Repsect. Aretha spelled it for us. Adam Sandler told us we gotta have it. Now I'm giving respect, when it is due. There are a ton of announcers who deserve respect. Keeping with my original thought process tonight and with the Detroit Tigers, I'm going to give my respects to Thom Brennaman. A guy like Thom, deserves a ton of respect for the way he announces big situations in big games. In case you don't know Thom, he has called the games in which Magglio hit the walk off home run in the 2006 ALCS, App State's stupid upset over Michigan, and the famous Derek Jeter flip to home plate to get Jason Giambi out. In my opinion, he has done all of these calls exceptionally well. He was fully energized, created a somewhat original call, and regathered his thoughts afterward before making any grunting noises like a lot of announcers love to do in climatic situations. Thom Brennaman deserves respect as an announcer.
Speaking of Thom Brennaman raises another issue: Should there be an intermixing of announcers amongst sports? There are certainly arguments for that. Al Michael's for instance. Michaels is most known for his callings of Monday Night Football and now, Sunday Night Football. However, he arguably has one of the most famous calls in all of sports history in his "Do you believe in miracles!?" call during the 'Miracle on Ice' USA hockey win over Russia. Obviously, as I stated above, Thom Brennaman, is famous for a variety of calls in multiple sports.
I guess I'm okay with it as long as you have your best guys doing the multiple sports on a consistent basis. Dick Stockton for example, by all means a top announcer, should not be doing the MLB playoffs on TBS right now. I realize he was in the booth when Carlton Fisk hit his famous home run in the 70s, and that he has a history of doing MLB games. The viewing nation has gotten accustomed to him doing NFL games. Putting him back on the highly watched MLB playoff games just confuses the viewers and diverts attention from the game even more. All I think of when I hear Dick Stockton on TBS this post season is how bad the Lions are because he announced more than half of their games on FOX in the late 90s-early 2000s. It makes me sad. Plus, I think he lost the PUNCH he used to have in his voice when calling big plays. For example, Manny hit a home run against the Cubs and Stockton made it sound like a dog was just run over by a car. I was not too thrilled.
I would agree that an overall ban on mixing announcers into different sports would be unreasonable. But maybe we should reconsider Dick Stockton's position on TBS for the baseball games. What do you think?
in summation, I think the 'announcing' topic is rather large and controversial. Perhaps that's why there is a blog specifically devoted to it. In the end though, I agree with Chip: The game is bigger than the announcing. Joe Buck won't agree, but everyone needs to know that. In fact, I'm probably being hypocritical by writing this article and ignoring the bigger issues that deal with the games themselves. Then again so are you by having just finished intently reading this article. Let's all go watch a muted game or something.