Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Put this one in the Win Column For the Fightin' Phils

First off, I extend my gratitude to editor in chief eldiablogrande for relinquishing his hump-day posting privileges, and secondly, my apologies to the greater public for missing my assigned posting day last week. Rest assured it will not happen again. But now on to what's important.

The votes are in, and sammy D is not an all star. At least not according to whoever selects the NBA all stars. But the fact remains, Sammy, in the hearts of your loyal editors, you are an all star of the highest order. Averaging a double-double is no small feat, and you have made it look effortless. Well done, big man. Sammy's absence doesn't mean the sixers wont be represented in N'awlins, however. Young thad should be in the rookie-sophomore game...and if not playing, certainly blogging about it. Sadly no korver = no three point specialist to get Iverson fired up on the sidelines during the 3 point contest, but in my personal opinion, korver isn't even the best three point shooter to ever suit up in a sixers uniform, so I say good riddance.

I live in Tar Heel country, and last I checked, February comes before March...which means that w/ March Madness fast approaching, I've started thinking about what's truly important: the announcers. Fuck the players, I'm pretty much only concerned w/ who is announcing the big games. There are a lot of questionable play-by-play men, and even more suspect in-studio hosts. I've spent the better part of my life wanting to be a sportscaster, and then i turn around and its as though anyone can get a job talking about sports, yet here i sit another cog in the man's machine. But before I loose my cool and have a "watershed moment ," I think now is as good a time as any to consider some of my favorite (and least favorite) sports voices.

The Cream of the Crop
Gus Jonhson: I'm pretty damn certain that everyone on the DR - and our 5 readers - agrees that Gus Johnson is unstoppable. It's a shame he doesn't narrate my everyday existence. "Big firm wakes up, steps out of bed...he's going for the toothpasssssssste... GOT IT! AND ONE!" Well maybe that wouldn't work, but the man has skillz. Hands down the most excited play by play man on the planet, and perhaps the least annoying screamer to ever bless a mic.

Mel Allen. Has there ever been a better show than This Week in Baseball? My memories mostly consist of incredible 80s uniforms, funny mascots, and players sticking bubblegum on other players hats while they aren't looking. For some reason it makes me think of Andres Galarraga in an Expos uniform, which is random, but the Big Cat was a gifted first baseman, and Youppi was a most serious mascot. I got no love for the Yankees (unless they are playing the Red Sox), so Mel Allen isn't an all time favorite, but TWIB gets my baseball juices pumping, and "plaaaaays of the week" was a consistent saturday afternoon pleaser.

"The old white man group...and I like you"
Harry Kalas: I had a discussion w/ a friend recently who couldn't understand why Harry the K was famous. He said he was boring, bland, perhaps even asleep. I tried to identify what was so great about Harry, but struggled to capture his genius in words. There's just SOMETHING in his voice - you might call it cigarettes, I prefer the touch of God - that makes him special. One theory might be that his greatness is excentuated only by the shit the Phillies surround him with, but I'm not hearing any of that conspiracy bull shit. Harry's voice soothes the soul like a Teddy P concert. No man I'd rather hear describe a Pat Burrell shot to left off of Johan Santana than Harry, or threaten Chris Weeler's life. Anyone who is cool w/ Steve Sable is cool w/ me, and Harry the K is a one of a kind. And as a side note, bring back Andy Musser.

Jack Buck: "I don't believe what I just saw" pretty much says it all. Seriously, try to watch this w/o getting chills. Sadly Jack Buck is related to Joe Buck, but notwithstanding that shortcoming, Jack Buck was a great announcer, and gives a damn good post 9/11, post seizure speech. Something about old white guys calling baseball games just seems to make sense, and makes me eager for April.

Vin Scully. Dude was born to call a baseball game. You'd think a nasal voice would almost by necessity point him towards another career path, but instead he has called dodgers games for decades. You might know that he called the Mookie Wilson ball rolling through Bill Buckner's legs, Hank Aarons 715th homer, and Kirk Gibson's homer that is described above. What you might not know is that Scully called "The Catch" by Dwight Clark. Homeboy is a multi-dimensional talent.

Larry Merchant: I don't watch much boxing, but Merchant's post-game interviews are special. Where else does a retarded white man get to confuse a sweating, hulking black man out of his jock strap? Why does HBO keep sending him into the ring just when the most madness is setting off? Either way, Merchant extends pay-per-view events by an average 30 minutes w/ his 17 words/minute insight, which makes 55 bucks to watch a small irishman get his shit beat by PBF not seem like a complete ripoff.

The "Not sure Why I Like You But I Do"

Dick Enberg. "OHHHHH MY." When Malivai Washington hung em up, tennis became for the most part dead to me. I mean Zena Garrison was ok, but a man can tolerate a white sport for only so long. But then there are other reasons to tune into Wimbledon. Dick Enberg brings Ivan Lendl and Goran Isanesovic to life! Forget the lesbian & crazy jew in the booth w/ him, Enberg is unphased by the Jensen brothers, Venus & Serena's father, or crazy Germans stabbing Monica Seles. He's a man of utmost consistency, and therefore I applaud him quite politely.

Whoa Nellie, Keith Jackson makes me think of Big Ten football and ABC generally. Besides sharing the same name w/ an all-time Eagle great, he's been described as folksy, down to earth, and blessed by a shockingly low voice. If nothing else, he looks like he can consume a ton of hard liquor, and drives a huge American car. I bet he also walks really slowly, has fake knees and/or hips, and refuses to get contact lenses or turn on the heat in January. Pure speculation, but the man has got to be a good a good fashion stick in the mud.

Chick Hearn. I am by no means a Lakers fan, but Chick Hearn was the voice of Showtime. One can only imagine how many times he provided play-by-play for Magic, Worthy and Kareem gang-banging Lakers groupies in the locker-room during the 80s. Any chance he didn't do coke off of Kurt Rambus' Rec Specs during that time? I think not...

Phil Simms: I should definitely hate him, but I appreciate Simms in the booth. For one, he might actually know something, which is more than I can say for some others. Between him and Aikman I regretably must acknowledge that enemies from the past are pretty decent and knowledgable football analysts, KKK membership aside.

Clark Kellogg: I like Kellogg for his name alone. What kind of self-respecting black college basketball star is named CLARK??!! He is on the air for three weeks a year, yet came to mind no less. On top of that, he puts up w/ Greg Gumbel and once high-fived me on 6th avenue while telling me Temple had no chance of winning the NIT. He covers it all!

Steve "Snapper" Jones: Is it me or did snapper have strep throat permanently? He also had the misfortune of being placed next to Bill Walton (and his spit) during NBA on NBC games and, as far as I'm concerned, had some weird sexual tension w/ Walton to boot. Or maybe that was racial tension. Regardless, the man had the proverbial frog in his throat AT ALL TIMES. Love that snapper.

Bob Uecker. Great role in Major League makes him loveable. Plus, he's the regular play-by-play man for the Brew Crew, a loveable bunch of losers if there ever was one. Add on to that genius Miller Lite commercials, and a living legend is among us.

Verne Lundquist: Great name, great belly, huge glasses. Verne = NCAA tournament = happy time.

Local Favorites

Mitch Williams: From getting his house TP'd post- Joe Carter debacle to in-studio post-game analyst, Mitch Williams has made a miraculous comeback. At what point did Phillies fans decide it was appropriate to give this man a round of applause everytime we see him, whether it be on the big screen at the Bank or the bar at Chickie and Pete's? He was at one point held solely responsible for plunging millions into a deep depression, yet now he's a city hero? To be honest, I have no problem w/ this recent development. If anything, he met his critics head on and even helped the Atlantic City Surf draw 400 people to their games on a nightly basis. Plus, he wears shorts and a blazer while on camera and has no qualms about making this known to the public. Bring back your soul-glo mullet and you will have realized cult status in my book.

Merril Reese: Another local great who I fear the rest of the world knows little about. But god forbid you are in the car while the Eagles are driving down the field, Merril Reese makes you feel as though you are riding shotgun w/ Fred Barnett. Plus, there's Sterril Reese, who might be even better than Chef Raul...

The "you all seem the same to me" group

Al Michaels, Brent Musberger, Bob Costas, Frank Gifford. None of you have distinguished yourselves by say, biting a stripper whore...and for that, shame on you. Musberger has definitely lost his touch and is two, maybe three years away from saying something he will regret. Intervention is required before he gets himself hurt and sets the country back years. Costas should follow Pat O'Brien into entertainment shows, & Gifford is better know for his wife than for his voice. Michaels, I don't mind. Not only is there a great diner named after you near Cheltenham High School, but you've held your own over a sustained period, and you called the miracle on ice which is worth something in this cold-blooded American's heart. Outside of Rocky IV's fallout, that day in Lake Placid almost single handedly won the Cold War.

The "Who the fuck decided to hire you" group/ NBA mistakes
Tim Legler. From Avalon to Ogontz, to our nation's the television studio. You have the thickest cuz accent I've ever heard from someone who grew up closer to the ocean than Veterans Stadium. On top of that, you have frosted tips. I realize you could shoot, but does that alone warrant a primetime slot discussing the sport I love? I'd rather hear you describe Wildwood boardwalk crime than the ins and outs of the matchup zone.

Jalen Rose. You bring nothing to the table. Ray Jackson would do a better job. Stick to being pigeon-toed, my brother.

Sal Masekala. Why it was ok for you to be hired: You are a black man. Why it was NOT ok for you to be hired: You call X games sports and you are a skater/snow-boarder. Plus, you apparently know nothing about basketball. Hmmm...time to give you a sideline reporting job talking in hip urban venacular? That's how I see that meeting going in the ESPN studios. It was either him or the fat dude from American Idol. In retrospect, the logic was lacking in this hiring decision, and its an experiment that plainly did not work out. Dare I say there has never been a worse sideline reporter?

Tim Hardaway. Pros: Killer crossover, well thought out and reasoned feelings about homosexuals, high pitched voice. Cons: inability to speak english. Someone should be testing these ex-players before they are thrown in front of a camera. On the flip side, Greg Anthony is a pleasant surprise. A few years at UNLV can get you places, it would seem. Marked improvement since he first was placed in studio. Something tells me he will be in a front office in short time, at which point Anderson Hunt will become a head scout.

The "can't decide how I feel about you" Group

Bill Rafferty. "A little kiss!" I can feel the tension b/w him and Jay Bilas when discussing college hoops on the sidelines. I get the impression that the people working games w/ him want to hurt him badly, and at the least, not talk to him outside of the arena. I also feel like he spend a lot of time on the road ordering whores and drinking expensive scotch. But he has cotton-like hair and sent jerome in, and for that, you are not completely worthless.

Peter Vescey. Everyone seems to hate you, which makes me sort of like you. I also imagine you hate yourself, and have a lot in common w/ Howard Eskin. But you always have the inside scoop, and you have a great beard. You are Steven A w/o the big words. You also seem to be nowhere near a tv camera these days, which is admirable. Fade quietly, my good man.

Tom Tolbert. I should respect you since you have a lisp and have made a career from talking. You also are bald, huge, and I think at one point had braces. But you annoy me and sucked as a player. I guess I should take you out of the "cant decide how i feel" group and place you in the "shoot me or shoot him group."

Johnny Most. Havlicek stole the ball, and therefore you are famous. Being a Boston man makes me want to hurt you, but you are old and feeble (if not dead, im not sure), and again, just seem so damn ahead of your time. Such anger in that voice, such resentment when shit went bad and genuine happiness when shit went well.

Hubie Brown: you look like someone right out of Star Wars. Youre face is completely plastic, your hair completely metallic. You might be Charlton Heston, I'm not sure. You are a coach, an announcer, a perverted old do it all. Plus, youre name is Hubie, presumably short for Hubert. HUBERT! great stuff.

The "ladies"
I got a thing for the oldies who are the goodies. Suzie Kolber, Joe Namath was far from confused. Drunk, but not confused. He said what we all think. Michelle Tafoya, your haircut is suspect, but your intellect on point; but my all time favorite is Andrea Kramer. I remember when you told me as a youth that Hank Gathers had passed away. And recently I have seen you and learned that the only thing that has aged on you is the bags below your eyes. You even used to work for WIP and share the same birthday as the African Bull and one Willa Slaughter. Don't let these new upstart bitches dethrone you. Pam Oliver/ Erin Andrews/ chick who does the weather on Fox NFL SUnday...they can't barely survive in your 94 lb shadow. Cocaine has served you well over has black penis.
Melissa Stark Long lost sister or wife of Jayson Stark? Football hottie w/ an above average grasp on special teams success? I actually think you were too smart for the assigned role you received, so I'm glad you apparently moved on to other things.

"Shoot me or Shoot Him Group"
Skip Bayless is nothing more than a makeshift Sam Donnellon w/ a funny accent. Yet he finds himself regularly on national tv making an ass of himself. Yeah, he doesn't call games, and yeah, he's not a sideline reporter. But I included him on this list b/c I hate him, mostly due to his uncanny ability to make it damn near impossible for me to watch television at times, and television is my best buddy. I don't want to turn my back on my best buddy, I want to embrace him.

Dei Lynam. I'm not even giving you the benefit of the doubt, regardless of these rumors I hear that you just recently birthed a child: You are a man. Sure, I acknowledge that there is very little chance that you haven't had relations w/ various Sixers over time, but I'm certain they were of questionable sexuality to begin w/. It bothers me that you were hired b/c of your father, and it bothers me more that you don't even dine at Chung Hing w/ the rest of the Philadelphia sports tv celebrities. Take your classless clothes and growing FUPA elsewhere.

Tim McCarver. Has an Atlanta Brave ever done anything more worthy of our collective applause?? Seriously, type in McCarver's name on google and ALL you will find is people complaining about him. Tim, must the player really hit the ball for the team to win? Do they really need to score? Wow.

Tommy Heihnson. The only person who likes you is Walter McCarty. You don't have an objective bone in your body, and you smoke more cigarettes than Aunt Lee. Next time I see you, I'm gonna kick your ass.

Shannon Sharpe: A huge tie knot and broad shoulders can only get you so far. You are the missing link if the original link was a horse. You seemingly crack yourself up and ignore the simple fact that brother Sterling was better in all respects. Plus, you have a woman's name and Drago's workout. If you weren't on steroids, I'm not losing my hair.

Compiling this list made me realize A) if i spent this much time doing my homework and not thinking up senseless shit, I'd be a lot better off; B) there are a shit load of announcers/sideline reporters out there, and way too many I have strong feelings about one way or another; and C) I watch too much tv. That being said, this is the tip of the iceberg, so please...expose the iceberg some more.


  1. How could you possibly neglect the genius of Todd Maculloch?

  2. I am so happy that Larry Merchant is on this list. I smile everytime I see this goofy bugger's name in print. For my money, the fun is between Larry and Floyd Mayweather Jr. It's like Howard Cosell and Muhammad Ali if Cosell was senile and disgruntled and Ali was tiny and classless and neither of them liked or respected each other... Okay, I guess it's not like them at all. I try to get Merchant mentioned on my site at least a few times a month so I can share the bizarre ranting with everyone else. When it's a lousy fight on HBO, Larry is the only good part-he always points out if the fight is boring. I'm shocked that no fighter has ever punched him. I mean thirty years of him asking questions of these guys like ''Why would you want to fight him again? Why do you think you can do any better the next time?...Are you stupid from being nearly beaten to death?'' and nobody punches him, they just say ''I just want to thank God for the opportunity to get beaten very badly and thank HBO for the chance to show the world that I'm a true champion it's just that he was a better man tonight...''. Amazing!

  3. Big Firm,

    You missed another talented color-guy who is, unfortunately, associated with the oh-so-terrible NY Knicks and the forever disgusting (despite Jimmy O'B) Pacers: Mark Jackson, who has to sit next for Van Gundy for ESPN/ABC. That dude is solid.

  4. I have only 2 criticisms to this otherwise incredible post:

    1) You reference Marv, but then leave him out?!?!! For shame big firm, for shame.

    2) I'm 95% sure that your Andrea Kramer picture is actually of Edie Falco. You probably should have used this one just to be sure:

  5. I am a failure. THat is most definitely NOT Andrea Kraemer. a regrettable oversight to say the least.

  6. Noodles likes when I talk like Mary Carillo.

    I met Joe Conklin and his Merrill Reese impressions on the set of "Our Lady of Victory."

  7. I can only hope that you intended the watershed moment hyperlink to be something like this (see 4th photo):

  8. Not hating on Dick Vitale hurts me deeply.

    Does Uncle Berman get a pass due to the familial situation with the DRs editor in chief?

  9. Sam and Joe need to get on Uncle Berman to indorse the DR on ESPN. That would certainly increase the traffic to the site. Back! Back! Back! Back! Gone!

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