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Thursday, May 01, 2008

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Our Favorite & Least Favorite Announcers

By Paul M. Banks, Sarah Spain, David K.

I got this email awhile back and I figured it was time to give the people what they asked for, even if this article is pretty lacking in Anti-Mariotti vitriol.

Enjoy the website. How about dedicating a section to the ramblings of one Jay Mariotti. We the fans of Chicago need a voice and our opinions matter.
Just a thought.
T. Noonan

Paul M. Banks’ most favorite announcer: Harold Reynolds

I really miss pre-2005 Baseball Tonight on ESPN. "It used to be about the music man!" Seriously, before the 4 letter network brought out retards like Jeff Brantley and slobs like John Kruk to dumb the show down, it really was my overall favorite program on television. It used to be more about substance and statistics and it was perfect for baseball nerds like me, much like College Basketball Tonight is at its best when you have Steve Lavin and Doug Gottlieb working together showing off their b-ball wonkiness. Of course, that show is in decline too. ever since they brought in Digger Phelps to water that program’s analysis down. Harold Reynolds had a great delivery and he was so smooth that he almost made obsessing about stats look cool. Kind of like what Lav and Gottlieb do with RPI, SOS, etc. I also had to pick Reynolds out of sympathy for what happened to him. We don’t know why he was really canned after just signing a 6 year extension, and on the surface it seems kind of unjust. He filed a $5 million dollar lawsuit against the network because he apparently gave an "inappropriate hug" at a Boston Market. Pretty expensive platonic act there, it doesn’t sound like Reynolds is Eliot Spitzer or anything. We don’t know exactly what he really did, but it sounds like Bristol may have had an ulterior motive. Apparently, Bill O’Reilly, Woody Paige and others have done much worse acts along these same lines and they have not been punished, so the double standard looks wrong and potentially racist to me.

Also deserving of props: Steve Stone, Lav, Gottlieb, ERIN ANDREWS!!!, Bill Raftery, Dan Patrick, Brent Musburgher, Tom Jackson (especially considering what he has to put up with for a partner), Wendy Nix, Shannon Spake, and Stacey Dales because her powerful hotness has the ability to make me pay attention to women’s college basketball, something I would never normally do.

Paul M. Banks’ least favorite: Chris Berman

This is a difficult choice. I don’t understand why Stephen A. Smith feels the need to scream at us all the time. I can’t figure out why Skip Bayless is to sports what Ann Coulter is to politics…just adopting ridiculous positions on topics that no sane person actually believes strictly for the purpose of…..as Oscar Wilde once famously said "it’s better to be talked about badly than not talked about at all." Still when you criticize people in show-business, you only trash those on a level above you, never those who do smaller numbers than you. (Of course, a certain Milwaukee radio morning team felt the need to violate this rule and take a stab at me a couple months ago, but I’m gonna be the more professional man here and refuse to respond to that…then again terrestrial radio is dying and the internet is burgeoning, so maybe the space between them and myself is not as wide as I think it is?)

Therefore, I’m going to assail someone on the biggest stage, which goes to show you just how overrated he truly is. Making fun of "Boomer" Chris Berman’s stupid nicknames and references to rock music that no one under the age of 60 understand is one thing, but if I have to hear his retarded "THE GGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG MEN" one more time, I may have to boycott watching ESPN forever. Of course, another reason I picked "the Bermanator" is the hilarious "You’re with Me, Leather" story. It is just hysterical how an anecdote about this debauched old man picking up road trim took off and I highly recommend reading Will Leitch’s "God Save the Fan" for the best retelling. The chapter includes a picture of this bloated and bloviating blowhole from Bristol surrounded by strippers. The way Berman, a supposed family man, behaves when he’s traveling and away from his wife is just disgusting.

I should probably mention what an awesome website Deadspin.com is. This is that fantastic picture of theirs…that’s also in Leitch’s kick-ass book.

Honorable mention: well, we could be here awhile, but off the top of my head Stu Scott, Jeff Brantley, Stephen A. Smith, the ESPN producer who thought it was a good idea to give Rush Limbaugh a chance to spew his racist garbage on NFL Live a few years ago, the entire cast of Around the Horn and First Take, Jemelle Hill, Shannon Sharpe, Terry Bradshaw, Bill Walton, Jeanne Zalesko’s nostrils, the way that the never blinking Rachel Nichols likely got her plum job (she’s Diane Sawyer’s daughter-in-law)

Sarah Spain’s Favorite:

I’m guessing we’re talking current media members, so that eliminates my all time fave, Harry Caray. As for people still living and working Kenny Mayne is hands down the best. Mayne’s deadpan delivery, acerbic wit and respect for the intelligence of his viewers are the reason Sunday night Sportscenter is heads and tails above the other broadcasts. Mayne doesn’t walk you through a joke and point to the punchline, he just puts the funny out there and moves along. Some of his best one liners of all time are on the website http://www.sportscenteraltar.com/. A few of my favorites are: "We’re gonna show it again, cause we have editing equipment." "But we all know that games aren’t played on paper…they are played by little men inside our TV sets." "He hit it over some fencing they had set up in the outfield." "He hit it into a hole in the ground." The "Mayne Event" is one of the funniest things on TV—I love it so much I did a mini "Spain Event" for my hosting reel. Mayne even translates his bits to a mainstream, family-friendly gig like Dancing With The Stars. I never watch the dancing, I just watch the results show to see Mayne’s hilarious "Dancecenter" segments.

Honorable Mention: The baseball announcer (whose name I can’t recall) that reacted to a sure home run ball caught at the wall with: "You gotta be dry shaving me!"

Sarah Spain’s least favorite: Steven A. Smith

The guy is annoying, abrasive and apparently unable to control the volume of his voice. YOU’RE WEARING A MIC, YOU DON’T HAVE TO YELL, STEVEN! He makes everything a race issue and rarely takes the time to back up his controversial opinions with fact. He’s a piss-poor writer who jams every sentence full of as many superfluous three-syllable words as possible, a habit that makes for some of the worst syntax I’ve ever read. For example, when discussing how bad bloggers are for the world of sports, he wrote this little gem: "I respect the journalism industry, and the fact of the matter is …someone with no training should not be allowed to have any kind of format whatsoever to disseminate to the masses to the level which they can." Just rolls right off the tongue, doesn’t it? Of course, just a few short months after dissing bloggers, Smith started–you guessed it–a blog.

His show, Quite Frankly, was about as successful in the ratings department as Smith was at the 2006 NBA draft. If you’re still not convinced that Smith is a complete prick, check out this video of him clowning one of the few people in the world who actually watched his show.

Honorable Mention: Rachel Nichols, Walt Frazier, The "Boom goes the dynamite" guy.

David K.’s most favorite announcer: Jay Bilas

Bilas is the best studio analyst in all of college basketball and even all of sports. And unlike other announcers, the former Dukie transitions so smoothly from the set to courtside when he is called on to be a color commentator. I have always said Bilas is the best at what he does for two reasons; 1) Bilas is efficient enough in explaining what and why something is happening in the game where the average fan can understand what is taking place while at the same time, 2) teaching die-hard basketball fans (like I consider myself to be) something new about the game or a player every single time I watch. Plus, he does all this with feeling the need to have a "schtick" like Dick Vitale or Billy Raftery or Digger Phelps. Bilas calls it how he sees it without having any bias towards either bench and he isn’t afraid to criticize or praise a team, player, or coach without having to do so in an over-exaggerated manner or while holding a highlighter that matches his tie. He is concise, to the point, extremely articulate, and doesn’t feel a need to scream in order to get his point across.

Other favorites: Doug Gottlieb, Harry Caray (RIP), Greg Anthony, Thom Brennaman

By the way, am I the only one here that is completely shocked Paul M. Banks didn’t pick Erin Andrews as his favorite announcer?

David K.’s least favorite announcer: Stuart Scott

While anybody who does Pac-10 men’s basketball games on Fox Sports Net finishes a close second, Stuart Scott gets the dubious honor of being my least favorite announcer, and not just because of his smack eye. When Scott first came up on SportsCenter, I’ll admit that I was a big fan. He was the king of hip clichés like "cooler than the other side of the pillow" (which Wikipedia claims he ripped off from a former 49ers announcer) and "BOOOOOOO-YAHHHHHHH." (A phrase that has now been seized from him by CNBC’s Jim Kramer…in the opinion of Paul M. Banks) It’s almost as if Scott brought a sense of street-cred to SportsCenter that was never there before. But like Chris Berman, Dickie V., and other "schticks" in the business, Scott too quickly became a tired act. Only thing is, nobody has apparently told him this because he continues to try and be the "hip black guy." He plays a big part in why I refuse to watch SportsCenter anymore. Being in "the biz," I feel that people who have a "schtick" to their on-air personality wear out really fast because it is hard to keep up a creative style without taking it a step too far and/or annoying the hell out of viewers. Scott should learn from this. "Hugs and hand pounds."

Others I can’t stand watching: Berman, Linda Cohn (because she once used the phrase "Shakin his Tailfeather"), Woody Paige, Shannon Sharpe


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