If any of you are interested in a preview of my upcoming memoir, you can find a taste of it here. Writing about this kind of stuff is uncomfortable at best, painful at worst, but "literature" these days is just a thin disguise for "therapy." Regardless, I hope you find something worthwhile in my online wrist-slitting. Whiny bohemian-leaning white yuppies of the world unite!
Meanwhile, I've received a nice volume of email regarding my recent intellectual shift sportsward. Tender memories of Suns failures past will wait until the current failure is actually written in blood. But meanwhile, Chris from New Jersey writes,
"I, for one, love the fact that you have decided to move on to sports as a topic. It seems over the years we have lost the sportswrites that are true fans. Instead, we have a bunch of jealous punks who want to trash atheletes and try to create hollow news stories or people who are pimps for the league's agenda. I also feel the pain with having to explain to pretentious, egg-head a-holes why sports are the last outpost of truth and substance in a world where Paris Hilton can be famous.
On the same topic, I noted that you pay close attention to the announcers. I do too. The presentation of an NBA game, which reached its all time peak with the Marv Albert, Mike Fratello/Marv Albert, Bill Walton, Snapper Jones tandems on NBC, has slipped tremendously over the past few years. ABC gets the contract, drops John Tesch's "Roundball Magic," hires the most boring commentators this side of public access and immdiately gets all of its games off of network TV. The announcers are of particular interest: Mike Dunleavy (a good coach, who may know basketball, but should not be listened to prior to operating heavy machinery), Rex Chapman, John Thompson, Sean Elliot, Garr Heard, Tom Tolbert (who is a moron, doing a Bill Walton impersonation) etc. Has ABC heard these people before they choose them to do NBA games? Are they deliberately choosing the most boring people in the universe to add "color commentary?" I am getting tired of listening to cliche analysis like, "defense wins championships," or "rebounding is important here." I am also tired of announcers who are afraid to criticize anything that is going on. If you listened to Shaun Elliot, every player in the league is an all-star and every game is officiated perfectly. This is seriously hampering my enjoyment.
I was wondering if you had any thoughts on this issue.
P.S. Have you had the displeasure of having to listen to Spiro Dides on NBATV? He must be dating David Stern's daughter..."
Chris, I know not of this Spiro Dides, but I do know that watching NBA TV is excruciating, which is a shame, because the NBA is so cool, and all its coverage should be as good as "Inside The NBA," which, the other night, had Charles Barkley commenting on some show model's dress by saying, "I didn't know they sold eveningwear at TJ Maxx." He and Kenny Smith are the ultimate fashion snobs.
So yeah, "Coach" Thompson is a dinosaur, and the clones they have manning the mikes at all Fox Sports Network regional coverage events are blow-dried Stepford Announcers. But there are still some characters left. Walton and Snapper Jones continuing to be entertaining, though Walton's schtick was old a long time ago, but then it seemed fresh again for awhile, and now has backslid to old again. My favorite announcers right now are Kevin Harlan and Doug Collins. They seem genuinely excited to cover the games and Collins' analysis is usually right on the bean.
I could go on about Jim Rome, but I won't.
Baseball announcers are a whole other story. I watched a Dodgers-Giants game the other night and had to endure three hours of Chris Berman and Joe Morgan wheezing on about their visits to the Hall Of Fame in Cooperstown. The Cubs are unwatchable now, which is sad, because Skip Caray and Steve Stone, post-Harry, of course, were always entertaining, even when they were needling each other about not having picked up the check the night before. Why don't the professional sports leagues realize that fans neither want jealous punks, as our reader put it, or lickspittle yes-men? They want enthusiasm, irreverence, and humor, and The Best Damn Sports Show Period doesn't count.
Y'all have a good weekend. I'm going to Cooperstown with Joe Morgan.