Sportscasting, sports reporting, and “Voice of …” is no line of work for anyone adverse to criticism. We all love our own “Voice of …” but “their guys” are idiots, morons, and clowns. We think Lee and Kirk and Howie and Terry and Stuart are quite smart WHEN THEY PICK US TO WIN of course. Fan reactions to the men in the booth and back at the studio desk are divided but always passionate. … … and guess where BobLee is today?
When I woke up Monday morning there were two states in the continental US that had no Swagger footprints in them. By Monday night that number had been cut in half. I knew this week would be “different” as Chuck was no longer quite “God In Oakleys” and John Bunting was no longer “Dead Man Walking” but I had no idea how different it was going to be.
At 9:00 AM I was e-chatting with Corey Holliday about some UNC Lettermen issues when the Swaggerphone went off. It was my booking agent with one of those calls I’m sure all of you get all the time. You know the type that begin “Hey, BobLee can you be …” and then end with “in Boise by 7 tonight!” … Yep, BobLee Is In Boise Idaho this week! (Utah is now the only virgin state left for Swagger to despoil.)
I had to make some quick decisions. Move some funds around in my off-shore accounts … decide whether I wanted to take Robert Ludlum or Tom Clancy along with me (Ludlum won out) … and three, inform The Mizzus that there would be one less for dinner than she had counted on. I adroitly managed all of the above, maneuvered through the new airport security procedures, spent two hours in a quite nice Minneapolis airport (a shopping mall with airplanes) and then on to Boise. When Kid got home from school and inquired “Hey Mom, where’s Dad?” Mom couldn’t remember “he had to go to one of those I states, Iowa or Idaho, one of those.” Kid was somewhat alarmed at The Mizzus casualness but managed to pull “Boise” from Mom’s cloudy recall … and figured she’s the only Kid at Broughton High today with “a Dad in Boise”.
I haven’t had much time to check Boise out yet. I did see where it calls itself “The City of Trees” which I think is a civic motto it bought on e-bay from Macon, GA for $167.00. It has a “Cowboy” feel to it. Surrounded by brown mountains and seemingly loaded with all the standard retail merchants that every American city of over 20,000 must have these days. I have NOT seen the blue football field yet but intend to before my dreaded “red eye” back home on Wednesday night via Formosa and Latvia.
Lee Corso and “Herby” both picked the Wolfpack to beat the Buckeyes this past Saturday. Which meant Wuffies fans applauded their keen foresight … and Tar Heel fans declared them legally insane but chose a variety of obscenities in doing so. They used many of the same $%#@& they use each winter when Mr. Vitale boldly predicts “Duke will have a strong basketball team once again”. Every week public prognosticators like Corso and Herbstreit endear themselves to 50% of the schools in America and become “shoot on sight” candidates to the other 50%.
Except in the case of “we never forget” fan bases like NC State’s, these prognosticators can redeem themselves with their new worst enemies by picking them to win the following week. Wuffies are another breed of cat. They have a 365/24/7 “media watch” patrol and data base. If ANY print or electronic media personality EVER picks against the Wuffs, or fails to mention “NC State Is America’s Next Great Football Dynasty” that personality is permanently marked as “a no-good, no talent jackass and worse even than Dave Glenn!” and it is assumed he is via the UNC Journalism School. Those 500 national sports personalities from Syracuse’s broadcasting school are somehow overlooked and/or reassigned to UNC. It’s a wuffie thing, don’t even try to figure it out.
At the UNC-GaTech game on Saturday, I had a discussion with a UNC fan about Gary Hahn and Johnny Evans, the Voices of Wolfpack Football. My discussion partner expressed negative feelings about them. I was SHOCKED … SHOCKED I say! A Carolina man who does NOT like hearing “Voices of …” be overtly partisan toward the team that employs them. He much prefers the “purely objective” commentary of Woody & Mick don’t you know???
My researching this issue shows that NC State and Carolina fans do agree on one subject … they think Duke’s longtime play by play man, Bob Harris, is “an idiot”. I have a question for any linguists in my audience. Did the terms “idiot” and “moron” even exist in the English language prior to the Internet? Can words actually get “worn out” from over-use?
I have my favorites among the national sports media, particularly the talking heads on the pre-game, halftime, post-game, sportscenter crowd.
I definitely like the ABC Three Amigos of Chris Fowler, Lee Corso, and Kirk Herbstreit. They have well defined personas and you know what you are going to get each week. Fowler is the polite “ringmaster”, Corso is the clown, and Herby sends coeds hearts aflutter all across Division 1-A. If I can’t be Jimmy Buffett or a Statler Brother, I would like to be Kirk Herbstreit. He will still be doing his gig when Philip Rivers’ daughter is a State cheerleader. “Herby” has to be related to Dick Clark somehow.
On the NFL level I like Howie Long A LOT. That guy is tres cool. He is SO cool he outlasted Terri Hatcher in those Radio Shack commercials. Howie is just so easy to watch. He is simply himself and that is perfect for what he does. Terry Bradshaw over plays the silly redneck too much. A little Terry goes a long way which his 3+ wives all agree on. James Brown is Chris Fowler with soul … and a Harvard degree too.
I know he is a Tar Heel but Stu Scott needs a new act. I’m sorry Stu but a boy from Winston-Salem Reynolds High can pull off that urban soul gig only so long. Enough with the gang signs and hip hop lingo.
Stu’s buddy Boomer Berman got on my personal s*** list by stabbing a buddy of mine in the back. That corpulent tub of lard if full of “it” … and “it” ain’t integrity.
I enjoy Michael Irvin on ESPN. He had his moments as a player but seems a quite articulate analyst. Charles Barkley bores me on NBA telecasts. Kenny Smith I like.
My most favorite analyst on ESPN bar none is baseballer HAROLD REYNOLDS. That guy knows his stuff. He is a former player who worked hard to make himself a better TV analyst than he was as a player. Everything Harold says is worth listening to. I especially love his College World Series work.
I usually enjoy “Best Damn Sports Show Period” on Fox Sports. Tom Arnold is an “idiot” and/or “moron” whichever you prefer. He seems to enjoy himself so that’s one vote. I like John Salley on that show. Chris Rose is a poor man’s Chris Fowler. Get rid of Arnold and let Rose bloom.
Peter Gammons, John Clayton, and Steven A Smith all do good jobs IMO. Chris Mortenson I like too. I realize I’m an easy grader … but remember, I have a life beyond the FantasyLand of Sports.
Say It Ain’t So BobLee !!!
(1) The Rathskellar has Caucasian Coed Waitresses now !!!! … that just ain’t right. Unless Starbucks starts hiring 68 y/o black guys named “Isaac” and “Maurice” who played bass for Doug Clark, I don’t want no bouncy ponytails trying to remember my Double Gambler order.
(2) Every guy over 35 remembers “Body Heat” with Kathleen Turner. Bad news my hot-bloodied amigos. Ms Turner of the smoldering voice and legs to die for is now “Wide Body Heat” hitting the scales at over 220. If you wondered what happened to all the lard that Anna Nicole dropped … Kathleen Turner picked it up. NOT A PRETTY SITE!
What college team did Hayden FOX coach?
Shame on you “Trivia Experts” … we stumped almost every one of you guys this time. Majors Reno and Benteen reported to General George Armstrong Custer. Custer had dispatched their regiments to other areas of the Little Big Horn thinking he had plenty of troops to handle Sitting Bull.
Thursday’s column “might” be late if my Midnight Flight from Boise gets rerouted to Clarksville or lord knows where. If it isn’t up Thursday AM it will be soon. Go reread something from the archives to satisfy your Swagger Appetite.
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