Sunday, March 25, 2012
Calls of the wild
I must say March Madness coverage isn’t the same this year without Gus Johnson. Yes, he’s an acquired taste because his enthusiasm sometimes spills over into raving lunatic, but during dramatic finishes of big games his excitement (read: screaming) enhances the experience.
The age-old question for sportscasters is always how excited should you get? Fox’s lead play-by-play guy Joe Buck takes a lot of criticism for being too low key. His detractors accuse him of being dispassionate. I don’t feel that way, but I can see how many do.
On the other hand, is there anything more annoying that a sportscaster constantly out of control? I hear announcers going absolutely bat shit over a home run in spring training… by some kid who will be spending the season in Altoona.
The trick is to have something in reserve so when there are genuinely big moments your excitement level is appropriate. If you’re going bonkers over a routine play in the Grapefruit League what will you have left for a game winning play in the World Series?
The great announcers understand this. It’s been a treat to listen to Marv Albert call March Madness games. No one is better at calling a basketball game… and building the drama. Same with Doc Emerick in hockey, Al Michaels in everything, and the incomparable Vin Scully in baseball.
So here are Vin Scully’s top 5 calls followed by Al Michael’s famous call.
And now, the best of Gus. He’s become a caricature of himself but at his best, when the games came down to the last few seconds, he was sure fun to listen to… with your hand on the volume control.