Sports announcers – especially the “color” people who fill in the blanks between actual action – have a lot in common with lawyers: they make a lot of money but hardy anyone can understand them.
Watch a baseball game and after the play-by-play guy says, “The first pitch is in there for a strike,” his minion chimes in with “That was a split-fingered backwards rotation off-speed change-knuckler.”
Now, assuming that such pitches actually exist, it’s mind-boggling to think that an announcer sitting 50 yards away with a Corona in one hand can, in a split-second see, and react accurately to a 100-mile an hour pitch.
Sometimes I suspect these guys just have a chart in front of them and whichever box his beer nuts fall on gets to name the pitch.
Football is even worse. Certain of the color guys describe a play in terms of such complexity that Stephen Hawkins would say, “Sheez, I don’t know. Can you say that again, slowly?”
“The nine back goes into lineal contrary retrograde motion toward the second odd-numbered jersey and runs a proto-serpentine pattern toward the delta man.”
Ok, so maybe those football plays, patterns, etc. are not totally gibberish. Maybe. But I’ll bet that 95 percent of the folks watching a football game have no idea what 95 percent of what the color guy is saying means.
Of course, no one wants to admit to that. It’s like listening to a nice person with a thick accent. You can’t follow what’s been said, so you just nod and say, “Sure. Of course. Naturally.”
I think that instead of trying to turn a kid’s game into quantum mechanics, the color guy should arrive at every game with a file folder of really good jokes.
They would be entertaining and provide relief from the impenetrable blather. Say, what do you call 50 color-men with laryngitis?
Yes, it would be a good start, wouldn’t it?
Anyone remember “Hot Road Hundley,” who was Chick Hearn’s color guy, whose contribution was almost always “Right, Chick”?