Red Right 88

Cleveland sports fan and sports writer

Location: Cleveland, Ohio, United States

quit my job decided to drive west

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Van Gundy ruins game ( And he is not alone)

Like most serious sports fans one of my favorite pastimes to call one of the announcers a dumb ass. I know that national announcers will not know as much about my favorite team as those who follow them on a daily basis but it does not seem too much to ask them (or better yet an intern or producer) to do a little homework.

I don't know if I am extra cranky because of the extended cold but Mike Breem and Jeff Van Gundy have really ticked me off today. Now I am not one of those people who claim the announcers hate my team. I can't stand how people always whine how the national announcers are anti-Cleveland. No, my beef is that Van Gundy and Breem are just dumb asses.

Among the more blatant examples was the extended criticism of Damon Jones and how he isn't playing and how he is complaining about it. Well maybe a month ago that was true. But Mr. Jones has been a huge reason why the Cavs have played so well the last month. The main reason Sasha continued to start and now Ira Newble is starting because the Cavs second team of Jones, Gibson, Varejo and Devin Brown have played so well together. Add a healthy Donyell Marshall down the stretch and what was a weakness now becomes a Cleveland strength.

Van Gundy has whined a lot this first half. First he whined that the NBA should have a rule making the best players guard each other. Now you know why he was a failure as a coach. Trust me come the fourth quarter, Kobe and LeBron will face off. But why would you put your best player in potential foul trouble and have him use up a ton of energy on the defensive side in the first half when just about every NBA game comes down to the last five minutes. And I hope Van Gundy was joking but it did not sound like it when he talked about asking a kid in high school to guard Lebron. He said if he was that kid he would stay home sick. Way to act like a man coach. This is same guy who later criticized Damon and then Drew Gooden for not working hard enough on help defense on Kobe. One play incurs his wrath but he states he is unwilling to man up for a challenge. I am so glad that he turned down the Cavs job before LeBron's rookie year.

I know Mark Jackson is there to check Van Gundy and maybe Van Gundy is trying to play a part but I find the whole thing really annoying. And every time Mike Breem does a game, he just seems unprepared to me. He needs a better producer to whisper in his ear or something. I mean I must really despise Van Gundy when for a moment I actually said I wish Bill Walton was doing the game. I then shivered.

I know announcers are always personal preference. I love Austin Carr. For every stumble he makes, I know he loves the Cavs. It fires me up every time he asks a Cav to make a hard foul to send a message but I could understand if I wasn't a Cavs fan how he would be annoying.

I have always wondered why the majority of announcers in every sport suck so bad. First that tells you that it is not as easy as it looks. And it tells you that those that are the best really do there homework.

My guess is that the guys who do get the top spots are more liked by the focus groups and the casual fans. While die-hard fans who live and breathe the sport get frustrated because the guy who is calling the game should know as much as they do. Also we want the call to be about the game and not about the event. In other words I don't care how likable or smart or funny Joe Buck is-- just call the game and have the color guy add insight when he can. The worst is when a color guy just repeats what we just saw or rewords what the play by play guy just said. An occasional inside story is great but that doesn't mean everything has to be story.

My favorite announcers regardless of sport: Dick Enberg- the man excels at football, basketball, tennis, golf and I am sure he would be great at baseball, Vin Scully- I never hear him anymore but I loved when he was the lead baseball announcer for the game of the week and the World Series, Gus Johnson - his partner in football is one of the worst but I love how Johnson calls football and NCAA basketball. He would get my vote after Endberg with who should call the biggest games in football and basketball.

What makes those three guys stand out is that you can tell from how they call the game-- they would gladly do it for free. They love the game and that is why they are prepared and enthused to work. Most announcers are just repeating what they are told over the headset or what their notes told them to say.

Like right now for the second time in the game-- while both teams are running up and down the floor-- Van Gundy and Breem are going on and on about the Super Bowl. Why?

Just call the game.

Here it is another third quarter and the Cavs are being outscored to start the second half. And there has been no mention that this has been a season long theme. And while I don't expect Breem to watch every NBA game-- I know every NBA team makes game notes for every game. How hard would it be to read the last couple for each team before every telecast and take notes. No instead the networks would rather put three guys on the call and let them argue about other sports and movies.

And thanks to technology I can't just put on no-nonsense Joe Tait because of the time delay. Sorry, this has been my grumpy rant of the day.

How many days till pitchers and catchers report?