STAMFORD, CT – Sports announcing has been heading in the wrong direction in recent years – think Jack Buck to Joe Buck. They all seem to be looking for a memorable catch phrase or a cutesy rhyme in place of original insight. Announcers fall into patterns and the regurgitate the same lazy observations over and over. Here are three announcer-isms that are massively overused, in my humble opinion.
“An Ill-Advised Foul” (NBA)
Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of unwise fouls in the NBA. For example, a guy is pinned in the corner, facing away from the basket, with the shot clock about to expire. Inexplicably, the defender reaches in and slaps him. That’s an ill-advised foul.
But playing defense in the Association is freaking hard. You’re trying to move your feet and stay in front of guys that have the ball on a yo-yo and you’re trying to contest shots without fouling. That’s tough. There are plenty of fouls where the defender is just trying to play hard and the guy does something he doesn’t expect. The same announcer who criticized him for a bad foul will criticize him for not contesting the shot.
And who’s doing the “advising” anyway? This description makes it sound like every foul is a conscious decision, ordered from the top. “I think I’ll foul now. I’ve been advised to do so.” Clyde Frazier uses this description way too much, which is almost as annoying as his tired “bounding and astounding” schtick. Come on Clyde, refrain from the mundane, stay away from the cliche, don’t be abundant with the redundant. I think I’m done.
The Point: Some fouls are just accidents.
“What a Great At Bat” (MLB)
Sure, there are ABs where a guy gets in an 0-2 hole, fouls off a few tough pitches, lays off a few more, works the count full, and then gets a pitch he likes and rips a single. That’s a good at bat.
But announcers now reflexively describe any at bat as a good one if the guy sees a lot of pitches. I’ve seen a hitter pull a hanging curve foul, take a few pitches that are nowhere near the zone, and then miss a batting practice fastball right down the middle. But just because he ends up seeing 10 or 12 pitches, Michael Kay will call it a “great at bat”
The Point: It’s not necessarily a good at bat just because a guy sees a lot of pitches.
“It’s Never a Bad Idea to Throw the Puck at the Net” (NHL)
Sure, this is often the case. Look at Brad Marchant’s Game 3 winner against the Isles from a terrible angle. It often seems to be a deflection off a skate or ugly rebound goal that decides tightly contested playoff games. Get it to the net as much as you can and sooner or later it will find its way into the net. Sound logic.
But much like Mikey screamed in Swingers when told by Trent to always double down with 11 – “Obviously not always!” They key is actually getting it to the net. You don’t hear anyone saying it was a good idea to throw it at the net when the shot misses the net and the puck winds around the boards and leads to an odd man rush the other way.
It’s also not always a good idea to try to get it to the net when the shooting lane is clogged with defenders. In the second period of the Avalanche vs Golden Knights Game 4, Avs D-man Samuel Girard (“Your fugitive’s name is Dr Richard Kimble. Go get him.”) took one down the left wing off an offensive zone face-off. He fired one at the net, but it hit a defender and was picked up by Mark Stone. He headed the other way on a three on two and Max Pacioretty (New Canaan, CT product) buried a wrister glove side.
The Point: It’s not always a good idea.
Come on announcers, use your eyes to make fresh observations instead of retreating to the safety of trite platitudes. You can do it.
What announcer-isms do you hate? Tell us in the comments. And come back tomorrow for a true original, Angry Ward. Follow us on Twitter at @benwhit, @MeetTheMatts, @Matt_McCarthy00, Instagram @MeetTheMatts and like our Facebook page, Meet The Matts.