Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Shutupskis: First Annual Worst Sports Broadcaster Awards

Some would say it's a golden age for sports announcers right now. Those people would be wrong. Yes we still have the old pros like Al Michaels, Marv Albert, Jim "hello friends" Nantz, Brent Musberger and Bob Costas - guys that have been doing it for years, and eerily, don't seem to age. We'll give these guys a pass, as they are like our old friends that never go away no matter how many times we change our phone numbers. They will be broadcasting the galactic Olympics in 2613 as floating heads when we are all dead and buried. They are cyborgs (except for Costas, who's clearly a leprechaun).

But, on the whole, sports broadcasting has evolved to a point where they are all the same. These condescending robots spout the same cliches, tell you what you already know and try to make it sound transcendent, get all moralistic and rarely add anything to the enjoyment of watching a game. Something needs to be done. It might be time to clone Vin Scully and Keith Jackson and wake up Harry Caray (he's not dead, he's just extremely drunk and sleeping it off).

Without further ado, here are the five winners of the first annual Shutupski Awards.

5) Bob Carpenter: If you've never watched a Washington Nationals game (and really, why would you?), there's a chance you've never heard of Bob Carpenter. Count your lucky stars. When he's not complaining about how "his" team never gets a call, he's waxing poetic and trying to make horrible players like Rich Ankiel and Adam LaRoche out to be possible hall of famers. Carpenter is the ultimate homer, always saying things like "we need runs" and "we won!" He also has one of those fake announcer voices that cannot possibly be his natural voice. His trademark home run call is "See ... You ... Later". Later doesn't work for me, Bob. How... about... never?

4) Thom Brennaman: Brennaman once said during a college football game, "If you have the chance to spend 15 minutes alone with Tim Tebow, your life is better for it." Hey now! A classic broadcasting crutch is to mention how you sat down with a certain player during the week and how delightful he is. Thanks for that fascinating nugget, Thom, tell us more about your brunches with the stars! WERE THERE CREPES? For that Tebow comment alone, Brennaman could qualify for this list, but he's also terrible in every other facet. Our lives our not better for listening to this blowhard. And I don't care for that spelling of "Thom" either.

3) Chip Caray: Grandson of legendary Haray Caray, the apple fell far from the tree with this clown. It fell into a different orchard of unimaginable hell. Why must all sons of broadcasters try and become broadcasters? What is this, NASCAR? If you're looking for a broadcaster that reacts to infield pop ups as if they were Ruthian home runs, or has no sense of the moment, or understanding of the game whatsoever, Chip is your man.

2) Joe Buck: Also known as Prince Valium, Joe Buck has never gotten excited by anything. EVER.  Another son of a legend, he's even been quoted as saying he doesn't enjoy calling certain sports. THEN QUIT, JERK. He's like brussels sprouts - it's hard to find anyone who likes him. Spectacular plays bore him. Exciting games are tedious. Buck couldn't even bring himself to get excited over one of the most amazing plays of the decade. He called Tyree's catch like he was watching a bocce ball match at a home for the elderly. Now look at how Marv Albert called the same play. The difference there is night and day. Biting fetish or not, Marv Albert rules. Justin Timberlake hilariously made fun of Joe Buck during last year's All Star Game with subtle sarcasm. When an announcer can make you appreciate the comedic chops of Justin Timberlake, you know he's bad.

1) Chris Berman: Thankfully, this raving asshat isn't allowed to call many games anymore. It's rumored ESPN keeps him locked up in a rubber room deep in the bowels of its Bristol, CT headquarters. But, he'll occasionally be unleashed without fair warning for an ESPN baseball game, or to anchor SportsCenter and it's infuriating. Forced nicknames (like Tom "Heard it thru the" Glavine), inane stories with no point, clich├ęs and self-promotion – he's a quadruple threat. He's also a mainstay at the annual Home Run Derby, where his "back, back, back, back" calls (that were stupid 20 years ago) drive every viewer to the mute button... or to homicide. Feel free to retire anytime, Chris. We'll be okay, really.

Honorable mentions for people that almost made this list: Michael Kay (Yankees), Susan Waldman (Yankees), John Sterling (Yankees). I sense a theme here ...

Coming tomorrow...the five worst analysts

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