Thursday, January 8, 2009

Welcome "IN" to....

Welcome IN to Sports Center, I'm (jock-sniffer of the hour). Ever notice how all the sports announcers and sports announcer wannabes copy the "signature" phrases of the guys (and gals) on ESPN?
I do. It's part of my obsessive-compulsive disorder, I guess.
Did you ever have anybody welcome you "IN" to anything? Didn't think so. "Welcome to the family". "Welcome to our home". "Welcome to my world". Never an "IN" in the mix!
Last night during half-time of the Badger game on the Greed Network (BTN) the studio announcer welcomed us "IN" to the half-time show. Then, after the game was over, the studio announcer welcomed us "IN" to "Big Ten Tonight".
There's a fellow who's the ringmaster/announcer/cheif-cook-and-bottle-washer of a local morning radio show, and my wife says every morning he welcomes the listeners "IN" to the morning show. Methinks he's a sports announcer wannabe.
Somebody once told me that the fastest way to be out of fashion is to be totally in fashion. Back when I was doing sports play-by-play (for the Wisconsin Flyers of the CBA) it was fashionable to copy the signature phrases of the Milwaukee Bucks' announcer, Eddie Doucette. "J" was jumper, or jump-shot. There were jacknife j's, leapin' leaners, rock-back-pop-j's, and all manner of Doucette-isms. Many of the guys doing sports play-by-play copied Eddie. They wanted to be him. It was all about THEM....not all about accurately describing the game to the listener. Radio naturally lends itself to more colorful descriptions, but the fundamental skill is to clearly translate action into verbiage. Doucette did it with tremendous flair, accuracy, and with a style so unique it became widely imitated.
Sports announcing has its own lingo, and to be regarded as "serious" in the biz, apparently now it's infra dig to be must copy what's said on ESPN. There's a particular lady (Cindy Brunson) who does some of the weekend sports shows on ESPN who has mastered all the latest cliche's the weekday fellows use. In baseball season, as she does the highlights of the various games, it's never "bottom of the fifth". It's "bottom five". Never "top of the eighth", but "top 8". Every time.
I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of sports announcers who really know what "prolific" means. The vast majority think it's the same as "proficient". It's never "the following play", it's "the ensuing play" or drive. It's a rule, apparently. And Lord spare us from the sports announcers who tell us something "really puts that into perspective".
We need a whole lot more Grantland Rice and Jim Murray, and a whole lot less of being "welcomed in".

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