Networks Mindlessly Waste Millions on Substandard Broadcasters

While we are daily thwarted by the absurd, we find comfort and relief in the words of philosopher and former Yankee, fireball right-hander Joba Chamberlain, after thorough blasting.

“At the end of the day,” he said, “the sun comes up.”

Maybe Chamberlain shares a locker at the planetarium with Kyrie Irving.

As his colleague Andrew Marchand recounted, television’s senseless excesses have been on full display as the networks scramble to dump hundreds of millions of dollars on the NFL voices that plague most of us, if not all, like short of special.

The money offered by TV callers to those who are so often painful and objectionable barriers to viewers and viewing is staggering.

Yet TV executives remain convinced that what they should know, more than most, can’t be done – hiring announcers with the ability to have us listen to them rather than watch the game. It’s simple: no game, no audience. How can these leaders be so detached?

This insane mess — hey, let’s send five or six dudes from the studio laughing at nothing to gaming sites where you can’t hear them screaming over the background noise at halftime! — can only be the result of four things:

1) Sports TV executives can’t tell bad from bad.

2) TV executives never listen to their games.

3) Television executives must be free from foresight.

4) A madman stole the networks’ checkbooks.

Troy Aikman is a lovely man to chat with at parties. But in his 20 years at Fox, he hadn’t noticeably improved to become a fluent speaker of the games before him.

He was forced to preface his remarks with repetitive and boring idioms, while his remarkable sense of the obvious – a blatant late shot to give the opposing team a first try – was treated with cotton-smeared caution like “ an ill-advised game” and “not intelligent”.

His new five-year, $90 million deal with ESPN is further proof that ESPN is a bad, 24-hour food channel.

Aikman’s longtime Fox partner Joe Buck is also ready to jump in for a lot more cash. He, too, is a lovely man to chat to and trade comedy texts with, but his on-air persona is that of a statistical parrot who tries to decorate TV shows with a transparent finesse that results in an unnatural act of trying too hard.

Joe Buck (left) and Troy Aikman (right)
Joe Buck (left) and Troy Aikman (right)
FOX

Why would Aikman and Buck be in such demand? When I find out the answer, you’ll be the second to know.

Now ESPN’s senior college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit is apparently on the line. In 1996, Herbstreit burst into ESPN glassed in promise. It was frank, succinct, lively.

But he soon became a difficult indulgence, an overbearing chatterbox eager to speak real pigskin gibberish to dazzle audiences and ignorant television executives rather than better serve both by speaking simple, applicable English.

NBC will retain Cris Collinsworth with $12.5 million per deal to continue talking to us and telling us that what we just saw, he could see coming.

So now for the obvious and the redundant: Has there ever been a sportscaster who made us tune into a game, actually watch what we otherwise hadn’t planned to watch? Of course not. They are more likely to hunt us.

The best the best can do is improve TV broadcasting. A Doc Emrick and a Marv Albert could keep us tuned for an eruption.

Kirk Herbstreit
Kirk Herbstreit
Getty Images

During the lopsided third period, Emrick entered into his anecdotal mode, charm, hockey wisdom and friendliness with the public that held his attention.

Albert exploited the NBA’s “garbage time” to bring out the fun side of his analyst, to humanize him even if it took a metaphorical hot foot. His late game exchanges with the late John Andariese and Mike Fratello were special.

Other than that, the late Skip Caray, son of Harry and longtime TV voice of the Atlanta Braves, said it wonderfully. When the blowouts ended, he said, “If you promise to patronize our advertisers, you’re fired.”

Why the brouhaha around the “return” of Harden NY?

Over the weekend, a letter from second-market broker TickPick informed us that tickets for last Sunday’s 76ers-Knicks game were getting more and more expensive in response to James Harden’s expected return to New York.

Fascinating. Considering Harden was a Net for about 20 minutes, such a sentimental selloff at inflated prices seemed odd. Even though the Garden was filled with Philadelphia fans, such deep and expensive consideration for his “return” to New York was surprising.

That may explain why the Yankees will retire Harden’s number.

James Harden
James Harden
USA TODAY Sports

The guy who should have gotten the most attention on the ABC/ESPN telecast of the game was the Sixers’ team doctor for performing an overnight miracle full of Harden’s chronically troublesome hamstrings, the one which prevented him from playing for the Nets.

It should be noted that Harden forced his trade from the Rockets to the Nets after making it clear he no longer wanted to play for Houston.

Or maybe Harden boarded that legendary miracle flight to Palm Beach International last week, one in which seniors are escorted to the gate in wheelchairs and then dropped off the plane upon arrival.

MLB fans strike with Rob

There’s so much Bud Selig in Rob Manfred you might vomit.

When MLB installed interleague play, Selig said it was “a gift to our fans.” Nonsense. It was a gift for the team owners who immediately increased the price of tickets for these games.

Even when Barry Bonds was identified as a PED slugger, Selig allowed team owners to jack up play prices when the Giants, along with Bonds, came to town. And when the new Yankee Stadium opened, his claim to having personally found all the tickets affordable remains a remarkably sustained pot.

Now, Manfred asks us to believe he was granting “our fans” wishes by pressuring the MLBPA to further curtail the regular season and playoffs by making up to 14 teams eligible for the playoffs. Yeah, like Selig, he’s a populist.

Not that baseball fans are easy to find lately, but have you even heard two of them crying out for more playoffs?

More playoff diapers will only benefit team owners, according to ticket and TV revenue.

Meanwhile, MLB is taking further steps to sell exclusive game rights to additional paid streaming services, making baseball less accessible to its devoted but utterly abused and ignored fans/customers/suckers.

News of an indefinite delay to the start of the season gave remaining MLB fans a much-needed sense of schadenfreude, a German word meaning to take pleasure in the misery of others.


Chris Kirk is a latecomer to the PGA Tour, possibly late as he is a recovering alcoholic. Every time Kirk appears on television, his alcoholism is noted. NBC’s Dan Hicks did it last weekend as Kirk challenged for the lead.

Chris Kirk
Chris Kirk
Getty Images

Funny, Tiger Woods’ rehab stint – after he was found in his car passed out on multiple opioids – was totally ignored by Hicks as well as most golf voices on American television. Kind of ruins the angle that he’s the tallest guy on earth.


Reader Steve Arendash explains that the Knicks’ game plans begin and end with the uniform they will wear.

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