Tuesday, March 24, 2009

March 24, 2009

An open letter to Tim Micallef.


I’ve been switching back and forth between NCAA Tournament coverage on CBS and The Score. As in previous years, it’s nice to see a Canadian network pick up on the excitement of March Madness and give it the treatment it deserves. The coverage on Headline Sports….Oops, I mean ‘The Score”…has evolved over the years and is a refreshing change. However, the frustrating thing this year is the self-indulgent rambling I hear from you when it’s time to switch from game to game. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the analysis that you and Sherman provide, and hearing the two of you break things down instead of having to watch another Pontiac or Nike commercial (although the ‘Become Legendary’ series of NCAA ads are enjoyable) certainly is a nice treat. But while I don’t anticipate ever using the following phrase in my life ever again, “I’d like you to take a page out of Greg Gumbel’s book” and just send us to the other game.

Here’s the fact…basketball fans want to see the game. And that means being able to hear the play-by-play and colour commentary. Even if it’s just for the 30, 60, or 90 seconds we’ll be at that game. So when CBS tells us they’re sending us to another game while the current game is in a time-out or on a commercial break, that’s all the info we need. However, when you send us to the game, you constantly provide us with a score update, the time remaining (both of which are clearly, prominently, and sometimes obtrusively displayed on our screen), and then you and Sherman start riffing on the game when we want to hear the commentary! As a commentary team on headset for CIS broadcasts, the both of you should realize how frustrating it is to hear someone talk over the commentary so that we can’t hear it. Please, please, please, please, please…just send us to the game and save the rambling.

I know you’ll think I’m just bashing you, and that’s not the case. I appreciate the work you do on The Score. I like the humour you bring regularly on your broadcasts with Sid, and I think your knowledge of the game is pretty impressive. As someone who has been involved with CIS Basketball (and broadcasting CIS games on a smaller scale) for over a decade now, I enjoy the coverage of the CIS Championships, and events like the Capital Challenge. I won’t go so far as to say I’m a ‘fan’, but I have this bobblehead in my office (this picture was taken this morning):

No joke.

But, having said all of that, for the love of GOD, man…you need to let us watch and hear the games. If you have someone telling you to stretch it out and talk longer, then have a conversation with them to let the games speak for themselves in terms of commentary. I know it’s less than ideal to be tapping into another network’s broadcast and being constrained to their announce teams, especially when Gus Johnson is sounding like his head is about to explode, or Bill Raftery is saying something so confusing that Verne Lundquist is speechless. (Again, don’t get me wrong, I love those guys and the energy they bring, it’s my attempt at humour.) But if The Score isn’t going to provide alternative play-by-play and colour, then you really owe it to the viewers to let us hear the originating network’s team.


P.S. – Please go over the correct pronunciation of Kryzyzewski with Sherman. “Kruh-shen-sky”? Seriously?

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