NFL, MLB, NBA Broadcasting In The Underworld: Your Guide To Commentary in Hades

PJ BookContributor IJanuary 31, 2011

NFL, MLB, NBA Broadcasting In The Underworld: Your Guide To Commentary in Hades

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    The milk was bad and you stand ashore the river Styx, waiting the boatman. Amidst the splashing waves, you twitch with restless anticipation of what awaits on the other side. You're confident you lived a good life, but then again, you're not feeling many comforting thoughts as the looming caves ahead draw closer. You're escorted through a chasm of chambers and led to a door where your escort leaves you to your lonesome.

    You open the door and peak inside...A nice bed. A full bar. A glorious couch. A fridge stocked with delicacies...and a 48 inch plasma hanging on the wall. A guide on the coffee table shows a list of every sports channel real or imagined. Words escape you as you reach for the remote. A curious thing, this remote. For it only has four buttons. Power on. Power off. Channel up. Channel down. You ponder the oddity and shrug. It's time to light this candle. You stretch out on the couch and turn on the TV.

    But wait. The initial joy you felt surfing through every channel you ever dreamed begins to fade as you notice something you overlooked a moment ago.There is no volume button on the remote. There is no way to mute or subdue the realization that every game and every channel is controlled by the worst human beings to ever hold a microphone.

    Though each channel spews voices coming from a variety of names and faces, this Underworld cast can easily be labeled as the five broadcasting categories of Hades. To watch a game is to listen to every damn word they have to say. The power off button beckons you. You see it now. The eternal conundrum.

No. 5: The Ken Harrelson

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    Harrelson earned the title of this broadcasting category formerly called "The Homer" in general terms. It takes quite a bit for an individual to earn such an esteemed moniker, but these broadcasters have a knack for attracting venom from viewers of both teams during a broadcast. 

    The opposition hates his guts because the Harrelson is so blatantly biased that the enjoyment of the game is entirely consumed by a broadcaster not only rooting for his team, but unabashedly against yours. The home team hates his guts because thousands of schooled and intelligent fans feel categorized and lumped in as being represented by this homer-ific toolbox that is forever associated with their team.


    Characteristics of a Harrelson include:

    *Referring to either the home or away teams/players by nicknames that he has given them.

    *Reacting to a great play as if he had something to do with it.

    *Following up a play/incident/outcome with trash talk delivered from the booth towards an opposing player/team/coach.

    *Supporting the home team when "we're" winning; being critical of the home team when "they're" losing.


    Prominent Harrelsons can be found in Chicago, Anaheim, and Boston.

No. 4: The Joe Theis-Morg-Worski

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    Rather than being attached to a specific team, the Joe Theis-Morg-Worski is usually found attached to a specific network. He does not need to be affiliated with any team because he already has a team: his own.

    This category of broadcaster has most likely been given this position due to a semi-successful playing career that he clearly believes becomes more prestigious and esteemed with each passing week. He is unable to go more than a few plays without making references to himself, his career, people he played with or against or just how much he knows about the game.   


    Characteristics of a Theis-Morg-Worski include:

    *Believing he is adding something to a game with sentences that start with "When I..."

    *Name dropping accomplished former athletes with the guise that an association with said person enhances his own credibility.

    *Making reference to his preparation for the presently occurring contest (i.e. watching film). This is the equivalent of a custodian informing students that he filled the windex bottles before cleaning the windows. That's his job. He needs not let you know that he did the job for which he was hired to do lest he sound like a pretentious scumbag. A custodian would rarely do such a thing, yet a Theis-Morg-Worski is making hundreds of thousands of dollars and needs to let you know all the work he's put in to his back breaking job.


    Other Theis-Morg-Worskis can be found living in the bodies of Steve Stone & Mark May.

No. 3: The Erin Andrews

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    Although this category had began to spawn across the map in the 90s, it has seen viral infestation primarily in the years of the 21st century. The Erin Andrews represents the inclination that a televised broadcast can become greatly enhanced by the random appearance of a dimwitted, script reading female of marginal attractiveness.

    If you were forced to spend eternity watching or listening to an Erin Andrews actually engage intellectually about sports without the help of a script and teleprompter, the power would be off and you would choose to watch mold grow. 


    Characteristics of an Erin Andrews:

    *Has convinced herself that she adds something of value to the broadcast booth.

    *Mistakenly associates standing amongst students in a "we're all laughing and having a good time" motif as "participating in journalism."

    *Attempts to make contractual and face time demands due to her perceived following of doe-eyed fans. 

    *Performs "special interest" pieces that have obviously been scripted and developed for her. 

    *Smiles and laughs a lot hoping to distract you from the fact that she has not contributed anything that you could not have ascertained from a copy of Maxim during a commercial.


    Additional Erin Andrews can be found by researching Tracy Wolfson and the majority of the FOX sideline staff.

No. 2: The Bill Walton

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    The Bill Walton is bigger than the game. His comments are so loud and random that they have nothing to do with the game itself. His only references to the game are to dog on teams/players he doesn't like or to make clear what players he is friends with. He will somehow connect a masterfully entwined recipe of sport, erratic intelligence, and random observation into a delicious stew that can only be made complete with the pompous addition of Bill himself.

    While the Theis-Morg-Worskis of the world need the game to vocally validate how brilliant and prestigious their knowledge and careers were, the Bill Walton feels the game is a distraction. 

    Bill Waltons see the game as a mundane interruption from diabolical matters of more pressing importance. He is quick to point out how different the game is now than it used to be. Back in the day, this game would not even need to be played because everyone would have respected that they already knew how it would end, and so no one would need to disrespect each other by actually playing it. Waltons want you to know the game is different now. It's barely worth watching. 


    Characteristics of a Bill Walton include:


    *Disbelief at one of the two teams for even showing up for the game.

    *Making a viewer stop to ask himself "just how exactly does this have anything to do with the game?" multiple times each broadcast.

    *Condescension towards humanity.


    Prominent Waltons live in the bodies of Steven A. Smith, Phil Sims, Dick Vitale, and Dennis Miller.

No. 1: The Tim McCarver

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    There is no broadcaster more feared and loathed than the Tim McCarver. The CIA has coerced more hidden secrets from terrorists by tying them to a chair in front of a McCarver game than by tying them to a water board.

    The McCarver is categorized as a pompous, bitter, self-righteous, old man who is so out of touch with the reality of the game around him that he has unanimously elected himself ruler in his own narcissistic kingdom in which humanity serves as the peasantry. He enjoys addressing the commoners with a lofty air of egotism, which he has placed aside in order to engage the serfs for a brief moment in which he will try to elaborate on what it is like to view a game while enduring the burden of massive intelligence.

    Although American ingenuity entitles people to make up drinking games for virtually any situation, few offer more of an assault on your liver than the Tim McCarver. While the categories are endless, a Tim McCarver can put you over the legal limit before the conclusion of the pregame broadcast by just a) drinking every time a McCarver says something inane and obvious but acts like he just explained Newton's Law or b) drinking for every discombobulated or awkward second of silence in the booth stemming from the McCarver matter-of-factly mispronouncing a word or misdiagnosing a play.

    Examples of a McCarver enlightening the people would include:

    -"Leadoff hitters bat first every game." *Drink

    -"They call him a drop and drive pitcher because he'll drop then drive." *Drink

    -"By guessing right, you might have guessed wrong." *Drink

    -"When the pitcher is not locating well, he's usually not throwing it where the catcher wants it." *Drink

    A McCarver graciously steps down amongst the peoples on occasion to deliver stirring and profound speeches that might sound like:

    "In that there were two runners on base there leaves then a runner open for a base at which sup-ose-ably we can en-vi-ate our suc-ump-tion that rain on the field can the ground be made wet although I can't strop-u-late enough that game sense you may not grasp if not me who you are." *Drink


    Characteristics of a Tim McCarver include:

    *Believes he is part of the Rat Pack. Like a coat room boy should take his fedora and hand him a scotch when he walks in a room. Like the room should fall silent when he speaks.

    *Uses a tanning bed.

    *Has stopped doing any sort of research on games/players years ago.

    *Feels the game owes him something.

    *Plays a mix tape of his own voice to fall asleep to.

    Although there is only one Tim McCarver, others occasionally attempt to breach the walls of his fair city. They include Joe Buck and Billy Packard. Ironically, the only true McCarver rival at this time is Joe Morgan. However, due to the required narcissism of a McCarver, Morgan refuses to be in a category that does not bear his name.