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The Good, The Bad, The Announcers This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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   The Good, the Bad, The Announcers
by M. C., Braintree, MA
After watching sporting events on a regular basis for several years, I have noticed how sports casters fall into several categories. There are two distinct types - the play-by-play announcer and the analyst. However, these categories are based on their duties, not their personalities. Underneath the differences, there is an even greater division. The play-by-play announcers are easily split into those who deftly describe the action and those who do not have a clue as to what is happening. Analysts can be separated into three groups - those with concise, thoughtful comments, those who do not have a single intelligent word to say and those who do not know when to stop talking.
Excellent play-by-play announcers are easy to recognize, especially on the radio. They have a certain way they call the game, maintaining a constant degree of accuracy. Each action is described to the fullest. Sean McDonough, a CBS sports caster, notices the smallest details in a ball game and relays it completely to the viewer. He invokes emotion and anguish when the game warrants it.
Avoid at all costs the poor play-by-play announcer. It is better to watch a game with the sound turned down than listen to them. Ned Martin, long-time TV38 broadcaster, confuses players' names and loses track of the action. He only follows the ball. His worst attribute is his failure to declare the score a sufficient amount of times during an inning. Nothing is worse than an announcer who does not frequently update the score, especially during a fast game. A viewer who has just tuned in is forced to wait to hear the score.
Any broadcast is well worth watching if a sharp color analyst is on staff [to add "color" to the game]. The best example is John Madden, a sports caster who makes football games a learning experience. He keenly analyzes replays, showing who did what right and who did what wrong. He makes adequate use of the CBS Chalkboard, drawing play patterns to better illustrate plays. Games become much more enjoyable because viewers can easily understand Madden.
Clueless color analysts have the best jobs in America. All they do is sit in the broadcast booth, watching exciting games, stating the obvious and receiving hefty checks. Magic Johnson has the dubious distinction of being one of the worst color analysts of all time. His most incisive comments to date include, "That was fantastic!" and "Aw, man! This guy is on his game today!" Magic becomes too involved in the game and fails to examine them on a professional level. In addition, a weak analyst tells us what we already know, instead of adding insight. Often he does not completely understand the game or he cannot express himself well.
A rambling analyst is the best announcer when watching a game, but only if one enjoys listening to long stories. Tim McCarver, a CBS announcer, is the king of story telling. The littlest movement on the field can remind him of something that happened 20 years ago in spring training. By the time he finishes his tale the score has changed, new pitchers are in for both teams and the cows have come home. The one common thread that binds all his stories together is that none has a point. Such an analyst detracts significantly from the game and makes the play-by-play person's job tougher when he must cut the analyst short.
Announcers play a large role in the enjoyment of a game. The way in which they convey the action makes a large difference to the fan. Quality announcers make sporting events extremely exciting. Weak announcers drag out a game, making it painful for the viewer to watch, regardless of the score.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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