Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Links Turn Into 32 “Great” Play-by-Play Calls

This started as a new edition of “Linky Dinks.”  Instead, it turned into taking two links from Joe Posnanski and heading off on a rant!  So the links will hit in two parts now (it’s like MUST-SEE BLOGGING on NBC!).

1) On Vin Scully.  Wow.

2) On the 32 greatest sports calls ever (sorry, Joe.  You’re delusional on this one.).

Now how do I let that one go?  I can’t…he puts Gus Johnson on the list.  Why, God?  Why?  Why do you frat boys like people like GuJo?  Joe writes, “It is, I would say, almost impossible not to love Gus Johnson.”  WHAT?  DEAR GOD, JOE!

Breathe, Rob, breathe…

Let’s just break the list down, mmmmK?  (The list is in Joe’s words)

32. Verne Lundquist on the Christian Laettner shot that beat Kentucky in the 1992 Regional Final, ending one of the best games in college basketball history

I love Verne Lundquist.  OK, this is fine.

31. Gus Johnson on Gonzaga

This means ripping my broadcasting brethren.  I’ve already vented too much on not liking GuJo’s style.  I’m sure I’d love to grab a beer with him.

30. Chris Cuthbert and Harry Neale on Tie Domi’s sucker-punch knockout of Ulf Samuelsson

Paging Harold.  Or Sean Kilkelly.  Not sure this would ever hit my top 32, as I want too many other hockey calls (all featuring either Doc Emrick or Dan Kelly).  Oh, not a knock on either Cuthbert or Neale – both really good hockey voices.

29. Bill White on the Bucky Dent homer

I don’t know.  I love Bill White.  I’m not sure this is any better than Frank Messer (on Yankees radio), Ned Martin and Hawk Harrelson (I think, on Red Sox radio), or Keih Jackson (on ABC TV).  I have them all.

28. Mike Keith on the Music City Miracle

Sure, whatever.  Is this any better than Jack Fleming calling the Immaculate Reception?  No.

27. Jack Buck on the Kirby Puckett home run that forced Game 7 in the 1991 World Series

Can’t do it much better in this spot, but Joe offends me when he ranks this next one higher…

26. Joe Buck on David Ortiz’s homer in Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS (an homage to his father)

Um…Joe better than Jack?  JACK BUCK?  I don’t think so!

25. Jon Miller on Ruben Rivera’s classic base-running error

To Joe’s credit, he didn’t just pick any old automatic highlights.  He did his homework.  Jon Miller gets forgotten for his brilliance as a radio voice because we’re so bogged down with his work (stuck with Joe Morgan) on Sunday nights.  Still he’s the latter-day Scully.

24. Verne Lundquist on Jackie Smith’s drop in the end zone

Love Verne.  Love this moment (sorry, Cowboys fans…mwahahahaha).  It wouldn’t be on my list though.

23. Tom Cheek on Joe Carter’s game-winning World Series homer in 1993

This is a good one.

22. Marv Albert on Michael Jordan’s brilliant move against the Lakers in the 1991 NBA Finals

Hard to argue here.

21. Jack Buck on Ozzie Smith’s home run to beat the Dodgers in Game 5 of the 1985 NLCS

No argument.

20. Milo Hamilton on No. 715

*sigh*  Has anyone ever heard Scully’s call of the same moment?  Has anyone ever read this blog before?

19. Vin Scully on Bill Buckner

Nothing for me to add, except respect for the late Bob Murphy, who called it for the Mets radio on WFAN with Gary Thorne.

18. Dan Hicks on Jason Lezak’s comeback to keep Michael Phelps’ dream of eight gold medals alive at the 2008 Olympics

OK.  Sure.  Whatever.

17. Scully on Sandy Koufax’s perfect game

This IS number one – with a bullet.  That is it.  Game over.  Drive home safely.  It is the standard by which I tell ALL broadcasters to listen to.

16. Howie Rose on Stephane Matteau‘s overtime goal to beat New Jersey in the Eastern Conference finals in 1994

This is up there on my list of great hockey calls, no doubt about it.

15. Kenneth Wolstenholme on 1966 World Cup

14. Anonymous someone yelling over Bud Palmer during the 10,000 at 1964 Olympics

(See my response to #18).

13. Bob Costas on Michael Jordan’s shot against Utah

Not sure I’d pick this over Marv at #22 but it’s Joe’s list.

12 (tie) Johnny Most on the two most famous steals in Celtics history (John Havlicek or Dennis Johnson)

Again, it’s Joe’s list.  I’ll always take “Havlicek stole the ball” first.

11. Bill King on the Holy Roller

Not a favorite call of mine, but I agree with Joe on my favorite part: “Madden is on the field. He wants to know if it’s real. They said yes, get your big butt out of here. He does!”

10 (tie) Three of college football’s great calls

10A) Larry Munson on Lindsey Scott’s catch against Florida

10B) Lyell Bremser on Johnny Rodgers’ punt return in the Game of the Century

10C) Dan Davis on Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary against Miami

I can take these or leave these.  They wouldn’t be at number 10 for me, but as Joe mentions, he’s not sure if it’s the moment or the call.  I look at these things purely for the call, personally.

9. Vin Scully on The Catch

This…over KOUFAX?  I love this call – the way he lets it happen but still…

8. Verne Lundquist on Tiger Woods’ remarkable chip on No. 16 at Augusta

Joe’s got a bit of a thing for Verne.  I don’t blame him but still!

7. Victor Hugo Morales on the greatest goal of all time, Diego Maradona’s second goal against England in the 1986 World Cup

6. Chic Anderson on Secretariat at the Belmont

The sixth best call ever?  Over anything from Clem McCarthy and the earlier voices of horse racing?  REALLY?

5 (tie) Jack Buck on Kirk Gibson’s 1988 World Series home run

5 (tie). Vin Scully on Kirk Gibson’s 1988 World Series home run

Joe went the right route here.  They’re both great.  I’ll take Vin over Jack, but how can one ever complain about either?

4. Joe Starkey on The Play

Probably College Football’s greatest call.  Wouldn’t be in my top 5, but to each their own.

3. Howard Cosell on George Foreman’s knockdown of Joe Frazier

You probably know the words: “Down goes Frazier!”  *sigh*

2. Russ Hodges on the Giants winning the pennant

Never been a fan.  Not when I first heard it.  Not now.  I get it for what it is.

And you probably know it, and you probably know I wouldn’t rank it this high but it deserves to sit among the best calls ever…

1. Al Michaels on the Miracle on Ice

By the way, Al’s “Impossible Dream” when the US won gold was pretty terrific also.

OK, so who is missing?  How would you rank them?  I'll start with the Lewis/Schmelling bout at Yankee Stadium...Red Barber in the 1947 World Series...Phil Rizzuto on Roger Maris (10/1/61)...Dan Kelly on Bobby Orr...and I'm just warming up!

My “kindler, gentler” side is keeping me from opining further, and keeping the vitriol stored away.  Stuff to deal with at another time, I suppose.

Yet, in total, while I love Joe’s writing, I think he’s just purely nuts here!

1 comment:

New York Ambassador said...

I'm glad people do columns like this only because it gives me a chance to reminisce about great calls and get some discussion going. Great calls, however, are so subjective, it's impossible for any two people to agree on a great call. It's pretty much only possible for people to agree on what's a crappy call.

I guess I have no problem with Al Michaels' call of 1980 being No. 1, but it has the benefit of being the call of the greatest sports moment in our nation's history. Then again, you could argue that Michaels rose to the occasion in a way maybe nobody else would have.

Howie Rose is a tremendous broadcaster, but his Matteau call is overrated. "Mount Vancouver?" That's silly. Sam Rosen's call was better.

"Down goes Frazier." Always sounded forced to me.

Vin Scully is absolutely the best, but Jack Buck's call on Gibson is my second-favorite call of all time.

My favorite: Joe Buck, on the Mets winning the pennant in 2000. His exact words: " "

This is why I love Joe Buck. No broadcaster has ever had a better understanding that even the best play-by-play guy cannot add excitement to the most exciting moments in sports. If he's lucky, he can convey it accurately. If he's not, he can ruin it. (See also: Gary Thorne's call of the Matteau goal.) Joe knows there is nothing he or anyone else can say that tells the story and conveys the emotion of a team winning a title better than the pictures and sound of a home crowd going apesh*t.

There are a lot of Joe Buck haters out there. To all of them: stop. You're wrong.