Saturday, November 16, 2019

This is Why I Don't Listen

Believe it or not, I don't listen to a lot of other play-by-play announcers.

Especially closer to home.

Mostly because I start breaking them down. Now, if they want me to critique them, then all bets are off.

Jeff Alterman has asked for honest criticism of what they're doing over on TEN -- the Trumbull Eagles Network, which I helped start. I was happy to help out, especially after they simplified their booth.

They're coming along now. I believe I'll also join them for a basketball call in December.

After I left the HAN Network, I listened/watched only a few times, and it was mostly when AJ Szymanowski was on a call, because he wanted my critique. Otherwise, I recall watching just once or twice without AJ on the broadcast.

I kept the sound down the only other time I tried to watch.

I've also gotten snarky on social media a few times, and I generally regret that, so it's just better form to stay away from most other calls. I might watch or listen to something to get a feel, but I normally turn it off quickly, and mostly in disgust.

I also get people texting or messaging me to watch or listen to something.

Or I get highlights sent to me.

Like the dude who thinks his comparisons are funny: "That player was faster then that Tex Mex I ate after downing some Metamucil in a restaurant two miles from my house. High-stepping home, baby!"

No, I'm not kidding. There are really people like that in the play-by-play biz.

I tried watching a game recently because I like the people and wanted to see who they had on the call.

As Ron Burgundy says, "I immediately regret this decision."

The amount of bad information was stunning. The amount of narcissism was intense. Names and towns were mispronounced. A mic was left open and we got to hear equipment testing, life stories, and diva behavior.

Details were missed but, hey, let's ask people in the stands, while live.

I just couldn't deal.

It was the perfect reminder.

Vin Scully has often said he never listens to others because bad habits can creep in.

Wise man, he is. Though I do enjoy hearing a variety of voices, and overall think I pick up good things if anything.

I listened to quite a bit of Mike Hirn in an Ohio football playoff game tonight. Good stuff. He and his analyst had a nice chemistry, Mike was prepared, the call had a buzz to it, and he honored the basics of "Report, Inform, Educate, and Entertain."

He doesn't need a critique. I listened because we're friends. And he's zany.

Unrelated to Mike, I once watched a game that actually depressed me when it was over.

That's a story I'm not quite ready to tell yet, but a few friends had to talk me down. Again, I'm serious. I was literally depressed at what I watched.

I care a lot about the craft of telling stories. Of being a play-by-play announcer. Of having a coherent booth with chemistry.

Of sounding professional.

So, more than anything, I try to manage listening to other broadcasters.

I get way too attached.

After all these years, it's a tough habit to deal with.

No comments: