This time of year is crazy busy for sports announcers. (Which is why I’ve been posting infrequently recently.)
Consider my own recent and anticipated future schedule:
- Feb. 11: Boys regular season game, scheduled several times due to weather.
- Feb. 12: Girls regional quarterfinal game. (In my mother’s hometown while my parents were where I live.)
- Feb. 13: Women’s basketball tournament game in Menomonie, four hours north. (By bus, which rolled back into town at 1 a.m.)
- Feb. 14: Valentine’s Day? No, regular season boys finale.
- Feb. 15: Girls regional semifinal.
- Feb. 16: All day broadcast of the state individual wrestling tournament.
- Feb. 18: Girls regional final game in La Crosse.
- Feb. 19: Boys regional quarterfinal in La Crosse, same high schools. (Which should have been a doubleheader, but I’m sure some Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association rule prohibits that.
- Tonight: Girls sectional semifinal game in Madison. (Don’t tell Paul Soglin.)
- Tomorrow night: Boys regional semifinal game.
- Saturday: If the local team wins tonight, a girls sectional final game in Elkhorn in the afternoon, and whether or not that game takes place, a boys regional final game somewhere.
Maybe this kind of overscheduling (which gives the lie to the phrase “part-time”) leads to bad judgment reported by Sports Illustrated:
A high school basketball announcer in Indiana has resigned after ruthlessly criticizing a player who dunked in the final seconds of a game.
The incident occurred on Friday night in a game between Fort Wayne’s Homestead High and Norwell in the small town of Ossian. The Homestead Spartans, the visitors, were well on their way to victory when senior Trent Loomis dunked in the final seconds. He hung on the rim for just a moment and was given a technical foul by an overzealous ref. That’s when the announcer went off.
“Loomis gets two, but then he gets tech-ed up for being a jackass,” the announcer said. “Stay classy, Homestead. May you lose in the first round like you always do. Typical Homestead attitude. No class whatsoever. What else is new? Congratulations, you didn’t even cover the damn spread.”
Wellscountyvoice.com, the site that broadcast the game, apologized for the outburst and said the unnamed announcer had resigned his post.
The whole thing is just so absurd. How could an adult ever think it was OK to go off on a kid like that, especially for something as mundane as hanging on the rim for half a second? Judging by the last line, maybe he had a little money on the game. Do they really have spreads on high school games in Indiana?
SPEAKING OF ANNOUNCERS BEING JERKS
A Kansas radio host is in hot water after he was seen on camera at Monday night’s Kansas-Kansas State basketball game taunting a Wildcats player by pointing to the box score.
That’s Nate Bukaty, announcer for Sporting KC and host of The Border Patrol on 810 WHB. The moment quickly became a widespread meme and his co-hosts showed him what it’s like to be on the other side.
Bukaky later tweeted that (1) he was watching the game as a fan and not a broadcaster and (2) he “thought I was having [a] bit of fun, but that’s not how it came off,” and he apologized.
The unnamed former announcer evidently figured out he’d gone too far since he resigned two hours after the game ended. It looks like a classic case of an announcer getting too wound up in the team he’s announcing. In such a case, the announcer is serving neither his listeners nor his employers (and by extension advertisers who pay money to sponsor the broadcast.)
To the southwest of Presteblog World Headquarters Iowa football and basketball announcer Gary Dolphin has had an interesting year, starting with this:
Longtime Iowa radio broadcaster Gary Dolphin has been suspended from calling the team’s next two men’s basketball contests after critical comments that were inadvertently aired during Tuesday’s Hawkeye win over Pitt.
The announcement was made by Learfield Sports Properties, which broadcasts Hawkeye sports events.
Dolphin, in his 22nd season as the Hawkeye play-by-play announcer, apologized on air after Tuesday’s game when it came to his attention that his words during a commercial break were heard by radio listeners.
Dolphin was talking with his broadcast partner, former Hawkeye player Bobby Hansen, about how well Pitt’s freshmen guards were playing in the first half.
“How do we not get anybody like that?” Dolphin said. “It’s just year after year after year. Go get a quality piece like that. Just get one! They’ve got three or four.”
Hansen, who was not suspended, seemed to agree with Dolphin, echoing: “Go get a key piece like that.”
But Dolphin compounded matters by singling out Iowa junior guard Maishe Dailey. Dailey had four points and one turnover Tuesday.
“We get Maishe Dailey,” Dolphin said in a tone of disgust. “Dribbles into a double-team with his head down. God.”
After the game, Dolphin told the Register: “We want them to win so bad, sometimes we get frustrated when they’re not playing well in certain stretches.”
Iowa rallied to beat Pitt 69-68 and remain unbeaten on the season. The No. 15 Hawkeyes open Big Ten Conference play with a 7 p.m. home game Friday against Wisconsin before traveling to Michigan State for a 5:30 p.m. game Monday. Learfield will announce Dolphin’s replacement for those games later.
Iowa athletic director Gary Barta was made aware of Dolphin’s comments during the game and had a statement ready to be issued as soon as it was over saying he would “evaluate the comments” after listening to the audio.
In a news release Wednesday, Barta said: “Gary knows we are extremely disappointed in the comment he made about Maishe Dailey and the impact his remark had on our players and staff. The two-game suspension is a result of those comments, as well as some ongoing tensions that have built up over the past couple of years. This time away from the microphone will allow a chance to work through some of these issues. I truly appreciate the time and energy Gary puts into promoting Hawkeye athletics.”
Dolphin is also the play-by-play voice of Iowa football. He hosts the weekly in-season call-in shows for Hawkeye football coach Kirk Ferentz and men’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery.
“We unfortunately encountered a technical error at our network broadcast operations center that allowed off-air comments to be aired during a portion of the first-half commercial break,” Learfield Vice President-Broadcast Operations Tom Boman said in the news release. “We thoroughly reviewed the situation here at our Broadcast Ops center to ensure this doesn’t happen again, and we’ve also been communicating closely with Gary Barta and his administration, the entire broadcast team and our local Hawkeye Sports Properties staff.”