Brent Musburger bit the big one over the weekend. While broadcasting the Oklahoma-Oklahoma State football game on Saturday night for ABC, dumb ol’ Brent misquoted the great baseball executive Branch Rickey. Trying his darndest to be “eloquent,” and make a relevant quip germane to the game action, Brent burst forth excitedly with this gem, “As Branch Rickey once said, ‘Luck is the residue of...skill...’ ” Uh no, Brent, you horse’s ass. The Rickey quote, known far and wide to intelligent, well-premised sports observers everywhere, is, “Luck is the residue of design.”
Musburger’s nearly 70, and he’s still as big a putz as he ever was. Getting into broadcasting must be like getting a position in city government: once you're in, you can stay in, even if you're an idiot, so long as you don't kill someone.
Speaking of putzes, familiar with this cat named Jason Whitlock? He was subbing for the godawful Jim Rome on FOX radio this past Friday, and he hit the airwaves ranting and raving about how ESPN isn’t interested in good stories, how the sports giant dominates with lousy (often tabloid-style) ideas designed only to promote their broadcasting agenda, and how they’re not interested in the truth. Whitlock went on and on and on and on...stopping to take a breath only to further pepper us with his belief that the Ball State football team had achieved its unprecedented 12-0 mark this season in spite of lousy support from the school’s administration—take that, Muncie!—and also how ESPN had apparently systematically overlooked this story because it wasn’t “cool” (or something like that).
Moments later, a guy calls in, extols Whitlock for his forthrightness, and then begins to criticize Rome as yet another sports a**hole of the very type that Whitlock was decrying. In one of the most glaring examples of broadcaster hypocrisy you’ll ever witness, Whitlock then cut off the caller, saying that he couldn’t allow criticism of Rome, since it was Rome’s show and Whitlock was there filling in for him. Doh!
Yer an a**hole, Jason. And a hypocritical horse’s ass. What a d-bag.
The news isn’t all bad on the broadcasting front, though. Greg Gumbel and Dan Dierdorf handled the play-by-play for Sunday’s Steelers-Patriots game (CBS), and they did an excellent job. Gumbel’s always very good—straightforward, clear, informative, appropriately enthusiastic—but the improvement in Dierdorf is remarkable. For years, ol’ Dan used to bombastically lisp his fat-mouthed way through his commentary, preferring to use volume to make his points instead of wit or insight. Now Dan’s never going to be a member of Mensa, but at least he’s lowered his voice a bit and delivers reportage in more measured tones. He keeps the hyperbole to a minimum now also, and he seems to have conquered his speech impediment. Way to go, Dan. You’re still a meatheaded jock, dude, but you appear to have learned a little about making the game interesting for those of us watching it.