“It’s dawned on me that not only do some sports thrive in silence, but indeed they flourish,” declares the Guardian’s Steven Wells, protesting that “the commentator has become a distraction, an irritant, as parasitic and irrelevant to the actual action as those retina-raping electronic advertising hoardings, yet another symptom of sport’s patronising terror of letting the game actually speak for itself.” Pretty bold words considering they were penned several years after Fran Healy (above) was removed from Mets telecasts.
Could not the commentator’s only useful function, providing information, be entirely supplanted by interactive technology? Want to know the name of a player, or a team’s current league position or any of the mind-numbingly anal-retentive trainspottish bollocks we non-Asbergers-stricken types have rammed down our throats by the nerderatti at every sitting? Go Google. Or press button B.
There are no doubt readers possessed of space age televisions and cable packages that allow the elimination of the commentators while retaining the howler monkey screams of the crowd and the pitiful whining of the players. You lucky, lucky bastards. Come gloat. Mock us with news of the future, tell us how if feels to watch televised sport free of banal gibbering.
‘Tis not for me to say such a feature doesn’t exist, though we’ve seen prior experiments in announcer-free telecasts. That said, I suspect any paradigm-smashing attempt to silence the Joe Morgans and Rick Sutcliffes of the sports TV biz will have an economic motive rather than aesthetic.
2 thoughts on “SWells Presses The Permanent Mute Button”
I watched the final 3 innings of the replay of Don Larsens 1956 WS perfect game on the MLB Network this evening where there was one lone announcer in the booth ( Vin Scully) who kept the announcing to the bare minimum. It was quite an enjoyable contrast to todays 2-3 man never-shut-up broadcast teams and perhaps returning to that era in sports broadcasting
could be an acceptable compromise with Wells wish to do away with them altogether.
Beyond a select few, Play-by-play and color commentators are albatrosses.
Every few years the unionized CBC announcing crews go on strike. Most recently it was the CFL announcing team, and I remember an NHL playoffs in the 90s when the French language announcers were out of the booth. Both instances were blissful. The game sounds were turned up to fill the space and you got a sense that the production crew enjoyed the breathing room that comes with not having to bend the broadcast around every whim of some half-witted ex-jock. Those games really stick out among the thousands of games that I’ve watched in my lifetime.
Announcing HOF: Vin Scully, Bob Cole, Jim Robson, Myron Cope.
The rest are boring at best.