What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Commenting on the Commentators

As an avid sports fan, I get to know famous broadcasters almost as well as the personalities on the court, which is to say I develop a very strong superficial knowledge of their habits and behavior. No time is better for acquainting oneself to the idiosyncrasies of commentators than March Madness, the NCAA basketball tournament when a new broadcaster greets the listening ear for just about every game. Legends like Jim Nantz and Billy Packer join characters like Dick Vitale to provide a stunning ensemble cast.

Unfortunately, sometimes these gentlemen can be difficult to understand. They use a vernacular native to jocks and junkies that is foreign to everyone else. They think, I am sure, that they are easy to understand, but to the untrained ear their gibberish is as comprehensible as the three year old graffiti beneath the Miller bridge. Here at FCN, we took out a pen and paper during the games and jotted down our favorite lines from the various presenters along with an explanation. Here they are, followed by a translation in parenthesis:

"Heeeee's got the triple!" (Three-point basket)
"Stops, pops; it's in." (Pull-up jump shot)
"Rejected!" (Blocked shot)
"Not this time!" (Blocked shot)
"Say goodbye and hello to the second row" (Emphatically blocked shot)
"Woah! That's the strongest weak side help I've seen today" (A Jim Nantz favorite)
"Gentle kiss and in." (Bank shot)
"Double smooch off the glass." (A Dick Vitale favorite, when the ball rolls on the rim and touches backboard before falling into the basket)
"Count it" (Scored shot)
"They've really been struggling from the charity stripe." (Team has a poor free throw percentage)
"Got the step..." (A player is beginning a drive to the basket)
"...found a lane..." (A player has found a lane to the basket)
"...he dishes it out..." (A player passes to another player)
"...he kicks it out..." (A player passes to another player after driving toward the basket)
"Rocks...pops." (Kobe Bryant - or similar ball hog - has the basketball)
"All the way to the hole." (A player completes a drive with close shot)
"What a moment!" (Jim Nantz is amazed by something on the court. This happens often.)
"Trifecta" (Three point basket)
"Super scintillating sensational!" (Dick Vitale is excited by something on the court)
"Slap a lapper." (Dick Vitale is excited by something on the court and wants to put his job at risk)
"Dipsy-doo dunkeroo slam-jam-bam, baby!" (Dick Vitale actually said that)
"...baby" (Dick Vitale is trying to be cute while using the same line he started using in 1979)
"Foam the runway, this guy is on fire!" (A player has been making a high percentage of his shots or otherwise been playing well recently)
"Freeze it." (Used during instant replay to draw audience's attention to a particular detail)
"Send it in to the big fella'" (A color commentator's instructions to consider a low post move)
"Rise and fire." (A jump shot. Use of this line got a commentator fired. Incomprehensible, I know)
"Turn out the lights." (One team has lost any chance of winning the game)
"The party is over." (One team has lost any chance of winning the game)
"Oh my." (A particularly eloquent play-by-play line)
"Boom." (A particularly eloquent play-by-play line often deployed after a dipsy-doo dunkeroo slam-jam-bam)
"'Nuff said." (A particularly eloquent play-by-play line)
"Yesssssssss." (Used late in a game after an important basket is scored)
"He puts the biscuit in the basket." (A player scores)
"Threeee-cola." (Three point basket)
"This freshman has ice in his blood." (The stress of the game is not registering in a young player's behavior)
"He's cooler than the other side of the pillow." (The stress of the game is not registering in a player's behavior)
"As good as it gets." (Jim Nantz after Florida won its first national championship)
"From downtown..." (Three point shot attempted)
"Bang!" (A player scores)
"Sweet sassy molassy." (Contrary to popular opinion, line is actually used in men's games to denote respect in a player's recent move)
"Oh, baby, what a play." (Sometimes used by broadcasters other than Dick Vitale)
"Tickie-Tack." (A player is called for an "unnecessary" or ill-advised foul)
"Right between the eyes." (A player scores)
"That's levitation." (An athletic shot block)

And that's just a sampling. To get the rest, you will have to watch the Sweet 16 round of March Madness this weekend.


sports (not) fan said...

now what about when they interview the Coaches? "...weeeeellll, we, uh, put more balls in the basket then they did, and, uh, we won. I think we played really hard and, uh, gave it a hundred and ten percent, so, uhm, that's about it..."

bruinbob said...

yay!!! go UCLA!!! whoo!!!! kevin love is awesome, he pwns...good post, and um... whoo!!! bruins!!!

Will said...

The "Oh my" at key points in the game is something that always makes me laugh. Also am I the only one who finds the duo of Jim Nantz and Billy Packer irritating in every possible way? I seriously watched some of their games without the sound.

Anonymous said...

Dick Vitale's parents never taught him to use his "inside voice".

At least, that's my theory.

Daddy Warbucks said...

"Faked him out of the popcorn machine!"
Chick Hearn