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The Greatest Sportscasting Moments Of 2011, Numbers 5 Through 1

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Over the last year, dozens of people in suits talked to you for hours and hours. Here is a list, complete with audio and video, of the 25 greatest, worst, or otherwise notable sportscasting moments of 2011.


5. Spanish basketball announcer completely loses his cookies

(Original story here)

I'm starting this video at the 1:25 mark because that's where it gets really good, but the whole video is a pretty amazing thing to listen to. It's the sound of a man seeing amazing thing after amazing thing and just trying to find a higher gear. Spoiler alert: the highest gear is breathless, cackling insanity. It's like listening to a guy having the Heimlich maneuver performed on him and finding something really, really funny about it.

4. Kings announcers Jerry Reynolds and Grant Napear sign off

(Original story here)

The Sacramento Kings have never reached the NBA Finals, they haven't been competitive in half a decade, and over the last three seasons they've lost about 75 percent of their games. This is the team that Sacramento fans were desperate to keep. This is the team that made two veteran sportscasters weep on television over the prospect of having to say goodbye.

Some sports teams are all about winning, and some are simply about a shared experience. It's about a community bonding with itself, and exhibiting unconditional love toward an institution, as incompetent as it can sometimes be, full of players, coaches, and sportscasters who are doing their best to reward their fans. It's love, and when I hear people knock sports as a meaningless waste of time, this is one of the reasons I want to tell them to go to Hell.

As we later learned, the Kings are staying in Sacramento for the 2011-12 season, though their future after that is far from certain. Folks who love them like Reynolds and Napear love them will probably be run through the wringer all over again, but that's just what love tends to do to you.

3. "..."

This is surely apparent by now, but I'm sorry that I titled this list the "Greatest Sportscasting Moments of 2011," because it so is not that. This is one of the sorriest sportscasting moments of all time.

SAY SOMETHING! YOU ARE AT A BASKETBALL GAME, YOU DING-DONGS! There are like 20,000 wild and crazy and beautiful people in this building, and they drag in the f***in' Bummer Brigade to call this game? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU?!?!? It was an overtime-forcing buzzer-beater! In the playoffs! You are on national television! You probably should have told the network, "okay, I'll call this game, but if there's a dramatic moment at the expense of my team, I'm going to just sit there and do nothing and eventually start talking like I'm asking for a checklist of scratch-offs at the Citgo."

Good God, man. What is your deal? You have this really really awesome job, and in this job you come across a really really awesome moment, and this is the moment you decide to ride your tricycle off the side of Give-a-Shit Mountain.

I like to think I'm slow to get into hysterics, man, but that is the most "I don't give a shit about myself or anybody" moment of sportscasting I've ever heard. Tim McCarver at his very worst is 100 times preferable to whatever the Hell that just was. No, man, that dog ain't gonna hunt. There's no excuse for that. Do better.


(Original story here)

Hey, guys from Moment No. 3. You turkeys still with us here? Okay, please learn something from Mr. Gus Johnson here. This is how you're supposed to do it.

I just watched that about six times in a row, and I got goosebumps each time. Love you, Gus.

1. Jim Palmer mourns Mike Flanagan

If we had the time, I'd love to have us watch the last hour of the Orioles game called by Jim Palmer on August 24th. Because during that game, Palmer learned that Mike Flanagan, his teammate and longtime friend, had tragically and suddenly passed away.

Everyone would have forgiven him for excusing himself from the broadcast, or getting emotional during the game. I don't think anyone else expected, or would have even asked for, the superhuman degree of professionalism Palmer exhibited. But clearly, he expected it of himself. He called the rest of the game as he always would, and here, after the game, he finally allows himself to cry.

As I watched Jim Palmer follow up a superhuman evening of broadcasting with a heartbreakingly human moment, I thought of who sportscasters really are to us. We knock them all the time for their factual errors and their biases and all sorts of things, and I think that's okay, because that will always be a component of our relationship.

But it is a relationship. Collectively, sports announcers hold an enormous amount of real estate in our lives. Suppose you watch four games a week. That's, what, 10 hours of sportscasters extemporaneously talking to you.

It's a startling realization: do you listen to anyone else in your life for half that long? It's a one-sided conversation, of course. But surely there's a friendship in there somewhere.

Intro | No. 25-21 | No. 20-16 | No. 15-11 | No. 10-6 | No. 5-1