I’ve watched about five thousand sporting events on TV. I’ve heard all the sportscasters, and most of them are from a handful of families: the Bucks, the Carays, and the Alberts. Mostly, I’ve heard clichés.
In the announcers’ defense, they have a lot of time to fill. In each baseball game, there are about 15 minutes of action. The remaining time is filled with batters adjusting themselves, pitchers staring into the catcher’s mitt, and lots of spitting.
Football isn’t much better. Those four-hour contests allegedly contain 60 minutes of activity, but we know better. The clock is running while the players mosey up to the line of scrimmage, and continues to tick until the play clock is down to one second when they finally snap the ball.
Now it seems like every play is reviewed by the unseen officials at league headquarters. There’s nothing more thrilling than watching umps stand around listening to their headsets, hands-on-hips. We must endure five minutes of watching the play from every angle, and 99 percent of the time, it’s obvious to us all that the runner was “safe” or “out.”
I’m yelling, “Come on! I’m in my recliner, five hundred miles away, and even I can see the ball beat him!” Five minutes later, I’m usually right. This happens repeatedly, until the wee hours of the morning, when the game finally ends.
With all that inactivity, it’s no wonder the announcers reach into their bag of worn-out sayings I've compiled a few for you, followed by my comments.
“Boy, that Freddie Freeman came to play today!” (Yes, he did. He brought his bat, glove and uniform. Otherwise, he would have had to buy a ticket.)
“This is a must-win game for the Falcons. It’s do or die.” (I’ve followed the Falcons for decades. Trust me on this: they have lost a lot of “do or die” games. Quite often, they don’t “do,” but they haven't yet died.)
“You know, that Clayton Kershaw is a real athlete.” (I sure hope so. He’s a well-paid professional baseball player. Most of us are at home eating Cheetos.)
“Well, it’s obvious why the Cardinals won. They just wanted it more.” (Nope, the Cubs wanted it pretty badly too. The Cardinals just scored more runs today.)
“The Braves just need to take it one game at a time.” (Why should they do that? Can’t they go ahead and win next week's games now?)
“He just dropped that pass! You can’t do that at this level!” (Oh yes, you can if you’re human.)
“Folty is winning this game because he’s not trying to do too much.” (If “not trying to do too much” is all there is to it, I should have been an all-star.)
“Markakis plays this game the right way.” (So all the other guys are breaking the rules?)
“My goodness, this guy is some kind of ballplayer.” (What kind is he? Good? Average? Awful? Don’t keep us in suspense.)
“The fans are really getting their money’s worth tonight.” (Does this mean they’re refusing to pay eight bucks for a hot dog?)
“Well, now we’ve got us a football game.” (Thank goodness. I guess that's why they brought all those helmets and pads.)
“This team has got to start taking care of the football.” (Isn’t that what got Tom Brady suspended a few years ago?)
“Johnson is slow getting up.” (Al, you try getting up quickly after being buried under 1200 pounds of defensive linemen.)
“This team just needs to go out there and have some fun.” (We did that in third grade, but no one paid $150 to watch us play.)
“The Packers just don’t look hungry enough.” (With all due respect, they look like they’ve been well fed.)
“Well, you can’t blame him for forgetting to touch second base. He's a rookie, so he'll make mistakes. (He’s 25 years old. Don’t kids learn to touch the bases when they’re 5?)
“Jones really brought his A-game tonight!” (That was so nice of him, since the fans had to pay A-game ticket prices.)
“He's great in the locker room!” (Too bad he always strikes out on the field).
“That's why they play the game.” (Nope. Fans bring lots of cash. THAT's why.)
“It is what it is.” (That depends on what your definition of “is” is.)
And my all-time favorite: “This team isn’t going to win unless they put some points on the board.” (Thanks, Troy. I had no idea. I thought they were being judged, like on “Dancing with the Stars.”)
That’s all for now. I hope to be back in this space next week, but I’m listed as “day-to day.” Like everyone else in the world.
David Carroll, a Chattanooga news anchor, is the author of “Volunteer Bama Dawg,” a collection of his best columns. You may contact him at 900 Whitehall Road, Chattanooga, TN 37405 or RadioTV2020@yahoo.com.