Saturday, January 15, 2011


Even his biggest critics have to acknowledge that Dick Vitale has done a lot for college basketball.

Now he can do something else. He can retire.

I cringe every time a college basketball game that I want to watch on ESPN has Vitale as one of the announcers, such as he was for today's Vanderbilt-Tennessee game. I don't have the opportunity like a friend of mind does to turn down the sound and listen to the radio broadcast.

It's either no sound (an attractive option) or Vitale's bloviating.

The man never shuts up.

The thing is, so much of what he talks about is only remotely connected to what is happening on the floor at any particular moment. Prime example: Most of the time, no matter what teams are performing in front of him, he's going to find a way to work Duke and/or North Carolina into the conversation. Enough already, Dick. We know they are great programs.

One entire segment of today's game in the first half was an interview with Tennessee women's coach Pat Summitt. Now Summitt is one of the best coaches in any sport in the country and there's no questioning that she can be a good interview who has lots of insight into the game and its issues. I'd listen to what she has to say. Usually.

But at that particularly point I was more interested in knowing who was scoring (or in the case of this game, not scoring) or who was coming up with a steal or rebound than I was listening to Vitale fawn all over Summitt and saying what a great job she has done. No kidding. She has eight national titles and more than 1,000 wins.

One unfortunate offshoot of Vitale's popularity and style is the impact he has had on many younger broadcasters. You'll hear them on telecasts of secondary games (most often on ESPNU) yukkking it up and talking about where they had lunch that day and who with, or one guy is poking fun at the other guy's golf game or even his own. Psst. Nobody cares, y'all.

Please, please, guys, find some other role models. Jay Bilas is opinionated and can come off as arrogant at times (after all, he's a Dookie), but he tells what is happening on the court and why, which I always thought was the analyst's main purpose. Or Bill Raftery. Even Bob Knight. Knight has his issues, but few can take a game apart as well as he can.

Let Vitale keep his Diaper Dandies to himself.

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