clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

On Gus Johnson and announcers

  Back in the day, I learned the craft of announcing sport by one of the masters: Bill Mercer.  If you're young or not from Texas, you probably don't know him.  But to this day, I still meet people who remember his days announcing wrestling from the Dallas Sportatorium.

  My only grievance with his approach to announcing was his view that the announcer's job is the same regardless of the format.  The idea that a radio announcer and a tv announcer should, more or less, approach the call with a similar intent: to describe the action as if telling a blind person who has never seen the sport before is listening.

  If anything, my grievance has born itself out in the modern era of announcers now coming into their own.  And no, I'm not defending Dick Vitale's approach of head-exploding verbal strokage of the biggest programs and superstars.  I'm talking about Gus Johnson.  To a larger degree, I'm talking about Gus Johnsonism but really it's just Gus Johnson, because Gus Johnson is awesome (via jose3030):

  That was Gus' call from last night's Pac 10 Championship, and it is just more proof that Gus is the modern sport fan's announcer.  Over the top excitement.  Guttural screams of climactic perfection.  The reality is, though, he's a product of the modern sports climate.

  The classic announcers of generations past never warranted a soundboard littered with phrases that in and of themselves elicit immediate laughter, that force visions of victory without memory.  This isn't an age of Jack Bucks, announcers whose textbook perfect calls combined emotion with context in the most practical sense.  This is the NBA Jam age.

  So I ask you, TST.  Who is your favorite announcer?  Surely, it has to be someone over the top, no?  Someone who combines the verbiage and knowledge of an erudite student of the game with the passion of a zealot.  I'll throw my vote out there: Ray Hudson.

  The man is psycho.  How he doesn't lose his voice at halftime of every soccer game he covers, I don't know.  I'm typing this as he's calling Barcelona-Sevilla on GOL TV, and I swear he's trying to blow the speakers on my TV.  Here's some of his, uh, highlights:

  Who do you look forward to hearing most?  Who makes you want to actually listen to the call instead of just watch the game?  Mamadou!