GH And Petey's Timberwolves Blog

Sunday, November 20, 2005


Last night's game wasn't on local TV, but fortunately I have NBA league pass so I was able to watch it. The Thursday night game was on TNT so this makes two consecutive games I've gotten to watch without the Hanneman/Peterson crew.

I remember watching the Wolves back in high school and going into work and one of my co-workers, rather than asking about the result of the game, asked me how Harlan was. It was quite sad when he left, but you knew that a talent like that wasn't going to stay working a small market local broadcast. His work with Minnesota was something unparalleled in the world of sports broadcasting. I'm still a fan of him with TNT, but unfortunately they have him teamed with Doug "Points scored at the end of quarters are worth double" Collins.

Prior to this NBA season, my experience with NBA announcers had been rather lacking, but I've become exposed to quite a few since then. All in all, I think that NBA announcers are generally the highest quality (except perhaps hockey) in all of the four major sports. In hockey, the game moves so quickly that announcers don't really have time to embarrass themselves. The play-by-play announcers will pretty much go full speed until the play stops, the color commentator will explain exactly what happened during the brief breaks.

The worst of all sports is certainly the NFL. Most of the time, I'm content if the announcers can manage to make sense for half of the broadcast.

Baseball announcers tend to be somewhat traditional. Most of the time you'll get announcers who love to preach fundamentals like bunting and fielding and ignore most of the modern research the shows that these things might not be as important as people believed in the early 1900s.

Basketball announcers are similar to this, but are somewhat more modern. The target audience is generally younger, so they tend to pick announcers to cater towards that (except perhaps in the Wolves case).

When I was younger, I used to wonder why they couldn't find better people to announce these games, but I gave up this wonder some years ago when I was listening to a Twins radio broadcast. The Twins radio announcers tend to be more insightful than their TV announcers. At some point, it occurred to me that this was probably because the radio broadcast was targeted at a generally more intelligent audience.

The problem with having a highly intelligent and insightful broadcast team is that it wouldn't cater to an average fan. The average fan is generally a casual one with little theoretical knowledge about the game. Having a broadcast team that routinely went into higher levels of thinking about the game. A team like that would just end up sounding like Dennis Miller to everybody who was just bored and felt like turning on a basketball game. As a result, you tend to get announcers who will repeat the same cliches night in and night out.

Because of this, I've learned to deal with announcing not being up to par with what I would like it to be. But if I can't have intelligent, I'd like to at least settle for entertaining. Unlike many of the people I know, I'm actually quite a fan of the Twins broadcast team. Sure, Bert comes off as a moron sometimes, but he's usually funny while doing it. I also like the contrast of Dick's social conservatism and Bert's routine comments about getting drunk and Dick seems to do a much more animated play-by-play than most of the baseball announcers out there.

Being spoiled by Harlan for so many years, it's hard for anybody to come in and fill his shoes. However, I think the Wolves can do better. I think Peterson does an alright job. He adds some pretty good insight from time to time, but doesn't offer the comical relief of a Trent Tucker. Hanneman was pretty much a fill-in guy when he started, but has managed to keep the job for several years for some reason. He doesn't offer any sort of entertaining play-by-play and really doesn't offer any deep insight into the game. Sometimes, I even get the impression that he doesn't care or doesn't understand exactly what is happening on the court.

I've gotten to the point where I mostly just tune out what is being said and provide my own internal dialog which goes some thing like this:

For the love of God Thud, SLOW DOWN!!! YOU'RE GOING TO TURN OVER THE BALL!!! Ok, he got it past half court now don't huck up a three. Ok good, he dished it to Wally. Now whatever, you do, don't dribble Wally. I SAID NO!!! Alright, he dribbled it off a defenders foot, but Hassell managed to come up with it. Hassell dumps it to KG at the high post. Finally, somebody does something right without freaking me out. OK, here comes the triple team on KG as expected. KG passes it back out to Wally who dumps it back into Kandi at the low post. Well, I bet this possession ends in a Kandi hook shot. Oh, look at that! I was right. But look it's Maddog crashing the boards! Well, he didn't manage to get the ball, but he did manage to injure three of the opposing players and their coach, so we've got that going for us.

Today's Picks

Milwaukee/Utah Under 186 ($21.80/$20)
Warriors(-2.5) vs. New Jersey($20.80/$20)
NJ/GS Under 188 ($20.80/$20)