It is called the SportsCenter Generation.
It is your kids. It is my kids.
It is a generation of sports fans who want their sports now. Don’t worry about details. Just highlights please. Show ‘em the dunks, the mammoth home run, the 60-yard TD pass and maybe the top 10 plays of the day. But make it quick!
The SportsCenter Generation doesn’t have time to actually watch or listen to a game.
They don’t know what they’re missing.
Go ahead, ask your kid-the-sports-fan. Who is Gino Cappelletti. Ask if they know Gil Santos. Then the real test — ever heard of Peter Alliss?
I started thinking about this over the weekend as I got up early to watch morning coverage of the British Open. At about the same time I was getting my fix of legendary golf broadcaster Peter Alliss, I heard about the retirement of Patriots radio color commentator Gino Cappelletti and the apparently soon-to-be-retired Pats play-by-play guy Gil Santos.
If all a sports fan wants is a quick highlight from SportsCenter then you miss out on that golf history and the real flavor of links golf as told by Peter Alliss. If all a sports fan wants is a quick highlight from NESN Daily then you miss out of the feel of what really happened in that game as told by guys like Gil and Gino.
I admit that the Patriots broadcast duo have lost a little off the fastball in recent years. But no one sets the scene before the snap of the ball better than Santos. “Patriots ball on the Miami 42. 3rd and 6. Brady in shotgun formation. 2 tight ends. Welker in the slot to the right.” Classic Santos. He’s been doing that for 35 seasons.
After the play, Gino comes in and I hear (and feel) four decades of Pats history. I feel Cappelletti’s emotion going up or down, depending how the play turned out. Gino could do that because he’s been around as a player, coach or broadcaster for 45 of the 52 years the Patriots have been the Patriots.
And then there’s Peter Alliss. He’s been broadcasting the British Open and other golf tournaments for the BBC and ABC since 1961. Golf Digest calls him the “greatest golf commentator ever.” No argument here.
Oh, that British accent! Oh, those straight from the hip comments. I wrote down a few from the weekend…
On Bubba Watson: “I’ve never seen a player quite like him. When he hits the ball, every part of his body moves. I swear, even his ears flap!”
On a scenic camera shot looking out at the North Sea: ” I get seasick on a wet lawn.”
On putting: “Every 10 to 12 foot par putt takes a week off your life.”
On who could win the Open: “Only about 8 horses can win this.”
On Northern Ireland pro Darren Clark’s back problems caused by weight lifting: “42 years old, 40 pounds overweight and trying to lift weights. What do you expect!”
On players hitting hooks. fades, cuts, etc: “For all their to-ing and fro-ing, it’ still not bad to hit the ball straight!”
On a putt that lips out: “He frightened the hole…You can’t legislate spin like that.”
On the ancient course: “The course plays gentle without the wind.” And on a particular spot on
a front side hole: “There used to be a family of hares living there.”
On using those belly putters: “You put your pointer finger here, your thumb here, your index
finger here…singer Dean Martin used to hold his cigarettes that way!”
With all due respect to the highlights shows, you have to watch the game to get stuff like that!
ITEMS FROM THE DUFFEL BAG:
– Anyone notice the subtle difference on how Kevin Youkilis and Ray Allen handled their Boston departures? Allen took out a full page ad in the Boston Globe to thank fans. Youk sent a letter thanking fans to ESPNBoston.com to be reprinted on their website.
– Everyone talks about how Red Sox starters are giving up 1st inning runs, seemingly every game. Stat guru Chuck Waselesk i(The Maniacal One) has come up with this juicy one: The Sox record is 15-3 when leading after one inning, a 10-20 record when trailing after one inning.
– And one more Sox note…The Yankees sign Darnell MacDonald just in time for the Sox/NYY three-game series and then release him the first time they need a roster spot…Hmmm…Feels like something the Patriots and NY Jets do all the time.
– The AHL Bridgeport team hired a good one the other day when they named former UMaine Black Bear Scott Pellerin head coach. Look up the definition of a two-way player in the hockey book dictionary and you’ll see Pellerin’s name.
– Uganda. A team from Uganda will represent the Middle East/Africa region when the 11/12 year-old Little League World Series begins next month in Williamsport. Imagine that.