Tuesday, March 24, 2009

They Just Don't Give a Sh*t

Jimmy Hill. Thank god he isn't watching.

Many of you who read this blog will know that Bigus is not a great fan of the MLS. I have described it as one pass, two pass, give it away, repeat for 90 mins AND down right boring. Well I am making an effort this season. So far Bigus has watched Seattle V New York and San Jose V New England Revolution. I am making an effort, so why aren't the folks who are paid to watch making an effort?

First of all, let me just throw it out there. I was impressed by the Sounders game. Pleasantly surprised. After 10 minutes I was groaning at the lack of control and 30 wayward passes, but like magic, as if the gods of fluidity had sprinkled magic dust onto the field, the game changed. Seattle's movement was exceptional as they worked as a team and looked to find space at every opportunity.

New York didn't receive any of the fairy dust though. The donkey on the left must have wandered in from the circus and pulled on a shirt. He was dreadful (not naming him as to do so would be to falsly acknowledge that he is a footballer), and Angel spent the whole game wondering why his team could not provide one decent ball to him. For Seattle, Fredy Montero looked classy. He has pace, awareness and a tasty finish. That's one guy who will be appearing at a Premier League ground soon enough.

Montero. Far too good for M.L.S.

The second game I watched (San Jose) was not so good. Not dreadful either, but not great. This blurb isn't about my MLS watching habits however, it's about those professionals who call the games and get paid to not give a damn. The wrong information and pathetic commentary in these two games made me cringe.

John Harkes was asked about Freddie Ljunberg's position on the team and he replied by stating that when Ljunberg came back from injury he would start for the Sounders in the position he had played his whole career...Second striker. Ljunberg is one of the most famous wingers in recent history. He has played 216 times for Arsenal and 76 times for Sweden. NEVER as a forward. After stuttering a bit Harkes should have said he didn't know, but instead he decided to have a guess. What's the harm? 90% of the Americans watching have no clue about the Premier League right? The lack of homework these guys (don't) do is embarrassing. Harkes played, so his opinion has validity, but that's no excuse to try and bluff the watching audience with bullsh*t.

During the San Jose game the two morons in the booth talked us through the team. "Alvarez is on the left and Huckerby is on the right in his favored position".

Woahh! Huckerby is in his favored position and starting on the right? Really? Hit the buzzer Richard Dawson. Huckerby may swap sides from time to time but the Norwich legend is a LEFT winger. Even the graphic was wrong. The game started and of course Huckerby played on the left. The guy was San Jose's best player last season AND top scorer. These f%*k ups are just not acceptable.

Where does their best guy play? No one cares right?

Getting away with making a hash of teams names, players names, facts, positions and stats may have been possible in FSC's (Fox Soccer Channel) infancy when nobody was watching. These days the popularity of the Premier League in the states has moved the goal posts. Presenters like Nick Webster and hosts of others, whose names are not even worth remembering, need to be canned for professional presenters who are joined by ex-professional players who have experience. One token Warren Barton is not enough!

No one cares what people like Webster think. If I wanted to know what some bloke thought about the weekends games, I'd go down the pub and at least have the option to shout "idiot" back. Presenters should present. That's it. Ask questions and present. Ex-players should comment. They are the ones with valid opinions and the experience to do so. Imagine a reglular NFL fan sat next to Boomer or Cowher discussing why this play or that doesn't work during an NFL broadcast.

Do I walk into a law firm and start answering the phone? Offering advice to those on the other end because I like to watch Boston legal? Do I wander into Lennox Hill hospital and start delivering babies becuase I have 2 kids? No. Then why is it acceptable here?

It devalues the game and does its chances of success in the states more harm than good. Pretty people pretending to know something to get on the box. Tennis commentators pretending they know their wingers from their wangers. They make up terms to pretend they have a clue. Droning about 'midfield stripes', 'uploads', reverse headers and 'line drives'. Line drives? This is not baseball!

Webster. FSC turns presenters into professionals, without the professional experience of course.

Enough is enough. Do the top dogs at these networks really think that these ex-pat wallys know what they're talking about? That the guy who just got back from the ATP tour knows why the lino just raised his flag? It's only soccer right? Easy.

Look, I don't really hate Nick Webster, I am sure he's a nice chap when sat next to you at the bar during Villa v Pompey. I'm picking on him as the rest all become one bland, incorrect, fraudelent faceless gathering.

As for live games, guys who cannot be bothered to do their homework should not be presenting and commentating on professional football. FSC, MLS Direct Kick and ESPN need to get their houses in order. Imagine what a stink there would be if John Sterling pronounced Derek Jeter's name incorrectly? Or Suzyn Waldman claimed that A-Rod won an MVP title with the Red Sox and played catcher?

Why should any one take soccer seriously when the networks showing the game can't. People are watching guys. Shape up or become/stay a laughing stock.

Rant over.



The Fan's Attic said...

come on guys, Bigus is watching, he's the guy you have to turn to really legitimize the MLS product. somebody attuned to high level football who will watch an MLS match. if you can't control the quality of play at least control the quality of the presentation.

thapeez said...

Good point Bigus. The commentator or presenter only analysis usually doesn't make for good viewing/listening. Especially where Cohen is concerned (Blue shirt). The best segments of FFF/WSD come from having knowledgeable guests on their shows.

I just wish Harkes, etc. would be more concise. All through Thursday night's game I was yelling for Harkes to shut up. Do they really not watch any EPL games? You don't have to explain everything, just get your point in, preferably before a player picks up a quality through ball a few yards away from keeper.

epiblast said...

I though the Seattle game was fantastic. And I was pleasantly surprised by it's actual excitability. The commentator, just like Bigus said, were rubbish and I found myself muting the game and watched with music on in the background.

Matt said...

You watched the Seattle-Columbus game that hasn't occurred yet? Say what was the score...I might be heading to vegas soon...WHAT, WHAT DO YOU MEAN THAT VEGAS BOOKIES HAVE NEVER HEARD OF THE MLS!

jjf3 said...

Good to see BD back in top ranting form.
Can't disagree with anything you've said here, and I can't believe that we still have to listen to this crap nowadays. Sad but true: ESPN was the first broadcaster to wise up and get actual talent calling games, when they went and brought(bought?) Andy Gray in for Euro 08.

Bigus Dickus said...

Columbus/New York....Both a bit Mediocre Matt.

Goat said...

I've often thought about moving to England and getting a job commenting on the NFL. Or baseball.

T-Pat said...

I could see Sterling and Waldman doing the forementioned. While better educated in the game, I'll take any of ESPN's or FSC's announcers, before I listen to orgasms over Roger Clemens or "ITS THE MELKY WAY" In other words, I'll take the style of announcing over the education of the announcer, it makes the games flow better.

Bigus Dickus said...

T-Pat. They were just an example....And I am 100% certain that Sterling would never refer to one of the Yankees best players in his wrong position ala Harkes/ Ljunberg, or Huckerby during the San Jose game. My point is these mistakes are so often it's becoming a joke. HUGE mistakes and not small ones. It highlights a lack of effort. 'Thapeez' above suggested these guys should watch the EPL, they don't need to, just do some research on the players they are covering. That's journalism 101, to not look like a dick on TV. These mistakes NEVER happen with English commentators. Because they study the players they are covering as they should.

Thanks for posting T-Pat.

rob said...

While i agree with your point wholeheartedly, it's worth pointing out that there are many species of idiots in the broadcast booths of every sport, from rampant homerism like the Yankees' and White Sox' radio announcers, to ridiculous vagueness like the Red Sox', or John Madden. Absurd, grating overenthusiasm like the dreaded Dick Vitale. And then there's Joe Morgan and Tim McCarver and their combination of ignorance and pigheadedness (both of them have completely spaced on key players' names and other attributes in playoff games before).

It's not to say we don't deserve better, but more that better is not always what gets a talented commentator promoted into your living room.

Bigus Dickus said...

I hear you Rob....But Soccer is growing and these networks should be busting their balls to get this right. It makes me want to turn over and watch the World tiddlywinks championships instead...That's a lie actually. But still...A little homework? Not asking for the World, just a little homework, like knowing the positions of the biggest stars you are covering! Real enthusiasts who belong in the booth would eat sleep and **** this information. They need to get their hands on some John Motson games or look at Andy Gray. He was furious at Tommy 'Onion Bags' during the Euro's. Corrected him every damn day.