Thursday, March 22, 2012

Voices From The Past

The decision to put the NCAA men's basketball tournament games on four different CBS-controlled networks was a great one.

Now, instead of being at the mercy of the having to watch the game in your region, viewers simply watch what they want, as every game was on last weekend.

TigerBlog used to hate the way the network would switch from one game to another. Not the concept, mind you, but the execution.

For whatever reason, CBS would always stay with games too long, keeping the viewer locked in until the final buzzer of games that were close but had deteriorated into foul shooting, all while the ticker showed that there was a two-point game with three minutes to go that you were missing.

Of course, with eight first weekend sites comes the need for eight broadcast teams.

Some of them TB likes; some he doesn't like. It's personal preference.

The ones that TB finds unlistenable might just be your favorite.

And the sideline reporters? TB doesn't like the whole concept, as he's said many times before.

Aside from the fact that they offer nothing that can't simply be relayed to the broadcast team and that everything has to start with "I spoke to Coach Boeheim" or "Coach Williams told me," there's the whole degrading, exploitative aspect of "we have to find an unbelievably attractive woman to be our sideline reporter."

If TB were a female journalist, he'd be horribly offended by it all. Actually, TB's a guy and he's horribly offended by it.

Of course, no offense to the sideline reporters themselves. Especially Tracy Wolfson, who is TB's all-time favorite sideline reporter.

Wolfson, for those who never knew it, began her career at WZBN, the tiny cable station in Hamilton, which is two towns away from Princeton.

Tracy used to come here and do interviews and features and reports on Princeton athletes across many sports, back maybe 12-14 years ago, somewhere in that range.

Back then, TB remembers her as being friendly, funny, good-natured, well-prepared - and short, very short.

And there she was on CBS last weekend, where she's been for about 10 years, looking exactly the same as she did when she was at WZBN, interviewing coaches and players who were nearly two feet taller than she is.

The last time TB saw her at Princeton, she was doing a feature on something (TB can't remember), and she was very, very pregnant with one of her three sons. In other words, it appears that it's all worked out well for Tracy Wolfson, and TB wishes her continued success and happiness.

Seeing her on TV last weekend got TB to thinking about the others who used to cover Princeton sports who have hit it big.

There's a pretty good list.

There's Walter Perez (Uncle Walt to TigerBlog Jr. and Little Miss TigerBlog), who went from doing color on Princeton football in Palmer Stadium to a career in TV that now sees him as an anchor/reporter on Channel 6 in Philadelphia.

There's Tom McCarthy, who was Walt's play-by-play partner for football and who also did Princeton basketball for years. Tom moved up to do the Phillies on the radio, the Mets on the radio and now the Phillies on TV.

One of TB's favorite memories of the two of them is the time that TB trudged up the wooden steps in Palmer Stadium to the top level, where radio and TV would broadcast. As he put down a stat sheet or the out-of-town scores, he heard McCarthy say this:
"Washington [as in Marc Washington, former Princeton running back] up the middle for seven and Walt, don't even think about eating my cookie."

Tom - or Boog, as he is known - has reached the top of his profession and has gotten TB to root for the Phillies. There is nobody nicer than Boog, and TB couldn't be happier for him, though he does miss the days when he was do his ESPN-radio Tom McCarthy Show from courtside at Jadwin before a Friday Tiger game.

Who else?

Grant Wahl went from being a student-worker in the OAC and the author of an astonishing piece on former Princeton running back Billy Jordan for the Daily Princetonian to being a staff writer at Sports Illustrated. Hey, SI is stocked with Princetonians, including Alex Wolff, who was just inducted into the basketball Hall of Fame.

Howard David used to be the voice of Princeton football before he became a national NFL voice. David Brody, who took over for David (if TB remembers the progression correctly), went from Princeton to be the host of a national sports talk show out of Las Vegas.

Mike Mayock, of the NFL Network and Notre Dame football broadcasts, used to be the color commentator for Princeton football on, TB believes, New Jersey Network.

Sean Gregory, a former Princeton basketball player, wrote a great piece for the 1998 men's basketball media guide about the team's preseason trip to Spain. Today he writes for Time.

There is an army of people who went from writing and broadcasting Princeton sports to other opportunities. Maybe some of the current voices are headed to the same path.

TB is sure he's left a few out, and as always, he apologizes (and welcomes anyone who can offer a few names).

Anyway, the games in the NCAA tournament resume tonight.

And if there have to be sideline reporters, let it be someone who got her start at Princeton.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

John Sadak is a superb broadcaster who we should see on a big stage.