Friday, March 13, 2009

Good morning from Indianapolis

First, a rant: the Embassy Suites still charges for Internet access. $12 per day. Are you freaking kidding me?!? Who charges for Internet access any more? What is this, 1998? No-name, off-brand motels don't even charge for Internet access any more! The other Hilton chain hotels don't charge for Internet access any more!

But ... if we weren't at the Embassy Suites, I wouldn't have had the pleasure of discussing last night's epic Syracuse-UConn game with Mike Lucas this morning. Discussing might be overstating it. After getting on the elevator and heading down from the ninth floor, Lucas and his wife got on one or two floors down.

He said: "Are Syracuse and UConn still playing?"

The rest of us on the elevator: "Heh heh, mmm."

So not really a "discussion," but still an interesting way to start the day. After awhile, the Lucases were joined at breakfast by Barry Alvarez. As Andy said, Barry seemed to be lecturing Lucas about something; maybe he was upset with all the Izzone shirts at breakfast in UW's official team hotel. Later on, Marsh Shapiro held court, Nitty Gritty style.

As Andy, Kenji and I scarfed down breakfast, our conversation turned to how much we appreciated having a top-notch radio announcing crew like Lucas and Matt LePay. This could not have been made more apparent than it was yesterday, when I listened to about 10 minutes of the Marquette-Villanova game on my drive to West Bend.

For starters, Steve "The Homer" True is a stain on broadcasting. It's one thing to be a homer, it's another to be The Homer. You might think I feel this way just because he calls Marquette games, but I'd feel this way if he was calling our games, too; I'm not a huge fan of Wayne Larrivee and Ted Davis, for instance. True's a caricature, and not the good kind. Jim McIlvaine, while light years better than the incoherent unofficial assistant coach/cheerleader that was George Thompson, doesn't bring much to the table other than "I guess there's Saran Wrap on that rim" to explain the shooting woes each team suffered at times.

LePay and Lucas, on the other hand, provide even-handed play-by-play and analysis over the course of a game. LePay has a superb feel for the flow of the game, and knows when the pause for Lucas, who offers good analysis interspersed with interesting backstory and statistics. In my book, Lucas is a far better announcer than writer. Do they get excited when Wisconsin does well? Sure, but only in the most appropriate moments. Some of LePay's end game calls are classics in any book that still give me goose bumps. The Homer treats a three-second call with the same gusto as LePay treated Brian Butch's game-winner against Indiana last year.

Hey, to each his own. If Marquette fans like their announcing team, good for them, that's all that matters. I'll take ours.

And by the way, did you watch the entire Syracuse-UConn game? We did, incredible.


Millie said...

MARSH! Get him drunk and try to pry the recipe for Gritty Sauce from him. I'll tell you this, though, Taps. You might have fun with your dad and brother, but they're no Chris Garza.

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