The state of play by play calling

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happy_eagle

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"My mantra is: put your brain into gear and if you can add to what's on the screen then do it, otherwise shut up." The key thing was to learn the value of economy with words and to never insult the viewer by telling them what they can already see."
- Richie Beanud


Is it just me, or has the general state of play by play calling decreased significantly in recent years. A lot of the current play by play callers on TV seem more interested in creating catch phrases and puns than describing a goal or play for what it is. Dwayne Russell and Anthony Hudson (who is considered by most to the best play by play caller) are the worst offenders in this regard.

Not every goal has to be tagged with some cringe-worthy wordplay on a players name. When did this become that is associated with clever or good commentary?
Do football fans really enjoy this ?
 

Lensen

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When did this become that is associated with clever or good commentary?
Do football fans really enjoy this ?
2002, when 9 let cometti run wild with it and it turned into his books and other associated bullshit. now everyone wants to be cometti without the good parts he brought
 

happy_eagle

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2002, when 9 let cometti run wild with it and it turned into his books and other associated bullshit. now everyone wants to be cometti without the good parts he brought
I'd blame Rex Hunt pretty heavily in this regard as well.

I think what we are seeing now is a generation of commentators that were brought up on Rex Hunt and Dennis Cometti
 

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TheJanuaryMan

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Pure commentary is the worst it has ever been, and part of that is the lack of genuine "screening" by networks/radio in getting people behind the microphone. This partly includes special comments, where the primary factor seems to be "they played" rather than "how well they add to the coverage".

As someone rightly said above, we have a generation of newer callers brought up on catchphrases/puns/one linersin-jokes that form the basis for the call, rather than the actual description of what is going on. Who has the ball, where is it going and what will happen then, with the special comments person explaining the "why" in that situation. Instead, we have a generation of "Showbiz" commentators who, when placed side by side with the likes of Lou Richards in the day, Mike Williamson, Drew Morphett, are just complete chalk and cheese.

We have lost the actual art of commentary at the expense of the nice sound bite.
 

Go_Roos!

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They don't even say "kick" anymore, they say "ball" as in good "ball", bad "ball", long"ball", short "ball", no idea why, guess they think it is clever?
 

peternorth

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It is endemic in quite a few sports. Watching man utd v Melbourne Victory FC last week, commentators threw in useless information such as where they played before, juniors and otherwise.
 

happy_eagle

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It is endemic in quite a few sports. Watching man utd v Melbourne Victory FC last week, commentators threw in useless information such as where they played before, juniors and otherwise.
F1 commentary has been bad for a while as well.
 

peternorth

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It’s all about trying to sound intelligent or researched by talking about inane irrelevant “factoids”
 

happy_eagle

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It’s all about trying to sound intelligent or researched by talking about inane irrelevant “factoids”
I see that a lot in the industry I work in (not media). This whole idea of "If I'm not talking right now, then I'm not doing my job" is a classic trap to fall into.

Another factor to consider with commentary is that most commentators these days work on both Radio and TV, and the two are not treated as separate specialisations (when perhaps they should). In Radio you need to avoid dead air and also describe the visuals for the listener that doesn't have the benefit of seeing what is happening.

On TV, we already have the visuals so there is less requirement to describe every little detail, which creates "free space" in terms of audio. Instead of allowing natural crowd noise to fill this empty space, TV callers decide to fill it with inane banter, stats and wordplay. I assume this is because many play by play callers and producers have a hard time recognising that TV commentary is more palatable to dead-air when you have the visuals and crowd noise to fall back on, and is not the same as radio.

This is also the reason why many commentators that are terrible on TV (JB, BT) are actually pretty good on radio.
 

1989

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They don't even say "kick" anymore, they say "ball" as in good "ball", bad "ball", long"ball", short "ball", no idea why, guess they think it is clever?
Hearing Brayshaw say "ball” 200 times a game is excruciating.

I realise that there are different requirements and constraints, but his television commentary is so robotic and repetitive compared to his radio work.
 
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Spearman

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I see that a lot in the industry I work in (not media). This whole idea of "If I'm not talking right now, then I'm not doing my job" is a classic trap to fall into.

Another factor to consider with commentary is that most commentators these days work on both Radio and TV, and the two are not treated as separate specialisations (when perhaps they should). In Radio you need to avoid dead air and also describe the visuals for the listener that doesn't have the benefit of seeing what is happening.

On TV, we already have the visuals so there is less requirement to describe every little detail, which creates "free space" in terms of audio. Instead of allowing natural crowd noise to fill this empty space, TV callers decide to fill it with inane banter, stats and wordplay. I assume this is because many play by play callers and producers have a hard time recognising that TV commentary is more palatable to dead-air when you have the visuals and crowd noise to fall back on, and is not the same as radio.

This is also the reason why many commentators that are terrible on TV (JB, BT) are actually pretty good on radio.
This, there are so many more tools with which to tell the story on TV. Aussie footy is constant motion, but doesn't need constant chatter. If you listen to it, part of your brain is processing whatever it is they are saying, taking away from the actual play on the field. Those spaces allow the viewer to see what is happening more clearly, without distraction.

Leaving in the spaces also to allow the special comments guy to interject a development he sees ala Romo adding to experience.
 

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greekstyler

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Both BT and JB are great on radio but for some reason truly awful on TV. Actually detracts from the spectacle on a Friday night. Much prefer professionally trained play-by-play commentators. They just don't make them anymore.
 

Exambolor

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F1 commentary has been bad for a while as well.
I’ve actually started streaming the BBC F1 radio coverage on their app when it’s on and it’s quite excellent. Compared to the Sky coverage I think it’s leaps and bounds better atm.
 

happy_eagle

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I’ve actually started streaming the BBC F1 radio coverage on their app when it’s on and it’s quite excellent. Compared to the Sky coverage I think it’s leaps and bounds better atm.
Are you able to sync it up with the visuals ?
 

Exambolor

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Are you able to sync it up with the visuals ?
I haven’t tried it with the visuals yet, I did listen only during the Canadian GP, but I presume you would be able to.

BBC Sounds is the app (you do need to make an account) or you could go with an app like TuneIn to save time and not make an account
 

peternorth

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For some reason theres a cohort who think that commentators need to tell us everything thats happening including every player who touches the ball.

i dont agree. you dont have to. the pictures tell the story.
 

1989

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For some reason theres a cohort who think that commentators need to tell us everything thats happening including every player who touches the ball.

i dont agree. you dont have to. the pictures tell the story.
Definitely. You don't need to mention the names of three blokes chipping it around in the backline, just like soccer commentators wouldn't mention the name of every player involved in a chain of 20 passes.
 

Bugz

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Is it just me, or has the general state of play by play calling decreased significantly in recent years. A lot of the current play by play callers on TV seem more interested in creating catch phrases and puns than describing a goal or play for what it is. Dwayne Russell and Anthony Hudson (who is considered by most to the best play by play caller) are the worst offenders in this regard.

Not every goal has to be tagged with some cringe-worthy wordplay on a players name. When did this become that is associated with clever or good commentary?
Do football fans really enjoy this ?
Hamish is one of the worst for this.

In addition to his habit of telling some inane story about a player and getting 5 seconds behind on calling the actual game.

Oh and his unbearable smugness.
 
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Dogs Rule

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Hamish is one of the worst for this.

In addition to his habit of telling some inane story about a player and getting 5 seconds behind on calling the actual game.

Oh and his unbearable smugness.

He loves his inane player stories. The equivalent of the nauseating back stories on those reality singing shows. Nobody gives a s***.
 

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