Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Who are the greatest sports movie announcers?

There are several aspects that go into making an outstanding sports movie. "Rocky" has the likeable underdog squaring off with the undisputed favorite again and again (and again and again and again and again), "Caddyshack" has several off-the-wall characters that keep you in stitches throughout and "Field of Dreams" looks at the emotional impact a game can have on our lives.

However - as the best ones are in real life - the announcers who describe the on-field action often slip through the cracks even though they may make the movie. There are several great ones and here are some of my favorites.

"Oh, he got all of that!"
5. "Caddyshack" - Carl Speckler - Okay, so Murray's memorable grounds-keeping goof isn't a paid announcer and sure, he isn't announcing for anyone but himself. Still, how many golfers haven't mumble-shouted "It's in the hole!" on the course or just while walking by a bed of flowers. I've hit dandelions in the yard and done it, don't act like you haven't (or haven't at least wanted to). "Cinderella story," and "it's in the hole," get a lot of love but my favorite part of Spackler's glorious moment is how he hits in 2-iron 105 yards, his 5-iron 155 yards and his 8-iron 195 yards. Gets me every time.
"You know, I love to see a fat guy score."
4. "The Replacements" - John Madden and Pat Summerall - This Keanu Reeves' flick about a never-was QB leading a bunch of misfits to the playoffs doesn't usually top any list of go-to sports movies but it's definitely not the worst you'll see. Madden and Summerall - one of the classic broadcast teams of all time - definitely shine, lending credibility to the film... for the most part. Madden's "old saying in sports" aside.
"What an unfortunate thing to happen on dozen egg night!"
3. "BASEketball" - Bob Costas and Al Michaels - Another pair of well-known broadcasters but their appearance was almost the polar opposite of Madden and Summerall. Costas and Michaels were unleashed in the "BASEketball" booth, saying things that they'd never really be able to say on the air. They're also probably not fit for this space as well, so moving on...
"Do you believe in unlikelyhoods?"
2. "Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story" - Cotton McKnight and Pepper Brooks - The "Ocho's" dream team, played by Gary Cole and Jason Bateman - steal just about every scene they're in. McKnight does a straight play by play - for the most part - while Brooks offers insightful analysis such as "word, Cotton." They're the perfect duo for the Regional Dodgeball Open.
"Don't worry, nobody's listening anyway."
1. "Major League" - Harry Doyle - I completely understand if you took issue with any of my choices 5-2, but there is nobody better at movie announcing than Bob Uecker's Harry Doyle. It's hard to pick a favorite line ("He leads the league in most offensive categories, including nose hair," "The post-game show is brought to you by... Christ, I can't find it. To hell with it," or "Well, you can close the book on Kellner. Thank God" are all up there) but easy to pick the most well-known. Whenever there's an extremely wild pitch thrown at any baseball game at any level it's always a rush to see who can say "Just a bit outside" first.

What about you, who's your favorite film announcer?