Ex-pros aren't only ones to speak with authority

ON MEDIA

The Kickoff

October 18, 2007|By RAY FRAGER

Every once in a while, I'll stumble upon someone offering a critique of a certain sports broadcasting personality and see him bring out what obviously looms in his mind as a big club. "This guy never played pro ball, so what does he know?"

To quote Charlie Brown, arrgghhh.

The fact is, he might know a lot. Here's one way to look at it: On ESPN's NFL studio shows, who most often tells you things you didn't know? Chris Mortensen. On Fox NFL Sunday, who is most likely to supply you with new information? Jay Glazer. Neither one played in the NFL.

Here's another way to look at it: World Series, Game 7, tie score, bottom of the ninth, whom would you most like to hear describing the action? Jon Miller. How many big league games did he play?

The point is, I want to hear sports broadcasters with reporting and communicating skills. If all they bring to the microphone is the experience of having played or coached the game but no ability to convey their experiences or apply them to current events, why listen?

There are plenty of former athletes who have those skills, and they enhance their broadcasts. But there are also plenty of folks who never played a game beyond high school yet still speak with authority. Tim Kurkjian and Buster Olney didn't ever step in against a 90-mph fastball with the game on the line, but they have seen it done countless times and spoken to numerous players who have. So I think I'll pay attention to them, too.

ray.frager@baltsun.com

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