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Old 06-29-07, 08:12 AM   #1
donrhummy
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Rating the announcers

I've read a number of comments on here that have criticized (and a few blasted) Phil Liggett and a few others for their announcing. But think about this: when Phil's announcing the Tour de France, he not only has to talk about the same subject for 100 hours, usually in 5 hour chunks, but they can't leave any dead-time or silence. I've listened to baseball announcers who leave more dead-time than Liggett and Sherwen and they only have to talk for 15-20 minutes straight before it goes to commercial. When you watch the DVDs, it's 12 hours cut from about 100. I'd say the fact that they never seem to run out of stuff to say, it's minimally inane and they seem as energetic in hour 80 as in hour 1 is pretty damn impressive.
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Old 06-29-07, 08:39 AM   #2
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Al Trautwig sucks.
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Old 06-29-07, 08:47 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Moochers_Dad
Al Trautwig sucks.
How does he suck? The guy is a legend and covers a variety of sports very well.
Bob Roll, on the other hand...

Michel Wuyts is by far #1
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Old 06-29-07, 08:50 AM   #4
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It's funny. I've watched the Dakar auto race and the Itidirod both on Vs with Trautwig announcing. Knowing nothing about either of these, he sounded good to me, and the comments he made seemed reasonable.

Then I started thinking, I bet he knows as little about those sports as he does the TDF. Trautwig's role at the TDF is aimed at a more general audience. He's really not talking to people like us, and he does an ok job for what is intended.

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Old 06-29-07, 08:54 AM   #5
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Not only do they have to fill the time, they have to do it week after week after week.
Do you think you have enough stories/tidbits/info to fill one single 4-hour telecast?
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Old 06-29-07, 09:13 AM   #6
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I could live without Roll, but Liggett, Sherwen and Trautwig are great. Liggett ties Ernie Harwell for first on my personal list of all time great announcers. He's a total pro.
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Old 06-29-07, 09:14 AM   #7
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Could you imagine John Madden doing the announcing for the TdF?

"Now heres a guy who when he rides he moves faster"
"Now that is a sandwich. You take all that and put it between two pieces of bread."
"The guy that gets across the line first usually wins."
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Old 06-29-07, 09:48 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by merlinextraligh
Then I started thinking, I bet he knows as little about those sports as he does the TDF. Trautwig's role at the TDF is aimed at a more general audience. He's really not talking to people like us, and he does an ok job for what is intended.
I guess I never looked at it that way and was being a little snobby. I generally watch the morning run of Le Tour and if I catch it again with Trautwig it always seems clear that he doesn't know cycling.

Bob Roll used to get on my nerves more but his simple, fun Tour Day France book got my two nephews interested in the race; so that's something.

Hosestly, I was over simplifying my feelings about Trautwig because it looks funny (clearly ) as the second post with the OP's thought-out paragraph.

I'm sure Al Trautwig has a handful of Emmys and other awards to throw in my face; and give a stirring play by play of the throw.
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Old 06-29-07, 09:49 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by EventServices
Not only do they have to fill the time, they have to do it week after week after week.
Do you think you have enough stories/tidbits/info to fill one single 4-hour telecast?
And year after year. It's interesting, I enjoy watching the TDF dvds for 12 hours (granted it's not 12 hours straight, more like 1-2 dvds/wk) listening to Sherwen and Liggett a lot. There's very little else in life I could stand for 12 hours, especially with all the same people. Sure they have their mistakes (like when Liggett and Sherwen kept saying, "Shleck leads the attack with Sastre," when it was clearly Pereiro's Caisse d'Epargne at the front) but they're not from a lack of knowledge about the sport (like Joe Buck) or dementia (like Tim McCarver).
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Old 06-29-07, 09:52 AM   #10
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Al Trautwig doesn't get a free pass because he's covered other sports. he is a professional, it's his job. and he's paid well for it, i'm sure. he should study the sport that he's covering, even if it's a sport that most americans don't care for. no excuses.
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Old 06-29-07, 09:54 AM   #11
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I like them all most of the time. However, I've noticed that since the Armstrong era, they have too much bias now toward Discovery. And they fall into their own cliches way too much. They are dangerously becoming parodies of themselves. But, on the whole, I do like the entire team.
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Old 06-29-07, 10:43 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donrhummy
I've read a number of comments on here that have criticized (and a few blasted) Phil Liggett and a few others for their announcing. But think about this: when Phil's announcing the Tour de France, he not only has to talk about the same subject for 100 hours, usually in 5 hour chunks, but they can't leave any dead-time or silence. I've listened to baseball announcers who leave more dead-time than Liggett and Sherwen and they only have to talk for 15-20 minutes straight before it goes to commercial. When you watch the DVDs, it's 12 hours cut from about 100. I'd say the fact that they never seem to run out of stuff to say, it's minimally inane and they seem as energetic in hour 80 as in hour 1 is pretty damn impressive.
Sean Kelly and David Duffield are a 100x's better...yes, reporting on the same subject for 5hrs straight is difficult no question, and I personally could not to anywhere near as good a job as Phil/Paul. But that's comparing apples to oranges.

In an apples to apples comparision:
Phil/Paul...Meh.
Al/Bob...an attempt to create appeal to the mass market; a failed attempt.
Sean/David...the benchmark for which others should be measured.
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Old 06-29-07, 10:49 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by YMCA
How does he suck? The guy is a legend and covers a variety of sports very well.
Bob Roll, on the other hand...

Michel Wuyts is by far #1
My problem with Al is that he really knows little about the sport but pretends that he does. He interjects comments as if he had been covering racing all his life. This is a sport with certain nuances that cannot be faked, I guess in someways it's like baseball, if you aren't a student of the game it's hard to appreciate the little things. I will say that he's much improved over his first year.


My only complaint about Phil and Paul is that they seem to act as if doping in cycling is news to them. These guys have been around since dirt and know what is going on. To act as if this whole mess is something new seems like an act to me. Otherwise there commentary is pretty spot on.
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Old 06-29-07, 10:50 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by timmhaan
Al Trautwig doesn't get a free pass because he's covered other sports. he is a professional, it's his job. and he's paid well for it, i'm sure. he should study the sport that he's covering, even if it's a sport that most americans don't care for. no excuses.
This is pure speculation on my part as I don't have an inside scoop to the producution decisions at OLN/Vs. buuuut, I'm pretty sure they didn't bring Al Trautwig to the team to be a expert on the sport...

He was brought in because they figured he could dynamically bring forth questions/comments that those who aren't well versed in the sport of cycling are possibly asking themselves while watching...teeing up a response by those who are more knowledgeable in the sport (for better or for worse, Phil/Paul/Bob)
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Old 06-29-07, 10:55 AM   #15
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Originally Posted by donrhummy
And year after year. It's interesting, I enjoy watching the TDF dvds for 12 hours (granted it's not 12 hours straight, more like 1-2 dvds/wk) listening to Sherwen and Liggett a lot. There's very little else in life I could stand for 12 hours, especially with all the same people. Sure they have their mistakes (like when Liggett and Sherwen kept saying, "Shleck leads the attack with Sastre," when it was clearly Pereiro's Caisse d'Epargne at the front) but they're not from a lack of knowledge about the sport (like Joe Buck) or dementia (like Tim McCarver).

These two get my vote as the most self-important, biased, and boring sports announcing duo of all time. I'd rather listen to Rosie O'Donnell and Roseanne Barr...and thats saying something.
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Old 06-29-07, 10:59 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FixdGearHead
This is pure speculation on my part as I don't have an inside scoop to the producution decisions at OLN/Vs. buuuut, I'm pretty sure they didn't bring Al Trautwig to the team to be a expert on the sport...

He was brought in because they figured he could dynamically bring forth questions/comments that those who aren't well versed in the sport of cycling are possibly asking themselves while watching...teeing up a response by those who are more knowledgeable in the sport (for better or for worse, Phil/Paul/Bob)
i totally agree with you actually and i'm sure that was their intention. the model just doesn't work for me.
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Old 06-29-07, 11:04 AM   #17
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i totally agree with you actually and i'm sure that was their intention. the model just doesn't work for me.

I hear ya; he used to drive me nuts...now I think I've just gotten used to him; doesn't mean I enjoy his commentary, guess it means I've start to "put up" with it
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Old 06-29-07, 11:06 AM   #18
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This is pure speculation on my part as I don't have an inside scoop to the producution decisions at OLN/Vs. buuuut, I'm pretty sure they didn't bring Al Trautwig to the team to be a expert on the sport...

He was brought in because they figured he could dynamically bring forth questions/comments that those who aren't well versed in the sport of cycling are possibly asking themselves while watching...teeing up a response by those who are more knowledgeable in the sport (for better or for worse, Phil/Paul/Bob)

Well having worked in TV for over 20 years my take is that the execs always underestimate their audience. Al is someone who the non-cyclist would know and he speaks American, and he isn't Bobke. Al is there to talk to the lowest common denomonator, the guy who tuned in and knows Jack all about bike racing. My guess is Al hadn't the slightest idea what a peloton was let alone a break away or how this is a team sport.
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Old 06-29-07, 11:14 AM   #19
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Al Trautwig sucks Ass. Phil and Paul on top.. Bobke is pretty fun..

Thats all..
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Old 06-29-07, 11:16 AM   #20
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Hang tight, Phil will be confusing Astana with Gerolsteiner for the next 21 days. "it's a blue rider from kazak-erolsteiner"
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Old 06-29-07, 11:20 AM   #21
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Thats all..
Are you sure this time?

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Old 06-29-07, 11:30 AM   #22
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If you like Sherwen, Roll, Trautwig and Liggett you are going to feel like you're in heaven when you hear much of their competition. The guys on Eurosport (sometimes heard on cycling.tv) are A LOT more accurate, interesting, they do real race analysis and they're not flogging a product like the Versus team is. If you speak Spanish, the people that cover races for Marca radio also do an excellent job and you can hear them via the web. If you speak Italinan be sure to check out the RAI coverage which is also available on the web.

Red Devil, you are 100% right about their misunderstanding the audience. But I think that it's even worse than that. The distances of stages are equated to distances between US cities. They talk glowingly about Discovery even when the team is meling down. And they engage in conflicts of interest that should disqualify them as journalists. For example, Phil owns a team he plugs regularly. Paul talks in detail about Disco's Madones while a Trek commercial plays during the next break. Every time they get near Normandy Al talks about D-Day. Is this really all we can expect from journalists?
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Old 06-29-07, 11:39 AM   #23
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If you like Sherwen, Roll, Trautwig and Liggett you are going to feel like you're in heaven when you hear much of their competition. The guys on Eurosport (sometimes heard on cycling.tv) are A LOT more accurate, interesting, they do real race analysis and they're not flogging a product like the Versus team is. If you speak Spanish, the people that cover races for Marca radio also do an excellent job and you can hear them via the web. If you speak Italinan be sure to check out the RAI coverage which is also available on the web.

Red Devil, you are 100% right about their misunderstanding the audience. But I think that it's even worse than that. The distances of stages are equated to distances between US cities. They talk glowingly about Discovery even when the team is meling down. And they engage in conflicts of interest that should disqualify them as journalists. For example, Phil owns a team he plugs regularly. Paul talks in detail about Disco's Madones while a Trek commercial plays during the next break. Every time they get near Normandy Al talks about D-Day. Is this really all we can expect from journalists?

keep in mind that all this is part of underestimating you audience. You never see this kind of stuff during the Super Bowl for example. Why? Because the producers take for granite that the audience knows something about football. But these weird foreign sports, who could understand them? This was much worse when ABC and CBS were covering the Tour, I still have all of Greg Lemonds TdF's on tape. When I watch them it's painful to see how bad the coverage was.
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Old 06-29-07, 11:47 AM   #24
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take for granite...
"take for granted"
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Old 06-29-07, 11:49 AM   #25
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::shrugs::

I don't really care about the announcing, whether it's good or bad. Fortunately, it has zero impact on the outcome of the race. Many times I will just have the volume way low and watch, do my own commentary in my head. It's easy enough to tell what's going on.

Now, if we could critique the camera and editing work...
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