Call Them the Way I Seize Them

At this time of the year when basketball keeps dragging on through prolonged playoffs and baseball is just stretching out for the long hot summer, it might be instructive to call out the shouters who describe for listeners and viewers those high points of each sport, field goals and home runs.

The sportscasters looking down on the floor really do fall into a rut. Their standard response for a score, be it jumper or layup, is “Good!” That’s not so good. To be fair, I suggest calling a missed shot “Bad” or “Awful.” If the screamers are going to be fixated on “Good,” they should also toss in “Better Than Ezra” now and then.

“Downtown!” is pretty run down. Try “Up the Next Block!” A catchy way to capture the uptempo nature of the game is “Round Every Corner!” accompanied by a clip from Petula Clark’s hit as the teams head down the court.

To everything there is a season so mix in ringers with stingers. “Nothing but net!” should be balanced by “Nothing but air!” or “Less than nothing!” “Hit the trey!” aptly salutes the sharpshooter, but the trigger-happy tosser who constantly rattles rims should be called out with “Get the eye chart!” Similarly, “Trifecta!” for the aimer, “Try passing!” for the slinger. A swish shot merits “Bingo!” and a wish fling deserves “Stinko!”

It is probably unrealistic to expect baseball announcers to describe drives that go over walls and into the seats in an unemotional fashion such as “That ball is hit very well. It is a…home run.” But some of the calls are more fitting for settings far removed from any stadium. One famous goodbye note seemed more suited for a stable as if telling a horse to retreat and start eating: “Back, back , back…Hey, Hey!” Sleepy vagrants would almost certainly cringe and vacate the property if they heard this coming from a radio: “Get up! Get outta here! Gone!”

Some broadcasters apparently have missed their calling (in more ways than one) for they really belong more on the stage hosting game shows than in the booth with catch phrases like “It could be—it might be— it is,” “It’s got a chance…gone,” and “You can put it on the board, Yesss!”

At one time announcers could make definite statements about a home run such as “That ball is gone and it ain’t coming back” and “That ball’s history.” Now that some hometown fans toss enemy homers back on the field, the wording has to be modified a bit to “That ball left the premises, but now it’s on the warning track” and “That ball’s current events.”

But as long as the umpires agree that the batter is entitled to a round trip around the bases, he can touch them all, providing he keeps his hands to himself.

With long shots in both basketball and baseball, “He got all of that one!” might be welcome anywhere except in my domicile. When Casey on the court or at the bat fails miserably, I make the call that brings joy into at least one heart in Thudville: “He got none of that one!”













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