College basketball season is getting rolling as the college football season winds to a close. I love college basketball and think it could possibly be the most exciting sport to watch, especially during the NCAA Tournament. It’s a hell of a roller coaster ride for fans, players, and coaches alike. What’s not to love? Well…
Everyone knows who Dick Vitale is if you have a heartbeat and have even halfway paid attention to college basketball or ESPN in the past 20 years. He has a signature voice and the signature yell of adding “baby!” to the end of his sentences and phrases. People all around the college basketball landscape seem to love him. He seems charming and energized all at the same time, something that many people love and admire. Usually, I’d feel the same way. But once you dig a little deeper and hear him talk over and over again, you seem to realize a few things. And these are things I don’t particularly like.
Look, I get hyping up the big time programs for ratings, especially for ESPN and other networks who want the money. There’s a line to be drawn though. I’ve watched college basketball consistently since probably 2005 or 2006 and it always seemed to me Dickie V loved giving all the credit in the world to Duke, North Carolina, Kentucky, Louisville, and Michigan State. Now let me reiterate that I get it, I know why he does it and he isn’t the only one, not by a long shot. Yet even when these programs are losing, he seems to almost portray that they are still winning. I’m serious. Watch a game he calls when one of the programs I listed play someone else. Duke could be down 15 to NC State and he would sit there and hype up a Grayson Allen layup. It’s pretty ridiculous sometimes.
His famous voice sometimes really annoys me as well. Look, I understand he can’t do anything about it. But when I’m watching a game, I want to watch a game without the announcer’s voice taking my attention away from the action happening on the court or field. It’s hard for me to watch a game he calls when it feels like every other time a team like Kentucky or UNC scores, he loses his absolute mind. Maybe I’m being a bit harsh but that’s what it feels like when I see a game he’s announcing. It makes it hard for me as a viewer to enjoy the product being shown to me.
This is also a bone I have to pick on him and another college basketball analyst, Digger Phelps. Sometimes these dudes don’t even seem like they pay attention when they are analyzing some teams. I thoroughly remember a few years back when Notre Dame had Luke Harangody that Digger was saying ND was an NCAA Tourney team after the Big East Tournament. You know what their record was that year before the NCAA tournament? 18-14. I don’t care who you are, even if you’re a former coach of that program (which he is), that is not a tournament team. At all. Vitale does the same thing. Sometimes top ranked teams can come off ugly losses but he almost blows them off as if they never happened. I’m telling you, come March watch how they analyze those teams. It’s mind numbing.
These complaints might sound nitpicky to some, but as a viewer I see these as valid complaints. I’m watching the broadcast to get good objective information on what’s going on in front of me on the court. I don’t feel like Vitale does the best job of this. I just see him as the overly exuberant grandpa that people have to fake laugh and agree with what he says so his feelings don’t get hurt.
You won’t see me watching a game with Dickie V on the call. Unless WVU is playing. Then I’ll put it on mute and turn on the radio broadcast to listen to. Thanks for being a good announcer, Tony Caridi.