Hall of Fame pitcher/broadcaster Dizzzy Dean, the original "old pro"

As a youngster in the early 1960’s, I remember the Saturday baseball Game of the Week. Former Cardinals pitcher Dizzy Dean presided over the play-by-play with his sidekick Pee Wee Reese.  Dizzy’s folksy manner, his fried chicken ‘n grits drawl that comically disregarded conventions of Standard English, and his inimitable homespun eloquence made him a colorful press box personality.

Furthermore, Dizzy’s reputation as an accomplished retired player lent credibility to his understanding of the game, while at the same time he demonstrated deeper understanding qualifying him to offer insightful commentary on matters of life in general.  He rendered all of his wisdom with the flair of a natural entertainer.  Truly, Dizzy was an old pro in the press box.

Coming to the present as a sports spectator, since last season I’ve been particularly irritated listening to and watching three particular veteran press box “hanger-onner’s” whom I cannot dignify as “old pros.”  No, I must categorize them as old farts.

My list comprises a triumvirate: Vern Lundquist, Brent Musberger, and Lou Holtz.   How do I compare and contrast an old timer to an old fart?

Musberger, a tired cliche'

Dizzy spouted commentary with down-home aplomb; the old farts spout sure enough, but their tone is bellicose.  Dizzy was colorful; these guys are drab.  Dizzy was fresh; these guys are stale.  Dizzy was “what you see is what you got”; these guys are “what you see is what you wish you didn’t.”  Dizzy was brash and interesting; these guys are painfully dull.  Dizzy stepped down from the press box before he needed to; these guys needed to step down years ago, but they keep showing up as the networks rehire them from season to season.

Sometime, I wonder if maybe there’s just something wrong with me that makes me wish the old farts would finally recognize that

Holtz the relic

their sun has set, but whenever I compare notes with my friends and family, all share the same perspective.  Surely, the networks do consumer and ratings research, so if I feel this way toward the old farts the same as my friends and family do, why are these codgers still on the air, season after weary season?

Lundquist the bellicose

Anyway, I’ve offered my piece and no one should wonder how I feel about Lundquist, Musberger, and Holtz.  Maybe some network exec from CBS or ABC or ESPN will come across this post and fall under the conviction of my writing that something needs to be done.

May we all covet the hope for this end: Down with old farts in network broadcast booths!