Worst. Announcing. Ever.

Saturday’s live coverage of the NCAA Championships may have seen the worst announcing of all time. I do not believe I am engaging in hyperbole here. The list of errors and their egregiousness is unbelievable.

I’ll admit I’m going off memory here. I watched it live and didn’t record it, so I’ll have to wait for the ESPN3.com rebroadcast to be sure on all of these. But it was awful. The two errors that most require highlighting were so bad that my brother called me up and asked me if he had heard correctly what Dwight Stones and Larry Rawson had just said.

At the finish of the women’s 1500 meters, where Oregon needed major points to have a chance at the team title, Stones said that both Oregon runners scored. He didn’t see Becca Friday in last place for the last 100 meters or so, and even worse, he didn’t see Anne Kesselring stumble and fall on the homestretch. The Duck runners were, in fact, last and second to last.

That was bad. But the last was worse, far worse. Texas A&M led the team competition going into the 4×400 but dropped the baton and came up last. Noting the drop, Stones said that if Arkansas won the relay, they’d win the meet. Except that they wouldn’t, because they were 13½ points behind. But Florida would win the meet if they won the 4×400, which they did.

There are only two reasonable conclusions to draw: either Dwight Stones can’t add, or he can’t read. I suppose there might be a third conclusion, that he had no idea what was going on and didn’t take the effort to remedy that fact, but that doesn’t seem reasonable for someone employed by The Worldwide Leader In Sports.

There were a litany of other wrongdoings. Kansas clinched the women’s title after Oregon’s 1500 meter fiasco, but the announcing crew appeared completely unaware of that fact. They failed to understand the down-the-line implications in the men’s 5000 meters, as the door was left open by Texas A&M when Henry Lelei dropped off the pace and failed to score scored just one point, and Arkansas failed to take advantage of it due to a late fade by Kemoy Campbell. Rawson even said that Emma Coburn chose to go to Oregon for college and no one else corrected his error because they don’t listen to him if they can at all avoid it.

All of these things require a) doing their homework, which they obviously didn’t do, and b) Larry Rawson’s larynx having some function besides entertaining Larry Rawson, which hasn’t been the case for more than a decade.

It’s just shocking that people ESPN pays to announce a national championship simply didn’t know who won the meet.

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7 Responses to Worst. Announcing. Ever.

  1. jseven1 says:

    I disagree. I was delighted to have Dwight Stones replace Tom Hammond. There is no comparison in there relative knowledge of track and field. I can live with a few bobbles in team scoring in exchange for two hours of insightful commentary. Let’s schedule a horse race for Hammond to cover whenever there is a big meet.

    I will say as a native Eugenean the gushing over the “hallowed” site caused even me to blush a bit.

    • admin says:

      I think it may be a bit of Stockholm syndrome that any track fans think our only choice is between dumb and dumber. Toni Reavis is always available.

  2. veryPhil says:

    I agree with you 100% here. Dwight Stones was a great high jumper. Larry Rawson was an above-average middle distance runner. But both are poor and tired announcers. They’re on auto-pilot for these meets and bring little to the table in terms of excitement. They know they’re secure in their employment so they’ll continue in the same monotone, predictable manner until ABC human resources realizes how crappy they are. They know nothing about the current state of the sport and their references are all from the 70s and 80s.
    But there has been worse. Do you remember Carol Lewis? She was bad. Very bad. Expired sushi left out in the sun all day bad.
    Flotrack would be a good option, but they sound like squealing, prepubescent middle-schoolers jacked up on sodas after seeing a naked breast for the first time.
    Ato Boldon and NBC/Universal are great though.

  3. Maserda says:

    It seems like new blood is needed for TV T&F announcers. Who would you recommend to be a TV announcer? Any age, any level, any country. Even collegians (you can get ideas on some people’s personalities through twitter).