Tuesday, January 17, 2012

3 comments Why Chat If You Won't Answer the Questions?

Dick Vitale, who as I have mentioned 100 times before seems like a really nice guy, is still chatting every Thursday at 11am with ESPN.com readers. I feel like Vitale is a lot of what I find wrong with modern sports announcing. The game tends to become more about him and the off-topic stories he tells during the telecast than it is up about the actual game he is supposed to be working. In regard to his ESPN.com chats, I expect more than the answers he gives to some of the questions in his chat. What good is experience calling basketball games if you don't use that experience to provide insight and instead choose to go off-topic about yourself or on to another topic? It's frustrating sometimes.

Concerning another person that frustrates me...Jon Gruden was just voted the NFL players favorite announcer. Well naturally, because he rarely has anything negative to say about a player and seems to avoid offending any player or team that may want to hire him in the future. It frustrates me. Gruden has shown himself to be a fairly competent analyst, I wish Gruden would be a little more critical of players or teams.

On to Dick Vitale not answering the questions he is asked...which I thought was the entire point of hosting a chat.

Dick Vitale: I'm happy to be back with you this morning for this chat...Happy holidays to everyone out there...Just got back from the City of Palms annual HS tournament. Spoke to the crowd before the game and that was a thrill.

This answers the pressing question I had about who spoke to the crowd before the City of Palms annual high school tournament.

Mike (Idianapolis)

Are you surprised with the Indiana Hoosiers start this season and how far do you see this team going?

Mike should know better than to ask two questions. It's hard enough for Vitale to answer one question, much less two.

DV: I am not surprised at all.

Vitale is not surprised at all that the Hoosiers have started off the season 12-0 (at the time of this chat). Except Vitale is a little surprised we will find out. But other than being a little surprised, he isn't surprised at all.

Great win over Kentucky...other than that, they beat everyone they should, with maybe NC State being the lone exception.

I'm confused now. So Vitale isn't surprised the Hoosiers are undefeated, but he says they possibly should not have beaten an unranked NC State team. So maybe he is a little bit surprised at Indiana's start.

I was a little surprised with the win over Kentucky.

So the whole "not surprised at all" thing was pretty much a lie then.

(Dan Shulman) "Dickie V, it appears Russian terrorists have taken 20,000 hostages at the Missouri-Texas basketball game and are demanding the immediate destruction of France by the United States military or they will detonate a nuclear weapon in a major US city. Does this surprise you?"

(Dick Vitale) "Not really Dan. Russian terrorists are pretty unforgiving people. The execution of the plan, the fact they have taken hostages and have the capability to destroy a major US city does surprise me a little."

(Dan Shulman) "So, you are not surprised this has happened then? You anticipated this could happen?"

(Dick Vitale) "I'm not surprised at all. Let me tell you about a 5 minute story about this specific event I attended two days ago that has nothing to do with our present discussion."

They have to sustain it by finishing in the upper echelon of the Big Ten and earn that NCAA tourney bid.

So Vitale thinks Indiana will have to continue to play the rest of their games to make the NCAA Tournament. Alas, we are left to guess how far he sees them going in the NCAA Tournament.

Scott (San Antonio)

You got some SUPER-SOPHS this season, Perry Jones III, Jared Sullinger, Harrison Barnes, and Jeremy Lamb. Who means the most to their team? And who's cutting down the nets in March?

DV: They all do.

This is an impossibility. When given a list of players and asked to name which one means the most to their team, it is impossible for them all to mean the most to their team. Pick one. There is no point in chatting if you don't answer the questions asked.

If you took away any of them, it would hurt the goal of winning the national championship, which is the goal of all four teams.

If you took away the best player on any NCAA team it would hurt that team's goal of winning the national championship. This doesn't mean much, so Vitale needs to make a choice. I wonder if Dick Vitale does this type thing in other areas of his life...

(Dick Vitale's wife) "Honey, what do you want for dinner tonight? I can cook spaghetti, chicken, leftover turkey, order a pizza, or we can just have sandwiches."

(Dick Vitale) "Let me tell you about this guy I spoke with at the store today. He told me---"

(Vitale's wife) "Focus, please. Which of those foods would you like the most for dinner tonight?"

(Vitale) "All of them."

(Vitale's wife) "You want me to cook spaghetti, make chicken, heat up leftover turkey, order a pizza and then make us sandwiches for dinner?"

(Vitale) "If you made any of those options for dinner, I would like them. So it is impossible for me to choose and I refuse to. Let me tell you about the guy I met at the store (25 minutes later)...but he was just a great guy, and let me tell you, he has to be one of the nicest guys I've ever met."

(Vitale's wife) "Dinner. What among those choices do you want?"

(Vitale) "All of them. They all sound good."

(Vitale's wife orders out Chinese food)

Owen (Milwaukee)

Dick:What is your take on Marquette's loss to LSU? Is this a bad loss or an expected hick-up in a long season? Will this affect them in March seeding?

DV: Obviously it is tought o sustain the unblemished record. Turner was hot and LSU needed as win badly. This may help ge Marquette to refocus. Johnson-Odom was suspended the game before and it may have affected chemistry.

Great. It appears Vitale had a seizure on the keyboard, but he still managed to not answer the question. So how will this affect Marquette in March seeding?

That said, I want to add that the court down at LSU should be named after Dale Brown.

That's just great. I like how Vitale not only doesn't answer questions he is asked, but he manages to go off on topics no one asks or cares about. Brilliant.

Alex (Louisville)

Hey Dick! My cards sure did struggle against C of Cha, in your mind, are they a top 5 team?

DV: Right now they have earned that right. We will see whent hey face Georgetown and Kentucky. That is the type of game that will show if they are top 5. I disagree with you on the Charleston game, that is not cupcake city as Bobby Cremins has a very talented team.

No, College of Charleston isn't a cupcake team, but a Top 5 team should not struggle with College of Charleston at home.

Injuries to Blackshear and Marra have hurt too.

Let's add them to the "most important player" list with Barnes, Jones, Sullinger, and Lamb then.

Terry (Nashville)

Could it be the best team in the state of Tennessee is not Memphis, Vanderbilt or Tennessee but maybe Middle Tennessee State, baby! How about some love for the Blue Raiders!

DV: You can make that claim.

You could also make the claim humans are really the descendants of Xenu but that doesn't make it true nor a valid, fact-based claim.

Right now you could say Middle Tennessee State is up there and Kermit Davis' team just beat Mississippi. They beat UCLA out west too. In the end, I think it will be Memphis.

Memphis was the right answer. I'm glad we finally got there.

Jason (Ellicott City, MD)

Buy or sell Georgetown? Do they beat Memphis again tonight?

Again, two questions. Good luck getting one answered. Two questions? You are just pressing your luck. No whammies!

DV: The next few games will tell us more about the Hoyas.

Do you know what will tell us the most about the Hoyas? If Vitale could answer this question after the season is over. But, the question was asked as of right now, so why not answer it as of now rather than defer the answer? If you get paid to analyze and know college basketball, this should be an easy, opinion-based answer.

The rematch with Memphis and then the game against Louisville will tell us a lot.

How about you tell Jason from Maryland a lot right now, like if you think Georgetown can beat Memphis again? It defeats the purpose of a chat if you defer the answer to a question until after the game referred to in the question is played.

Dre Michigan [via mobile]

Is this the best Syracuse team since 03? An can they cut down the nets I'm march?

DV: This team should be number one right now but there are a lot of challenges ahead in the Big East.

Does ESPN tell their employees to not directly answer questions in a chat? This is the same kind of answer Joe Morgan would give in his chats (R.I.P. Joe Morgan ESPN.com chats).

This is a very good team and I had them in the top five in the preseason, so I am not surprised with the good start.

Unfortunately this response doesn't make sense when knowing the question asked. I can't help but wonder if Vitale is finally getting around to answering the question about whether he is surprised with Indiana's start. Actually, I shouldn't wonder this. The odds of Vitale actually paying attention to what he is doing during this chat is not very high. He is probably telling the moderator a 15 minute story about a dinner he had with Jamie Dixon two years ago and has no idea what question he was asked. He just saw Syracuse in the question and just started rambling out an answer.

Ryan (Albuquerque)

What do you think of the Ohio Bobcats win on Tuesday? they are 10-1 with only dropping a tight game to Louisville, is this team for real?

DV: John Groce has done a really good job there. Ohio almost beat Louisville in that game as it was a real defensive dogfight. The MAC has some quality teams and the Bobcats should be up there.

Yes, Ryan from Albuquerque mentioned in the question that the game against Louisville was a tight game. He probably would like an answer as to whether Ohio is for real or not.

joe (new jersey)

hey dickie v....Is seton hall for real this year? can they actually make the dance?

DV: I salute my alma mater. I was really thrilled earlier this season when I was honored won in Patterson, New Jersey and coach Kevin Willard presented me with a chair from the Pirates bench.

"Me, me, me. Let me tell you about me before I answer the question with a general, non-specific answer that will provide the questioner with zero information, while also offending no one. Me, me, me."

Herb Pope is experienced and a factor up front. The win over Dayton was a good one. I think the Hall could surprise some people in the Big East and finish above their preseason ranking in the conference.

Who cares whether Seton Hall can make the NCAA Tournament or not. They gave Dick Vitale a chair from the bench! That's all he cares about.

Jon (Victor, NY)

Any under-the-radar teams we should watch going into conference play? KSU strikes my eye, as does UVA and LSU.

DV: We will find out which teams are contenders and which are pretenders.

But Jon from Victor, New York wants to know NOW which teams are contenders and pretenders. Considering you get paid to be a college basketball analyst, I don't think this is a request that should be a terrible hardship upon your brain. There's no point in chatting or even getting paid to be an expert if the answers to questions only end up being, "We will find out later the answer to your question." Of course we'll find out later. We'll find out all the answers we want to know about college basketball after the season is over. Unfortunately, Vitale gets paid to be a college basketball analyst who should be able to provide answers right now to questions such as this.

Naturally, in grand ESPN fashion, their top college basketball analyst refuses to answer the question of which college basketball teams are contenders and pretenders.

Happy holidays to all of the fans out there. Ireally enjoy spending time with you doing these chats. I hope that Santa brings you all of the gifts you want.

What if the gift I want is for you to tell me who the college teams that are contenders and pretenders? So I guess I'm just screwed.


todorojo said...

Loved the FJM reference. I couldn't stop chuckling as Dickie V sounds JUST like Morgan. Man, like you I miss the Joe-chats. Unintentional hilarity

Justin Zeth said...

It's obviously the same guy that typed all of Joe Morgan's chat answers. Even the stilted sentence structure, which makes Joe/Dick sound like English is not his first language but he's worked very hard to master it as his second, is the same.

I went back and forth for years on whether Joe (now Dick) was actually there dictating his answers or if he just approved of someone who knows him to answer chat questions at his behalf.

Bengoodfella said...

Todorojo, I would give anything to do more JoeChats. Those JoeChats really inspired me when I covered them. I can't help but wonder if these analysts are really doing these chats. Vitale does sound a lot like Morgan. Vitale isn't as bad as Morgan was or else I would do these more often.

Justin, I wonder how ESPN does the chats because it does sound like the same guy who wrote the Joe Morgan chats as well. There must be someone typing it b/c the answers don't translate well. Even more importantly, neither Dick/Joe gives an answer to the question. They just sort of write a sentence that means nothing in response to a direct question.

I think Joe answered the questions in some form, but I know he didn't write the answers to the questions. The chatmaster or whatever he is called did that. I am betting the chats are 50% Dick/Joe and 50% chatmaster.