Monday, February 25, 2013

0 comments Dick Vitale Will Be Glad to Chat With You, Just Don't Criticize Anyone He Likes

Dick Vitale seems like a nice guy. He drives me batty though. I can't listen to him call a college basketball game because he is constantly talking, yelling and generally straying off topic. I am sure he has some sort of college basketball knowledge based on the fact he works for ESPN as a basketball analyst, but he mainly serves as a sideshow during the game and refuses to step out of the way of a game when something remarkable happens (see: Gonzaga v. Butler game earlier this year). The game quickly becomes about Dick Vitale and what stories he has to tell during a broadcast. I rarely watch a game Vitale broadcasts and rarely feel I learn more about a coach/player than his parent's name and whether they are good people or not. The game is all about Dick, pimping out the next thing Dick is doing and Dick name-dropping those people he knows, so his tangents will often conflict with the game action being shown. So Dick does weekly chats for ESPN where he sort of, but not really, answers questions in a vague manner. He also feels very strongly about defending his friends from any type of criticism. His schtick got old a decade ago and you can feel him yelling at you through your computer. But hey, he does seem like a nice guy.

Dick Vitale (11:04 AM)

Good to be with you this morning for another chat...Meanwhile, I had a great game earlier this week as Michigan edged Ohio State in overtime. I am looking forward to going to South Bend this weekend to see Louisville against Notre Dame.

Tell us more about your schedule this week. That's all we really care about anyway. Did you talk to Rick Pitino this week. Does he have diaper dandies? Speak up and yell at us because we are all deaf.

Nick (Indiana)

Mr. Vitale,Last week you stated Oladipo has the skill set of MJ. How well of a player do you think he can be in the NBA.

Well Nick, he will be a very well player in the NBA. He does basketball good and makes good dribbles of the ball to get into basket with ball in his hand as crowd cheers go basketball player man!

Also, don't listen to Dick Vitale when he compares Player A to Player B. He's not always paying attention to what he says and you shouldn't either.

DV: Let's not worry about the NBA.

The question was about the NBA, so saying "let's not worry about the NBA" is basically saying, "I choose not to answer your question that I specifically chose to answer for the purposes of this chat."

I said he is a mini version when Michael was on the collegiate version. He exploded when he went to the NBA scene. I want people to understand that. 

True, but Michael Jordan was the #3 overall pick behind Hakeem Olajuwon, so it's not like he was a late-first round prospect. He was a very, very good college player.

Matthew (Omaha)

Who is your pick for Player of the Year right now, Trey Burke or Doug McDermott?

DV: Today I would go with Trey Burke. He has had such an impact on the Michigan team. McDermott is right up there despite the loss to Indiana State. You can see my super seven on my page on

What? You mean Dick answered the question by hedging and then attempted to do some self-publicity? You don't say.

Matthew (Los Angeles, California)

What is the best game that you have ever seen?

DV:  The one that was most dramatic was watching my buddy win the national championship because of what was at stake and the underdog role in the eyes of people, Jimmy V. vs. Phi Slama Jama in Albuquerque.

You see what I am talking about? Everything is very Vitale-centric. The most dramatic game wasn't NC State v. Houston, but Dick watching his "buddy" win the national championship. This game was seen by Dick through the prism of how HIS friend won the game. It's how he broadcasts games as well. There may be good action going on or something that needs to be explained and Dick Vitale will instead be off on a tangent about the Tampa Bay Rays or talking about what a great job a coach at another school has done. Don't even get me started, even though I sort of already am, on how he can't ever be quiet and leave a exciting moment alone. He has to yell through that moment.

Tom (Virginia)

Did you think ODU should have fired Blaine Taylor during the season? I know they are 2-20, but why not let him finish the season, they were not going to the conference tournament anyway.

DV: I don't buy coaches being fired druring the season unless it is a moral situation.

Well morally, Old Dominion was tired of their basketball team losing and wanted to make a change. There's nothing to "buy" in this situation because no one is being convinced. ODU was terrible and the school wanted to make a change so they could turn the situation around as soon as possible.

Don't fired him over wins and losses until after the season. I especially don't like it when a guy has given so much to the university as he did.

Yeah, I hate how him got fired. It's about results though and why wait until after the season to fire a coach that was going to be fired anyway? Get a jump on recruiting and finding a different head coaching candidate now. 2-20 is a miserable record anyway. A team doesn't go 2-20 by accident.

seth (ohio)

It's obvious you like Aaron Craft. Do you really think he can go to the next level? I know he can facilitate offensivley but does't he need to develop an outside shot?

DV: I said he can be a role player and make a roster. If he ever improves his shot, watch out. He is a tough, competitive winner who is unique and special.

Step back everyone, this is some analysis going on here. Aaron Craft is special, unique and he's a winner. Does it help he is surrounded by good talent on the Ohio State team? No, it doesn't. He's a winner. Also, Aaron Craft needs to improve his ability to shoot the basketball, but that probably doesn't matter because he is a winning winner who is very unique and special.

Dan (THE U)

Who do you think is National Coach of the Year at this point? Can anyone stop Jim Larranaga?

DV: Larranaga is certainly in the mix. There are a lot of good candidates. What about the job Krzyzewski and Duke given Ryan Kelly being out.

Absolutely Coach K should be given consideration. When Ryan Kelly went down with a foot injury, Coach K then had to rely more on a Top 50 recruit (Alex Murphy) and two McDonald's All-American freshmen. What a burden! What other coaches in college basketball have an injury to a player and then HAVE to turn to two McDonald's All-Americans to fill the void? Give the poor guy some options. I'm just surprised with the lack of talent on the Duke bench they aren't a .500 team right now.

There are a lot of guys in the running and it is still early. Does anyone realize the job Larry Eustachy has done at Colorado State? 19 wins already and they may be ranked soon. It is still early.

As Joe Morgan used to say, it's too early to tell. Has Larry Eustachy done a good job? Maybe, it's too early to tell. Is ice water cold? Perhaps, but it's too early to tell.

Terry (Detroit)

Can Michigan State make the Final Four

DV: Yes, Tom Izzo's team can certainly win the Big Ten again, they are right there knocking on the door. Izzo is a fierce competitor who got another good win last night. He would battle you in checkers and chess. I am looking forward to going to East Lansing to sit next to Magic Johnson, who is one of my favorite players of all time.

This answer is very indicative of what is it like to hear Dick Vitale call a game. He starts discussing a topic, brings the topic around to himself and finally...

What he has done with his life after basketball is an amazing success story and he is so special.

...he is completely off topic and there is a game going on and the viewer is having a non-game related story being thrown at them while on-court action is taking place.

Evan (Kentucky)

Dick, what's your take on many of the top 10 teams having legitimate struggles recently, Duke, UL, KU, etc. Do you think it's a legitimate possibility that about 30 teams have a shot to win it all this year due to the mediocrity? 

DV: I will tell you, I would say about 15 that could win it all. It is as wide open as ever. When you are talking about winning six game sin a row, you separate some teams out of there.

So Dick Vitale says that 15 teams could win it all, but then says once you talk about those teams that could win it all, there are teams separated out. To win the NCAA Tournament a team has to win six games in a row, so doesn't that mean there aren't 15 teams that could win it all?

Cosmo (Anytown, USA)

What job is Coach K doing without Kelly? They are flawed and lost by more than any #1 ranked team ever - and they will not challenge the better teams from other conferences. The ACC sticks right now. Keep up the good work.

Minus the misspelling about how the ACC "sticks" right now, Cosmo is coming after Duke which is an egregious error that will not stand for Dick Vitale. He will smite you for such an obvious affront.

DV: Bottom line is he has done an amazing job. They did get blown out of a game and that happens. Carolina got blown out by Florida State and then went to win the title.

Both good points. But then Dick Vitale just can't help himself...

Kelly is a key guy and obviously you are a Duke hater and are absolutely thrilled when Duke comes up short. 

Yes, clearly by looking at a college basketball team and using his knowledge to form an opinion that Duke is a flawed team Cosmo isn't simply giving an opinion, but being a "Duke hater." Pointing out Duke struggles to win on the road without Kelly and that 99% of the coaches in college basketball would love to have the quality depth of talent behind Kelly for when he got injured and this needs to be factored in when determining the great job Coach K has done is irrelevant to Vitale. Not many college basketball teams can throw a McDonald's All-American like Amile Jefferson on the court when an injury to a starter occurs.

To knock Coach K is an absolute joke; we should all do what Coach K has done in his career. He is an outstanding hmanitarian who is so dedicated to help raise money in the battle for cancer at the V Foundation.

THIS is part of the problem I find with Dick Vitale. He's so busy defending his friends and talking about all the great things they do off the court that he doesn't have the time or inclination to objectively look at the situation when calling a game. The fact Coach K is a humanitarian is irrelevant when it comes to criticism of him and the job he does as a head coach. If Dick Vitale can't understand that, then that's a negative mark on him. Questioning the job Coach K is doing is not criticizing him as a person. It's business, not personal. I think Coach K has done a good job of adjusting the offense and defense without Ryan Kelly, but I also acknowledge it is a lot easier to do when you have really good (though young) players on the bench. Criticism of a coach isn't making it personal and Vitale makes the error in believing it is.

Obviously anything he does will not please you.

Just a note for future broadcasters, when you are confronted with criticism of a person you like and decide to respond to said criticism with righteous anger and indignation at this person being criticized and cite his "humanitarian" efforts then you should probably go ahead and retire. I say this because you have gotten to the point where you are no longer capable of being a neutral observer and are taking criticism way too personally.

He has done a great job this season and his team is in the top five, with wins over the likes of Louisville and Ohio State. Give me a break.

But he (and Duke) did this WITH RYAN KELLY HEALTHY! That's not what Cosmo is talking about. Cosmo is saying that without Kelly, Duke has almost lost to Wake Forest and Boston College on the road. He's saying Duke was blown out by Miami and handily beaten by N.C. State on the road. It's a fair criticism and to respond to it with "Yeah, but look at their wins against Louisville and Ohio State" completely misses the point of the question and the criticism. Again, this is indicative of how Dick Vitale calls a basketball game. He will ignore the action on the court in order to describe what Coach K (or another coach) is doing for the community. It's great to hear, but not when these stories are being told at the expense of the action of the game being analyzed.

I am sure Vitale would say I am just being a Duke hater and nothing Coach K does will please me. I'm also pretty sure that's incredibly incorrect.

Bill (Toronto)

have you seen VT's Erick Green play this year? If so, do you think his play relates well to the NBA?

DV: Green is a talented player who has the potential to make it in the NBA. He has a scorer's mentality.

Clearly Dick Vitale hasn't seen Erick Green play because he just gave a generic, computerized answer to the question.

Teddy (NY)

How excited are you about calling the national championship game?

DV: I am thrilled to be calling a national semifinal and the championship game for ESPN International. It will air in some 10 countries.

Well then we are very impressed with your achievements Dick. You know those people who try to be humble when they are talking about their achievements, but because they always bring up how lucky they are to be in the position they are in, you get the feeling they aren't really being humble? That's how I feel sometimes about Dick Vitale. He poses this answer as something he can't believe he is privileged enough to participate in, but I get the feeling he is more bragging he is calling the national semifinal and championship game that will air in 10 countries.

I just hope my buddies in Italy will hear me!

That probably won't be an issue. You won't even need a microphone.

It will be special and I am very excited about this. I have never called the final game and it will be so special.

I'm glad you are impressed with yourself. Just be sure to bring up how special it is when there is 8 minutes left in the Florida-Kansas national championship game. That's the perfect time to go off on a tangent and talk about yourself.

Skip (Oregon)

Can my Ducks make a deep run in March--if they get Artis back soon?

DV: He is an important piece of the puzzle.

Translation: "I don't know who he is. Is he a Diaper Dandy? Does he know Coach K? If not, I don't care who he is."

They are a different team without him. Again, it is so wide open it is hard to dismiss anyone at this point among the top teams in the polls.

Oregon is ranked in the Top 25, but they aren't a top team in the poll. In fact, on his site Vitale didn't have Oregon even ranked in his own Top 25 for the week he did this chat. So I don't know if he means to refer to Oregon as a "top team" but it is clear Vitale doesn't believe Oregon is a top team. I think the questions Dick answers should be limited to questions such as,

"On a scale of 1-10 is Coach K a great humanitarian or a super-duper humanitarian?"

"Tell us more about some of your achievements."

"When calling a game, do you find 1% of people enjoy your yelling, or do you find 95% of people wish you would stay on topic?"

"Is UNC-Duke a good rivalry? I've never heard your opinion on this matter."

DV: I have my seven impact players posted on

There is also a picture on the site of Dick Vitale with his mouth wide open yelling at us and "Your awesome baby!" written beside it, so I think it may be better to avoid this site completely. I find it shocking who ESPN chooses to give exposure to among their talent. Doris Burke is an excellent analyst who actually points out what happens on the court and why it happened. Sure, she sometimes gets caught up in the coach-worship, but at least she pays attention and analyzes the games. It's taken her a while, but ESPN is finally giving her a shot at calling games that aren't Division II title games or women's basketball games.

I can't wait for Louisville-ND as six of the last eight meetings have been decided in overtime or double-overtime.

And the Louisville-ND game went into five overtimes.

Louisville is starting to get things together. Rick Pitino belongs in the Hall of Fame, period.

And really, isn't that what this Louisville-ND game is all about? It's about Dick Vitale getting a chance to talk about how Rick Pitino needs to be in the Hall of Fame. After all, when Dick has a forum like that, there's no time to analyze and talk about the game going on. It's better to stick to meaningless catchphrases that further your own brand while spending time normally spent analyzing the Louisville-ND game to tell us what a great guy Rick Pitino is. Actually, I should just be happy he would be spending time talking about a head coach who is currently coaching in the very game he is calling.