Sometimes I hear — in a roundabout way — that local sportscasters don't like it when I criticize them for being homers.
Well, they don't like it when I criticize them for anything. Which is human nature. I get it. It's not fun to be criticized. But, when you do what we do, we're fair game.
And, from time to time, the word gets back to me that certain locals think I'm making too much of something that happens in every single TV market across the country. That crossing the line from reporting to cheerleading is no big deal.
I fully agree with the first part of that. Not with the second.
It is a big deal. It destroys your credibility. If you had any to begin with.
And, at times, it's so far out of control it's astonishing. Like when the folks at KTVX-Ch. 4 actually began referring to the Magic as "we" during their NBA Finals series against the Lakers.
(That was just weird.)
And, while there are those who think I'm the only one who notices — let alone the only one who criticizes cheerleading sportscasters — that's not the case. A few weeks ago, The Washington Post's Leonard Shapiro wrote:
"If you really want to be taken seriously as a member of the media, you are not supposed to be abjectly rooting for the home team.
"During the Washington Capitals recent playoff run, I heard more than one local broadcaster end sportscasts or individual reports on the team with an emphatic 'Let's go Caps!' If you want to scream your lungs out for the home team in the privacy of your own den, knock yourself out. But up in the press box, broadcast booth or your station's own studio, knock off the cheerleading and act like a professional."
I couldn't have said it better myself.
YOU MIGHT THINK that when former members of a team become broadcasters covering that team, that's when you'd see the worst cases of cheerleading.
We've all seen it happen, but it's not always the case. And there's an excellent example locally of how the exact opposite can be true.
Brian Dunseth, a former member of Real Salt Lake, doesn't pull any punches as the analysts for KUTV-Ch. 2.2's coverage of the team. He calls 'em like he sees 'em — even if that means severely criticizing Jamison Olave for his bone-headed ejection at Houston a couple of weeks ago, which may well have cost RSL the win.
Local sportscasters take note — your job is not to befriend the local athletes, it's to offer objective analysis of them.
IN ANSWER TO a question I've been hearing this week — yes, this weekend's RSL-San Jose was supposed to be on the main KUTV-Ch. 2 and now it's on the digital Ch. 2.2.
But the game was also supposed to be on Saturday. RSL switched it to Friday, necessitating the change in channels.