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Penton: Shulman, Hughson the best in the broadcasting biz
Talk to 100 sports fans and ask them to name their favourite sports broadcaster and chances are you’ll get at least 50 different answers.
It’s like asking people their favourite colour or favourite food.
But we’re not asking — we’re telling you the best sportscasters in North America, from my vantage point on my comfy couch.
Get ready to disagree.
1. Dan Shulman: The Canadian native is primarily known as the voice of ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. He has the most velvet of voices and is always armed with great information and interesting anecdotes. Listening to Shulman is usually better than the game itself.
2. Jim Hughson: Hockey Night in Canada’s No. 1 play-by-play announcer is a major step up from the shrill-voiced Bob Cole. Hughson never gets too excited nor too dry, but broadcasts almost as if he’s carrying on a conversation with the listener. Comfortable.
3. Vin Scully: He’s in his 80s and works without a colour man and is never short of interesting and informative things to say. He has never played an inning of baseball, but might just be the best known Los Angeles Dodger.
4. Jay Onrait: OK, so this is a high ranking for a goofy guy, but if sports really is entertainment, then TSN’s sports anchor Onrait fits that bill to a T. Get the scores and get a laugh at the same time.
5. Ron MacLean: Witty, knowledgeable, great interviewer, what more can be said about the CBC’s MacLean, one of the most versatile and professional announcers around.
6. Rich Lerner: If you don’t subscribe to The Golf Channel, you might not know about Lerner, but he is the network’s best. Always the voice of calm and reason, he is comfortable serving as host, commentator or interviewer.
7. Jim Nantz: The CBS veteran is not only the network’s No. 1 play-by-play man on NFL football, but he is the soothing voice of the Masters. Always in control, always smart.
8. Al Michaels: Known best for “Do You Believe in Miracles? Yes!”, Michaels, who now does Sunday Night Football on NBC, always makes these lists. He’s a pro.
9. Bob Irving: OK, if you don’t live in Manitoba you may not have heard of Irving, the 37-year CJOB radio voice of the Blue Bombers but he’s a treat to listen to, and he’s a friend of mine — so there!
10. Bob Costas: He’s a walking encyclopedia and, if you’re scrolling through channels and see him interviewing a sports figure, stop, watch and listen.
• Mike Bianchi of the Orlando Sentinel: “Apple is going completely overboard about releasing all of these new electronic products. Coming soon: An Apple device for athletes to get instant access to steroids. It’s called an iPED.”
• Janice Hough of leftcoastsportsbabe.com: “The Los Angeles Angels are looking to trade pitcher Dan Haren and reportedly have interest from both the Red Sox and the Cubs. Sounds like either way, Haren’s likely to keep getting his Octobers off.”
• Rick Reilly of ESPN, in an essay about Bears’ quarterback Jay Cutler’s pouty ways: “There are 50 shades of Jay, and all of them are morose.”
• Reader Glenn Springstead of Columbia, Md., asking a question of Norman Chad of the Washington post: “Now that David Stern is retiring, will Gary Bettman realize his life’s dream of merging the four major sports into a single corporate collective and locking out all the players with one stroke?”
• NFL-related headline at sportspickle.com: “Chiefs spend Sunday watching how NFL teams play football.”
• Paul Friesen of the Winnipeg Sun, after the Blue Bombers did not renew the contract of assistant general manager Ross Hodgkinson: “Hodgkinson had as much to do with Winnipeg’s 6-12 record as the night security guy with the huge German Shepherd.”
• Janice Hough again, after Colts QB Andrew Luck gave himself a midterm grade of “C,” despite his record-setting rookie season: “Man, those Stanford professors must have been tough.”
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