It was inevitable, I guess, that we’d eventually get live sports commentary tailored and adjusted to our own individual team biases. That’s the way we roll in the U.S., where there’s no room for gray: where, as Buffalo Springfield so famously noted, “Everyone’s carrying signs, mostly say, ‘Hooray for our side’.”
So TNT rolled out its Teamcast concept for Saturday’s NCAA Tourney semifinals, in which team-specific broadcast squads called the two games with a home team slant. Did we say slant? More like a shear cliff: it should have been called Homercast. On TNT, it was longtime Kentucky sports anchor Rob Bromley doing the play-by-play and former Wildcat Rex Chapman doing the color, and be assured that color was all blue, all the time. “Eat glass, big guy! Eat glass, Kentucky!”
Insufferable, and I felt like eating glass after sampling about two minutes of the Big Experiment. Even Kim Jong Un’s publicity director was saying: “That’s too much.”
It was probably no better over at TruTV, where Big Ten Network guy and radio voice of the Packers Wayne Larrivee called the play-by-play, with former Badger Mike Kelley on the color.
Sports jingoism on your TV, no matter your location. A good thing? Well, many were confused. They should have had a scroll explaining what was going on, because Twitter went kind of nuts, especially concerning Chapman.
— Georgie Thomas (@georgiethomas24) April 6, 2014
This one announcer on TNT is so biased for Kentucky and it's getting really annoying
— Steven Wales (@wales_steven) April 6, 2014
Rex Chapman shows homer spirit in Kentucky teamcast singing "My Old Kentucky Home" on opening 3pointer
— Richard Sandomir (@RichSandomir) April 6, 2014
Rex Chapman on TNT: "I don't want to sound like a complete homer here. But I'm going to…I guess I do want to sound like a complete homer."
— John Ourand (@Ourand_SBJ) April 6, 2014
Should be fired at half RT @ctkrier Good Grief: TNT announcer is Rex Chapman, a former KY guard. Sounds like KY broadcasting network.
— Busted Coverage (@bustedcoverage) April 6, 2014
Rex Chapman is trending on twitter, mostly bc people don't realize he's doing a #BBN centric broadcast on TNT. Gracious.
— Robert Flores (@RoFloESPN) April 6, 2014
Should people have realized? TNT had a ‘Teamcast’ logo on the screen, but what’s that supposed to mean? Why should the casual viewer need to do homework before turning on a college basketball game? Hard to blame folks for being a little jarred at Chapman’s homerism here. You just come in from playing Frisbee with the dog, flip on TNT to see who’s winning that Kentucky-Wisconsin tilt, and are greeted with some broadcaster you don’t know screaming Kentucky nationalism.
I’m not naive enough to think that most broadcasters aren’t biased: no one on TBS, for example, was going to tell the truth, that Calipari is a mediocre coach who gets to these games just because of recruiting. But Teamcast is a frat house gimmick and confusing to boot. Mark me down for do not like.