Few bad words can be said about WSPD-AM 1370. After all, any radio station that doesn’t object to me appearing as a guest on their morning show is OK in my book.
Having said that, there have been many poor inventions in the history of sports. The XFL, the Detroit Pistons’ horse head logo and now sports radio highlights.
After every Toledo basketball game, WSPD play-by-play man Mark Beier recaps the game, mixing in some recorded 10-second sound bytes of himself calling certain plays.
For those who have never heard radio highlights of a basketball game, there’s probably a reason for that. Because how often have we tuned in late to a game, only to miss a spectacular slam-dunk? Prior to radio highlights, we would just sit there in our beanbag chairs and ponder, “If only someone would re-air Mark Beier telling us about it! That’d be awesome!”
It’s a great idea in theory, but it’s … no, check that, it’s a terrible idea all around. The reason ESPN’s “SportsCenter” works so well is because the audience can, you know, see the highlights. Hearing Beier call five or six plays in the game (again) is tantamount to hearing a radio show about mime technique.
It’s nothing against Beier, who is a fine play-by-play person. But driving home from the game to hear good-but-not-legendary calls of plays I saw in person feels sort of ridiculous.
On Sunday, the radio highlights capped an awkward end to a rather festive 76-60 win over Northern Illinois. UT finally posted a winning record (9-8) on the season and jumped to its first 5-0 start in the conference since coach Stan Joplin’s senior year (1979-80).
Four Rockets finished in double figures, including sophomore guard Jonathan Amos. Half hustle, half showboat, but always a treat to watch, Amos was promptly benched in the first half after he said something to Joplin in response to an offensive foul he received. I thought he would sit for the remainder of the game, but he proved me wrong with nine second-half points for a total of 13 in just 14 minutes of playing time.
The Rocket basketball team is absolutely an exciting team to watch, and although NIU is not exactly a barometer of the teams they’ll play in the MAC tournament, there’s all the reason to believe UT is the favorite to win the school’s first conference championship in the Joplin era.
I’d write more, but it might be more fun to relive some of the more exciting moments you’ve read today in a little segment I call “Sports Column Highlights” …