Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Ian Eagle, Mike Fratello Will Be Picking Out China Patterns, After All

On-Air Pissing Match Goes Viral, But They Insist It's Part of Their Shtick

Well, it at least sounded controversial.

The sports blogs were a buzzin' yesterday over a bizarre exchange that New Jersey Nets' TV announcers Ian Eagle and Mike Fratello had at the end of a game on Sunday.

It sounded like Eagle was calling out the Tsar of the Telestrator for being "patronizing" in explaining a slip screen. Fratello sounded a bit taken aback, but tried to laugh it off as the broadcast went to a commercial.

Eagle was having none of it when he was asked by Fratello whether he had a bad day on the ride from a game in Philadelphia: "That was two hours with you, which is why I've had enough tonight."


Turns out it was much ado about nothing much. At least according to the players in this drama.
In a Daily News interview, Eagle insists it was all a put-on, and it's something they do every game.

"What happens sometimes is the local audience knows what we’re up to, but when someth"ing like this goes viral the unfortunate part is the familiarity goes out the window. There are people who just don’t get it, they’re not in on the joke..."

Exactly. That's the problem. Nobody knows about this, because the two are broadcasting Nets games, which for many years have not offered viewers a reason to stay glued to their chairs. So, if Eagle and Fratello do their usual act, it's easy to see how few might notice unless their gift of gab got overly generous.

As Bob Raissman in the Daily News notes, Eagle is a disciple of Marv Albert, the Sultan of Sardonic, who frequently had Fratello as a broadcast partner. The Tsar knows dry wit when he hears it as much as how to execute a pick-and-roll.

Of course, it should come as little surprise that Eagle can inject some levity into an otherwise-dreary broadcast. It's in his DNA. His father was Jack Eagle, who spent decades working the Catskills as a comedian, though you might remember him best as Brother Dominic from the 1980s Xerox commercials.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

High Holy Days Come Early for Mets Announcers

Can I Get an Oy?

During a languid Mets-Yankees spring training game this afternoon, new Mets play-by-play announcer Josh Lewin mentioned that a young hitter destined for the minor leagues named Wilfredo Tovar was coming to bat for the Amazin's.
Tovar is pronounced (TOE-vah), or at least that's how Lewin said it.
Then he told his partner Howie Rose, "His nickname isn't L'Shanah," and both had a good laugh.
For those of you who aren't Members of the Tribe--L'Shanah Tovah is Hebrew for "For a good year," which is what Jews--like Rose and Lewin--say at Rosh Hashanah, the beginning of the Jewish New Year.
Speaking of which, it will be interesting to see if both take off for the first day of Rosh Hashanah. The Mets have a day game on Sept. 16, so they avoid issues on the first night (Lewin also calls San Diego Chargers games on the radio, so he won't be there anyway). The next day, however, when you do the heavy lifting in temple, the Mets have a night game at home against the Phillies.
Ed Coleman, the pre- and post-game host usually fills in for play-by-play. That perhaps leaves a gap for a night. Hey, they could always ask Gary Cohen at SNY to move back to radio for a night. Cohen, despite his name, has never let a Jewish holiday get in the way of a Mets game.