It’s been a couple days, but the fallout from the dismissal of 3 of the 4 broadcast personalities still seems like a very fresh wound. It seems many fans are more irritated with HOW it happened than that it happened at all. If\t felt like there was a lack of personal touch and that it was delivered in a very cold and corporate way and maybe that is just what the NBA has become. It still didn’t feel very Portland. Some sport cities have a different relationship with their teams … just ask Green Bay.
Starting with the most obvious, many feel that ‘Tone was never that good in the first place, and I’ve heard some comment that they thought he was becoming too political. Going into the marijuana business may have just been the straw that broke the camel’s back.
Rice is perhaps next on the ‘obvious’ scale. Personally, I enjoyed his off the wall comments, but his inability to come close to pronouncing players’ names while humorous at times, also can come across as unprofessional. I’ve been fortunate enough to get to know him personally a bit over the years, and he always was very friendly and quick to share a story but personal anecdotes aside, he seemed to have maybe lost a ‘step’ this last year. Given that he is in his mid-70’s, maybe that shouldn’t be a surprise. No matter. Rice still had an entertaining factor to him that isn’t easily replaced.
Barrett is the one that comes across as the most surprising. He bleeds red and black. And even though he is a homer, have you listened to other team’s broadcasts? He was certainly no worse, and I thought he did a good job overall. My only issue was that he would anticipate calls always in the Blazers favor instead of simply watching the referee’s signal as to what just happened. “Blazer Ball! No, off the Blazers they say.” “Lillard for ‘3’!!! No, long two they say.” That happened so often it developed into a drinking game when friends were over, and unfortunately calls like that or something like them would seem to happen quite often. That said, I still think he did a good job and don’t want a home team broadcaster not to be at least a bit of a homer, or I’d just watch the national broadcasts when they are available.
All of this smacks of a new TV deal in the works, and it sounded like from McGowan’s statements that he is well on his way to having replacements named very shortly. Many correctly surmised that Kevin Calabro would be an obvious choice, and regardless of how much someone may like Mike & Mike, there is a reason Kevin was doing national broadcasts … he is quite good. Who the color replacement is will probably come soon as well.
If they were going to let them go, it’s nice that they did so with them having a year left on their contracts so they get paid, and it gives them time to land softly somewhere else. I don’t think Barrett will have any trouble finding a job although he may want to stay local which would limit him quite a bit.
Change is as inevitable as death and taxes, so hopefully it is something that is an upgrade in production and for the fans.
Regardless, I’m still not a fan of how it was done. The whole thing seemed a bit heartless, and I’m sure some marketing guru told them to do so in a manner where Chris wouldn’t even mention their names.
Not a very personal touch.