From Nobby Piles writing for The Bangkok Post.
"You can't beat a good balls-up."
In a recent issue of the Australian News magazine "Bulletin", there was an article by Garry Linnell bemoaning the fact that sports television and radio commentators don't make as many gaffes as they used to.
This is extremely disturbing news.
Are the days of Murray Walker informing us
"This would have been Senna's third win in a row had he won the two before" gone forever? or, Alan Minter explaining "Sure there are deaths and injuries in boxing, but nothing serious"

The reason for this undesirable development is said to be that the commentators have access to so much more information these days there is no real excuse for a major balls-up. Well, at least nothing like Norman May's faux pas in the 1972 Olympics when he informed everyone
"Here comes Sri..Sri..yes it's Sri Lanka. That must be West German for 'Ceylon'."
But all is not lost. As long as we still have the likes of Walker, Minter, and a host of other contenders around, the commentating ***-up's will continue.
It is not so much the facts, but the way they are delivered in a mangle of mixed metaphors and malapropisms that will always provide entertainment, no matter how dull the sporting event.

It is not only Murray Walker who messes up racing commentaries, A few years ago Derek Warwick gave viewers the following words of wisdom: "Mansell, Senna, Prost. Put them in any order and you'll end up with the same three drivers"
Admittedly, this doesn't quite match up with Walkers classic: "The lead car is absolutely unique, except for the one behind which is absolutely identical"
One of the golden rules for commentators is to make it sound like you know what you are talking about even if you havn't a clue what's going on. Someone who failed miserably in this respect was John Snagge in his radio commentary for the Oxford and cambridge boat race oin 1952. In what was admittedly a tight race, an increasingly confused snagge informed listeners: "Oxford in front. No. Cambridge. No. Oxford. I don't know who's in front, Oxford or Cambridge.
It seems commentating on the boat race is a bit of a verbal minefield. Another BBC radio commentator raised a few eyebrows when he pronounced "The wife of the Oxford President is kissing the cox of the Oxford crew"
Snagge didn't have much better success when reporting cricket either, Reading out a county cricket score, he announced
"Yorkshire 232 all out. Len Hutton ill..No. I'm sorry, Len Hutton 111"

You can't discuss cricket commentaries without mentioning the late Brian Johnston whose outstanding Bon Mots on the radio have been recorded in this column on several occaisions. It was Johnston who told listeners " You have come over at a most appropriate time. Trevor Bailey has just relieved himself at the Pavillion end"
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From Nobby Piles writing for The Bangkok Post. "You can't beat a good balls-up."

It seems commentating on the boat race is a bit of a verbal minefield. Another BBC radio commentator raised a few eyebrows when he pronounced "The wife of the Oxford President is kissing the cox of the Oxford crew"

You can't discuss cricket commentaries without mentioning the late Brian Johnston whose outstanding Bon Mots on the radio have been ... " You have come over at a most appropriate time. Trevor Bailey has just relieved himself at the Pavillion end"

Are you sure those were all misteaks? In the good old days at the CBC, there were announcers like Alan McPhee who would pray for that kind of opportunity. CDB
From Nobby Piles writing for The Bangkok Post.

It is not only Murray Walker who messes up racing commentaries, A few years ago Derek Warwick gave viewers the ... match up with Walkers classic: "The lead car is absolutely unique, except for the one behind which is absolutely identical"

What always puzzled me about Murray Walker was his immense popularity. Granted, his bloody irritating malapropisms ('superlative' for 'superb', 'fortuitous' for 'fortunate') would have passed most people by, but I can't have been the only one driven to distraction by his inability to ever get his facts straight.
There was a season where you could watch Formula 1 on either BBC or Eurosport. In company with another F1 fan, I took to watching the majority of the race on Eurosport, switching to BBC only during the commercials. Walker's high-pitched bumbling over-excitability turned us both off.
When the BBC lost the F1 contract to ITV and Walker announced his long-overdue retirement, however, it transpired that there were people who only watched the races because of his semi-competent commentaries, and he was signed up by the ITV team - much to my chagrin. I was extremely glad when he finally did retire.

There may be a parallel here with the American electorate's clear preference for presidents who appear to be intellectually lacking, but perhaps that's reaching too far for an analogy.

Mark Barratt
Angoltan=E1r budapesten
http://www.geocities.com/nyelvmark
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Are you sure those were all misteaks? In the good old days at the CBC, there were announcers like Alan McPhee who would pray for that kind of opportunity. CDB

Yes, you could wait a lifetime to be able to say 'the batsman's Holding, the bowler's Willey' - but it happenned!
It is not so much the facts, but the way they are delivered in a mangle of mixed metaphors and malapropisms that will always provide entertainment, no matter how dull the sporting event.

My favourite sporting blunder was the factually accurate, but totally useless description of a Snooker match where the commentators remarked something to the effect that "For our friends viewing in black and white, the green ball is the one to the left of the blue."

-Jason
Jason Kirk filted:
My favourite sporting blunder was the factually accurate, but totally useless description of a Snooker match where the commentators remarked something to the effect that "For our friends viewing in black and white, the green ball is the one to the left of the blue."

What's so odd about that?...you people are always saying things like that to us protanopes..r
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Are you sure those were all misteaks? In the good ... who would pray for that kind of opportunity. CDB

Yes, you could wait a lifetime to be able to say 'the batsman's Holding, the bowler's Willey' - but it happenned!

Almost. "The bowler's Holding, the batsman's Willey," according to BBC announcer Henry "Blowers" Blofeld, who was there at the time (1976). He believed Brian Johnston thought of it the day before and saved it for the right moment.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/tv and radio/test match special/2000209. stm

Best Donna Richoux
Snagge didn't have much better success when reporting cricket either, Reading out a county cricket score, he announced "Yorkshire 232 ... " You have come over at a most appropriate time. Trevor Bailey has just relieved himself at the Pavillion end"

I believe it was also Johnston who uttered the immortal line: 'The bowler is Holding, the batsman's Willey...'
Del
From Nobby Piles writing for The Bangkok Post. "You can't beat a good balls-up." In a recent issue of the ... " You have come over at a most appropriate time. Trevor Bailey has just relieved himself at the Pavillion end"

Do you know the Australian Rules commentator Dennis Cometti?

Selected quotations..
" Scotty Cummings alone in the square, jumping up and down and waving his arms like they're playing My Sharona ..."
"Farmer may have an injury to his calf ... hmmm, a farmer with a calf problem ..."
"Spider had both his legs taken out from under him - leaving only the other six to balance on ..."
"Barlow to Bateman. The Hawks are attacking alphabetically..."

On former Magpie, Crow and now Cat, Brenton Sanderson: "He goes much better as a mammal"
After Darren Gaspar hits the post from 40 metres out: "Gaspar, the unfriendly post"
"I love that surname Fixter. Sounds like something from a Batman movie, The Fixter...but I digress..."
Dermott: And the ball spills free to Kickett...
Cometti: Troy Cook you mean?
Dermott: Yes.. well, they do look rather alike.
Cometti: How so Dermott?
Dermott: (realising that sounded rather racist.) Umm, well, they are both..er..
Cometti: ..Midfielders, yes Dermott.
"Brown..down to Jones..all we need now is Smith"
Stupot
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