Does brief commentary exist?
December 3, 2012 10:15 PM   Subscribe

Popular sports commentary seems to be dominated by windbags and silly pundits. What are some recordings of tight, insightful commentary? No sport preference or even activity preference if you've a good recommendation from another field.
posted by michaelh to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm more of a baseball guy so my stuff will heavily lean that way.

For in-game commentary, I'm a big fan of Vin Scully (Here's him calling Don Larsen's final out in a perfect game and even if it is a movie, Vin's commentary makes For Love of the Game worth watching), Bob Uecker (Discussing staying in a hotel with a furry convention, with photo evidence), and Jon Miller (doing a Vin Scully impression in multiple languages). While Miller is great when he's calling a game, he's even better when he gets bored and starts screwing around. Tune into a mid-season Giants game with nothing on the line and you'll probably hear it.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:33 PM on December 3, 2012

Slate's Hang Up and Listen podcast is intelligent and verbose! Generally on a wide range of American timely sports topics.
posted by sinical at 10:45 PM on December 3, 2012 [5 favorites]

And another Vin Scully story, noting the way he weaves his story into calling the game. Vin Scully races Jackie Robinson on ice skates.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 10:49 PM on December 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Seconding Hang Up and Listen.
posted by KingEdRa at 11:00 PM on December 3, 2012

I was going to link to Vin Scully and Jackie Robinson. I love that story; it was beautifully told. Vin is the best. He sounds like my childhood and I hope he turns out to be immortal.
posted by Countess Sandwich at 11:58 PM on December 3, 2012

I really appreciate Joe Rogan's commentary for the UFC. You can tell he has a great in depth knowledge of the techniques (being as he practices 10th Planet Jujustu) and an amazing understanding of each fighter's strengths, weaknesses, history and training camps. Joe is very enthusiastic (he really likes MMA) but his commentary is excellent for newbies and experienced watchers alike.

I do have one problem with him in that when I am shouting at the TV he inevitably says the same thing I do literally one second later, so much so that my wife now forces me to drink beer when I watch MMA so I don't give her dejoe vue.
posted by longbaugh at 12:51 AM on December 4, 2012

I'd recommend TSN's Off the Record with Michael Landsberg
posted by mannequito at 1:36 AM on December 4, 2012

Can you be a tad more specific? For starters, are you asking about live, in-game commentary (either play-by-play or color) or general sports show/halftime/morning radio/podcast commentary? Also, are you interested in hearing commentary on the sports world, or on the games/teams/players themselves? For instance, would you prefer:

A) An insightful discussion on whether the NFL should have postponed the Chiefs game after Jovan Belcher's murder-suicide the day before, plus a debate on whether sports leagues should do more to prevent domestic violence, or

B) A detailed analysis of X, Y, and Z plays that the Chiefs ran in said game?

Also, are you opposed to either advanced stats or humor? And what is "brief"?
posted by acidic at 2:10 AM on December 4, 2012

Response by poster: B. By brief I meant "not blowing air just to fill space" but it's obviously showing itself to be the wrong word since the answers so far include some quite skilled filling of space despite not bring brief. Advanced stats and humor are fine.
posted by michaelh at 2:51 AM on December 4, 2012

Watch some snooker on British TV.
posted by springload at 3:04 AM on December 4, 2012

OK, here are some podcast suggestions-- all NBA
Wages of Wins: NBA analysis, mostly stats/econ
The Basketball Jones: Absurd, witty, uncensored daily recap
Jalen Rose's podcast on Grantland: Great insight on the NBA life from a former player. A little gossipy (Tony Parker getting injured in the Drake-Chris Brown fight was this podcast's Christmas, New Year's, and All-Star Weekend rolled into one) but it's great stories and strong opinions in a refreshingly reasonable atmosphere.
Hoopspeak Live, CBS Sports Eye on Basketball: Covering many of the topics you'd hear on sports radio or ESPN, but without all the shouting, guarantees, and knee-jerk reactions.

I also really like some of the team-specific podcasts, produced either by ESPN or the teams themselves, which go in-depth on random bench players, practice reports, specific plays-- the type of stuff you won't find on a general podcast.
posted by acidic at 4:15 AM on December 4, 2012

I like Hang Up and Listen.
posted by OmieWise at 4:22 AM on December 4, 2012

Hang Up and Listen is really the answer here. It's a Slate podcast, which should give you some sense of the flavor. One thing I like about is that they do a great job covering sports beyond baseball/football/men's basketball/men's soccer; in recent months I've heard them talk knowledgably about table tennis, water polo, long-distance running, cycling, women's hoops and soccer, boxing, etc.
posted by escabeche at 6:14 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

When baseball season starts, watch Kruk and Kuip call a Giants game. They have a quirky non-meathead style that matches the Giants team character. Their time-killing banter is hilarious but they also make insightful points about the game which are backed up by their experience as players.
posted by scose at 6:59 AM on December 4, 2012

Hang Up and Listen.
posted by madcaptenor at 8:01 AM on December 4, 2012

I'll come back in to say that I don't follow sports really at all, and downloaded the podcast on a whim (well, really because I like Stephan Fatsis), but now look forward to Hang Up and Listen every week
posted by OmieWise at 8:03 AM on December 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

I will second The Basketball Jones (linked above) - as long as you can handle all the gimmicky stuff they do (today's episode was atypically extreme in this regard and should probably be treated as an outlier), they do break down games in a fun, informal/informative way.

And not sure if this is up your alley, but today I read an interview with MN Timberwolves commentator Jim Peterson, and part of that was a discussion of what makes a good broadcast. As the headline says, he's one of the best color commentators in the game, and the interview is an enlightening insight into why this is.
posted by antonymous at 2:49 PM on December 4, 2012

Hang Up and Listen is great but it's basically the epitome of sports world critique as opposed to actual game/player/team commentary.
posted by acidic at 6:11 PM on December 4, 2012

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