Jim Nantz once made an astute observation about a tradition unlike any other and Al Michaels memorably asked America if it believed in miracles. And then Thom Brennaman, Mark Grace, and Mike Milbury came along and set sports broadcasting back by a decade or so in the past couple of weeks.
Presumably paid to inform, Brennaman, Grace, and Milbury only managed to embarrass their employers and themselves in recent broadcasts. The race was on to see who could most closely resemble the north end of a southbound horse — and they ended up forming a winning trifecta.
Mike Milbury considers women to be distractions
Mike Milbury will wake up any morning now and express shock that Joe Biden is a candidate for president of the United States despite the distraction of Kamala Harris running on the party’s ticket. Well, not really. But you get the idea.
Working the Aug. 20 NHL playoff game between the Washington Capitals and New York Islanders, Milbury observed that the bubble environments in Toronto and Edmonton were “the perfect place. Not even any woman here to distract you.”
The NHL responded with a statement calling the remark an “insensitive and insulting comment.” NBC released its own statement saying executives were “disappointed” and had discussed the comment with Milbury.
For his part, Milbury apologized and said he understood that his attempt at irreverence misfired. The trouble with Milbury might be that he is unable to distinguish between irrelevant and irrational.
Earlier in the week, Milbury ripped into Boston Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask for leaving the bubble to return to his wife and three young daughters, one of whom was born in April. It got Milbury universally panned.
Mark Grace’s take on women was as bad as Mike Milbury’s
The Marquee Sports Network is a regional outlet operated by the Chicago Cubs and Sinclair Broadcast Group. Working the broadcast booth as a guest on Aug. 3, former Cubs standout Mark Grace added to his career total of 642 whiffs by bombing on a story.
The tale about his ex-wife somehow led him to refer to her as a dingbat multiple times and to joke that he’d go “Archie Bunker” on her.
Grace dutifully apologized after getting ripped by all corners on the internet but was understandably told by the suits that his services wouldn’t be required for a few games, Awful Announcing reported.
Thom Brennaman might as well have said ‘hold my beer’
The Charlotte Hornets suspended play-by-play announcer John Focke indefinitely after he erred egregiously on Twitter while firing off an observation about an NBA game he was watching. Whether it was bad typing, bad auto-correcting, or just bad luck, he mangled “Nuggets” and posted a horrific racial slur.
There’s little doubt that it was purely unintentional, but it was also completely sloppy in that Focke didn’t follow through to backread what he posted and then delete it immediately.
It’s not as though Brennaman can claim he was misquoted, mis-paraphrased, or misconstrued. What he said was flat-out insulting and hurtful. It earned him a suspension from Reds broadcasts and has also cost him his national NFL gig with Fox for the upcoming season.
Explanations and apologies aside, it will be a while before fans can tune into a game that he is working without wondering what other rude remarks might be forthcoming.