Referees

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LA_Riot
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Referees

#1 Post by LA_Riot » Fri Mar 10, 2017 12:30 pm

I frequently hear broadcasters announce the names of the referees in a given game. I've never understood this. The names mean nothing to 99% of your listeners and to me it's useless filler. Unless a coach or player has a known rift with an official, think Tim Duncan and Joey Crawford, the information just seems pointless. I suppose it could also be relevant in a few other very extreme cases, but those instances are rare. I'm curious what other people's thoughts are on this.
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Re: Referees

#2 Post by Tyking » Sun Mar 12, 2017 4:48 pm

Same here. Unless there's a storyline or it's a legendary official or someone who tends to call a game a certain way, it's useless.

I'll mention it if, for example, the referee ejected one of the team's head coaches the last time around. That's relevant stuff.

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Re: Referees

#3 Post by ssteve » Sun Mar 12, 2017 5:48 pm

I always do it just before tipoff, but really only because I hear NBA and college play-by-play guys do it. So I don't know why, but if they do it and pretty much all of them do I feel like it should be done.

bschultz
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Re: Referees

#4 Post by bschultz » Sun Mar 12, 2017 10:33 pm

At the college level (probably only D1) and higher, who is officiating the game matters.

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Re: Referees

#5 Post by RadioPat1982 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:50 am

For me, this is one of those deals where it doesn't matter until it matters. It really does depend on what level you are at though. Obviously at the pro level in you can immediately hear an officials name and think of a certain tie to a play or game. I say Bob Davidson you think Balks. I say Joey Crawford you think quick to "T" someone up!

In the pros there are actually books and stats that are recorded. For instance, a color commentator will often mention that a certain umpire is known to be a pitcher or hitter's umpire pending on their strike zone. In basketball you gets stats like this crew has called the most fouls in the league. Same thing for penalties in football.

I think in college it is more of a courtesy. Especially if it is a non conference game and you get officials from a 3rd party conference. One other possible reason why officiating crews need to be mentioned is history between a them and a coach or player.

In the end, if everything goes as planned the beginning of the game is really the only time you have to mention the officials names. If things start to go sideways in a game those names are thrown out quite often :wink:

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Re: Referees

#6 Post by Jon Chelesnik » Mon Mar 13, 2017 10:12 am

Interesting topic -- one I've wondered about, too. When I was doing high school and small college games, I never gave the refs. I shared the "who cares" approach. Even doing NCAA DI fill-in, I never mentioned it.

I also agree that it does become interesting, if not relevant, at the highest levels of sports when refs start developing reputations for being good, bad and/or controversial. Or if a ref has a history with your team, it is relevant.

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Re: Referees

#7 Post by JimRiley » Wed Mar 15, 2017 10:25 am

An ex-coach with whom I worked a couple games this basketball season got a reprimand from the local high school district office for questioning a call and naming the referee who made it. When I'm announcing football I will ID the referee if I know who he is. Sometimes (usually playoffs) we get the whole list so I may read that. Then finish with "Timing for knockdowns at the bell, Sam Mancuso".

During a high school football game the PA guy named the ref every time he called a penalty "Referee John Doe calls holding on the Vikings" until Doe stopped the game and shouted to press box to knock it off
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Re: Referees

#8 Post by RCAnderson » Mon Mar 20, 2017 12:05 pm

Being a former official myself (albeit in Intramural Sports), I try to give the officials the benefit of a doubt anytime it's a tough play. I always throw in something along the lines of "what I say isn't what goes on the court/field". However, we do have our basketball team call out the name of the official after every foul/missed call that is made. Dude, I don't care who missed the call, tell me the score please!!!
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Re: Referees

#9 Post by Chuck Cooperstein » Thu Mar 23, 2017 11:35 am

Referees are as much a part of the game as are the players and coaches. There's a reason why coaches always post the names and pictures of the night's officials in the locker room. They do matter. As much as you desire consistency, every official is different. You don't necessarily have to provide deep research into each of them (Team W/L record with Dan Crawford officiating, for example), but since they are identified on the printed play-by-play, they are part of the public record of the game. Identifying them doesn't mean you think they're crooked. As a PBP announcer, you are first, and foremost a reporter of events. You're describing what you see. Why would you hold back anything? You never make it personal, but mentioning their name is really no different than describing a Dirk Nowitzki one-legged fadeaway.

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Re: Referees

#10 Post by JaySanderson » Thu Mar 23, 2017 2:12 pm

I 100% agree with Chuck. Before the start of every game, I receive a sheet detailing starters and game officials. They're on the floor with the players, and while I don't believe an official costs a team a game, I do believe certain calls have the potential of altering the course of events that follow. For example, if a poor call is a star player's 4th foul, that absolutely impacts the play that follows. They're fair game, in my view. My general philosophy is to not harp on the officials, or mention them much, until they become a significant part of the storyline of the game.

I also believe that it's vital for announcers to know the rules. In a former life, I umpired NCAA Division-I baseball, so I have a stronger sense of appreciation for the rules than most. I have also officiated football and JUCO basketball. Knowing the rules is a big deal. Nothing irritates me quite like hearing announcers, even at the highest levels (NBA/NFL/MLB), butcher a rule. I carry a current copy of the rule book of whatever sport I'm calling with me in my bag on game day. To me, it's just as important to have that as the game notes. If there were to be some controversial call, I can pull it out and cite the rule on air. It's instant credibility, and to me, rules knowledge is part of the process of preparation. Spend some time in the preseason with the rule book. Make notes and questions. Ask your questions of officials when you have the chance. You'd be amazed how willing they are to help you improve your understanding of the rules. You might also discover that they're human beings, too.
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Re: Referees

#11 Post by Bill Czaja » Fri Mar 24, 2017 8:46 am

Chuck Cooperstein wrote:Referees are as much a part of the game as are the players and coaches. There's a reason why coaches always post the names and pictures of the night's officials in the locker room. They do matter. As much as you desire consistency, every official is different. You don't necessarily have to provide deep research into each of them (Team W/L record with Dan Crawford officiating, for example), but since they are identified on the printed play-by-play, they are part of the public record of the game. Identifying them doesn't mean you think they're crooked. As a PBP announcer, you are first, and foremost a reporter of events. You're describing what you see. Why would you hold back anything? You never make it personal, but mentioning their name is really no different than describing a Dirk Nowitzki one-legged fadeaway.
Absolutely correct. It's part of the game. I have an Ernie Harwell scorecard from a Detroit-Chicago game in 1993. His scorecard also has a defensive chart at the top. Players in black; umpires in red. The umpires are the neutral third party in the event. I also name whoever the base coaches are, sometimes upon relevance, sometimes as filler if dealing with a slow-working pitcher or batter.

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Re: Referees

#12 Post by bschultz » Fri Mar 24, 2017 10:07 am

JaySanderson wrote:I I also believe that it's vital for announcers to know the rules.
I like Brian Anderson's work. Last night bugged me though. He (on two occasions) said that "over the back" was called. Try to find that in the rule book! Those three words are never mentioned in ANY basketball rule book...back to back to back!

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Re: Referees

#13 Post by RadioPat1982 » Fri Mar 24, 2017 11:55 am

Are you referring to an "over the back" foul"? If that is the case, Anderson is simply adding in what caused the foul to happen. Like being called for a "push off", "moving screen" or "hand check". All three are officially personal fouls according to the rule book.

I've heard the over the back term used at every level so I am not sure if I am following what you are referring he did wrong?

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Re: Referees

#14 Post by pbpisfun » Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:08 pm

LA_Riot wrote:I frequently hear broadcasters announce the names of the referees in a given game. I've never understood this. The names mean nothing to 99% of your listeners and to me it's useless filler. Unless a coach or player has a known rift with an official, think Tim Duncan and Joey Crawford, the information just seems pointless. I suppose it could also be relevant in a few other very extreme cases, but those instances are rare. I'm curious what other people's thoughts are on this.
Totally depends on what level you're calling a game. If you're doing a high school game and Tom Johnson (local middle school PE teacher) is earning $55 to do the varsity game your calling that night, then you're probably correct. No one cares about it and he probably doesn't need to be ID'd.

But, at higher levels, when guys are making six figures per year (both NBA and NCAA), I think it is necessary to tell listeners who is officiating. Die hard NBA and NCAA fans know many of the officials, some know their history, etc. Telling listeners who the refs are is simply part of broadcasting a game, much like describing how full the stands are, what color are the uniforms, what is the hometown of the point guard, etc. All part of telling the story.
Last edited by pbpisfun on Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Referees

#15 Post by pbpisfun » Fri Mar 24, 2017 12:12 pm

bschultz wrote:
JaySanderson wrote:I I also believe that it's vital for announcers to know the rules.
I like Brian Anderson's work. Last night bugged me though. He (on two occasions) said that "over the back" was called. Try to find that in the rule book! Those three words are never mentioned in ANY basketball rule book...back to back to back!
What do you mean? Of course "over the back" isn't is the rule book. But, why can't that used to describe the foul? "Hacked on the arm" isn't in the rule book, but if an announcer said that, would you be bugged? Or, if you heard the radio guy say "slapped him on the wrist" or "bumped him on the hip" or "grabbed his jersey" would any of those bug you? None of those are in the rule book, either.

"Over the back" doesn't have to be in the rulebook to be an effective descriptive measure in a broadcast. It simply means the offending player made contact with the guy who was trying to box him out, slammed into his back and committed a foul. Fairly simple, really.

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