Monday, July 27, 2015

Jim Nantz working as an NBA analyst in the 1980s

Before getting his shot at the network level, Jim Nantz worked as the analyst on Utah Jazz local telecasts for a few seasons. His play-by-play partner on those games was Hot Rod Hundley.

Here is a Jazz game from March 1985 called by this tandem. The game against the Chicago Bulls was televised by KSL-TV in Salt Lake City as part of a radio simulcast. Considering that he has been one of the preeminent play-by-play voices for the past few decades, I found it intriguing to hear a young Nantz as an analyst (essentially filling the old-fashioned color commentator role).

A season later, Nantz was serving as a play-by-play announcer on some regional NBA playoff telecasts on CBS.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Shot chart from ESPN final round of Open Championship telecast - 2015

I tracked the shots shown by ESPN during the Monday round of the Open Championship. I started tracking at 9am ET and ended when the final putt was holed in regulation play at 1:50. ESPN showed 358 shots during this period which worked out to 1.23 strokes per minute - a sizable increase over the ESPN shot rate of 1.01 from the 2014 Open Championship.

This was also a higher shot rate than I tracked for CBS from the 2015 Masters and Fox from the 2015 US Open, but trailed the rate that NBC showed during the 2015 Players. The Masters post contains links to the shot charts I did for the 2014 majors.

ESPN showed only 16 golfers during the tracking period, focusing primarily on 8 players who were shown for at least 23 shots. With Jordan Spieth in contention for a third consecutive major, ESPN covered all but four strokes from his round. The highest finishers not shown during the tracking period were Justin Rose and Danny Willett who were both part of the tie for 6th place.

Note: ESPN obviously showed all 49 strokes from the playoff, but I didn't count those in the tracking in order to provide a truer comparison to other tournaments.

Here is the complete shot chart:

PlayerShots shownFinishPairing
Jordan Spieth65 (of 69)T42
Louis Oosthuizen51T21
Jason Day50T42
Marc Leishman43T23
Zach Johnson40 (*)17
Adam Scott26T106
Sergio Garcia24T64
Paul Dunne23 (#)T301
Padraig Harrington15T203
Jordan Niebrugge8T64
Ashley Chesters4T1014
Luke Donald3T1222
Anthony Wall2T1211
Hideki Matsuyama2T1812
Matt Jones1T3015
Ollie Schniederjans1T1225

* includes a shot from hole 2 (before the tracking period) which ESPN showed on a highlight package during the tracking period
# includes two provisional strokes televised by ESPN on hole 2

Note: The Pairing column reflects the tee time groupings in reverse order, so 1 =  final pairing, 2 = next-to-last, etc.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Longest gap between games called by an announcer team

Bob Costas and Tim McCarver will almost certainly set a "record" tonight when they call the Padres-Cardinals game on MLB Network. As best as I can tell, this will mark the longest gap between games on national TV networks for the same announcer team at 33 seasons. This duo last worked together in 1982 (see note below).

So which team holds the standard they are about to break? According to my research, that would be the 25 season gap for Jim Nantz and Bill Raftery on college basketball. CBS paired them in 2015 on the #1 crew after they had last called a game together in 1990.

Here are the longest such gaps that I found (while looking at MLB, NFL, NBA, CBB, and CFB on national TV networks):

33: Bob Costas, Tim McCarver  1982 (NBC) - 2015 (MLBN)

Note: A recent MLBN press release claims that Bob and Tim last worked together in 1980 calling two games on NBC that season. However the SABR network TV database (which is based on the historical announcer research at credits Costas and McCarver with working one game in 1980 and one in 1982. For the purposes of this post, I am trusting the info from SABR/506sports and suspect that the MLBN press release is incorrect.

25: Jim Nantz, Bill Raftery  1989-90 (CBS) - 2014-15 (CBS)

This gap is even more remarkable when you consider that both Nantz and Raftery worked for CBS during the entire time period.

23: Jim Simpson, Bill Raftery  1981-82 (ESPN) - 2004-05 (ESPNCL)

In 2005, ESPN Classic aired a series of Turn Back the Clock games with vintage graphics and brought back Jim Simpson (who had been a mainstay in the early ESPN years) to call the games. As far as I know, the last time Simpson worked with Raftery was this 1982 Big East matchup (although I don't have complete ESPN announcer listings for the 1980s).

19: Dick Enberg, Billy Packer, Al McGuire  1980-81 (NBC) - 1999-00 (CBS)

This is the longest gap I found for an announcer trio. After working on NBC through the 1981 NCAA Tournament, 19 seasons elapsed before CBS put them in the booth for a reunion game in 2000. Of course, Enberg and McGuire called many games as a duo during this gap.

17: Bob Costas, Bob Uecker  1997 (NBC) - 2014 (MLBN)

MLBN has added intrigue to its telecasts in recent seasons by using some old-school broadcasters. Bob Uecker had last worked with Costas during the 1997 postseason.

15: Dick Stockton, Matt Millen 2000 (Fox) - 2015 (Fox)
13: Curt Gowdy, Al DeRogatis  1975 (NBC) - 1988 (NBC)
10: Curt Gowdy, Merlin Olsen  1978 (NBC) - 1988 (NBC)

<UPDATE 1/22/2016 - Added the Stockon-Millen gap.>

Dick Stockon and Matt Millen were reunited in the Fox NFL booth for a 2015 game after having last worked together on a playoff game after the 2000 season.

During the 1988 Summer Olympics, NBC brought back some legendary announcers to fill in on September and October NFL games while much of its regular talent roster was at the Seoul games. This reunited Curt Gowdy and Al DeRogatis for a few games 13 seasons after they last worked together which was the longest NFL gap I found.

Note: This is not the easiest topic to research, so if you know of any announcer team gaps spanning at least 10 seasons which are missing from this list, please let me know.