Saturday, May 20, 2006


Quite a bit of rumbling about the Mychal Thompson post below. (E-mail link on the right or comment below if you want to join in.) Most of you seem to love Mychal and think it would be great to have him back. A couple took the opportunity to agree that the Blazers are jobbing guys like Wheels. But then a bunch of you (ok...three) wrote to ask the inevitable question: What about Mike Rice?

Let me preface this by saying that I've lived outside of the local broadcast area for several years, so my exposure to the team has been on dish and the occasional live game. That means that until this season when he took over the TV commentator spot, I hadn't heard Rice since his early years. So this should probably be taken with a grain of salt.

I find Mike Rice amusing at times, maybe even endearing. It's like somebody gave a microphone to your crazy uncle Harry (you know, the one who always makes those dull holiday gatherings so interesting) and told him to go call the game. You never know what you're going to get. That said, back when he was new Mike used to go into a fair amount of detail in his analysis. Nowadays it seems he's become more character than color guy. He reminds me of one of those big-headed drawings you can get at the can see the original stuff still there, but it's comically out of proportion. He seems to have followed the Bill Walton school of exaggeration and ridiculousness. And I don't think it's for the better. I still find him somewhat likeable, but it gets old after awhile. (Uncle Harry is fun on Thanksgiving, but 82 times a year?) I find myself wanting the old Mike Rice back.

On the positive side, I really did respect the couple of times this year when he actually called guys out during the broadcast for their ineptitude on the court. It didn't happen often, but at least he had the guts to do it. I'm not sure it was intentional either...if he had thought about it first he probably would have bit his tongue and told another joke. (Because clearly the Blazers want cheerleaders in the booth nowadays.) But every once in a while someone would make a play so horrendous that it brought out the old coach in him, and out it came. I also admired his continuing passion for the development of Travis Outlaw's game. That's the kind of thing that makes you think there might still be hope for the guy. (Rice, that is.)

If I had my choice, I'd have Mike back on the radio side, especially if he's going to keep his current style. I think it plays better on the radio where you can't actually see what's going on (and all the things he's missing and/or exaggerating). If he is back on TV, I'd like a little more detail and a little less yuk-yuk. Maybe that's just my taste though.



Anonymous Lance Uppercut said...

If Rice has to have a job with the Blazers, I'd prefer it to be on TV, if for no other reason than I love to see him lick his huge dentures during the post-game wrap up. What Blazer broadcasting really needs is someone to temper Mike Barrett's extra homerism.

6:22 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Yeah, well I'm trying to be nice to Mike. I really don't want to dislike him. It's just the work he does is so...smarmy.

Barrett does seem to get worse each year with his homerism. He started out ok, but it's gotten out of hand (just like Rice's personality). I can't help but think, though, that the Blazers are basically spoon feeding them those directions. But then Pete Pranica (though I liked him better) was also a total homer. And Pat Lafferty. Remember him? Eddie Doucette wasn't bad but I guess he didn't quite have the personality. Not entirely sure why they got rid of him.

(sigh) Are there any old-school, supposedly neutral, "let the game be the game" broadcasters left anymore? Next thing you know it'll be good ol' J.R. and the King in the booth.


9:02 PM  
Blogger Dave said...

Of course that WOULD match the professional wrestling-level referees perfectly...


1:17 AM  

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