Friday, April 15, 2005

A Sports Night

Before and after "Survivor" on Thursday -- and sometimes during the commercial breaks -- I was flipping among some sports: Indians-White Sox, Red Sox-Yankees, Cavs-Knicks and Heat-76ers. I stayed up for the end of the 76ers game, which went to overtime, because it affected the Cavs' playoff situation. Also, because it was a pretty good game.
Cavs-Knicks was another matter, one of those games where you wonder if the Cavs seriously want to win, if the long season and lots of playing time have finally worn out LeBron James. Austin Carr said on TV after the game that the Cavs played as if they thought they could take out the Knicks any time; obviously, they ran out of time.
Watching that game and some other recent Cavs fiascos made me think how tough it is to be announcer for a team that isn't doing well; a long, bad season can be numbing, and a letdown has to come when a slow slide hits a team that earlier showed signs of vigor.
It reminded me of a chat I had with Michael Reghi a couple of years ago, on the eve of LeBron's arrival in the pros.
Reghi was recalling that Cavs' previous season, where they won 17 games, and the year he had just had as an announcer for the 71-91 Baltimore Orioles. He joked that he was ''the losingest play-by-play man in sports.'' And what do you do then?
''You find yourself working even harder,'' Reghi said. ''You have to create something interesting on a nightly basis.''
That's pretty much the way teams should think, too.

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