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Scott D. Pierce: Let's hear it for sportscasters who don't lead cheers

Published March 7, 2017 6:34 pm

Sports on TV • BYUtv's team and RSL analyst Brian Dunseth both play it down the middle.
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Some fans want sportscasters to cheer for the home team. Those fans aren't happy when it's pointed out that, no, not every foul against their team is a bad call and, yes, sometimes the opponents play well.

You run into these folks at every game. And they make noise on social media.

I was at a football game years ago when the visitors picked up an incomplete pass and ran it in for a TD. A guy in front of us bellowed at the refs; my friend and I remarked that it had been a backward pass — a lateral — and the right call; the guy then bellowed at us.



Ah, fans. You've got to love them. Or not.

I personally want sportscasters to do their jobs. To tell us what's actually happening.

Yes, a lot of it is opinion — whether it's about how well a player is performing, a coach's decisions or a ref's calls.

But if you're going to complain about every call made or missed, I'm going to tune you out. Which is why I have a tough time listening to more than one local radio station's gamecasts.

Fortunately for local viewers, we don't have a lot of over-the-top homers on TV. Even where you might expect to find them.

I've written it before, but it bears repeating — BYUtv generally does an excellent job of playing it down the middle, even when the Cougars are involved. The BYUtv coverage of the West Coast Conference men's and women's basketball tournaments has been top quality.

If you happened to tune in to watch a game — and there was no BYUtv logo — I very much doubt you'd realize that it was a telecast tied to one of the participating teams.

Maybe Dave McCann and Blaine Fowler knew more about the Cougars than they did Loyola Marymount when they called BYU's men's win in the WCC quarterfinals Saturday, but that was about the only indication. And they didn't do anything that came close to cheerleading for the Cougars.

That even was true on Tuesday, when the BYU women turned a seven-point halftime lead over St. Mary's into a 10-point loss. You never would have known that play-by-play man Spencer Linton was working for BYU.

OK, if you really were looking for it, yes, you could have heard the annoyance — with the team and officials — in the voice of analyst Kristen Kozlowski (a former Cougar player) at times. But you really had to be looking for it.

Not that former players can't be evenhanded. Real Salt Lake analyst Brian Dunseth always has called it like he sees it.

RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando took down Toronto FC's Sebastian Giovinco in the 29th minute of the season opener Saturday, and Dunseth agreed with the referee's decision to yellow-card Rimando and give Toronto a penalty kick.

"That's the correct call," he said immediately, then pointed out the poor play by the RSL defense that led to Giovinco getting free and going in one-on-one on Rimando. Which is not what you'd hear from a homer.

For what it's worth, I agree with Dunseth. The ref got it right. And Dunseth didn't back away from his analysis in postgame wrapup — although he did acknowledge that he was getting "murdered" on Twitter. By RSL fans, of course. But he stood his ground.

I think Dunseth is a superior TV soccer analyst. I don't always agree with him, but I'm a — yes — fan.

I do sometimes wonder how good he'd be if he wasn't distracted by all the tweeting he does during games.

Scott D. Pierce covers TV for The Salt Lake Tribune. Email him at spierce@sltrib.com; follow him on Twitter @ScottDPierce.

 

 

 

 

 

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