The Full 90

Less is a lot more on a soccer broadcast

I heard something wonderful during a Bundesliga game on Sunday.


The game between Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund on GolTV was called by just one announcer — England’s Phil Bonney.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s all you need for a soccer game.

This is not a shot at Sasha Victorine, who does a nice job on Wizards games. It’s just a matter of preference.

I like the announcer to keep the talk to a minimum, and Bonney went sometimes 20 seconds without saying a word. That’s unheard of during an American broadcast, where there are usually two people in the booth.

In many American football, baseball and basketball broadcasts here in the States, there is a play-by-play guy and a color analyst. With all of the breaks in the action in those sports, it makes sense to have one person analyze what we’ve just seen.

But it’s not needed in soccer. As Bonney and other lone announcers have shown, you can easily call the action and then scrutinize what went right or wrong during the replay.

Can you imagine going to a soccer game and having the guy next to you blather on the whole time? You’d want to slug that person.

I sometimes have to hit mute when GolTV decides to let Phil Schoen and Ray Hudson* do games. In particular, Hudson reminds me of Dick Vitale.

*Gooch note: I believe that Pete, like everyone, is completely wrong on Hudson. I relish the games he calls simply because he is a modern comedic genius. I also like Max Bretos. I might have issues.

Some people love Vitale, but his exuberance is too much for me to take. Ditto for Hudson, who comes up with some great one-liners but does far too much grunting, moaning and screaming during games.

Just give me one competent announcer and I’m happy watching the action on the field.

What are you thoughts? Do you prefer one or two announcers?

| Pete Grathoff,