The Top Nine Most Annoying Philadelphia Sports Personalities
What is it about the number 10? I’m tired of it; it’s so predictable. So, I’m going with my Top Nine Most Annoying Philadelphia Sports Media Personalities.
#1 – Barkann, Michael. Comcast SportsNet
By acclimation, Barkann could sweep all nine spots for himself. No one in the Philadelphia sports media community is more of a huckster, so tirelessly, so aggressively, so LOUDLY in love with his own wonderfulness. Michael B. – The Barkmeister! The Barkenenema! The Barkann’t Stop Talking About Me, Mister! Look at me, look at me, oh please, please, please look at me. Love me. Love me. Love me.
#2 – Fadool, Amy. Comcast SportsNet
OK, camp tryouts are over. She did her best. Fadool tried really, really hard. But if viewers need subtitles to understand her marble-mouthed utterances, and if she mis-speaks on every single broadcast, then it’s time to go. I mean I have seen her stop in mid-sentence –more than once – to try a second time to say what she wanted to say the first time. It’s an insult to sports fans to have to wade through such annoying, incompetent work. One more note about Fadool. She needs to hire a fact checker. On the night of September 3rd, when Ryan Howard drove in his 113th run of the season, Fadool reported he had driven in his ‘112th.’ This kind of error is like a print journalist not using spell-check; there’s no excuse for getting it wrong. That’s just bad work. Fadool needs to leave the yard. She’s gotta be OUTTA HERE!!!!!!!!!
#3 – Matthews, Gary. Comcast SportsNet
How painfully bad is this dude? I’ve chronicled his awful-awful-awful work in other posts. What makes Matthews so horrible, and his horrible work so unforgiveable, is that he doesn’t improve. He wallows in the ooze of the pathetically bad, Ad infinitum. His grasp of the obvious is so strong that he chokes ‘obvious’ to death. Bring in the coroner for “The Sarge.” And, Dear Lord, he never stops talking. He goes on and on and on and on babbling about nothing, tell us nothing, making sense of nothing. And so, I am denied the pleasure of watching the Phillies broadcasts with sound for one-third of every game. I have to ‘mute’ the television for my emotional well-being. But, in the interests of making an up-to-date report, I forced myself to watch the middle-three of last night’s game against the Giants – a Phillies 1-0 victory, a gem of a game pitched by Cole Hamels.
Here are three of Matthews’ more memorably stupid, incomprehensible babblings:
1. On Ryan Howard running the bases: “He should be able to move with his feet.” I suppose moving with your elbows didn’t occur to the Sarge.
2. On the work of shortstops: “Shortstop is the busiest position. You have line drives. You have grounders. You have pop-ups.” Now that’s deep. That’s incisive commentary. That’s analysis of the highest order.
3. On Winning Road Games: “In most cases, it’s always difficult to win on the road.” Golly, I’d sure like to know those cases where it’s sometimes easy to win on the road.
Lastly, I’ve (sadly) memorized a beauty of a Raul Ibanez home run call by Matthews. It went like this: “That’ got a little more distance than it’s goin’.” Just a little more, indeed.
#4 – Gudel, Leslie. Comcast SportsNet
It would seem to me, outsider that I am, that the first rule of broadcasting is to have a pleasing voice. But our Leslie’s voice could make serene the sound of group blackboard scratching by the entire population of South Philadelphia. Turning down the volume doesn’t help, at least not much. If you simply must listen, then it’s crucial to put away your china and glassware.
#5 – Missanelli, Mike. ESPN Radio
He’s our Mikey of Eternal Anger. Missanelli must be so unhappy. Maybe his daddy was mean to him. Missanelli is a tireless bore who, by definition, is totally predictable.The only question is when he’ll get fired. The over/under is six months.
#6 – Charry, Rob. WIP Radio
I just went online to have a first look at this guy. You know how radio personalities never look like you think they will? Well, here’s a notable exception. He looks crazed and upset. Angry Rob is second only to Missanelli because he gets so much less air time. But this dude is perpetually pissed-off, and equally perpetually dull, hollow and humdrum. A nasty man.
That’s it. I’m done. I will not continue my self-flagellation with three more paragraphs. But I will honor my commitment by filling out the roster.
#7 – Kram, Mark. Philadelphia Daily News – Does this man have a pulse?
# 8 – Spadaro, Dave. Eagles Digest – His cloyingly transparent kiss-ass defense of everything Eagles, no matter how smelly rotten it is, would make syrup angry. Have you ever witnessed a more pathetic wannabe jock sniffer? Oh you have?
Well, then, that would be Mr. High School Harry, aka #9 – Clark, John. NBC10-TV
There you have it: the nine most annoying sports personalities in Philly. Bring me some Maalox. Hurry.
P.S. I know. I know. No Eskin. No Cataldi. Cataldi deserves his very own slap-him-upside-the-head page, all by himself. On the other hand, many of you love to hate Eskin. I understand. His arrogance, his condescending in your face superior mien, is hard to take. No, it’s often impossible to take. But compare him to the other radio sports talkers, and I think you must agree: no one gets more scoops, no one gets better guests, no one does better interviews, no one goes into the clubhouses and locker rooms, no one does his homework like H. Eskin. Irascible Howie delivers the goods.
Of all the dung heaps that stink-up Philly sports, nothing – nothing – could be more insulting, more sleazy, more upsetting than yesterday’s condemnation by that slime, Cataldi, the WIP talk show hack. Oh, he’s odious.
He made loathsome comments on his “Morning Show” yesterday, impugning both Tim Russert and Tiger Woods. He tramped deep into the sewage of his mind, beyond his already subterranean limits of decency. He’s a slime.
Cataldi is so completely full of himself, so puffed up with a sense of his own importance, that he feels no compunction in condemning anyone at all, just for his own amusement. This Cataldi, this slime, is a real sport.
Once, about 20 years ago, Cataldi had a pedigree. Now he needs a pedicure of the mouth. Or a punch. Where he once had a measure of respect as a beat writer for The Philadelphia Inquirer, now he resides in a bathtub full of his own mucous secretions.
That he’s loud and full of himself doesn’t mean he’s not entertaining. He often is. I admit it. Listening to Cataldi is a guilty pleasure. I can easily enjoy his harangues at the expense of pompous Philly sports owners, most particularly Jeffrey Lurie, and the mysterious, secretive, creepy Phillies landlords.
His transparent tirades, most often a huckster’s shout to boost ratings, are obvious. He is – and I say this with a touch of praise – a skilled ratings manipulator. And oh, is he ever a master of the tease. He is brilliant at peeling off a tasty morsel, holding it tantalizingly just out of reach, keeping us in his grasp while his bosses sell more soap and sleaze.
But yesterday, Cataldi gleefully tossed out piles of invective at Woods, complaining that he wasn’t really hurt, that he was milking his knee surgery for sympathy. Surely, Woods was faking it. All that limping? All that grimacing? Using his driver as a crutch? Oh, Tiger Woods, you’re such a phoney. And Cataldi’s new toady, slurping Hugh Douglas, along with the ever pliant Rhea Hughes, gushed in agreement. All together now: he’s faking-he’s faking-he’s faking! Na na na na na.
For anyone who somehow doesn’t know, Tiger Woods won the U.S. Open yesterday, having competed for 5 days and 91 holes on an obviously damaged and painful left knee. That he hadn’t even walked 18 holes since the Masters in April only underscores his achievement. On a day when his play was less than brilliant, when he was often doubled up in pain, Woods did what a transcendent athlete does: he persevered and somehow found a way to win.
And Cataldi? Cataldi does what a ratings whore does: he infects something good and makes it vulgar for his own egotistical purposes. It was an odorous, transparent attempt to boost ratings and draw attention to his own sad Self.
Here’s an approximation of what Cataldi said: “Can you name people like Tim Russert and Tiger Woods who can do anything and people won’t complain about them?” In other words, Russert and Woods have been so deified by the press that they can get away with any kind of bad behavior. The implication is that Russert and Woods could lie, cheat, and steal without ever having to own up to things. The further implication is that Russert and Woods are too privileged, too high and mighty to have to be accountable for their actions.
Cataldi’s remarks were revolting. The irony is that all of Cataldi’s accusations apply to Cataldi. Cataldi has never known what being an athlete is truly about. Being an athlete is about trying your best. It’s about willing yourself beyond seeming physical limits. It’s about never giving up regardless of circumstance. Sport is about the purity of competition, of finding the finest part of yourself. Of trying your best. Of playing fair. OK, I know, I know that sounds so corny, so hopelessly old fashioned, but it remains true. It will always be true. I don’t care about the users and abusers of performance enhancing drugs. They don’t negate the highest calling of sport: to give it all you have all the time. To respect the sport, to respect your opponent by playing hard and by playing fair.
But Cataldi, the slime, wouldn’t know about that. His conceit wouldn’t allow it. And so he attacked Tiger Woods for his own personal benefit and amusement. Cataldi delightedly belittled what most would agree was one of the finest moment in sports: Tiger Woods relentlessly and endlessly calling on his best, giving his best, in the most pressure packed, dire circumstances, while in visibly agonizing pain. My God, to watch Woods deal with pressure and physical pain was, in the truest sense of the word, awesome. It was awe-inspiring, a rare alchemy of genius and courage mixed together, forming a perfect harmony of mind and body. It was absolutely thrilling to see Woods, in ever deepening adversity, do exactly what he had to do to compete at his highest level – and win!
There’s more. Cataldi, the slime, in utter madness, also demeaned NBC-TV political analyst Tim Russert, the much beloved and stellar political analyst, who died of an apparent heart attack on June14th. Russert was also a great champion. To besmirch this man within days of his death is both horrifying and unforgiveable. By his own words, Cataldi reveals himself to be a man without ethics.
Cataldi, the slime, is man who says he had a breast reduction operation. Apparently, his doctor sliced away his decency, too.
THIS NOTE is being added on the evening after I wrote about Cataldi, the slime. We’ve just learned that Tiger Woods played the U.S. Open with a torn ACL AND with a double stress fracture of his left tibia. So, what do you say everybody, let’s all tune in tomorrow to Angelo and his sycophants for more accusations about Tiger and his “fraudulent” injury. Let’s listen again to how Tiger was so phony, faking all that pain just to gain our sympathy. I, for one, can’t wait for all the hijinks, frivolity, and yuk-yuk-yuks at the expense of a truly courageous athlete.