When Brent tries to combine blogging and ranking things it leads to sobs and cries from the nether regions of the blogosphere. But, never one to let Brent claim sole credit for irrationally foisting his opinion on everyone I set out to accomplish something even more daring. Writing a blog and ranking MEANINGLESS things.
There may be value in insight from a man with a wealth of soccer knowledge at his fingertips, particularly when he illuminates the murky underbelly of World Class Soccer (though if you rub the underbelly of World Class Soccer its tail will wag with glee). There is, however, no value at all in a man with no knowledge of the difficulties of soccer commentary ranking the ESPN soccer commentators. Yet, that's precisely what I'm about to do.
Ranking ESPN's broadcast teams:
4th--Glen Davis and Shep Messing--Harsh, irritating and vaguely moronic. These are two announcers broadcasting from Bristol Connecticut and it's pretty clear that they are suffering from a five second delay. It's like watching the game on mute with your buddies and having them call the game for you. They're not telling you anything you don't already know and, what's worse, after ninety minutes of your buddies yaking you're ready to bludgeon them with congealed ranch dip. Such, is my loathing of Shep Messing.
3rd--Dave O'Brien and Marcelo Balboa--Matt likes these guys and I find them tolerable for the most part. O'Brien is a pretty fair baseball announcer and he's getting his feet under him in terms of soccer. Balboa's pretty intelligent and can offer enlightening comments from time to time. That said, Balboa is also the most negative announcer on the broadcasts and if I hear him talk about "a professional foul" one more time I'll be flying to Germany with my congealed Ranch dip arsenal in order to flail him.
2nd--JP Dellacamera and John Harkes--I actually like Harkes quite a bit. He's intelligent and offers deeper insight into the game than every other color commentator on the crew. The only reason they merit 2nd place is that Dellecammera, the most commonly used soccer announcer in the US remains unctuous and vapid falling into the trap of fixating on one thoroughly unimportant detail when all I want to hear about is the flow of play and who's passing to whom.
1st--Tommy Smyth--There's someone else who broadcasts with Tommy, but it doesn't really matter who it is, because Tommy Smyth (that's Smith, "wid' a 'Y'", as Tommy would say) really is in a class by himself. He doesn't fixate on one thing, flowing along with the game, offering some insight and some comedy alongside it. He develops good banter with whomever he's calling a game with and will usually get excited over the same things that have you on the edge of your seat.
(As long as I'm ranking things here's something else I've been wanting to say)
Least Favorite Player of the Cup: Michael Allback, Swedish Forward. He's come in to two games now, he's had great opportunities in each and he seems to be allergic to finishing. Matt's column about "What Makes a Striker" should be required reading for Allback. Matt could easily finish the chances this guy has had. Heck, my dog with lumps on his stomach could finish the chances this guy has had...and he's a dog...with fatty lumps on his body (which makes him the Ronaldo of the dog world).
Favorite player of the cup (because I do like being Mr. Positive): Christian Mora, Ecuadorian Goalie. This isn't for his talent (though two straight clean sheets isn't shabby), or for his leadership. No, this is because he looks like an 8 year old boy at the county fair. He goes to every game with Ecuadorian flags on his cheeks, it's as if his momma had sat him down in front of a chain smoking, mulleted carnie and asked for a little face paint, then led him onto the field promising McDonald's after the game. So Christian Mora I raise my Happy Meal toy to you, long may your face paint last.