Friday, January 18, 2008

Has Dave O'Brien called his last soccer match?

Dave O'Brien might be out of ESPN's booth if rumors from the MLS SuperDraft are to be believed. According to Soccer by Ives lead man, the buzz last night at the bar was a change a comin':
Another popular subject last night was word that Eric Wynalda and Dave O'Brien are being replaced as U.S. national team and major MLS game commentators for ESPN. A team of JP Dellacamera, Bruce Arena and John Harkes was being rumored to take over. Let me be the first to say that Dellacamera as national team play-by-play guy can't happen soon enough. He's the best in the business. Let me also say that the three-man booth model just doesn't work for soccer. Hopefully someone realizes this eventually. This hasn't been made official yet by ESPN though so stay tuned for confirmation.
Let me be as diplomatic about this as possible, 'it is about time.'

O'Brien is a talented sportscaster but his skills do not work well with soccer. As far as Eric Wynalda, he would do better as half-time host (or maybe his own show), because most of his call during games was more commentary on items not really related to the game in front of him.

What about the 'new' guys? JP Dellacamera is fantastic and will give the games the punch they need. John Harkes will bring a wonderful knowledge of the game to the booth. Bruce Arena, um, yeah.

I don't mean to hit Arena, but his time as a broadcaster has not been that spectacular. He does bring a huge amount of knowledge with him but he just doesn't have that great of a voice. Also, why is ESPN sticking with three in the booth? Have two in the booth, one on the pitch and a half-time analyst and everything is covered.

Still, if they go with Arena as the third, it will still be an improvement. As my wife said, "I can handle one million Arenas if it means no O'Brien!"

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn't agree with the "I can handle one million Arenas if it means no O'Brien!" more. Smart lady.

7:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

O'Brien I'm sure is a nice fellow and it's admirable the way he hung tough despite the avalanche of criticism. He does have a point about us 'purists.' But I'll be glad to see him go. Give him credit for trying, but it just wasn't a good fit.

The problem with ESPN isn't so much the commentary team; it's the production as a whole. All the crap across the top of the screen. The crawl showing the coming night's NBA and NHL games, over and over and over again. Waiting until the game has begun to show the starting lineups and substitutes. The headshot interview clips interspersed into the live action. And bad commentary. There are just so many irritating things that make the overall viewing experience so annoying. Like many, we watched WC 06 on Univision.

As for Wynalda, he is an idiot, and I mean that in the most charitable sense.

JP is OK, tried and true, knows his stuff. If we can keep Harkes from slipping into his poser Brit routine, he'll be OK too. Three in the booth is too crowded, and Arena's coachspeak doesn't add much.

8:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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9:06 PM  

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