By Norman Chad
Monday, March 26, 2007
In the midst of a stellar career, Jim Nantz is having a career year. CBS Sports' No. 1 voice is about to become the only broadcaster to announce the Super Bowl, the Final Four and the Masters in the same year.
The 47-year-old deserves plaudits, but Couch Slouch wonders about CBS's press release headlined "Jim Nantz On A Run Unlike Any Other" that refers to his "incredible" and "historic 63-day sprint."
Uh, he's broadcasting some ballgames.
To keep Nantz's voyage in perspective, here is a casual listing of five other remarkable journeys:
*Jules Verne's "Around the World in 80 Days:" Between Oct. 2 and Dec. 20, 1872, Phileas Fogg went from London to Suez, Egypt; Bombay; Calcutta; Singapore; Hong Kong; Shanghai; Yokohama, Japan; San Francisco; New York and Dublin. He did this without jetliners, without travel agents, without Rand McNally and without a Day Runner.
*Marco Polo: In the late 13th century, he spent 17 years exploring China with his father and his father's brother. Have you ever traveled with relatives for even a long weekend? Jerry Seinfeld and his Uncle Leo could barely make it through a meal together; Marco suffered his Uncle Maffeo nearly two decades! Plus -- no basic cable package anywhere, no phone service and, before they reached the commercial city of Yanghou, Marco had no experience with chopsticks.
*Alexander the Great: Over a 13-year period beginning in 336 B.C., "The Big A" -- as he was tabbed in the tabloids -- conquered the Persian Empire, including Anatolia, Syria, Phoenicia, Judea, Gaza, Egypt, Bactria and Mesopotamia, then continued eastward as far as the Punjab, hoping to find the edge of the world. His unrelenting military march was popularly referred to as "The Road to the Final Frontier."
*Robert Peary: He was the first explorer to reach the North Pole, on April 6, 1909. Well, actually, subsequent examination indicated that Peary likely was short of the pole by up to 50 miles, but some polar cognoscenti -- citing the "in the neighborhood" precedent observed on double plays in baseball -- believe you still have to give it to him.
*Hannibal: He marched over the Alps into Italy -- over the Alps-- in 218 B.C. with tens of thousands of infantrymen and war elephants. Elephants! Over mountains!!! Clearly, the No. 1 Carthaginian commander of all-time.
Against this backdrop, CBS Sports is trumpeting Nantz's "historic 63-day sprint." Historic 63-day sprint? He's not landing on the moon or sailing solo across the Pacific or even flagpole sitting on a windy day -- he's simply broadcasting three big sporting events over a two-month period.
He's not flying on Southwest and he's not staying in Super 8s.
He's sitting rather comfortably in a broadcast booth, alongside rotating partners Phil Simms, Billy Packer and Nick Faldo -- granted, Packer can be problematic -- calling the action on football, basketball and golf.
He gets warm weather everywhere: Super Bowl XLI was in Miami, the Final Four is in Atlanta and the Masters is in Augusta, Ga.
And on the final leg of this arduous journey, CBS says: "Tuesday morning after the [basketball] title game . . . Nantz will take a leisurely two-hour drive across the state of Georgia to the majestic setting of Augusta National Golf Club to call his 22nd Masters."
What, you think he's driving? Nantz hasn't seen a rental car counter since Hertz was featuring AMC Gremlins.
So let's everyone keep our pants on about Nantz wandering the world, calling the Super Bowl, the Final Four and the Masters in short order. Lewis and Clark, he's not. Besides, the CBS folks don't even mention Nantz also co-hosted "Super Bowl's Greatest Commercials" last month with Daisy Fuentes.
Now, that's some historic broadcasting.
Ask The Slouch
Q. I read in the New York Times that Suns guard Leandro Barbosa eats a mixture of raw cow's liver and beans every day to give him energy. Do you have any dietary recommendations? (Joe Boggs; Memphis)
A. What, suddenly you believe everything you read in the New York Times? Please. Barbosa likes to eat chili dogs, pork rinds and Twinkies.
Q. With two NBA teams fined for having inappropriate conversations about Kevin Durant, I had to wonder if any newspapers ever were penalized for improper dialogue in the intense recruiting war for your services? (Mark Concannon; Milwaukee)
A. No, but the Wall Street Journal got an injunction preventing me from coming within 500 feet of its entrance.
Q. Dolphins linebacker Joey Porter supposedly punched Bengals lineman Levi Jones at a Las Vegas casino. When did blackjack become a contact sport? (Adam Jeffries; Bellaire, Tex.)
A. Hey, Jones kept hitting on 12 with the dealer showing a 6 -- what is Porter supposed to do?
Q. What does CBS's Bill Raftery do when he's not imploding during college basketball games? (Dan Herbert; Fairfax)
A. He lives on Mars, where I believe he is a cattle caller.
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