Wouldn't It Be Nice...

By Leonard Shapiro
Special to washingtonpost.com
Monday, December 24, 2007; 8:24 PM

'Tis the season, and with Sports Waves merging on to the information super-highway right on Christmas Day, what better time for our traditional "wouldn't it be nice" column to close out another year of sports broadcasting in 2007.

Wouldn't it be nice to offer a welcome back "boo-yah" to ESPN's Stuart Scott, who returned to work last week after an emergency appendectomy last month revealed a malignant tumor? Perhaps Scott now could do us all a favor and come up with another signature expression.

Wouldn't it be nice to wish ESPN's Dick Vitale a speedy recovery from recent vocal cord surgery that should not have an impact on his college hoops decibel level when he returns some time in February? Still, we'd all be most appreciative if Dicky V. turned it down just a notch anyway when he returns.

Wouldn't it be nice if Lou Holtz never again was assigned to do color commentary on a college football game? He unloaded every cliché in his extensive repertoire during Navy's loss to Utah last Wednesday night in the Poinsettia Bowl, and ESPN needs to ban him to the studio -- or better yet, from the studio and off the air -- in perpetuity.

Wouldn't it be nice to hear George Michael say "now hear this" one more time -- well, many more times -- on Channel 4?

Wouldn't it be nice to give Channel 7 some credit for overtaking Channel 4 in the 11 o'clock news ratings (though I can't imagine rah-rah sportscaster Tim Brant had all that much to do with the turnaround)? Rather, no more Michael and no more Arch Campbell at Channel 4 surely had much to do with WJLA surge.

Wouldn't it be nice to give credit to former Nasty Nick Faldo for becoming one of the more engaging golf analysts on television, and for Golf Channel anchor Kelly Tilghman for silencing all those skeptics who wondered if a woman could handle play-by-play in a big-time sport? She can.

And wouldn't it be nice if more women, like talented Maryland grad Pam Ward on ESPN, were given the same chance in other sports?

Wouldn't it be nice to give credit to ESPN veteran Brent Musburger for adding NASCAR to his long list of sports broadcasting accomplishments, and for still maintaining his unbridled enthusiasm on any assignment he gets?

Wouldn't it be nice to give Comcast host and multi-talented anchorman Russ Thaler a pat on the back for handling a tough assignment with great aplomb -- making a bunch of ink-stained sportswriters look as if they're semi-comfortable in front of the camera on Comcast SportsNet's daily hour-long Washington Post Live? Now, if Thaler could just get guests to start disagreeing with each other instead of being so damned polite, the show might move up a notch.

Wouldn't it be nice to hear Frank Herzog say "Touchdown, Washington Redskins" one more time? Perhaps he could somehow slip it in when he shows up as a semi-regular anchor on all-news 103.5 FM.

Wouldn't it be nice if network cameras no longer zoomed in on contrived celebrations not only after touchdowns, but virtually every routine play? Out of sight, out of mind and maybe it would put an end to all the look-at-me silly stuff.

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