It's the first Sports Waves column of the year 2000, and so, with our annual apologies to the Beach Boys, it's time to ask:
Wouldn't it be nice if network producers and directors would stop aiming their cameras at Washington Redskins owner Daniel M. Snyder and his never identified minions in the box? If I want to see 35-year-old millionaires high-fiving, I'll go to the YMCA basketball court on Rhode Island Avenue.
Wouldn't it be nice if ESPN's sports anchor, Dan Patrick, gave up the beer commercials and at least pretended to be a responsible journalist?
Wouldn't it be nice if his bosses at ESPN (and all networks) just said no to Patrick or any other employee in their so-called sports news operations?
Wouldn't it be nice if Sonny Jurgensen, now a trusted adviser to Snyder, shared even more of his insider's knowledge with viewers watching on Channel 4?
Wouldn't it be nice to say congratulations to George Michael a few months before he celebrates 20 years as the sports director at Channel 4? Love him or loathe him, George still gets your attention, evidenced by the best show and ratings in town.
Wouldn't it be nice if Michael didn't clutter the best sports report in town with wrestling and rodeo lowlights?
Wouldn't it be nice if Jess Atkinson came to Channel 9 in February with a pocketful of original ideas, a nose for news and an instant rapport with anchor Gordon Peterson, to give Michael some Glenn Brenner-like competition?
Wouldn't it be nice if Brett Haber got credit for more than occasionally breaking news stories, arguably the only sportscaster in town who really works at it on a regular basis?
Wouldn't it be nice if Haber also gave up the Redskins' produced-and-paid-for "All Access" gig, no matter how hard he insists it won't compromise his coverage of the team?
Wouldn't it be nice to get off Jim Gray's case about his Pete Rose interview, particularly in light of Rose's crass (and hopeless) attempt to rewrite his own sordid gambling history?
Wouldn't it be nice if Jim Rome took his takes, his smack and his sycophantic callers right off the WTEM airwaves?
Wouldn't it be nice if Washington Wizards HTS announcers Steve Buckhantz and Phil Chenier stopped griping about the officiating?
Wouldn't it be nice if Craig Laughlin added a few more priceless calls to his hokey hockey repertoire?
Wouldn't it be nice if Phil Wood, WTEM's part-time talk show host, was recognized as a genuine baseball scholar, with special emphasis on his knowledge of the old Washington Senators?
Wouldn't it be nice if the Orioles had a single announcer who didn't shill, shill, shill for the home team?
Wouldn't it be nice to recognize so many talented producers and writers behind the cameras around town--Rich Daniel at Channel 7, Larry Duvall at Channel 9, Pat Lackman and Joe Schreiber at Channel 4, Joe Yasharoff at Channel 5 and Ernie Baur at HTS?
Wouldn't it be nice to give credit to News Channel 8 for having the good sense to put two women, Kaye Lake and Joyce Jackson, in featured roles in their sportscasts, along with the Rolodex king, Glenn Harris?
Wouldn't it be nice if all four Washington over-the-air stations added a woman to their on-air teams, either anchoring or reporting?
Wouldn't it be nice if extremely competent play-by-play man Sean McDonough, foolishly fired by CBS to make room for Dick Enberg, hooked up with another network as soon as possible?
Wouldn't it be nice if Charles Barkley did pro basketball for NBC and Turner?
Wouldn't it be nice for Tony Roberts and Johnny Holiday to continue as the voices of Notre Dame football and Maryland sports, respectively, in perpetuity?
Wouldn't it be nice to give Boomer Esiason a little credit for showing steady improvement in his second season on Monday Night Football, despite Norman Chad's often-stated hostility to his fellow Maryland alum?
Wouldn't it be nice if ESPN's "Sports Reporters" added women to its mix?
Wouldn't it be nice if instant replay for NFL officiating went the way of the saber-toothed tiger and the duckbill platypus?
Wouldn't it be nice if Channel 9's Ken Mease got credit for providing the most common sense, no bombast approach to local sports in town?
Wouldn't it be nice if Darrian Chapman cut down on the cliches just a touch, and Wally Bruckner and Chick Hernandez got credit for their enormous energy and admirable versatility?
Wouldn't it be nice if Rene Knott got another chance to do the now-defunct "Norv Turner Show" for the 2000 season, now that Turner will be here for another year?
Wouldn't it be nice if Jerry Glanville rode off into the sunset on his motorcycle, never to be heard or seen on network or cable TV again? Wouldn't it be nicer if he simply borrowed John Madden's bus and took Dick Vitale, Jim Rome, Bill Walton, Sterling Sharpe and Bill Maas along for the ride?
Wouldn't it be nice to wish a happy new year/century/millennium to one and all?