Spending all Sunday watching NFL games and drinking a few brews can sometimes send your conversations into uncharted territory. As such, I ended up getting into a discussion with a friend about how if Morgan Freeman sentenced me to life in prison, it wouldn’t bother me because anything Morgan Freeman says is awesome. Who else can turn an entire movie about emperor penguin mating habits in Antarctica into must-see material? I remember thinking, “Who the heck is Azeem? He’s not one of the Merry Men,” when watching Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. You know why I let it go? Because it’s Morgan Freeman!
The conversation further degenerated into, “Who would you want to provide your personal greeting for your office answering machine?” Naturally, I couldn’t decide between James Earl Jones or Peter Cullen (the voice of Optimus Prime). That finally brings us to the point of this article. In the same spirit as my previous bar debate, if I had to get locked up, what sports broadcaster would I want to sentence me to prison? Here is my top ten.
1. John Madden
How can this not be #1? The explanation of obvious situations, the random use of the word BOOM, and hopefully the use of a telestrator somewhere.I picture my sentencing looking something like this:
“If you see Mr. Mackman here, he runs out of the store with the merchandise, and the police have Tampa 2 perimeter set up. Mr. Mackman is going to try to run left, but that lane is closed. You have two officers here, and two offers over here. So, when Mackman makes his move, BOOM! Excellent defense, and Mackman gets caught red handed. I think the jury will agree on this sentencing because without jury agreement you can’t have a sentencing. I’m requesting 5 years in jail, and no probation. BOOM!” He’d then call for recess so we could share a giant turducken, and explain to everyone it’s, “Where you stuff a chicken into a duck, and then you stuff that inside a turkey, which you stuff inside your oven, which is stuffed inside your kitchen, which is stuffed inside your home.”
2. Bob Uecker
Those who are not Milwaukee Brewers fans don’t realize the joy of listening to Mr. Baseball do a real broadcast. He’s not over-the-top like his Harry Doyle persona in Major League and Major League II (Major League III: Back to the Minors doesn’t exist in my book), but he’s genuinely knowledgeable about the game and darn funny in his own right.
Bob’s breakdown of my crimes would sound like, “Next up is Ryan Mackman. A 33-year-old male out of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. Charged with a multitude of offenses including robbery and most nose hairs. When he was first arrested, he was rather truculent. He told me I didn’t even know what that word meant! I said, ‘If you have a truck, and you let me borrow it, that would be a truck you leant.’ I request 5 years for assault and grand theft. Get up, get up, get outta here, gone!”
Next baseball season, even if you live in Chicago, you can still tune in to Milwaukee’s 620 WTMJ and catch “Uke.” I promise it’s worth it.
3. Marv Albert
Marv Albert would probably draw attention to himself before anything regarding my case gets discussed. Marv would sit down in his robes and say, “Hi, I’m Judge Marv Albert alongside ten-year veteran bailiff Rusty Burrell.” Once he’s sure we know who he is, and he knows his toupee is on straight, he’d introduce the defendant in a nasally New York accent:
“Here, at 5’7” and 160 pounds, out of the University of Florida is Ryan Mackman. The courts are charging him with criminal negligence among a slew of other offenses. We’re going to take a look at the security tape to ensure accuracy of the story. Here is Mr. Mackman trying to escape the police, and Oh! What a spectacular move by Mackman as he drives right by three officers to get outside of the building! There are four more officers waiting outside for him. Will they get him? YES!”
Unfortunately, we know this would never happen because you can’t get Marv Albert into a court room. It reminds him too much of 1997.
4. Mike “Doc” Emrick
“Doc” Emrick seems to know everything about everything. He does yell quite a bit, but appropriately so, unlike Gus Johnson, who would yell about anything at any given time. Emrick likes to dig up unusual facts about the hockey players he talks about, and as a judge, his approach would be no different.
“Our defendant spent the better part of 2006-2010 with two NHL clubs, but he has no playoff experience on his resume. It stands to reason that could be the cause of his appearance in court today. As all the evidence piles up against him, it seems unlikely Mr. Mackman will walk away from this scot free. You will be sentenced to five years in prison, and the police will put you in the paddy wagon, and take a drive downtown!”
5. Keith Jackson
Keith is a bit old school, and relatively understated unless he needs to be otherwise. I don’t see Keith coming in with any antics because that just isn’t his way. You won’t get any Judge Lance Ito theatrics, and I doubt the overall court proceedings would be significantly different from the norm. However, as I get taken away, I do believe I’d hear, “Goodbye! …and hello jailhouse! Whoa Nellie!”
Hey, few years in the slammer might not be so bad if that was your sendoff. I’d request a TV and watch replays of Desmond Howard striking “the pose” the first few nights.
6. Mel Allen
Unfortunately Mel Allen is no longer with us, but he was one of the greats. Even Yankee haters had to respect his style and broadcasting ability. Most people my age outside of the New York area remember Mel more for starting This Week in Baseball than anything else. I still remember waking up early to watch TWiB and NBA Inside Stuff on the weekends. So, if you don’t recognize the face, you’ll definitely recognize Mel’s voice as he sends me to the clink with an exclamation of, “How about that?!”
7. Harry Caray
Another great broadcaster that has since passed away. You know this one would be entertaining. It’s hard to predict what Harry would say because while he was great, some people think he was drunk half the time he was on air.
If I was on trial for theft, I could see him saying to my lawyer, “I really don’t condone stealing. I mean it’s like the time I opened a box of Cracker Jacks, and there wasn’t a prize inside. I don’t know what the deal is about Cracker Jacks is. You ever go and buy a pack of Cracker Jacks, thinking you’d get a prize, and find no prize in the box? That might not sound important to some people, but when you’re a kid from humble origins…and they cheat you out of a prize… it’s hard to think in laudatory terms of the product. That’s the most asinine piece of marketing I’ve ever heard of.”
Somehow I get the feeling he would get the jury to sing Take Me Out to the Ballgame during recess, which would be capped off with Harry yelling, “Let’s get some verdicts!” Finally I’d be sentenced, and we’d get a, “Hey! Hey! You’re outta here! It’s over! Holy Cow!” Court would adjourn, and I’d be forced to watch 5 years worth of Cubs baseball in my cell just to add insult to injury.
8. Al Michaels
Remember when I said I’d want Peter Cullen or James Earl Jones to do my voicemail greeting? I changed my mind. Al Michaels can do it. No, really, he already did it for a TMZ cameraman. Knowing Al is that much of a stand-up guy, I know he’d be hard on me in court. I also think he’d be a good judge because he seems to be versatile. He’s done the NFL, Major League Baseball, Olympic Ice Hockey, and he was the announcer for MindSpan/Accolade’s Hardball series on the computer in the early 90s (ah, PC computer games, who plays those anymore?).
Al would do the entire trial pretty straight unless the atmosphere warranted any jocular banter. It’s what he has done in nearly every Monday Night and Thursday Night Football broadcast. Would it be exciting for those watching the trial? Doubtful, but he’s an all-time favorite of mine. I suppose he could just ask me, “Do you believe in miracles?” Then laugh, and say, “no,” before I headed off to the Big House (not the one in Ann Arbor).
9. Vin Scully
Vin Scully seems to do justice to anything he talks about. His cadence always seems to be even and measured. “Looking at this young man, you would think he has a bright future ahead of him,” he would say to me. “I can’t see why you would commit a crime when you have other things going for you in life. Unfortunately, I’m going to send you to the hoosegow [I don’t know why I think he’d use this word, but I do].”
Interviewed by the media after the trial, Vin would tell reporters, “I really didn’t think a guy like that could do what he did. Really. I don’t believe what I just saw.”
10. Andres Cantor
You think you’ve never heard of this guy, but you have. He might be the only soccer broadcaster you know, and he’s the only guy who would send me to the pen by stating, “Guilty and sentenced to five years in Jaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilllllllllllllllllllllllllllll, Jaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilllllllllllllllllllllllllllll, Jaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiilllllllllllllllllllllllllllll!” I just picture myself celebrating, during the ride, the whole way there in my orange jumpsuit.
Honorable Mentions: Ernie Harwell, Jack Buck, Dr. Jack Ramsay, Gary Thorne, Kirk Herbstreit, and Martin Tyler
Ryan Mackman has never been to jail, but he has received a speeding ticket or two while driving in Wisconsin. You can follow him on Twitter at @rmackman.
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