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Gus Johnson Sucks

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Shut your face.
The Gus Johnson craze is reaching epic proportions these days. Bill Simmons is mostly to blame, I'm convinced, as he threw his weight behind Johnson first by noting that "Johnson could make a chess match exciting." Now seemingly everyone's in love with the way Gus calls college basketball games - an absolutely terrifying trend.

Am I seriously the only person on the planet who wanted to ram nails into my ears during the Louisville-Texas A&M game? Was anyone else even slightly appalled by the way Johnson yelled "EL TEEEEE-GRE! From NEW! YORK! CITY!" after every Sosa basket? (Sosa scored like 80 points, too, so we heard this every 20 seconds.)

I thought I was being paranoid about the love-fest for Gus, but if anything, I may have been underestimating his popularity. Jamie Mottram calls him the "star of these first two rounds." People are compiling All-Time Greatest Gus Johnson calls. It's damn near a phenomenon, and I, for one, am petrified.

The problem with Gus Johnson (okay, one of -many- problems) is that he has absolutely no ability whatsoever to distinguish between the various stages of a basketball game. He peaks about fifteen seconds into the game, then constantly, endlessly amps things back up to that peak level at every possible chance.

A diving save out of bounds? "The heart of a lion! Diving for a shot at glory! A shot at eternity!"

A nice no-look pass to set up a dunk? "Something tells me this man can play a mean game of pinata! No look?!? NO PROBLEM!!!"

It's positively awful - not only because it's so corny, but because it distracts from the game itself. And that's what really bothers me about the Gus Johnson Craze. The suggestion that we need a man screaming about what's happening on the court to appreciate the magnitude of the madness is precisely why the sports experience continues to devolve further and further into a gigantic swarm of hoopla. Thundersticks. 700 foot jumbmotrons belting instructions to 20,000 automotrons. Pyrotechnic shows that have more firepower than the Russian army. Fox robots alerting us to minutiae on the screen.

It's as though the people in charge of these productions think that the games themselves can't stand up on their own. That a chess match can't be intrinsically interesting - it has to be hyped and excitified. That a tense NCAA Tournament basketball game isn't exhilerating because of what happens on the court, but because of the numnut screaming about it over the television.

Where oh where do the people in charge get these ideas, anyway?

Oh, I see. . .

--PB--