I didn't expect to have to do this..but now I realize that was very naive of me to think. Naive in the sense that I put faith in an organization that had failed me numerous times- could maybe do something right, just once. However, they went out and hired the one person in the world worse than Dan Terhaar at play by play announcing, Anthony LaPanta.
I thought maybe I could turn the previous blog (fire dan terhaar) into my own personal type of media conquest that's name had just become quirky and irrelevant with the passing of time. But no, the wild and FSN North have failed me again and I will continue to use the little piece of creative output from my brain toward a blog about another dumb, shameful, easy, selfish, and pathetic hire.
Like many, I heard rumors of the hire over the past week. Than when nothing was released on Monday after a very fast and loud backlash from fans I thought "hey, maybe they listened to their fans this time." How silly I felt when I received numerous texts at work this morning wondering when I was going to start my new blog.
Maybe this blog should be titled fire Mike Dimond, the vice president and general manager of FSN North. How can this man be proud of his product? The best broadcasting his network throws at us in a year is the two week stint former twins manager Tom Kelly has with the Twins. And one of the only reasons that is even entertaining is because he refuses to call play by play announcer Dick Bremer by Dick but instead awkwardly utters the name Richard ten times a half inning. From the put you to sleep voice of Tom Hanneman to the unjust firing of Frank Mazzocco, FSN North has become THE worst major market sports network for broadcast integrity. We can of course argue if Minneapolis-St. Paul is a major sports market but simply put, their network has the rights to The Wild, Timberwolves, Twins, and Gophers. I would like to think that is up there for all the regional based networks.
Back to LaPanta. I personally have nothing against the guy. He seems nice and I think he is a great studio and in game reporter. But some people just don't belong in play by play. It's not as if he hasn't had a public try-out over the past half decade for sports fans in the north to see. When they had him and Kevin Gorg do prep hockey games a few years back I thought, "hey, this is a great little bonus bit of coverage fsn is providing. Nice." Than when they canned Mazzocco and moved Woog into a studio position I thought, "Well, I didn't think they were that great at the prep level but I guess they might deserve a shot." Than after a year of Gopher hockey games I came to the conclusion that the prep level is exactly where they belonged. That is it, you had your try-out, no one gets anything out of your call and you gave it your best. Stick to Studio and the lower level stuff. Heck, to be able to call Minnesota High School Hockey games or maybe even the State tournament is no small task.
Many people take issue in his homerism but that isn't the biggest issue to me. I expect some home team bias from the local announcers, there is just no way around it on FSN's scale. My biggest issue with LaPanta is the same issue I had with Dan Terhaar, the voice. They don't have it. There is no flow, there isn't a knowledge of the game, there aren't stories or bits of truly entertaining wisdom that don't clash with the color analysts. There is just...well...blandness. That is all. And voice cracks.
The most common criticism of the backlash I have heard is how the people should be more worried about the team on the ice and not the booth. To that I respond, HA. The people upset at the hire are the ones who care the most about the team! I don't think it has to be stated but we obviously know the call of the game has nothing to do with the production on the ice. However, the product on the ice has been so horrid for so long and when you couple that with as bad of a broadcast, well you basically have an unwatchable product on ever front. As a previous subscriber of the Center Ice package I have watched my fair share of bum teams playing in bum hockey markets. The one thing that I never noticed was a clear coated piss poor broadcast team. Sure there are other bad ones out there, and the bottom of the tier seems like a really long way from the top, but it's not acceptable when I'm wondering if maybe I could get the Carolina or Nashville feed over my own local feed.
Finally, and sadly, the firing of Dan Terhaar and the hiring of Anthony LaPanta could be one of the biggest off season stories of the Minnesota Wild this year. I wish it wasn't but it just might be. I'm not getting my head wrapped around the Parise and Sutter free agency sweepstakes. They aren't coming here. Do yourself a favor and try not to think about it. July 1st will hurt less that way. So as silly as it sounds I'm happy to see the backlash of the LaPanta hiring. The Wild organization has been taking advantage of their fans for their entire franchise's history so its nice to see some sort of reaction from the faithful.
Now everyone begin with- - - - FIRE LAPANTA, FIRE LAPANTA, FIRE LAPANTA...
oh wait, its just me?