JUUUUSSTT A BIT OUTSIDE
Catch phrases are nothing new to sports, but they have certainly evolved from novelty to staple in the world of sports broadcasting, particularly from an entertainment perspective. I chose to write about the history of catch phrases and how they have progressed from some of the early gems (when I say early I mean over the past few decades, I’m only 23) to the witty pop culture references of today. Everything from a classic “Boo-yah” to a more recent, “it’s levitation holmes.”
The interesting part of researching catch phrases was finding that they were used in many different styles of broadcasting. There were in-game catch phrases and ones used for highlight voice-overs. No matter how you use them, they are certainly ingrained into sports broadcasting as we know it.
In the late 80’s and early 90’s the 11 p.m. Sportscenter, hosted by Dan Patrick and Keith Olbermann, became a staple in sports entertainment. Catch phrases were a focal point of the show and have remained a vital part of the shows success in the modern form. The early gems were abundant – everything from Patrick’s “dare I say, en fuego” to Olbermann’s “from way downtown…BANG!” The phrases took the show to all new heights and the popularity of the program really began to grow, especially among teens and young adults.
SportsCenter produced so many great sportscasters with many memorable catch phrases during that time period. From Stuart Scott to Kenny Mayne to Craig Kilborn, the early 90’s were filled with absolute classics:
“I am the king of all the land…bring me the finest meats and cheeses.” Kenny Mayne
“As cool as the other side of the pillow.” Stuart Scott
“Jeff Gordon would take the checkered flag, but he would have to give it back for the next race.” Kenny Mayne
“That’s his 37th home run, not in one game of course that would be some sort of record.” Kenny Mayne
Play-by-play announcers, like Chicago White Sox broadcaster Ken Harrelson, had catch phrases that were present in every broadcast for certain situations. Harrelson’s home run call was simple and effective – “You can put it on the booaarrdd, yes.” The legendary Ernie Harwell, who called Detroit Tigers games for 42 seasons, used to use foul ball situations to report that “a man from Walla Walla”or “a lady from Muskegon” had caught the foul ball. He of course was just choosing a local city at random, but things like this endeared Harwell to his listeners and created a sense of connection with the Tigers fan base. He also coined the phrase “he stood there like a house on the side of the road” after a batter would strike out looking.
Notable national broadcasters have a lot more household catch phrases like Marv Albert’s “AND the foul,” or Gus Johnson in his permanently escalated tone saying “rise and fire!” Who doesn’t love a great “Adios, pelota!” from Jon Miller or a good “Are you serious baby?” from the charismatic Dick Vitale.
Of course being a huge college football fan, and a Nebraska die hard, the phrase of “Man, woman, and child, did that put’em in the aisles!” by Lyell Bremser will forever be my favorite.
There are those who make a living from their catch phrases, like Michael Buffer’s “Let’s get readdyy too rummmbllleeeee!” Then there are those who become infamous for theirs:
This notable catch phrase, created and broadcasted (term used loosely) by Brian Collins on a Ball State student news program, has since been referenced in main stream media like SportsCenter, Family Guy, Tosh.0 and he has even appeared on David Letterman and the Early Show.
Essentially anything can be made into a catch phrase, viral Youtube videos, movie quotes, song references, pop culture icons or events… the list goes on and on. The catch phrase has not only evolved, but it has changed the way we view sports broadcasting.
Finally, I wanted to conclude with a little humor. I did a SportsCenter type show at the University of Arizona and loved coming up with catch phrases every week. Blast from the past, hopefully I’m not the next Brian Collins. Fast forward to the 2:25 mark:
I bet some of you have some great catch phrases you use during games, let’s hear some of yours. Post your own witty catch phrases or some of your all time favorites.