Thursday, October 12, 2006

Tait Whams With the Right Hand

It appears Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert has learned the Lesson of Michael Reghi.

The team and veteran radio play-by-play voice Joe Tait are announcing a new 2-year deal, keeping the Voice of the Cavaliers in front of the microphone through the 2008-2009 season. The new contract extension will take effect at the end of the current NBA season, giving Tait three seasons - counting this one - to hope he sees LeBron James lead the team to their first NBA title.

After a rather odd attempt at humor, comparing Tait to the Energizer bunny, or batteries, or whatever, Gilbert put out a clear message to those fearing the long-time Cavs radio voice would be replaced by someone from Detroit. Not like anyone would ever do something like that:

We are thrilled that Joe has agreed to continue on as the voice of the Cavs for at least the next three years. As long as Joe Tait can and wants to call the Cavalier games he will be the voice of the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Tait has been calling professional basketball on the radio in Cleveland nearly continuously since shortly after the Cavaliers debuted in the NBA in 1970. His only absence from the team - from 1981 to 1983 - can be blamed on Ted Stepien, the Cavs' former Idiot in Charge...who fired Tait only to find out that the radio announcer was much more popular than the team's owner...


RadioInsider said...

Joe desperately needs a "color" guy. He just talks, talks, talks...and gives great play-by-play, but fails to add any analysis to the game. Joe needs to explain how momentum is changing a game and how LeBron is fading on his jumpers...instead, it's always the same; line to the lane, over the timeline into the forecourt..etc.

Anonymous said...

if it ain't broke.....

Anonymous said...

Joe Tait is one of the best behind a microphone calling anything right now..a color guy would only get in his way, and disrupt the flow of the play by play call..NBA basketball moves far too fast to allow a second voice on radio to analyze what just happened..You can get away with that on TV to a degree..but not by much..

Listen to a game start to finish that Tait calls..he is candid, honest, sometimes laugh out loud funny, and if the Cavaliers are having an off night, says sugar coating like the Indians booth..Tait does indeed explain how momentum is have to be into the game, and the broadcast, to get it..

Anonymous said...

Why all the uproar over Michael Reghi? He was terrible. I enjoy listening to Joe Tait by himself. Better than some former player rattle on and bore us to tears.

Anonymous said...

Joe Tait is a class act. A couple of years ago when I was still in broadcasting, I interviewed him on the air several times and he was great. His candor and willingness to help out a young broadcaster was much appreciated. I love to listen to him call games. "To the left to the line to the line, up off the glass it is good"

RadioInsider said...

I'm not suprised to see the many supportive words for Mr. Tait, he is afterall, the voice of the franshise. But, let's be honest here...Joe Tait couldn't name 4 guys on the LA Clippers if a gun was held to his head. He has no idea what the strengths and weaknesses of, say, Ben Gordan are. And that is ultimately why he fails as a one-man-show for the radio broadcasts. The radio booth has evolved over time, and he has failed to evolve with it. I'm interested to know how old the posters are in this comment box...b/c I can assure you guys that my generation (29) isn't as impressed by Tait in the here and now.

Nobody is doing one-man broadcasts anymore. The monotany of Joe's voice desperately needs another perspective to break it up. Someone needs to be there to tell us what's going on besides the linear action taking place...which Joe is terrific at explaining.

newsnomore said...

Joe is doing just fine.

Radio basketball moves too fast to have two announcers.

Listen while you can while this legend is still behind the mic.

I long for the days of Gib Shanley football radio play by play.

Ohio Media Watch said...

Newsie, you and I (your PEV) are both over 29. I'm pretty sure of it. :)

And I wholeheartedly agree.

Cavaliers basketball without Joe Tait as the sole voice would be...well, just another sports broadcast.

I was never a fan of Michael Reghi. I didn't HATE him...he was a fine, capable broadcaster, but I didn't really like his on-air style. (It didn't hurt, though, that we heard nothing but nice things about him and his work ethic, privately.)

But...he's not even remotely in the same category as Tait. Everyone in this market knows it. Even thinking about messing with Tait on the Cavs games would be the closest thing this radio market has to an untouchable. He's even more untouchable than Lanigan.

Thus, the statement from Gilbert in the Cavs release, reprinted here. We'd joke and say he said it because of all the furor here on OMW after Reghi's firing, but...I bet every single Cavaliers employee from the janitors on up told him the same about Joe Tait.

Oh, and I also miss both Gib Shanley, and the late Nev Chandler. Especially Nev, who called a lot of games as I was growing up as a Browns fan. Kevin Keane played some old Gib/Nev calls the other night, and I longed for the day.

But I still like Jim Donovan, and I know that's not a universal opinion. I don't think he's in the Gib/Nev universe at this point, but other NFL markets would enjoy having Jim. (Ask Washington, DC, which lost Frank Herzog in a station talent change...)


Anonymous said...

I am 33 and I grew up listening to Joe Tait so the person who said people of "his or her" generation are not that impressed is wrong.

Anonymous said...

I think after Joe Tait had to endure Bruce Drennan as his color analyst on the Cleveland Indians games he said no more! Just kidding! Joe Tait is a class guy and I hope he stays with the Cavs for a long time to come.

Anonymous said...

having had a chance to live in several nba markets i offer this...i agree with those on both sides of the ledger, there is no question that joe tait is about the best there is at describing the game...he does however lack in the overall analytical knowledge of today's nba. joe is an nba broadcaster, but i've never believed he was an actual fan of the nba. it real comes down to if analysis is important to you as a listener. i enjoy a good color man on radio if he's quick at too the point as he has to be. i disagree though that there is not enough time for a color man in basketball, heck half the teams in the league walk the ball up the floor so there's plenty of time (to analyze), the majority of the action in the nba doesn't take place until there's under 10 seconds on the shot clock. joe with an analyst doesn't work for me, because i'm so used to hearing him solo. but say in LA for instance, the late Chick Hearn and Stu Lantz were a great combination whether they were simulcasting or strictly on far as Reghi, I'd be interested to hear more of why people didn't like him. i thought his style was very good, but more importantly very different then what you hear in most markets. he's one of the few nba TV announcers i enjoyed listening to (kevin harlan). what i liked personally was mike had a bit of an urban edge to him that played into the new style of the nba. let's face it the game is dominated by the hip-hop culture now and mike understood that and was able to translate that appeal into his broadcast. many might not like that, but i personally prescribe to the culture so it worked for me. and since we're throwing out ages....i'm post-35.

Anonymous said...

I do pbp (albeit at the prep level now, and have done college D1 ball, too). I've had it both ways -- by myself and with an analyst. To me, either is fine. I think I know enough about basketball that, working alone, I can convey a sense of what's happening outside of the mere "nuts and bolts" play-calling, but I also don't mind having a partner who can break it down a little more, just as long as it's concise. Sometimes I hear tandems who are spending so much time vying for air time, or an analyst who is too verbose, and it's just too much. Sometimes I have no idea where the ball is on the floor or even who's winning when listening to those guys.

But I do agree with the anonymous poster who said that the game moves too fast for too much analysis. I'd rather "see" what's going on and draw my own conclusions. This isn't football, where you get a half-minute between plays to do major dissections.

As for Joe, well, I think he's earned the right to do it the way he prefers. Like many other pbp guys who have reached legendary status, he's as much a part of the Cavaliers experience as the Cavs themselves. I can't imagine listening to a Cavs game with someone else calling it (and I refused to when he was absent in the Stepien Error).

Now, as part of disclosure, I am nearly 50. I listened to Joe during the "Madcap Cavs" days, when Johnny Warren was scoring in the wrong basket and Walt Wesley poured in 50 points. And I take it as the ultimate compliment when someone tells me that my style reminds them of Joe's, though I have never purposely patterned myself after him. Osmosis, I guess.

Joe, glad to know you're going to be there for a few more years.

Anonymous said...

In regards to the whole color commentator or not for basketball in general, can anyone tell me what there is to really analyze anymore?

In my humble opinion, NBA basketball at least has turned into a one-on-one streetball matchup with a frequent pick 'n' roll play on the ball. Doesn't seem to require much analysis on my part.

As for Joe Tait, I've heard him a few times late at night on WTAM from my old home in Indiana, but not very frequently. It sounds though that he does a good job.

For age perspective, I'm a college student, and I'm actually doing football color commentary for my Div 3 school (Grove City College, PA) and will soon start doing basketball commentary as well. I think color is fun, but maybe not always necessary, especially if the pbp guy is good.


newsnomore said...

I think the arguments for a color commentator have been made well. I can understand how you might get tired of "to the line, to the lane to the hoop...good."

However, in this case I still disagree.

I do agree with the post that concluded that you really don't need much analyis in today's modern NBA game.

In addition, there is soooo much sports media these days, any in-depth analysis can and is made after the game is played.

Joe is excellent at describing the action and keeping up with it.

RadioInsider said...

Just many of you have lived in other markets? I think most of you are just used to Tait's one-man style - and there's nothing wrong with that. Just about every other NBA team in the league using a two-man booth, and they are all just fine - some of them are much better produced as well.

My biggest complaint is that Joe doesn't know the NBA. He doesn't know players, he doesn't know coaches...he's very stubborn about making every team sound the same. He doesn't know which teams rely on the pick and roll, and which ones rely on a flex offense. These are all things that an analyst can and will add.

Joe's a fabulous play-by-play guy, but some of you make it sound like he's perfect. He's no Kevin Harlan, Marv Albert, Kevin Calabro or Joel Myers. I'm not sure anyone outside of Cleveland really thinks Tait is as outstanding as all the Cavalier fans do.

Indiana Tribe Fan said...

I live in a market where an excellent play by play man has a local legend "analyst." Indiana Pacers announcer Mark Boyle does a good job as play by play - but we get former Pacers coach Bobby "Slick" Leonard as an analyst, and he just gets in the way. The "analysis" is often nothing more than cheerleading with his signature "Boom Baby" whenever the Pacers make a three. I usually can't wait until I can pick up WTAM.

Joe may not be the best, but give me his style of one man in the booth versus the Pacers style of two men in the booth.

Maybe you can find the right guy to do the color, but my guess is that Joe would struggle to adapt to a color man after 30+ years and for my money, he has earned the right to continue solo as long as he can keep up.

Anonymous said...

I've lived in several markets outside of growing up in Cleveland and have heard it done both ways. As our Indy poster notes, having a color analyst can be more of an intrusion than anything else. I think "just because" is not a great reason to have one. And sometimes I think the media moguls get too caught up that people will listen because someone with name recognition is on the air. That might work on TV no matter how bad the analyst is, but on radio, if the guy can't do it right, he shouldn't be doing it at all.

I also don't believe you HAVE to have everything broken down into x's and o's for you. Indeed, the NBA game in the half-court is mostly a two-man game, with three other guys standing around watching.

I'm old school. I believe in the "paint the picture" mode of pbp, and I think Joe does that as well as anyone without being "over the top." So what if he has some signature lines that he repeats? How many different ways can you describe a drive to the basket and be fresh every time? A drive to the basket happens many times in a game, a lot of times it's routine, and having a "pat delivery" of it is no crime.

And you know what? I don't really care how it's done everywhere else. Joe is us. Joe is Cleveland. I don't want him to be someone else. Just like with all those other announcers in all sports who are identified with their cities (criminy, have you ever lived through a Myron Cope broadcast?), they are part of our fabric.

When it becomes Joe's time to retire, it'll be a sad day. And I pity the person who follows him because no matter how well the job is done, it won't be "Joe."

Anonymous said...

Much like Herb Score, I just hope that Joe can call a championship before he retires. There is an entire generation that every summer listened to Herb and Joe and every winter listened to Joe call the Cavaliers. Herb got close, Joe might just get it done.

Joe Tait Clone said...

When you consider everything Joe has seen in his career with the Cavs -- from some of the worst teams in NBA history (not to mention THE singular worst owner) to The Miracle of Richfield and the LeBron Era -- I, too, hope he can call one championship season before he hangs it up.

Anonymous said...

"You can book this one to Reghi's M.O. is to constantly call attention to himself. He's awful." Glad Tait was re-upped, and it had little to do with any purported "lesson" involving Reghi.