If you can't say anything nicely...

On Sports

I've been watching way too much sports on television. And listening to a lot of radio, too. Some things I hear from sportscasters get on my nerves.

If you can't vent in a column once in a while, what's the point of having one? Just the act of sharing it will make me feel better.

• 'Put it on the deck.' Huh? That's what I said when I heard Jay Bilas say this about five times during an NCAA game. Then I heard another announcer use the same phrase.

It's kind of a new way to say, 'Put it on the floor.' Which, of course, is just a way to use five words when you could say just one - dribble. I guess if you use the phrase just once a game, it could be deemed creative. When you say it more than once, it becomes an instant cliché.

• 'Score the basketball.' Yes, this one has been around for years, originated, I think, by Steve Jones. But I'm hearing it more frequently than ever - you know, as in 'They need to figure out how they're going to score the basketball.'

As opposed, I guess, to scoring the bowling tournament or scoring a musical. I mean, really - scoring the basketball?

• 'Pitcher.' OK, stay with me here. I'm not talking about the guy who stands in the middle of the infield holding the baseball. I'm talking about what you hang on the wall.

I don't want to say I hear this a lot, but I hear it locally - I think most often from people who went to school in the state of Washington. Do they teach kids across the river to say 'pitcher' when they mean 'picture'?

• 'Getta.' Drives me nuts. And again, I don't hear it a lot, but Colin Cowherd will say it frequently - as do a few others. As in, 'We getta go to Las Vegas next week.' It's fingers on a chalkboard.

Just not something you expect to hear from people paid to speak in a professional manner, particularly Cowherd, who normally speaks cleanly.

• 'Great timeout.' Please. It's a timeout. It takes no genius to know when to call one, and it seems patronizing to praise someone for the simple act of deciding to take a break.

• 'And we're tied.' You hear it constantly from play-by-play guys and especially 'SportsCenter' anchors, who are narrating highlights. As in, 'Kobe Bryant hits this jumper and we're tied at 75.'

No, we're not. We're not tied at all. Two teams are tied. Please keep me out of that game.

I'm positive I've left out some glaring irritants. If you have some of your own, feel free to post them online or e-mail them to me. We'll get together for another of these sessions someday - and thanks, I feel better already.

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