Vitale returns, ears will bleed

Funny story written by Kid Savage

Wednesday, 6 February 2008

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After throat surgery and a couple of months rehabbing his strained vocal chords, slap-happy college basketball announcer Dick Vitale returns to TV on Wednesday for the North Carolina-Duke men's game, where he promises to gush, over-analyze, marvel at everything mundane and haul out his tired cliches in an effort to make up for lost time.

"What better way to come back than with a game on Tobacco Road with two coaches who are always in my dreams," Vitale said.

The likable 68-year-old ESPN house man may not be able to yell his trademark "It's Awesome, Babeeeee!" every 15 seconds, but he will adapt by clanging a bell, shooting off an airhorn and pounding his fist on the press table during the two-hour Atlantic Coast Conference lovefest. ESPN officials said the volume will be turned up high to ensure Vitale is just as annoying without his scratchy, high-decibel voice as he was with it.

But yelling is only part of Vitale's worn-out charm. Even though he's genuinely in love with the game, he's become a cartoon figure, waving his arms as he talks madly about coaches he adores and bopping in his seat like a jittery used-car salesman.

Meanwhile, Vitale's credibility, which began diving back in the 1990s, sags further when he pats incompetent coaches on the back and fires shame-on-you salvos at schools, athletic departments and fans who seek their ousters and a breath of fresh air from years of bad recruiting and in-game decision-making.

"I will be bubbly," Vitale told reporters before the game. "I will make something out of nothing. I will sell anything shamelessly. And I will bow down and kiss the hem of Bob Knight's garment.

"The General, babeeeee! Will someone please point me to his behind. It's time to pucker up."

The funny story above is a satire or parody. It is entirely fictitious.

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