Not everyone can stand listening to Dick Vitale blabber all afternoon with his catch phrase slogans. Personally he annoys the crap out of and I personally get so annoyed listening to him.
Growing up in Lexington, Kentucky you just sort of grow up listening to the local commentators. Tom Leach is now behind the podium but years ago and long before the living room luxuries of LED television sets the Big Blue Nation had to hunker around their radios to get the play by play action.
Cawood was a legend in his own time and really not many basketball commentators are more well known or revered. Maybe Cawood can take some credit for Kentucky basketball fans being the most rabid and dedicated fan base today.
There was something nostalgic about listening to the play by play on an am radio. Often times UK would be playing an away game in the Central time zone. Since we were an hour later these games would often last until midnight and beyond. My father woke up every morning at 4:30 to get ready and go to work. We’d always lay in bed at night in the dark and listen to Cawood’s calls.
Cawed had a way a getting you involved in the game. His play by play was so good and so intense. The roar of the home crowd over the radio waves also added to the intensity, something you don’t experience as much now with modern day microphones and digital technologies.
But Mr. Cawood Ledford gracefully stepped aside in 1992 after Kentucky’s loss to Duke in the Elite 8. His former color commentator Ralph Hacker took over for a few years until he finally decided to hand the reigns over to current UK broadcaster Tom Leach.
Tom Leach does a tremendous job of commentating basketball and football games for the University of Kentucky today. Jeff Pecoraro adds the color to football games and former UK basketball great Mike Pratt does the color for basketball games.
Today, most games are televised and the art of radio commentary has been sort of forgotten. Back before satellite television you could still turn down the sound on the tv and tune in the radio. There was a slight delay with the tv but it was totally tolerable and completely worth it.
Now with satellite television and feeds the radio is always way ahead of the action on the screen. Many people who used to listen to the radio broadcast have given up their Tom Leach due to the large difference in timing.
Some of the die hard fans that still yearn for their home team commentary have figured out ways to delay the radio signal. It’s not an easy task and it does take a dedicated fan that REALLY wants to tune out the Dick Vitales of today.
I’m one of those people and I go through great lengths to listen to my homers no matter what. Run a cord here, splice the sound through there, hit pause and then play once the tip or kickoff goes up. It’s all well worth it to me and the some of the other traditionalist UK fans that I’m acquainted with.