Now I am sure many of you will instantly recoil at the headline. It happens. This site claims to not like homerism yet refuses trade offers of dwyane wade for jerryd bayless. Here's the truth though, while Rice may be a homer (no debating that) he does it with class and without demeaning the other team. Yes I know he butchers names and his confucious parody is painful, but during the game, at least you know you will get analysis as opposed to plain ole kissing donkey.
I have had this conversation many times with friends and relatives who live in the Portland area. Without a shred of a doubt, they all think Rice and Barrett are biased and irksome, mainly because they believe they are the worst announcers in the league. Everytime I argue against them. Now if you are a Portlander and dont often get to see any other teams games with local announcers I can't expect you to know any better, but if you are a league pass person like myself, you know what I am talking about.
As a basketball fan, I like to hear announcers call the game as its being played, giving praise to a player that does well (except #24 in LA) instead of continuously praising their own team for nothing they have done. This gets especially frustrating when Portland is struggling of their own accord (Last night LaMarcus missed about 10 open jumpers) and the announcers give credit when its not deserved.
As it is fresh in my mind I will use last nights game with the Rockets. (On a side note, usually the best announcers are for the worst teams. I THINK this is because they don't need to remind the fans that their team is awesome when it is apparent they are not. I enjoy Clipper announcers, Sac announcers, and sigh, Seattle announcers ((I dont like that new heehaw towns announcers)) because when their team makes a great play they talk about it, when the other team makes a great play they talk about it. Most teams aren't like that.) I was forced to listen to Matt Bullard and whoever the play by play guy is, butcher calls, give horrid analysis (if you don't know much about a player or team, just say so, dont make stuff up) and cry cry cry. I had to listen to a tirade about how flopping is killing the league and Joel Pryzbilla is a major culprit while luis scola plays on their team and is doing the same thing down low. I had to listen to how fantastic Scola's rotation defense was on LMA when he was missing shots even tho Luis was never closer than 6 feet away, hardly enough to effect a shot. It was horrible. You would also be amazed to hear that Shane Battier or Yao Ming apparently never foul and good blocks consist of getting elbow on a shot as long as the refs don't see it.
One thing I have always appreciated about Rice and Barrett is that they are willing to admit when Portland makes a bad play. "Oh look at that replay, Travis got away with one there." "Yep there it is, Greg did travel on that play, good call by the referee." "Batum just got beat on that play, and a fantastic play by Butler to get the dunk." Some of you might say, so, thats nothing special. Oh but my friends it is. You have no idea. Here is 90 percent of the teams announcers on those same plays. "Travis got a clean block on that one, a little body maybe and he was going for the ball so the ref says let em play." "Well the refs are just picking on Greg tonight, that clearly wasn't a travel, and we better see them call that on the other end." "Butler uses the arm to get around Batum and scores a dunk. Wow where was the call for offensive foul on that play." Etc. Etc. They are also willing to admit when a player on the other team makes a great play. Which (with the exception of Roy, who is every old announcers second coming of basketball Jesus) is very rare for opposing teams to do. They tend to talk thru great plays by opposing players or take the opportunity to reference their own players based on who is guarding the man who scored.
Once you are subjected to these announcers you gain a deeper respect for Rice. Barrett helps him along and they work well together. Absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I am very fond of them right now. I will likely be suffering through San An announcers tonight, who I hope and pray are better than Houston, N.O., LAL or GSW. (GSW makes the list since their announcer had the BALLS to use Bingo Bango Bongo on a play by the Warriors against us with no props to Schonely.)
The moral of the essay I just wrote is this, be thankful for what you have Blazer fans. While some say the grass is always greener, in this case, the grass is dead in the other lawns.