According to my blog stats, I’ve gotten a number of hits looking for Steve Schlanger. Impressive considering that I haven’t mentioned him here in months. It got me thinking about those people who call the race action – more specifically who will be the successor to Phil Liggett?
It’s a tall order to follow a legend. Whoever wins out will need to be passionate about the sport (Liggett at his best), and hopefully not an outward fanboy (Liggett at his worst).
The people who come to mind comprise a very short list. The aforementioned Steve Schlanger is a possibility, as he has called races for Universal Sports/WCSN. He is capable, but just doesn’t have that distinctive style you want in an announcer. I think in the end he will be an all-rounder, a guy who will call the occasional race but most of the time he will be doing the other “Olympic” sports that comprise his current situation.
One guy I’m rooting for is Dave Towle. Obviously, he has the chops to call live race action. It’s clear that he absolutely loves the sport, and he has a very distinctive voice. I could see a few people being put off by the gravel-y quality, but to me it’s all good.
I suppose I have to mention Craig Hummer only because he’s already on air. His performance calling the Tour of California this year puts him solidly at the back of the bus. Constantly fumbling names and words; it’s like he’s got a bad fever or something. Add to that a healthy number of awkward pauses and his chances are nil.
Who else is in the pipeline? I can’t really think of anyone else who would fit the bill. Is there some Brit or Aussie I haven’t heard of? I wish whoever takes over the mantle the best of luck. You never want to be the guy who follows a legend.