The Los Angeles Kings' run to the Stanley Cup Finals has seen plenty of ineptitude from the local media thus far, which the team itself mocked in a great infographic, but the next error is coming... from inside the house! The Kings set up a cool pre-game intro for their first home game in the Finals Wednesday and tapped a tremendous guest to drop the puck: franchise legend Wayne Gretzky, whose trade to L.A. in 1988 kick-started hockey in Southern California, led to the Kings' most recent Stanley Cup Finals appearance in 1993 and even inspired a renowned ESPN 30 for 30 film, "Kings Ransom." However, their own PA announcer must not have seen the documentary or read any of the endless Gretzky coverage. Via Greg Wyshynski at Puck Daddy, here's video of the public address announcer introducing Gretzky:
Yep, that's how the announcer chooses to describe Gretzky: "His play on the ice rewrote the NHL record books, and his arrival in Los Angeles in 1998 changed the face of hockey and the NHL forever." Gretzky classily ignored the error and went on to drop the puck as planned, but there were plenty of bemused reactions in the arena and across the Twitterverse. If the Kings' own announcer can't get their history right, do they really have a right to call out the rest of the media for errors? Of course, Wayne Gretzky arriving in Los Angeles in 1998 really would have changed the NHL forever, but in a vastly different way: Gretzky was in his final season in 1998-99 with the New York Rangers, and only produced a career-low nine goals in 70 games (although he did add 53 assists) before finally hanging his skates up. That Gretzky wouldn't have made hockey take off in Southern California. Fortunately, the 1988 Gretzky did, tallying 30-plus goals and 120-plus points in five of his eight seasons in Los Angeles and turning the Kings into a formidable force. Many of the Kings' fans surely remember that, even if their announcer doesn't.
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As an A's fan who had to endure Hawk on MLB Extra Innings (because there was no A's broadcast), that silence as Ka'aihue's floater dropped fair (and Cespedes' blast before it) was sweet music.
One thing it is TV and not radio. Hawk does have a habit where he lets the picture describe what happening more then him, which can be cool.
Steve Stone must be some kind of living Buddha. He was always able to adjust when Harry Caray said something off the wall or just got something completely wrong (I'm not ripping Harry, I loved him, and there was no more entertaining announcer, but he wasn't always level and plumb with reality). Now he is somehow able to sit next to Hawk, with all the screaming and moaning and bitching about umpires, and stay unruffled, delivering very credible analysis most of the time. Any normal human would have tried to strangle Hawk in the booth by now, but Stone keeps his crunch-time cool.
I was about to submit these calls to you guys, because it was Hawk Harrelson at his best. Stone Cold Steve Austin indeed.