Andrew Monaco's M-Blog December 2012

Andrew Monaco serves as studio host and sideline reporter, along with play-by-play on select games, on Fox Sports Southwest, KENS and KMYS. He is the TV and radio play-by-play announcer for the Silver Stars, continues to do TV for the Rampage, (where he served as radio voice until the 2007–08 season) and handles TV on Austin Toros' telecasts. Prior to joining the SS&E family spent more than a decade covering a variety of teams.
M-Blog Archive: Nov. 2012

Bowl Season
by Andrew Monaco | Dec. 28, 2012

(Bobak Ha'Eri/Wikimedia Commons)

Bowl season.

I love this time of the year, just not as much as I used to.
What I miss most was New Year’s Day being the veritable feast of college football.

Oh, I still loved the games leading up to New Year’s Day. You know, when bowl games went by their bowl game name, and made sense geographically. The Peach Bowl played in Atlanta, Georgia. You knew the Tangerine Bowl was nowhere else but Orlando, Florida. The Aloha Bowl originated from Hawaii and the Garden State Bowl in the highly-desired bowl destination of East Rutherford, New Jersey. And don’t get me started about the Cherry Bowl. That was tradition.

Of course, there were always some head scratchers, such as, why was the Liberty Bowl in Memphis? And why was the turf in the Astro-Bluebonnet Bowl coming up like that? That doesn’t look right. That doesn’t look right, at all.

Then bowl games went the way of NASCAR, where seemingly very soon-to-be-bankrupt computer company or fixin’-to-be defunct website would slap its name on the bowl, not adding more prestige, but, if possible, even less prestige to these games.

In my mind, though, those old bowl games were a blast. Remember, there was not wall-to-wall coverage of college football like today. Now, Saturday’s are saturated with games, beginning at 11 am and lasting until well past midnight. So the bowl games were the chance to see intersectional match-ups (must be said in Keith Jackson’s voice. That seemed to be a big ABC Sports selling point for non-conference meetings).

Games were not on ESPN but carried along the Mizlou Television Network, or the Hughes Television Network.
And then there was New Year’s Day, when all the “big” bowls were played. Not spread out over the course of a week.

Every game was for the National Championship. (It wasn’t)

Every game was incredibly well-played and hotly-contested. (Also, not true.)

It just seemed that way.

There was something special about watching bowl games on CBS, ABC and NBC.

I’d watch the Cotton Bowl Classic, not just for the game, but also for the indescribable pattern of Lindsey Nelson’s jacket.

There was something special about seeing NBC’s NFL broadcast teams doing the bowl games. (ABC would do this also, when the Monday Night Football crew would do the Sugar Bowl.) Watching and hearing Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen on the Rose Bowl, Don Criqui and John Brodie, then Bob Trumpy, on the Orange Bowl (which was almost always the best bowl game every year), then Charlie Jones and Jimmy Cefalo (who I would get to work with later in my career) in the Fiesta Bowl, made the games more special, somehow. I can remember Jim Simpson and Curt Gowdy doing some of those older bowl telecasts.

Fun memories, fond memories. And thinking about it, I’d always thought I would get in the broadcasting business. These memories played a large part in that decision.

Busy Fox Sports Southwest
by Andrew Monaco | Dec. 21, 2012

(Photo by D.Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty)

When you look at the NBA schedule on some nights, you see a nice, full slate of games and think what a great night of NBA basketball is in store. And you are right. It’s a blast. And what looks like a typical night in the NBA is –sometimes -- anything but. Especially at Fox Sports Southwest. On those nights when the Spurs, Mavericks, Thunder and Hornets are playing, there is a choreography going on. If the Stars were skating and not currently locked out, that would be one more dance partner, to extend the analogy.

I’ve written previously of all the people who work behind the camera and on these nights, these men and women certainly shine. Between the planning and scheduling, -- and the ultimate execution -- they pull it off. Four teams, two studios, various start times, pregame shows, halftime shows and post-game shows, it can be quite a performance, and that’s before the lights and the cameras even go on. We’ll know when our shows are scheduled to start, that’s the easy part. When the games end? We can guess, but it’s never an exact time.

So the question I ask most is: What studio are we in? Sometimes the studio we did the pregame show is busy, so we move to the other studio for the postgame show.

Now, to answer the question I know you are asking: Yes. Yes, I have.

I know what you’re thinking. “Andrew, have you ever walked in the wrong studio?”
Answer: Absolutely. And while their show was going on, live, on the air.

It’s a blast doing the pregame shows, that half hour seems to fly by. Working alongside Ric Renner, talking with Bill and Sean, it seems like a half hour is never enough time. Same thing for the post game shows, which can go longer.

What makes these nights even more enjoyable is being in the “bullpen” and talking with the other hosts and studio analysts. We’ll talk about the Spurs and about their teams. We’ll talk sports in general, broadcasting in general, catch up on, or create some gossip, and catch up with what’s going on in our lives. You make a connection because I have worked with all the hosts up there and they, collectively, are one talented group.

Yes, a friendly rivalry does exist when the Spurs play the Thunder, or the Hornets, or the Mavs, just as the schedule has lined up for the Spurs this week. It’s all good-natured, of course. Producers are assigned specific teams, but they all help one another and they have all worked on the Spurs’ telecasts at one time or another.

This time of the year certainly is “the most wonderful time of the year.” But it’s not exclusive to just these holidays. Those busy nights at the Fox Sports Southwest studios are wonderful times of the year, as well.

Appreciation of former Spur, Doc Rivers
by Andrew Monaco | Dec. 14, 2012

(Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty)

With the Boston Celtics at the AT&T Center Saturday night for a matchup with the Spurs, it brings to town former Spurs' player and broadcaster, now current head coach of the C's, Doc Rivers.

I will not lie. I miss Doc on TV. I loved listening to him work games as an color analyst, whether he was doing the NBA on TNT/TBS on the NBA on ABC.
And it brings me back to interviewing and getting to talk with him when he was head coach of the Orlando Magic.

A couple of my favorite interviews with Doc encompassed not just basketball, but books and curling.


When Doc and the Magic would meet Pat Riley and the Heat, one of the talking points would be Doc's days in New York, playing for Riley and the Knicks.

So I figured, why not bring to the interview Riley's book, The Winner Within. After talking up the matchup between the two teams, I brought out the book on camera. Doc's response was priceless. "Oh no, I LIVED that book," said Doc.

But the best part was still to come. After he finished talking about Riley, it was time to show him the other book I had with me.

It was a copy of "Those Who Love the Game: Glenn "Doc" Rivers on Life in the NBA." "Where did you get THAT?" Doc asked, incredulously. I think he was even more upset I checked it out -- for free -- from the Orange County Library, instead of purchasing it. In truth, I don't think I've ever seen it in a book store.

Another one of my favorite interviews took place in Toronto. While talking about the Magic and the Raptors, Doc let it be known he had done TV work in Canada. And that's when the conversation turned. To curling. Yep, curling, how popular it is and how the sport fascinated him.

Thinking back, he always had great things to say about his days with the Spurs. It's nice to catch up with him and ask him about San Antonio. You can hear the appreciation when he praises the Spurs' organization, and he has always recognized the influence of Gregg Popovich.

It will be good to see Doc back in San Antonio, just like it's good to relive the memories of one of my favorite interviews.

Mistaken Identity
by Andrew Monaco | Dec. 3, 2012

(Photo by D.Clarke Evans/NBAE/Getty)

"Coach! Coach! Can I get an autograph?"

"Sorry, I'm not a coach."

"Are you the trainer, strength coach?"

"No, neither one of those."

So, as I walked away to get some coffee (if you have followed past M Blogs, you knew that's where I was going), I thought to myself, "How could I be mistaken for a coach?" Then it hit me. I had on black wind pants, sneaks and a Spurs jacket. I could see it now. But trainer? Strength coach? Now that was flattering. Dead wrong, but flattering.

We are in the business of being recognized. We hope that when we are on television, you invite us into your homes, because, after all, that is what you are doing. You have a world of choices to watch, and you invite us into your living rooms, dens, media rooms, tablets and devices.

And don't think for a moment that we do not appreciate that, because we absolutely do.

I am reminded of that every time I enter the AT&T Center and prepare for Spurs Live. I love doing those segments from different parts of the arena, whether it is next to the Trophy Case, by the Fan Shop or in the HEB Fan Zone. Not only do we get to showcase -- and show off -- that beautiful building, but we also get to see you, the fans, the backbone of any organization. I appreciate when take time to say hello, to take pictures and offer such kind words. I enjoy meeting fans who have traveled from all around the great state of Texas and had to stop by and say hi. Also, thank you for sharing with me how much you enjoy watching our telecasts.

If I started this M Blog with a case of mistaken identity, I must end with one of my favorite AT&T Center "mix up" stories.

While getting prepared for Spurs Live, two fans, decked out in their Spurs jerseys, waited with anticipation, and patience, through the pregame segments. Afterwards, almost apprehensively, they came up to say hi, and ask if they could take a picture. How could I say no?

"Thank you, thank you. We watch you all the time," the first Spurs fan said.

"Yes, thank you. We are huge fans," said the other.

The pictures were taken, and the final handshakes were offered, when the first fan said, "Thank you so much, Mr. Land!"

Pause. Pause. Pause.

"Oh my gosh, I am so sorry Mr. Monaco."

Much apologizing followed, but it wasn't necessary. It really was pretty funny. And how could I stay mad for being mistaken for a quality man like Bill? Not a chance. Nor could I ever be offended by another example of how much Spurs' fans love their teams; the one that plays on the court, and their broadcast team on their TV.