Swirsky Versus Devlin – Who’s Better? Part 1, Chuck

Part 2 (Matt Devlin), comes tomorrow.

Last summer, longtime play-by-play announcer Chuck Swirsky bid the Toronto Raptors farewell, and was replaced by Matt Devlin. The two couldn’t be more different – Chuck is the entertainer, while Devlin is more traditional. Now, after one season, it’s time to evaluate. Who’s better? Let’s debate.

The Pro-Chuck Argument
Chuck is fun. Chuck is creative. Chuck coined many terms that became a regular part of the Raptorland culture (Onions Baby, Ka-Bosh, Salami and Cheese, etc), and he became just as popular as many of the players. Chuck was flashy, giving players fun nicknames, and he made even the worst games watchable. He came here from the USA, but he loved Toronto, and he helped grow the game in a hockey-obsessed city. Fans loved him, and he gave plenty of love back. Chuck was more than just a play-by-play guy – He was a fan, too. His radio show on the Fan 590 added to his persona within the city, and many fans were sad to see him go.

And of course, Chuck gave us many, many great calls. He channeled his inner Vin Scully, with a hint of his personal favourite, for this Mo Pete classic.

Mo Pete – Chuck

The Anti-Chuck Argument
Like I said, Chuck was an entertainer, but not everybody wants that from a play-by-play announcer. At times, his schtick overshadowed the game itself, and that wasn’t a good thing. The whole “salami and cheese” thing was fun, but it became flat out annoying by the end. He’d often banter about something meaningless while the action was happening on the court, and he called everyone he’s ever met “the nicest guy you’ll ever meet.” Chuck rarely criticized the team (management, players, coaches), and he often seemed more like a mouthpiece for MLSE than an objective announcer. Finally, his basketball IQ was at best, mediocre, and he rarely offered any deep analysis of the game. For all of his virtues as an entertainer, Chuck generally relied on his emotions, rather than giving an objective sense of what was coming next.

Overall, I believe Chuck was perfect for a young basketball market. He helped sell the team to fans, and he made games fun to watch while the team stunk. For knowledgeable fans, he wasn’t always great. It got to the point where many of us were ready for a more objective, more traditional announcer. For others, though, Chuck was, and will always be, the best. We’ll review Devlin tomorrow, and I’m interested to hear other opinions. Enjoy your Saturday night, folks.

-DL

About the Author
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
9 Comments
Oldest
Newest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Steve
Steve
May 23, 2009 10:22 pm

Chuck “seemed” like a mouthpiece for MLSE? Who do you think was paying his salary?

Steve
Steve
May 23, 2009 10:26 pm

PS. My favourite Chuck Swirsky moment from his Fan 590 show. Chuck displays his knowledge of the local sports scene and asks, “What is the name of the Grey Cup trophy?”

dan
dan
May 24, 2009 2:18 am

Steve,

MLSE, of course, just as they are with Devlin. It doesn’t mean he had to lose all objectivity while calling games. Devlin isn’t afraid to call out players. Subtly, of course

mike
mike
May 24, 2009 2:43 pm

Chuck was fantastic. Entertaining and interesting. The best play by play guy I’ve heard. Devlin is boring, repetitive, dry, and just annoying. At least chuck had personality, Devlin makes the games unbearable. Chuck was the man.

Eggbert
Eggbert
May 24, 2009 2:52 pm

I had my fill of Chuck the MLSE chearleader,he had zero objectivity,but after a year of milktoast Devlin, Chuck would be a nice giddy up.

Dave
May 25, 2009 7:00 pm

Chuck all the way. He was merely a mediocre commentator, but I’ll take his positive always enjoying the play commentary over the dull tones of Devlin.

I truly disliked Devlin last season. It’d be nice if they’d fire him.

jbl bradshaw
jbl bradshaw
May 26, 2009 10:45 am

devlin is awesome, swirsk had to go, he was making watching raptor games embarassing.

swirsk the entertainer?
more like swirsk the unfunny, arogant weasel that doesn’t poke fun at himself even though he’s a gerbal

Glenn
May 26, 2009 9:01 pm

Chuck’s priority was to entertain the viewers at all costs. This was not a bad idea but, unfortunately, he often digressed towards ludicrous and patronizing nonsense that sometimes felt insulting to a serious viewer. However, he genuinely liked the team and all those involved with the organization…and he tried dearly to make us feel the same way….even if it sometimes meant ignoring the actual play-by-play of the game. (During some of the really bad games, maybe that was good.)

Devlin follows the actual game more closely but seems to lack emotional and spontaneity. He may as well wait until the next morning and submit his well informed critique to the local news paper. It’s O.K. to be informative to the viewing public but numerous websites and newspapers already do that. The play-by-play guy must entertain. He must provide knowlege and insight but it has to be entertaining.
Devlin doesn’t do that. He doesn’t make me feel like I wish I was there to share the moment.

WE NEED A THIRD CHOICE.

trackback

[…] Swirsky Versus Devlin – Who’s Better? Part 1, Chuck | Toronto Sports Media Blog – Last summer, longtime play-by-play announcer Chuck Swirsky bid the Toronto Raptors farewell, and was replaced by Matt Devlin. The two couldn’t be more different – Chuck is the entertainer, while Devlin is more traditional. Now, after one season, it’s time to evaluate. Who’s better? Let’s debate. […]

9
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x