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Playing Yourself

Streaming apps, and the movies that play exclusively on these streamers have decreased the quality of cinema. It’s a fact, not an opinion, going to the movies is a better viewing experience than watching a Netflix Original.

By now you know The Encyclopedia is all seeing. Sharp as a tack, nothing gets by me…except 10th grade math, but that’s a separate issue.

The other day I saw the 6.5 million dollar man in a movie trailer for a split second. A film that looked terrible, and by all accounts is objectively awful.

Mike Greenberg; ESPN’s golden boy was spotted here in, “National Champions.” Which is available on Apple TV for the low cost of $5.99 to rent…save your money, and buy a hat why don’t you.

Greeny isn’t a bad guy, he doesn’t strike me as any guy really. He’s like a sports amoeba, he just sort of morphs into his talking-head environment in a non-threatening manner. He’s the kinda guy that goes 30 miles per hour in a 30, pretty boring, but not necessarily upsetting anyone’s day.

At the risk of turning this into a Mike Greenberg-centric piece…

The man eats chicken wings with a knife and fork. Fitting for a guy that roots for “New York’s Football Team,” when they play in New Jersey…there’s only one real football team in New York, and we don’t eat our wings with cutlery, we use our god damn hands.

But I digress, slightly. The Green-Man’s inability to distinguish a good sports movie to be cast in, paired with his incompetent table manners leads to me ask…which sportscasters played themselves with dignity?

In 1996, Uncle Verne thought he made a massive error…but he was sorely mistaken. Lundquist; one of the greatest play-by play men of his generation, played himself in Adam Sandler’s golf/hockey classic.

Known for his Masters 16th hole vantage point, amongst other famous calls, “The Swede” has endeared himself to any American with a pulse that watches sports.

Verne assumed his cameo in the Happy Madison production would come back to bite him with the Augusta faithful. Thankfully, for once, golf guy wasn’t so uptight, and let our guy Verne live.

Lundquist retired from college football in 2016, and later college basketball in 2018, but he’s still a patron at the Masters. A seasoned vet, like a pimento cheese sandwich in a green wrapper. Verne would never eat a plate of wings with a form fitting under armor dri-fit tee on. Like any savvy vet, “The Golden Throat” knows when it’s time to grub, loose fitting clothes is always best.

In 2013 NBC Sports acquired rights to the English Premier League, and like every single fan of the EPL, our lives changed forever.

Having to settle for illegal streams and game trackers prior to 2013, this was a big deal for fellow soccer guys, not to brag…played in college.

A man from Leicester came with the deal, and established his presence with authority as the leading play-by-play man in all of soccer.

Tune into Peacock (pain), or USA Network, and there’s a solid chance you’ll hear Arlo White waxing poetic about the going’s on inside the pitch.

In 2020, White turned up, playing himself in Apple TV’s Ted Lasso…this one is worth the $5.99…but please, still consider buying a hat.

One of streaming television’s gems, Ted Lasso delivers on all levels. Critically acclaimed, the show has some old school Office vibes, paired with Jason Sudeikis’ charm and wit…but more importantly, Theodore Lasso gets down with The Tribe.

White made an excellent decision to play himself as the announcer of AFC Richmond. If you follow Arlo on Twitter, than you know his sense of humor is spot on for a comedic show based around soccer.

A proud advocate of soup season, White often shares his soup du jour inside the gantry (that’s the booth for those of you who don’t speak footy). He’s also not afraid of a little spillage.

Playing through some tea on the laminated player chat is much more believable than chicken wings that’ve been cleaned off the bone with a fork and knife. Which begs the question, is Greenberg making a meal of wings for show? One of life’s biggest mysteries.

Mr. Baseball hasn’t missed since he played in the majors back in 67’. A career .200 hitter, Bob Uecker’s transition from the diamond to the press box was a no-brainer.

In 1971 Uecker became the voice of the Brewers, and regularly featured on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson.

In the 80's he played George Owens in the hit show Mr. Belvedere. Uecker's knack for the screen was more natural than hitting above the Mendoza Line. Nonetheless, he can still say he played in the show.

Bobby U’s athletic ability far exceeds just about everyone except Myles Garrett when it comes to those who participate in the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game.

And when you’re Harry Doyle to boot, you don’t really care about chicken wing decorum. You’re too busy playing yourself in one of the most iconic sports movies of all-time.

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