Guys with the best seats in the house

March 18th, 2010

How would you like to be Jim Nantz right now?

The 50-year-old Nantz is going to be extremely busy these next couple of weeks. He just finished broadcasting the Big Ten tournament on Sunday, and he will have little time to rest over the next couple of weeks.

Before you start to feel too bad for Nantz and his workload, know that the man known around the country as the lead play-by-play man for CBS, will have one of the best seats in the house for the Final Four and the Masters. 

After calling the final 18 holes on the second Sunday in April, Nantz will have called the Super Bowl, NCAA men’s basketball championship game and the Masters for CBS in a nine-week span. Not bad, huh? For all that work, he is reportedly compensated $3.2 million for his services. It must be nice.

And well it must be nice to be Nantz, it’s nice to be us and be able to listen to him and others in his profession that are so good at their craft. Nantz’s salary is borderline outrageous, but play-by-play men provide the soundtrack to a lot of sports fan’s memories.

Whether it was Myron Cope in Pittsburgh, Van Miller in Buffalo, Harry Carey in Chicago, or Joe Tait right here in Cleveland, their catchphrases and descriptions stick with us forever.

Read the words: “Do you believe in miracles?” and you can’t help but hear Al Michaels’ famous question, and the “Yes!” answer that followed. Same with Howard Cosell proclaiming “Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier! Down goes Frazier!”

Sports are all about moments, and men like Nantz and the other good ones of our era, Joe Buck, Doc Emrick and Brent Musburger are a joy to listen to on the big networks. Closer to home, we all have a favorite. 

For me, it’s Indians play-by-play man Tom Hamilton. For the rest of my life, whenever the Indians record the final out to pull out a victory, I’ll hear Hamilton’s signature “Ballgame!” call in my head. Even when the Tribe is a few dozen games out of contention in late September, you know you can count on “Hammy” to still provide the same energy and excitement that he did on Opening Day. He makes the games fun, regardless of their meaning.

So yeah, Nantz is lucky to get to witness these incredible sports events up close and personal. But at the same time, we are lucky as well to be able to hear him and others that bring the sports we love to life.

 Contact Tim Ertle at