Sports Announcers Who Lost It On Live TV

Have you ever tried to watch a sporting event with the television on mute? Sure, you'll be able to take in some of the action, but you might miss out on some interesting commentary. Of course, not all play-by-play people and sports analysts make a game better with their words, although many do. Especially if they're skilled at adding some humor to their know-how, like ESPN basketball commentators Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson, and Mike Breen. Some might say they're the perfect example of comedy and hoop wisdom coming together.

But on the other side of things, you have those announcers who've been equally entertaining for other reasons — not because of their insight or the calls they've made. Instead, these people have stood out for completely losing it on-air. Some of those moments had to do with some questionable calls being made by referees, while others came in the form of criticism against players. And the term "lose it" couldn't be any more accurate. If you don't believe us, just keep reading and see for yourself. 

Marty Brennaman got really annoyed

Here's a little piece of history for you: According to the Herald & Review, Chicago Cubs fans have been throwing back home run balls from the opposite team since 1969. Basically, the tradition is a way for Cubs fans to express their unhappiness about the other squad homering. 

"It's awesome. It's part of the history of the Cubs," Anthony Prerost (a fan of the Chicago team) explained while speaking to The New York Times in 2016. "We're not going to accept opposing teams or opposing players, so why should we accept their home runs?" But the tradition irks some people, like Cincinnati Reds announcer Marty Brennaman, who blasted the ritual in April 2008. It wasn't just because fans threw the Reds' home run balls back onto the field; at one point, they threw a bunch of commemorative baseballs that were given to them before the game. So, imagine seeing a bunch of white balls coming from everywhere like a hailstorm.

"This is the kind of thing, quite honestly, right now, that makes you want to see the Chicago Cubs team lose," said Brennaman on-air. He added, "Far and away the most obnoxious fans in baseball in this league are those who follow this team right here. Throwing 15 or 18 balls onto the field, there's absolutely no excuse for that, and that is so typical of Chicago Cub fans. It's unbelievable." It's safe to say that Cubs fans won't forget Brennaman's fiery comments anytime soon. While the announcer was okay with a more temperate display of the ritual, all those balls were just too much.

Dave Lamont offered to fight people

It's never okay for a football player to tackle another by leading with their helmet. In the NFL it carries a 15-yard penalty, and in college results in an immediate ejection. So, that's presumably why the former announcer for Florida Atlantic University's football team, Dave Lamont, completely lost it when FAU's quarterback took such a hit in 2010 while facing Arkansas State. 

"Where's the commissioner?" Lamont yelled from the press box. "Where's Wright Waters, where's Wright Waters?" If Lamont stopped there, he'd still be able to make this list based on the octave in which he expressed his unhappiness. But the angry announcer was far from done, and he eventually started threatening his colleagues. "He is defenseless," Lamont screamed, referring to FAU's quarterback. "Don't you understand? Throw a flag! ... I don't really care if you people look at me in the press box ... That's a flag, and I'll fight any one of you if you want it. That's the mood I'm in at the moment." Later, however, Lamont apologized, saying he was just "passionate about" FAU's football program (via The Palm Beach Post).

Steve Berthiaume just wanted the ball thrown

When Arizona Diamondbacks shortstop Nick Ahmed failed to throw a ball to home plate to get a hobbling runner out, Arizona's announcer Steve Berthiaume was none too pleased about it. Part of Berthiaume's frustration was due to his team having the least wins in baseball at that point and being in last place. The slow and injured base runner happened to be the Milwaukee Brewers' Daniel Vogelbach, who got hurt while rounding third base and heading to home plate. "Get it in. Get it in. Throw the ball," an incensed Berthiaume yelled. "Oh my goodness."

The question is, though, why didn't Ahmed throw the ball to home plate? Because if you look at the play, he glanced over at third and must have seen Vogelbach moving slowly. But after the game, the shortstop said he did all he could, according to a tweet sent by Brewers beat writer Adam McCalvy.

"You try to be ready for everything... But I've never once taken a cut & relay and practiced for the guy pulling his hammy & being 30 ft outside the baseline," read the tweet. "It's just never happened. So I'm just going to laugh about it. There's nothing I could have done differently." By the way, the D-Backs lost that game 5-0.

Johnny Most let the Pistons have it

In the late 1980s, the Detroit Pistons weren't called "The Bad Boys" for nothing. That's because team members like Isiah Thomas, Dennis Rodman, and Bill Laimbeer ushered in a style of play that was incredibly physical. Some loved the Pistons' knock-em-to-the-ground defensive approach, but others couldn't stand it, like Johnny Most, the Boston Celtics' radio announcer. During a game between the Celtics and the Pistons, after Laimbeer committed a foul, Most lost it.

"A completely unnecessary foul by Laimbeer, and he has the audacity to complain about something. They have been called a dirty ballclub and I can see why," said Most in his famous raspy voice. Then the legendary announcer uttered the words that are almost as famous as when he said, "Havlicek stole the ball," when the Celtics beat the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1965 Eastern Conference Finals. "This is a typical, a typical disgusting display by Rodman, Laimbeer, and Isiah Thomas," said Most about the Pistons. "The yellow, gutless way they do things here."

Sadly, Most passed away due to heart failure in 1993, but he undoubtedly left an indelible mark on the game of basketball.

Teddy Atlas spoke of corruption

Are some judges in professional boxing corrupt? Teddy Atlas thinks so, which he said in 2017 after the fight between Gennady Golovkin and Canelo Alvarez ended in a draw. Atlas was so disgusted at the decision — or lack thereof — that he talked about walking away from boxing entirely. "It's been years and years of the same garbage, the same trash. I have no choice, I've been in this business for 40 years ... Where am I going to go? I've got nowhere to go. But, if I did, I'd get the hell out of it. I'd get the hell out of it," Atlas screamed.

The second time he lost it was during an ESPN broadcast while discussing the decision with fellow sports analyst Stephen A. Smith.

"I have no problem saying it, they are corrupt. ... We all want to ignore it, but this sport has shown a history of corruption," said Atlas. "The IBF, years ago, Bob Lee, the president, he got caught on videotape taking money. ... A few years ago, there was a woman judge, $30,000 wound up in her bank account after a bad decision. What is that?" One could say that Atlas' rant will forever be remembered, and he'll always be applauded for expressing himself with such passion.

Ken Harrelson called for a suspension

Sometimes in baseball, when a pitcher hits a batter, the pitcher on the batter's team will hit someone in retaliation. That's exactly what umpire Mark Wegner thought former Chicago White Sox pitcher José Quintana did when he beamed a Tampa Bay Rays hitter in the leg.

The thing is, when most pitchers hit someone in retaliation, it's around the upper body, not on their leg. In all likelihood, Quintana didn't mean to hit the batter, even though his teammate A.J. Pierzynski was hit earlier in the game. Either way, the White Sox's announcer Ken "Hawk" Harrelson ripped the umpire for his call.

"What are you doing? He threw him out of the ballgame? You gotta be beepin' me! What in the hell are you doing? What are you doing, Wegner?" Harrelson yelled out. He added, "That is so bad, that is absolutely brutal! That is unbelievable. I'll tell you what, they have got to start making guys be accountable. That is totally absurd. That just tells you, here's an umpire in the American League that knows nothing about the game of baseball."

Harrelson then suggested Wegner be suspended and sent back to umpire school before being reinstated. Ouch!

Gary Radnich chastised his colleague

It's not only play-by-play people and sports analysts who've lost it on-air; sportscasters are also guilty of losing their cool. Take Gary Radnich, who used to be the sports guy at KRON-TV in the Bay Area before retiring. In 2016, after his colleague Catherine Heenan broke the news about LeBron James being in the film "Space Jam," Radnich instantly got upset. That was easy to tell based on the stare he gave Heenan that looked colder than 1,000 blizzards. Then Radnich began chastising her in front of the TV audience and staff members.

"How long we've been friends?" he asked Heenan (via the Mirror). "23 years. Have you ever — and I'm gonna say this with a smile — have you ever heard me say, right before you came on, 'There's an irrigation problem in Gilroy?' Never. You ever heard me say, 'Oh, it's warm weather today?' Never. I stay in my lane." Radnich continued to express frustration at his colleague, while also saying it was "hard for [him] to get mad" at her since she's friends with his mom. But based on his reaction, it didn't look all that difficult for him to get upset at Heenan, who seemed to take his comments in stride. Plus, Radnich accused her of having "stolen [his] material." 

Alexi Lalas called out a whole team

The U.S. men's national soccer team had some serious struggles during the World Cup qualification in 2017, and it's something that retired soccer pro Alexi Lalas just couldn't take. He waited until halftime of a match between the Seattle Sounders and Los Angeles Galaxy to let his feelings be known. Sure, Lalas could've issued a general message to the team, but instead, he called people out directly. He then gave them a verbal spanking while throwing in a bit of sarcasm.

"To the supposed leaders, I will say this," began the Fox Sports analyst. "All right, Tim Howard. Tim, the Belgium game ended three years ago; we need you to save the ball now. Geoff Cameron, clean it up or let's get someone who will. Clint Dempsey, you're a national team legend; now we need you to be a national team leader. Michael Bradley, the U.S. does not need you to be zen, the U.S. needs you to play better. Jozy Altidore, is this really as good as it gets? Because it's still not good enough." From there, Lalas called the U.S. men's national soccer team, "a bunch of soft, underperforming, tattooed millionaires."

Some of the players responded, like Bradley, who told Sportsnet, "The lion doesn't care about the opinion of the sheep." Howard shot back as well and told Sports Illustrated that Lalas was just "an average player" and "a failed GM." Man, what drama back then, right?

Alan Horton went off on the referees

Everyone in the building probably saw it, and it was impossible to miss on TV due to the multiple replays. 

In a 2013 game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota's Kevin Love was obviously fouled by Dallas player Shawn Marion while shooting from the corner. But for some reason, the referees didn't call it. Minnesota was down by two at that point with just three seconds left, and Love could have tied the game with free throws if the foul was called. Minnesota ended up losing the game 100-98, and the flub angered their announcer, Alan Horton.

"Oh, that's a foul!" screamed Horton while watching the first replay. He added, "Brutal! David Guthrie is right there. He didn't have the guts to call it. ...oh, Ed Malloy! ... He was sitting right there along the baseline and didn't make the call."

Love's reaction to the non-call was captured by the Associated Press (via Sports Illustrated), and he said, "I'm the type of person that if you see a foul, an obvious foul, you call it." Eventually, the NBA sided with him and Horton, admitting the refs botched things up by not blowing their whistle. "Through postgame video review, we have determined that Love was fouled on the right arm by Marion..." said former NBA president of basketball operations, Rod Thorn.

Tommy Heinsohn was completely taken aback

Late Boston Celtics announcer Tommy Heinsohn took the referees to task during a 2002 match-up between the Celtics and Phoenix Suns. He first lost it after Paul Pierce took an incredibly hard foul and it wasn't called. But that was just the start. "This is getting ridiculous. This is absolutely ridiculous," Heinsohn yelled, commenting, "And you could sense this from the very beginning of the ball game, that these guys are not with the program tonight." 

Then, the passionate announcer began screaming after he believed that one of the refs missed a Suns player traveling. "He walked! What is the matter with these guys?" Heinsohn bellowed. Clearly, in the announcer's mind, the officials couldn't do anything right that night, and when they called a foul on one of the Celtics' players, he was dumbfounded. Heinsohn was also taken aback at the play being called a hard foul, and he gave some interesting advice to one of the refs. "This Kenny Mauer should go home to his wife 'cause nobody here loves him," he yelled. From there, Heinsohn said it was "worst game I've seen officiated all year," before calling the referees "smug" and "awful." Let's just say that Heinsohn wasn't into mincing words.