He’s mo-bile, probably not very a-gile, but definitely not fra-gile. Dick Vitale, one of the best friends the game of college basketball has, signed a contract extension with ESPN today that will keep him telling us about PTPers and diaper dandies through the 2014-2015 season. That’s right — at least an Olympiad more of Dickie V.
We needle Vitale on here quite a bit. But we wouldn’t have been disappointed if ESPN had locked him up for forty more years as opposed to four. Not becuase we like ribbing him, but because you gotta love the guy.
In Celebration of His Contract Extension, We Won't Call That Clearing Left Arm.
The first time I “met” Dick Vitale I was a sophomore in college. I won’t tell you where or when (heh heh) this was, but there were no college basketball blogs then. A couple of friends and I had attended a Vitale-called game at our beloved institution of higher beer consumption hitting on girls learning, and we stayed around for the head coach’s live post game radio show. When it was over, my buddies and I saw Vitale, who had just completed his post-game duties for ESPN, walking up the stands with an undeniably imposing security guard in front of him. We figured we wouldn’t get too many chances like this in later life, so, like star-struck fanboys, we speed-walked (okay, ran) up the bleachers towards him, calling him “Dickie V!” as if we’d known him for most of our lives.
The school had given out those cardboard cutouts of Vitale’s smiling face on a stick (actual size), similar to the ones they use on Pardon the Interruption. We still had ours and brandished them as we approached him. The security guard turned, put out a halting hand, and told us, “No, gentlemen. Thanks, but Mr.Vitale is finished working for the night.”
Actually, he only got out half of “finished” before Vitale, in long coat and gloves and obviously wanting to get back to his hotel and rest, turned around, removed his gloves, and shook our hands. With his usual enthusiasm and only slightly reduced volume, he asked us, “Hey, what’d you fellas think of that game? Man, that press took care of [the opponent] tonight, they had no answer! I mean, it was like there were ten of ’em out there!…” We didn’t even have time to answer. If he was just assuming “Dickie V-mode” and performing for us, he was doing a pretty convincing job.
One of my friends was from Maryland and loved his Terrapins despite being very far from home. When he could get a word in, he asked Vitale, “Hey, Coach, when’s your next trip to Maryland to see my Turtles?”
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