I know that “On The DL” has had some amazing interviews in the past (*ahem* yours truly), but their latest with Ian Eagle might take the cake. Not only does the CBS announcer talk about the origin of Bill Raftery’s “Onions!”, but he also touches on Vitale calling the NBA, imitates Marv Albert, how he turned down WFAN when Russo left and this fabulous new invention called…The Intanet!
Here are some of the highlights….
On Raftery’s Onions: “I remember it vividly. It was my first year and the Nets were playing a game down in Miami. And Kevin Edwards hit a big three from the corner to give the Nets a one-point lead late in the game. I had the call: ‘Edwards from the corner, three is GOOD.’ And Raf goes, ‘OOOOH, ONIONS!!!!’ And I turn to him, and I knew Raf’s Raf-to-English translation like the back of my hand. I was able to provide listeners with the track that they needed to follow along. But I had no idea what he was talking about. So I turn to him during the break and say, ‘Bill, Raf, I don’t get that, what is that? Onions? What, it was so good that you cried?’ He said, ‘Hey Bird (Raf’s nickname for Eagle)…BIG BALLS.’ And that was it. That’s when ONIONS was born.”
On WFAN: “I’ll be honest about it. Yeah. There was a lot of talk. I absolutely can tell you that there was an offer made. Mike (Francessa) is very comfortable with me. I’m very comfortable with Mike. I go back with him a long time. I worked behind the scenes on that show back in 1992. I have a history with him, I have a history with Chris (Russo). I think Mike liked the idea of having somebody in my age group that brings a little more to the table than just sports. I’m a pop culture guy. I can feel just as comfortable talking about the Philadelphia-Giants matchup as I can talking about Diff’rent Strokes and the career that Gary Coleman should have had.”
On the Emergence of the Internet: “It’s already had a huge impact in the Sports World, and the play-by-play guys that are not paying attention to it, are losing out. They’re losing out on getting the real pulse of a game that they’re covering. My point with blogs and with podcasts is that it can’t be THE basis of your prep work, there has to be much more. We understand that. But, it has to be at least a part of what you’re doing. If you’re not paying attention to it, then you’re not seeing the full picture.”
Amen, Eye-In….Amen. That’s what I’ve been trying to tell people for years! Anyway, great stuff from Mr. Levy once again. If you have the time, please listen to the whole thing. If not for the boring preparation questions, for his imitation of Marv Albert which is stellar. Oh and the “Raft to English” line? Priceless.
Oh and I almost forgot! He also addresses this famous YouTube clip….
“Yeah that was during a break during a Wizards-Cavaliers game, working with Dr. Jack Ramsey. Who was alive, by the way, during that clip, I know there’s been a lot of speculation on the Internet. Well, uh look. The bottom line for me is, and we talked about Bill Raftery earlier and who he is, what you see is what you get. I’d like to think I’m the same way.”
Ian Eagle Joins the DL – Hilarity Ensues (On The DL)