Next week is Championship Week on ESPN, meaning we can look forward to 1) an orgy of exciting conference-tournament finals, and 2) an unendurable dose of Dick Vitale. Dicky Vee is not without his virtues (page 72), but herewith is one man's plea to the chrome-domed one: Get a TO, babeee! Take a breath one time between your awesome and your baby and think about your audience. The following is our All-Earplug Team, our Fab Five gripes with your relentless shtick:
•It's Big Monday in Storrs, Conn., and you're shrieking at us, "The best one-two punch in America, baby, UConn's Donyell Marshall and Doron Sheffer!" Now it's Super Tuesday in Fayetteville, Ark., and you're shrieking at us, "The best one-two punch in America, baby, Arkansas's Corliss Williamson and Scotty Thurman!" Dicky Vee, you're the biggest homer we've seen since Mantle hung 'em up.
•Get rid of the Three S's: Super! Scintillating! and Sensational! We give up. What's better, a super slam bam jam or a sensational slam bam jam?
•Who doesn't know by now that you despise the alternate-possession rule; that you esteem Dean Smith as the "Michelangelo of coaching"; or that you think the Cameron Crazies are without; a doubt the wackiest fans around, baby? You've logged more repeats than I Love Lucy.
•You spew on about All-Airport, All-Crybaby, All-Zebra, All-Cupcake, All-Windex, All-Kodak, All-Rambo.... Hey, we're All-Excedrin out here.
•When Michigan's Jimmy King and Ray Jackson were caught shoplifting last month, you wiped the record clean by saying, "Hey, kids will be kids." You tell us you still have one good eye, yet you seem to see no evil when it comes to college basketball players.
•O.K., so we've got more than five complaints. We're using Dicky Vee math. Heck, you've always got two Players of the Year, eight first-team All-Americas, 33 teams in the Top 25 and 79 guests at the Big Dance. Next you'll be telling us that Kentucky's Travis Ford gives 110%.... Oops, sorry, you've already done that.
•During the recent Duke-Virginia game, when the basketball game wasn't intruding, you found airtime to vogue on Kevin Costner, your golf game, Duke guard Chris Collins's mother (twice), your close personal friend Michael Jordan, a teenage cheerleading contest and Tonya Harding. Nice job. And that was just one half.
•Dump your obsession with the game-ending bus routine: "The bus driver is walking down the tunnel. Say good night, Coach K, this one is Lock City. The bus driver is putting the key in the ignition. The bus driver is turning the key. The bus driver is revving the engine. The bus driver is monitoring the carburetor intake system...." Talk about garbage time.
Hey, Dicky Vee, sofa spuds everywhere admire your chutzpah, but to escape America's All-Mute team, please, before you go to Berkeley on Slam Bam Wednesday and tell us that Cal's Lamond Murray and Jason Kidd are the best one-two punch in America.... Freeze it!