Friday, March 20, 2009

Disco Shirts And Marty Smith's Beard Make Friday TV Fun

Wow! The fashion consultants at SPEED are at it again. After the 2008 winter white coats and the summertime puffy shirts with the 20-inch sleeves, it was disco time at the Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday and the glare was blinding.

Nothing says Tennessee and NASCAR like shiny metallic light blue long-sleeved shirts on middle-aged men in High Definition.

Even the rough and tumble Jeff Hammond could not pull this one off. Although Hammond added a white t-shirt, he looked ridiculous. What is going on at SPEED and who is in charge of making professionals like Mike Joy and Larry McReynolds look absolutely horrible on national TV?

Perhaps no one came up on the shorter end of the stick than veteran reporter Bob Dillner. At right around six foot six inches tall, Dillner patrolled the garage area in his shiny blue disco shirt with the cuffs tightly buttoned and the collar spread wide. If only Donna Summer had been blaring over the track speakers in the background the scenario would have been complete.

The new shirts actually defeated their own purpose. The sheen from the material squashed the red SPEED logo and made it unreadable, especially outside the announce booth and under the Friday sunshine. After watching this new production element in both SD and HD, one thing is clear. This was a bad idea from the world go.

Moving over to ESPN, emailers were asking if Brian Vickers had gotten a second job reporting for NASCAR Now. Nope. That was simply Marty Smith rocking a new red beard after some time off and having the guts to take it on-camera.

Once again this season, rather than letting Smith and Mike Massaro report from the tracks in NASCAR on ESPN polo shirts, both men were in full suit and tie for the Friday NASCAR Now program. How about giving these guys a break before the summer?

Maybe Smith is going to hold onto that beard in a silent protest over the network's dress code. After all, facial hair may be the only thing he can get away with in ESPN's strange world of formal attire.

Saturday features no NASCAR Now, a big sports car race on SPEED and the afternoon Nationwide Series tilt over on ABC. The new wrinkle is a charity legends race live on ESPN2 at 6PM featuring some big names and lots of fun.

For those who missed the disco shirts, rumor is they will be back at noon and 1PM ET Saturday as SPEED presents Nationwide Series qualifying and then Sprint Cup happy hour. Bring your sunglasses.

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Newracefan said...

Caught the shirts, they are making poor Mike Joy look like he needs to lose over 50 pounds, I know TV adds weight but this is just silly.

Daly Planet Editor said...


Hard to take someone seriously wearing that get-up. Even worse when calling qualifying or a crash in practice, like Mikey's.

As they say at ESPN, that was "a swing and a whiff." Strike one.


Newracefan said...

Thankfully they do not show the booth guys too often or I would be somewhat distracted. Finally caught Marty's beard, I like Jimmie's better, must be a red thing I don't like Vicker's that much either but they must be the thing to do these days in Nascar unless your in the Gilette young guns.

Anonymous said...

Heh heh. I noticed the shirts, too. That photo you found is like the exact material.

What's more the shirts had a lot of slack. It's been a few years - hasn't anyone bothered to measure the arm length of the announcers yet?

Anonymous said...

PS - on Marty's beard. Last year around the start of the chase, he grew a wicked-cool fu-manchu-shaped mustache. It showed up one a couple of ESPN broadcasts about 50-60% grown in... but then he shaved it off. I thought it looked great.

Anonymous said...

Like Donna Summer would say,
"Gotta have some hot stuff baby this evening. Gotta have some hot stuff baby tonight".

Those shirts were pathetic. Who in heaven's name is their costumer? If Mr Blackwell were still alive, these guys would certainly make the 10 Worst Dressed list.

Dot said...

I mentioned the shirts in the prior column. Don't the guys have any say on what they wear? I'm not going to bag on them because I know all of them would NEVER make that fashion choice. Get me the name of the wardrobe director and turn me loose.

A plea to ESPN, please, please, please let Mike M and Marty S dress in clothes race fans can relate to. Even slacks and an ESPN polo shirt would be better than suits.

I like Marty's beard. I hope he keeps it. Maybe he can use it as a bargaining tool. He shaves if he doesn't have to wear a suit.

Anonymous said...

I like Marty's beard, but I wish someone would tell him that the hair needs to go. That modified mohawk is for kids. Actually, I think that hairdo isn't for anyone, but it's especially bad on any guy older than 18. Whomever came up with that whole scruffy, uncombed bedhead needs a good smack.

Sophia said...

I was already to mention the need for sunglasses but it was your last line. :0

Did not get to see much tv today but DID catch a glimpse of these ridiculous shirts.

INDEED who does the wardrobe for these men? Last year ALL wore ill-fitting shirts, whether if was the long sleeved black shirts in 100 degree weather, or the Khaki shirts that Mikey called jammies on TWIN.

But yes, these shirts are flattering to nobody.

We have a nice looking bunch on tv and they insult the guys with such bad clothings. Let the guys pick out their own or maybe their wives. I bet they'd look better and come in under budget.


Daly Planet Editor said...

Marty, keep the Fu! The fans have spoken!

Anonymous said...

It seems like no one in NASCAR is a big enough star on ESPN not to follow the dress code. The only person I have seen not to have to follow it is Bobby Knight. He refuses to wear suits--even though all the other basketball guys, including Digger Phelps, has to wear them.

Daly Planet Editor said...

The hardest part for me is when Marty and Mike are out there in the summer heat standing among everyone else wearing polo shirts.

These two hard working guys are in suits and ties and have been told there are no exceptions.

Talk about looking out of place.


Glenn said...

There have been a few crazy choices made for the Speed folks. They do need a fashion designer. The positive is, no suits and ties. I'm sure anyone from FOX reading TDP has to think,"if that's all they can complain about, we're doing ok.
Even if the clothing is off a little I can deal with it. I see a lot less of the FOX personnel than I used to when the other network broadcasts.

As for the self proclaimed "Worldwide Leader in Sports" I could care less what they do. Still haven't watched a NN show this year. PRN isn't the best either but thankfully they will call the Saturday legends race. If I want to see the race I will have to tune to the channel, but you can't make me listen.
When ESPN makes a change in the booth, loosens up and acts like their having fun, and of course gets better reviews on TDP, I may be back.

red said...

Daly Planet Editor said...
"The hardest part for me is when Marty and Mike are out there in the summer heat standing among everyone else wearing polo shirts.

These two hard working guys are in suits and ties and have been told there are no exceptions.

Talk about looking out of place."

what i don't understand is this: who are they trying to impress by forcing marty and mike into suits at a track? i mean, look around you when you go to a race: i certainly don't see any fans in suits and ties in dover or pocono. it wouldn't diminish their journalistic cred by having them in slacks and polo shirts (altho' i always enjoy seeing marty in jeans and a t-shirt myself -- just looks right on him!) in fact, "decorating" them in suits makes them stand out -- and not in a good way. it makes them look elitist and above the unwashed masses. is that the image espn wants for these guys? truly baffling.

on top of all the other problems espn has with broadcasting nascar, this would seem to be a minor moment but i truly enjoy marty and mike and feel that this is just a silly edict from espn.

and marty? keep the freakin' beard, man, unless your wife hates it (altho' the summer may be a beast with that beard.) not sure if it's a "protest beard" or not but it's a keeper!

Anonymous said...

No reason for any sports announcer
to have a coat and tie.
"When in Rome.....

Daly Planet Editor said...

Red shirts on Saturday for the SPEED gang. Let's hope the disco look is over.


Anonymous said...

JD, Based on past SPEED management decisions it would appear that the disco shirts were either (1) chosen by Hunter Nickles personally or (2) bean-counter revenge.