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D.C.’s Top Five Sportscasters of Today

Leonard Shapiro’s top 10 D.C. sports anchors of the past 40 years got me thinking about D.C. sports anchors of today, and how TV is different now. It’s less about anchors and more about the play-by-play, color guys and reporters.

So I asked the D.C. sports literati for their top five sportscasters of today, with the only criteria being that their picks currently have on-air TV gigs in the D.C. area. The results are found here, followed by those who participated and a poll for you to pick your favorite.

First though, four observations:

— Comcast SportsNet dominates, probably because they show actual games.
— MASN doesn’t register, probably because their Nats broadcast is abysmal.
— Network anchors still matter, as two of the top five hail from NBC, FOX.
— Two of the top three on this list are proud alumni of JMU. Just sayin’.

Okay, on with the show …

1. Steve Buckhantz“Simply because of Dagger and Not Possible” … “His longevity and the excitement in his voice (a HUGE thing for me) is enough in a weak crop” … “This one is less on what he’s doing currently — I watched very little Wizards basketball last season — and more on the fact that he’s been very good for a very long time.”

2. Joe Beninati“Keeps up with the play-by-play as well as anybody” … “Any doubt as to how good we have it with Joe B should be answered by the fact that he is the Versus NHL guy now.” … “I enjoy watching the Caps games much more when they’re on locally than when they’re on nationally. I suspect Joey B is one of the main reasons why.”

3. Lindsay Czarniak“Dogged and thorough” … “So awesome, cool and 10-car pileup cute that everybody in town believes she once had a crush on them. Until their alarm clock goes off.”

4. Chick Hernandez“Shapiro got this one right.”

5. Dave Feldman“How is Feldy 5th? That’s insane.”

Others receiving votes: Craig Laughlin, Kelli Johnson, Michael Jenkins, Russ Thaler, Dan Hellie, Washington Post writers on Washington Post Live, Johnny Holliday, Michael Wilbon, Lisa Hillary, Phil Chenier, Doc Walker, Brett Haber, Tim Brandt, Al Koken, Jill Sorenson, Ivan Carter and Brian Mitchell

Voters: Dan Steinberg, John Taylor, Andy Peden, William F. Yurasko, Chris Chase, Mike Wise, Jon Kelman, Jon Press, Matt Terl, Jack Kogod and me

D.C. sports fan and digital media guy that's been doing this since 2004. Once threw a football further than Chris Cooley.



  1. Unsilent Majority

    May 27, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    Which one of you put Doc in your top five?

  2. kip

    May 27, 2010 at 1:44 PM

    I met buckhantz and chanier at a bobcats down in charlotte back in march. After they saw I was wearing my bullets jersey they asked where my wife and I were sitting collected our info and attempted to get us on the broadcast during a timeout so they would get my automatic vote.

  3. Mike Wise

    May 27, 2010 at 1:52 PM

    Can I vote for myself?
    Seriously, I didn’t know I could vote for play-by-play guys in their respective sports. I just thought it was network sports anchors. How does Dave Johnson get no love? “Jaime Moreno! G-o-o-o-alllll!”

  4. Dan Steinberg

    May 27, 2010 at 1:54 PM

    My only complaint is I wish the voting pool was more white and male.

  5. Jamie Mottram

    May 27, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    I know you’re a big shot, Wise, but you really need to follow instruction more carefully.

  6. The Mayor

    May 27, 2010 at 2:01 PM

    No love for Larry Michael? He does Redskins Nation, so that counts.

  7. Unsilent Majority

    May 27, 2010 at 2:03 PM

    Larry Michael wouldn’t be in my top 50.

  8. Michael Jenkins

    May 27, 2010 at 2:14 PM

    What do I get if I beat Ivan Carter?

  9. horseydeucey

    May 27, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    Unless I misread something and missed the part about voting for best company shill, Larry Michael has no business being mentioned.

    And Wise, don’t pretend like that was the first time that question popped in your head– or that it was a joke.

  10. Jamie Mottram

    May 27, 2010 at 2:17 PM

    I should probably mention that the “others receiving votes” section is ordered by number of votes, so you’re No. 8 overall, Jenkins!

  11. DC

    May 27, 2010 at 2:23 PM

    Rob Dibble.

  12. SteveRep44

    May 27, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    Might be an idea to break it up between anchor-reporter types and game-coverage, play-by-play people.

    Joe B is the tops for PxP, the top sportscast anchor would be Feldy.

  13. Wenchipoo

    May 27, 2010 at 2:51 PM

    You’re kidding right? Joe B. is ahead of Michael Jenkins in this poll??? WT??? Yeah, he’s okay for hockey, but for all-around hilariously funny sports guy who is better than the Jenks?!!! NOBODY!!!!

  14. tidalwave1

    May 27, 2010 at 2:57 PM

    I voted for Lindsay because, well I’ll be honest, I’m a single guy. Beninati is an excellent hockey play-by-play guy and we are spoiled to have him on CSN.

  15. SweaterVest

    May 27, 2010 at 2:58 PM

    Mottram/Steinberg would have been Top 5 if “Blog Show” was still around. FACT!

  16. Softball Girl

    May 27, 2010 at 3:39 PM

    Charlie Slowes and Dave Jaegler are a great combo too. If only they were on a frequency powerful enough for anyone to hear them.

  17. Jamie Mottram

    May 27, 2010 at 3:51 PM

    If Slowes and Jaegler were on MASN instead of Dibble and Carpenter I think they would have registered.

  18. OBE

    May 27, 2010 at 4:05 PM

    Maybe I’m biased because I’m from the area, but we’ve got lots of talented sports guys here in DC. Just about any anchor/reporter in CSN has a legitimate argument to be in the top-5, and Feldy and Lindsay do an awesome job. Joe B and Buck are also awesome at what they do. But, if I had to pick anyone who isn’t on the top-5 to slip in, I’d pick Jenk. Dude’s hilarious and even has his own fanclub for crying out loud.

    Just as long as you don’t put Rob Dibble on the list. He could be entertaining at times, but only because he’s so terrible. Maybe you should poll the 5 worst as well.

  19. Jamie Mottram

    May 27, 2010 at 4:09 PM

    Oh, we’re doing five worst next, that’s for sure.

  20. horseydeucey

    May 27, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    “Oh, we’re doing five worst next, that’s for sure.”
    Yes Wise, you can vote for yourself on that one.

  21. magnolia

    May 27, 2010 at 5:01 PM

    i’m holding out for the aforementioned five worst. i have three in mind already…

  22. Barno

    May 27, 2010 at 5:19 PM

    Kelli Johnson deserves to be higher, no question. Joe Beninati atop the list shows the power of the Caps’ fairweather fanbase. If this poll were taken 3 years ago, Beninati wouldn’t even rank in top 10 by voters.

  23. Joe

    May 27, 2010 at 5:30 PM

    Barno can’t deal with the fact that the Caps are as popular as they are, even WITH the meltdown in the playoffs. Too funny. As for sportscaster, Beninati, the guy has been chosen to do Versus playoff games nationally. Pretty much all you need to know about how good he is.

  24. Mingus

    May 27, 2010 at 9:05 PM

    Joe and Craig are tied for #1.KJ & Czarniak are next;Hellie & Buch/Phil are right there too, in my book..

  25. JDP

    May 27, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    Please include Czarniak on worst sportscasters poll. Thank you. Whoever voted for best for her is a rube.

  26. Babs

    May 27, 2010 at 9:53 PM

    JDP: The only reason most of these tools are voting for Czarniak is because she’s pretty. Period. I thought it was supposed to be about best sportscasting, not best looking. Shallow much fellas?

    And by the way, if it was a best looking vote, who could beat Jenks???

  27. Mike

    May 27, 2010 at 11:02 PM

    Where’s DIBBLE?!?!

  28. JenkFan

    May 27, 2010 at 11:55 PM

    Men with fan clubs should always win online polls.

  29. Axis Holt

    May 28, 2010 at 12:36 AM

    Michael Jenkins is a fresh, witty, sharp guy who understands that we want personality in a sportscaster, but draw the line at an overinflated sense of self. Jenkins is the real deal, and I’m ready for him to get one of those sour gigs on ESPN where he can’t leave even to go pee for 10-12 hours so i can enjoy his insight, humor and knowledge in big chunks.

  30. horseydeucey

    May 28, 2010 at 8:03 AM

    Speaking of Czarniak, and my hobby of finding people (and things) who look like people (and things)…

  31. AlbertBaby

    May 28, 2010 at 8:28 AM

    What kind of poll is it without Dave Johnson!? (from a Beninati fan)

  32. Terps77

    May 28, 2010 at 9:00 AM

    Late to the party, Joe B is awesome, but Buck gets my vote because of longevity and doing a great job calling games for a team that stinks.

    Johnny Holiday calling Maryland basketball is music.

    horseydeucey, Ive been trying to place Czarniak all these years. Thanks for bringing my search to an end.

  33. OBE

    May 28, 2010 at 9:11 AM

    I too am surprised Dave Johnson wasn’t mentioned. He’s one of the hardest working guys here in the area and does an exceptional job in the Wizards radio broadcasts.

  34. DC

    May 28, 2010 at 9:40 AM

    I’d bang Janice Muppet.

  35. horseydeucey

    May 28, 2010 at 9:42 AM

    “Johnny Holiday calling Maryland basketball is music.” But Holiday calling Meryland football is not music. How excited can a caller get about a 1-yard loss?

    And now for Buckhantz:

  36. horseydeucey

    May 28, 2010 at 9:45 AM

    “I’d bang Janice Muppet.”

    She’s, like, 50. And a muppet. And androgynous. Just imagine the practical issues with that statement… oh… wait.

    I’d bang her too. I’d bang her so hard.

  37. @NyceBryce

    May 28, 2010 at 10:41 AM

    Larry Michael might be worse than Steve Buckhantz. Can we get an honorable Gus Johnson thrown in just because he used to do Fox 5 and he used pause in an actual interview.

  38. Robin

    May 28, 2010 at 11:41 AM

    Steve Kolbe.

  39. bk

    May 28, 2010 at 11:58 AM

    Someone voted for Ivan Carter? Was it Ivan Carter?

    This guy gave a better interview:

  40. TheIndependentThinker

    May 28, 2010 at 1:37 PM

    Time to reshuffled that top five – looks like MJ is in second place (after my vote)…

  41. horseydeucey

    May 28, 2010 at 2:42 PM

    This is a little like Pee Wee’s secret word but,

    I would vote for this guy, before Ivan Carter.

  42. chitsweire

    May 30, 2010 at 11:08 AM

    Where’s the love for Dave Johnson and Steve Kolbe.

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