(edit. I apologize in advance that I’m basically phoning this in the way that the Thunder did the second half against San Antonio the other night. I’ve been busy, okay. Anyway, Royce’s post at TheLostOgle.com is probably going to be a lot better.)
About a year ago, Patrick wrote a post that dogged the gameday production of the Thunder and gave advice on how to improve. It was only as harsh as it was true. The worst of the vitriol, and probably the most deserving, belonged to the game emcee, Jonathan Meisner:
Hire a Game Emcee who doesn’t make me want to punch the Game Emcee in the face.The guy pictured above is Jonathan Meisner. Jonathan is the “in arena game emcee” for the Thunder. He’s also a recruiter for Southern Nazarene University. Yeah…the Thunder put a Nazarene college recruiter in charge of entertaining an NBA crowd. That makes as much sense as Jim Traber working at the library.
Seriously, how could they hire this guy!?! Not only is his audition video terrible, but he has to wear his hat backwards to look remotely “cool” and “fresh.” Instead, he looks like some annoying kid asking his mom for the Sunny D or the purple stuff.
He was, in my opinion, the worst part of the Thunder experience, and that included watching P.J. Carlesimo coach.
Thankfully, it turns out that Meisner either quit or was let go because the Master of Ceremonies at the Ford Center this season will be a two headed monster that includes comedian Joel David and a OklaTravelNet co-host (the girl, Katie Kurtz, not Brent Skarky). This is definitely an upgrade.
As opposed to an SNU recruiter trying to fire up a crowd, they actually hired people experienced with performing. David, in fact, has some edge. Check out his blog, or listen to one of his podcasts. He uses words that Meisner would respond to with, “Um! I’m telling mommy.” And yes, I’m sure the Thunder are giving him strict instructions to keep his schtick PG when standing in front of all the Edmondites in the lower bowl, but you can count on him not considering use of the word “yo” and talking with his hands as sufficient personality. With his background in stand-up comedy, too, one can be assured that he will use his practice with crowd play to keep us interested during time outs.
Of course, once I have actually seen him and Katie (and Katie’s “Little House on the Prairie” bangs) during games, odds are I’ll turn on them, as well. For now, though, I am pumped at the new era of game presentation.