Let’s take a few minutes to appreciate some of the most beloved members of the Toronto Raptors organization:
The announcers. Matt Devlin and Jack Armstrong.
Good ole Matty D and Jack “Get That Garbage Outta Here” Armstrong are just as vital to the team as any of our big name players! They are truly the heart and soul of this team, showing up for every game (and Jack drives for several hours from his home in New York state!), keeping the die hard fans AND the casual viewers as informed and up to date as possible.
These guys aren’t just your typical announcers, though. They do a heck of a lot more than just tell you what the score is and who fouled whom.
Matt Devlin is a steady, composed kinda guy. His even tone is really great balance to Jack’s more hyper, high-pitched exclamations. In fact, he’s so even keeled and level-headed that he can actually calm down a crowd after gunshots are fired. No joke. Remember last summer when the Raptors had that record-breaking parade and party in downtown Toronto to celebrate their NBA championship win? You may also remember that there were gunshots fired at one point and people started getting antsy (not surprisingly). Matty D stepped up to the mic and addressed the crowd, encouraging everyone to stay calm as the emergency was being dealt with. He also reminded them that it was a celebratory event about love and rejoicing. It didn’t take long before the police arrested their suspects and the party continued.
A sports announcer did that! He calmed a crowd and avoided a stampede of epic proportions! The RCMP, politicians, and even a professor of disaster and emergency management all praised Devlin for his quick thinking and calm demeanor. What a guy!
On the other hand, Matt has a pretty fun side too. Have you heard him shouting out the names of random Canadian cities? It took me a while to figure out why he was doing this, but when I realized it, I legit laughed out loud with delight. So, he only does this yelling when a Raptors player sinks a three-pointer during a home game. Many other announcers would call a shot like this like it came from “downtown,” but Devlin went a bit further. One time when Lowry sunk a three, Matty yelled out “Mississauga!” His thinking was that Lowry was so far back, he was even further than “downtown,” so far that he was pretty much outside of Toronto, maybe even as far out as Mississauga! This tradition has evolved to the point where now he uses names from all across the country, including big cities and tiny communities. I’ve heard some small towns from my area called more than once – like Miramachi, for instance. Ha!
Okay, now let’s talk about Jack.
Although Jack Armstrong actually lives in Lewiston, NY, is much more animated than his co-host. He gets more excited about basketball plays than many people get about… anything! He’s kind of like the more animated, engaging spouse while Devlin is the calmer, quieter, more practical one in the relationship. Jack’s like my mom and Matt’s like my dad. Yep, that’s a perfect comparison. I’m just sorry you can’t all appreciate how on point this analogy is.
While he is an extremely helpful announcer, breaking down any call or play that’s even remotely complicated so that everyone from the seasoned sports fan to the greenest newbie can understand what’s going on, this isn’t what Jack Armstrong is best at. When Jack gets excited, he lets out with an exclamation that I’m sure makes many dog ears perk up. His most famous quips include “GET THAT GARBAGE OUTTA HERE!” and “HELLOOO!” In fact, these catchphrases are SO perky and SO popular that Armstrong now has his own clothing line! If you check out www.hellojack.entripyshirts.com, you’ll see a collection of clothing and accessories featuring some of our beloved sportscaster’s most famous lines. Because Jack is Irish, most of the clothes are green and many feature shamrocks. This is particularly fitting as I’ve always thought that he sounds a bit like a leprechaun who’s had too many bowls of sugary Lucky Charms.
Anyway… These hilarious, high-pitched witticisms have become so legendary that the city of Toronto put them to good use. Check out this commercial! I can’t think of a better way to encourage people to sort and recycle properly than to play Jack Armstrong’s sharp and yet soothing (yes, those two can indeed go hand in hand) New York accent yelling “Are you serious? Get that garbage outta here!” Well done, TO. Well done.
Normal Powell is pretty hot right now (way to go Player Of The Week!). Serge Ibaka is wicked good (as are his suits, as always). And don’t even get me or my mom started on Fred VanVleet’s awesomness (even though he’s injured again. – ugh). But sometimes I really do think that the two most important, unofficial members of the Toronto Raptors are the two guys that keep us at-home viewers entertained an informed. Thanks Matty and Jack! You’re my heroes!
For more thoughts and opinions from Melanie, check out her author page.
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