Has Digger Phelps Succombed to Madness?

Tuesday, March 15th, 2005, 10:17 am

Yesterday I watched “Pardon the Interruption” on ESPN and they had a strange piece featuring college basketball analyst Digger Phelps. They showed a segment from a few days ago where Phelps was wearing a bright pink tie, and as he gestured with his hands you could see he was holding a pink highlighter. Then they show another segment, in this one Phelps is wearing a bright green tie, and in his hand he’s holding a green highlighter. OK, it’s a slow sports-news period, there’s a lull before the tournament starts, no NHL, no big NFL free-agency news, why not spend a minute on a bizarre little aside?

I got home last night and played a quick SNG on Full Tilt (went out 6th without winning a single hand, against horrible players who thought Q-9 was a strong hand to go all-in on. I wept with shame when I got knocked out) and I turned on ESPN for some background noise. They had on Phelps and Andy Katz and Karl Ravich going over their picks region by region. Even though I wasn’t paying much attention I sensed something was up. Phelps was talking a mile a minute, I didn’t hear the other guys talking at all. Then Phelps gave his picks and had Pitt beating #1 seed Washington. That got my attention. The camera switched to Andy Katz, but every pick Katz made Phelps butted in and talked over him. You could see in his eyes that he was getting annoyed, he couldn’t get a full sentence out without Phelps jumping in and making his own point.

Then Katz said something about Louisville being motivated because they were ranked #4 in the country but only received a #4 seed, and Phelps jumped in and said that coaches don’t worry about that in the days leading up to the opening game, you just worry about about that next opponent, you start breaking down film, have they ever seen a 1-3-1 matchup zone, how do they respond to a press, are they physical down low…

He went on for a solid minute. Ravich tried interrupting him twice and Phelps, his chair twisted slightly to the right to look into the camera, totally ignored him. They pulled back to show the whole set and you could see Ravich, failing a third time to change the subject, tighten his lips and nod as Phelps blathered on. He looked pissed.

And that’s when I looked at Phelps’s hand. He was holding a bright yellow highlighter. So, was he wearing a bright yellow tie? No. He was wearing a dark blue tie.

But he was wearing a bright yellow shirt.

Men, has it come to this? Has the Marthafication of our society progressed to the point where we’re expected to coordinate our clothes with our office supplies? Or, and this is the much more comforting possibility, has Digger Phelps officially lost it? One might think that anyone over the age of seven who allows himself to be called “Digger” should be watched, but I’ve always enjoyed Phelps’s announcing. And yet his performance last night, and the ominous pairing of highlighters and apparel, is troubling. I’m sure they’ll be talking about this on “PTI” tonight, though I don’t know if I’ll be home in time to catch it. I hope Mike and Tony have some answers.

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2 Responses to “Has Digger Phelps Succombed to Madness?”

  1. Kirk Says:

    i noticed that same thing and thought i was seeing things at first. put me in the lost it camp.

    a regular reader

  2. Andy Says:

    I’ve noticed that Phelps can’t stand Andy Katz. I saw the episode you mentioned and it made me uncomfortable to watch. There have been other times where Phelps could barely contain his dislike for Katz.

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