For those unfamiliar with his famously withering diatribes, Craig Carton is New York City's barking, bombastic, loudmouth AM sports DJ (alongside Boomer Esiason) on radio WFAN, where he makes his living educating listeners. In the Big Apple, that usually means tearing into the Mets' stingy owner, or the Knicks' waifish defense, but often also entails calling out poseurs and callers to the show who simply do not know what they are talking about. The 44-year-old native New Yorker, whose upcoming book, 'Loudmouth,' comes out in June, is a veritable and imposing encyclopedia of sports arcana.
On the eve of March Madness and all that it implies – bouts of hysteria and depression, dramatic loss of productivity, obsessions with brackets by the general populace – it's a rough time for those gawking novices who would love a spot at the water cooler, but lack the sports knowledge chops. We caught up with Carton at a recent Guinness Happy Hour Event (to benefit the Leary Firefighters Foundation), where he revealed to us a secret to the art of talking sports smack: Half the battle is just sounding like you're smart. With a little prep work and some time on the Internet, any schmo can fake it till they make it, says Carton (though, he cautions, "if you're not a good memory guy, you're fucked."). Here are Carton's cramming tips for talking the talk, even if you can't tell a triple-double from a double dribble (and if you can, these tips are still pretty good for faking you way through almost anything).
Get the greatest hits.
Since there are so many teams in college sports, and careers are so short, legendary moments are more memorable than teams or players. Inevitably, tournament conversation will turn to the greatest hits moments. So, spend some time on YouTube checking out NCAA fan compilations and memorizing a handful of the most popular – that way you can react in the moment. A quick tip: "If you knew about the Christian Laettner shot to beat Kentucky, that's a good one," Carton says, noting Laettner's last-second/back-to-the-basket/turn-around/game-winning jump shot on March 28, 1992 in Duke's dramatic 104-103 victory over Kentucky. "Keith Smart's jump shot to beat Syracuse in '87," Carton also recalls, and, "the Freddy "Downtown" Brown pass that got intercepted by James Worthy to cost Georgetown the title."