Joe Buck and Fox Baseball Should Divorce

Joe_buck_1 Recently Joe Buck added a new job to an already full resume.  Fox Television’s pro football play-by-playman will now anchor its weekly pre-game show.  Good for Buck — and doubtless the National Football League.  Bad for his other game:  the one Joe’s father loved.

For several years Buck fils has served two masters.  After baseball’s "Game of the Week," Joe segues to August exhibition (oops, pre-season) and September-December pro football, then retrieves the League Championship Series and World Series.  Buck’s mind seems willing.  The heart is another tale.  At best they uneasily co-exist.

Fox calls Joe its primary "Game of the Week" announcer.  Such a claim deserves review.  Vin Scully’s 1983-89 each-Saturday afternoon "Game" was national.  Buck’s paltry 16-game series in 26-week season is regional, promoted meagerly, airs haphazardly, starts in late May or early June, and, like Joe, vanishes at season’s peak.

"All September, they stick him on the NFL," marvels an ex-Fox announcer.  "Its alleged baseball guy, on sabbatical, missing the most crucial time."  The 2004 "Game" aired only thrice after August 28.  "Fox is MIA on the pennant race, and Joe doesn’t even do [September 18's] Red Sox-Yankees," the Voice continued.  "What kind of sport would tolerate that?"  Clearly, baseball, like a prostitute with a drug habit.  Paying, Fox dictates what to do.

In 2006, the bigs’ getting that was bad has gotten worse.  On Thursday, August 17, Buck broadcast a vacuous Giants-Chiefs preseason game.  Fox analyst Troy Aikman asked about Saturday’s Sox-Yanks, which Joe would surely cover.  Buck replied that he would view baseball’s top serialized novel from his living room.  "I’ll be watching from there," he said.  Aikman was stunned.

New York Daily News critic Bob Raissman gaped, too.  "Here you had a critical matchup in a storied rivalry and Fox did not send its No. 1 play-by-play Voice to work it," he wrote.  "What a joke."  Try comparing an NFL exhibition to sport’s Athens v. Sparta.  No comparison.  Somehow Fox, however, like Buck, deems the former more important.

Incredibly, Fox will do one 2006 "Game" post-August 25.  (Bud Selig sired the wild card to "regain" September":  Fox ignores it.)  Joe doesn’t mind.  "I don’t think I”m destined for more than 10 more years in baseball," he told the New York Times.  "I’m enjoying football.  The ‘Game of the Week’ isn’t what it was.  I put a lot of work into those games, but you don’t get the same payoff as you get from a great football game" — especially if you ignore it.

Imagine Scully baring such condescension:  You can’t.  Envision Curt Gowdy trashing a sport he did for 28 years.  Good luck.  Jon Miller would broadcast boccie ball before demeaning baseball.  By contrast, Buck seems tired of his native St. Louis’ favorite game.  Ecclesiastes notes "a time for every season."  The time exists for Joe and network TV baseball to sign an overdue divorce.

Next year Fox will finally begin continuity Bud Selig vowed a decade ago:  mirabile dictu, a "Game" each Saturday.  (I’ll believe it when I see it.)  Buck’s schedule would preclude, even if he wanted, it:  Something will have to go.  Joe’s bias; baseball’s expanded 2007 schedule; football’s dominance — "[At Fox] The National Football League is first," said Raissman, "baseball a distant second" — suggests what.

At minimum, Fox needs someone deeming baseball, as Ring Lardner said, more than a side dish you decline to order.  A Voice should grasp its gentle rhythms.  Ungentle, Buck loves cutting edge.  Baseball is grunge shirts with starch.  Joe thinks the wiseacre deserves praise, not bile.  Sports Illustrated asked if he preferred nepotism or birthright.  "Nepotism," he said.  "It pisses people off a lot more." 

Scully grew up with Tyrone Power.  Buck keeps a life-sized cutout of Mike Myers as Austin Powers.  One day this year he taunted sidekick Tim McCarver:  "I don’t know what you’re talking about."  Scully would sooner dub Los Angeles Bridgeport, West.  Joe’s acerbity, pop culture twist, and mania with seeming hip often disgusts baseball’s non-hip public.  Say it ain’t so, Joe?  Many would not be displeased if his good-bye is. 

What then?  Fox’s in-house bench pales v. NBC’s 1980s Scully, Joe Garagiola, Bob Costas, and Tony Kubek.  NonFoxers might include Gary Cohen, Harry Kalas, a Sean McDonough.  At any rate, baseball would survive sans what Fox sports head David Hill terms "the greatest broadcaster I have heard":  true, if you exclude Mel Allen, Red Barber, Jack Buck, Harry Caray, Costas, **** Enberg, Gowdy, Ernie Harwell, Chick Hearn, Foster Hewitt, Keith Jackson, Lindsey Nelson, Ray Scott, and Vin, among others.

In 1861, Abraham Lincoln left Springfield, Illinois, to assume the Presidency.  "I now bid you," he told his home people, "an affectionate farewell."  Next year Sadly, inexorably, Joe Buck and Fox TV baseball should bid one another an affectionate farewell.

14 Comments

Curt,
I couldn’t agree with you more on your above post.

It’s insulting that a national television network that has the rights to MLB air only game after Aug. 25. Saturday’s Dodgers-Mets contest would’ve been a great game to show nationwide considering the big market teams involved. Buck needs to stop doing baseball. There’s a lot of talent out there who could fill the void and then some!

Great post!

http://thisbaseforent.mlbblogs.com

You guys are ******. Joe has more skill than anybody (other than Vin Scully). There’s some sort of idiotic idea out there that because Joe does the NFL that he can’t also call MLB. That’s garbage. He knows the game and can add more color that all the Tim McCarvers in the world. Just because the guy splits his time doesn’t make him ineffective. We haven’t even reached the post-season. Why should he be doing games on Fox that may or may not be important down the road? Joe will be there for the playoffs and the World Series…keep your pants on.

don’t know what that last poster is talking about, but i thin kit’s safe to assume that about 95% of the baseball world thinks joe buck is one of the absolute worst announcers in baseball. hes TERRIBLE, and it’s a disgrace that fox would put him on to broadcast cardinal playoff games. any bias there?!?! hmm…. not possibly though because we all know fox is unbiased in all of their media outlets.

Wow! what are you protesting about? The fact that you can’t watch a sport and think for yourself. Does the announcer taint the the game? How weak! Even if you don’t like, or get, his wit, he knows the game, the stats, the management of baseball better than most. So, he makes it fun, god (pick one)forbid! Go read a book and turn the sound of if it confuses you when you watch. Oh, and Curt, How many times have tyou asked whe the heck Tim McCarver is talking about?

I would hope someone can give me some feedback regarding my post. At one time I worked for FOX Sports. Here is the deal w/ Joe Buck. No bias here. Joe is a “fun” guy. He is very intelligent politically with the brass at Fox Sports, David Hill, Ed Goren and Bill Brown. Pretty much he has minipulated them. Why then would they create caos with one sportscaster to do Football Studio show, in which he is the reason why the show has to be on the road (Im sure that doesnt sit well with Terry, Howie and Jimmy) not much chemistry there. They rather be stationary in LA. I will add more as I have a flight to catch but feel free to give your input.

This is one reason it has become almost ludicrous to include as part of the requirement for a broadcaster to be considered for the Ford C. Frick Award experience on the national level such as calling playoff games or World Series games. Now that the major tv network calls the shots as to who calls playoff or World Series games, the local broadcaster for playoff teams no longer has an opportunity to even work the playoff games as was the case years ago therefore no opportunity to even qualify for World Series experience as a broadcaster.
They are basically locked out and this is a huge mistake in my opinion.

Joe Buck is a joke. It isnt about understanding his wit or any other garbage that people spew out. The person clearly has biased opinion and frankly I as a Boston fan dont need to hear any of them. In addition to that he tries to censor us from things that are not that offensive. We can all recall the Randy Moss incident a few years ago. To apologize to the entire nation and say how degusted he was, went a bit far. Fox did the right thing a few times over the summer and had our regular color guy Jerry Remy fill in. Bottom line hes a joke he knows it…and i have the feeling he was stuffed into lockers when he was younger..

Joe Buck is a freakin joke. My friends and have all been watching football for the last fifiteen years. We all agree Joe Buck is the absolute worst announcer we have ever heard. His continuing rant about Randy Moss in the 2005 playoffs was completely uncalled for. I think is voice is so annoying along with his stupid sacarism, makes him sound like a complete pompous ***. I am diehard Bears fan and the only compliant I had was, I was subjected to listening to Joe Buck for the entire playoff run. What really pisses me off is the only reason he has a job is beacuse of his daddy, Jack Buck. Why doesn’t FOX pull the plug on this guy already? They already have a great replacement for Baseball in Thom Brehnmannn. As for Football give it to **** Stockton, or hire someone else did anyone hear Thom’s call of the Fiesta Bowl he could easily do a better job on NFL games. I wonder how he feels that they tease **** by leting him do three games as the number one guy while Buck is off doing the World Series. I cant wait to hear him call Superbowl 42. Worst of all now he is on the **** pregame show because God knows we all can’t get enough Joe Buck. I can’t stand his announcing so much i just might put the radio on to listen to the game.It also makes me real sick to hear all these people say he is the best now let alone ever. They all need to get their heads checked or puller out of their *****. So Fox do us all a favor and get rid of Joe Buck as the number one guy. PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Could somebody please teach Joe Buck to be a non-biased sports anchor. As a Boston fan, his desire to belittle the Red Sox and his inability to recognize their achievements and talents infuriates me. At the end of the day, the Red Sox will rise above and beyond the biased Joe Buck. GO SOX…..

Joe Buck is the absolute most idiotic announcer that I have ever heard! He is so biased. While listening to him announce the Phillies/LA national league championship, I couldn’tt help but wish I’d rather be listening to Donald Duck commentating the games! What makes him such a expert anyway? He sometimes makes observations that totally make no sense. Isn’t there anyone out there???

Joe Buck simply has no passion, no heart, for the game of baseball. He shows it during his broadcasts, and it is incredibly obvious to true baseball fans. For that reason alone, he should be replaced by Fox Sports as soon as possible. McCarver, at least, played the game. I don’t know what exactly what happened between him and the Phillies organization, but he seems to carry a chip. At least i can understand his game-calling.

Joe Buck, what the heck are YOU talking about??

Joe I think you are very good announcer, but you and the other announcers seem to always talk up the Yankees. Being from the west coast I have never liked the Yankees and will never like them because of their money and the hype you all give them. I’m so glad they have not done good the last few years with all the money they pay each year, but you guys still think they are some sort of gods. With their new stadium I hope they do even worse than they have, it would be nice if all of you would look at the rest of the league the same as you look at Yankees. I am 60 and live in Washington all my life and have been involved in basball all my life and getting tried of heariing so much about the Yankees.
Thanks Tom Wright

Today?s Baseball Announcers: the Good, the Silly and the Buffoonery

Since we are now in post season Baseball, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the current state of Baseball announcing (at this glorious time of year). For the record, I grew up in the Tri-State NY Metropolitan area. I watched Yankees games and Met games, on either WPIX (Channel 11) or WOR (Channel 9) and listened as ?old school? guys called the games; men such as Ralph Kiner, Lindsey Nelson, Bill White and Phil ?The Scooter? Rizzuto (in spite of Rizzuto evacuating the Broadcast booth in late innings in order to beat the west-bound Jersey traffic on the GW and Bill White teasing him about on air?he was still a good Announcer!). These guys were skillful Baseball Announcers. They called Baseball games with great flair, great knowledge, good humility and with an understanding that sometimes, you should just shut up on air! Today?s Baseball (or Football) Announcers don?t know when to be quiet sometime or just plain shut up and let the game ?speak for itself?– as if several moments of on air silence during a broadcast is too terrible for the Networks to imagine. One of the sublime beauties of listening/watching Baseball on TV at home, is the majesty of having it on in the background as you putz about the house or yard while doing things, but this unending, inane, and pointless chattering (by today?s Announcers) is roughly akin to the mind numbing aggravation of having a crazy neighbor or ex-wife drop by your house or Condo (unannounced) and you can?t get them to leave!
The worst (and silliest) of the modern Announcing breed might very well be Joe Buck and Tim Mc Carver; I cringed when these two call a game. When this happens, I mute the sound of the game and turn on a smooth Jazz station to accompany my viewing of the game. Their combined garrulousness–particularly Tim Mc Carver?s ad nauseam (and over explaining) dissection of the most routine and obvious of plays–coupled with the corny and silly buffoonery of Joe Buck (who once asked, for example, former Yankee skipper Joe Torre during an ?in game? interview to rub the bald head of former Yankee Coach Don Zimmer for good luck, fortunately Torre wisely declined the silly request from the camera hogging Buck) drive me to the mute button every time (needlessly silly antics). Additionally, Buck is no better, in my mind (or ear) at broadcasting NFL games. In all honesty, Joe Buck should listen to tapes of his departed Father, Jack Buck, calling a St. Louis (Football) Cardinals game; he could learn a lot. Today?s Announcers should simply call the game with an economy of words and more importantly, tell us (the viewing Public watching a game) what we do not see (on the screen) about a particular Baseball or Football play! Now that would be something worth listening too–true insight. Finally, I watched a fair amount of night Baseball games this summer with the MLB package I bought and I noticed that some other Announcers such as Kenny Singleton, Dave Cone and Jim Palmer call a game with a minimum of words and tomfoolery.
And while we are talking about broadcasting silliness, could we also do away with the inane Football (during the game) sideline update statements by the female (or male) bimbo-like Announcers; these interruptions add nothing to the enjoyment (or understanding) of the game but rather serve as some silly sort of ?face time device? for the Announcers. Cutting away to the Cheerleaders on the sidelines would be a better (and more enjoyable) use of the sideline on-air camera time.

John Howard Nesbitt, MBA
Chicago, IL & Jacksonville, Florida

Tim McCarver and Joe Buck are terrible announcers. I’ve never heard such disinterested announcers. If I had to here one more football analogy, I was going to explode. Joe Buck reads stats from a sheet and then gives football analogy and reads more stats and points the obvious. McCarver lacks any passion and mails in it. Why are they allowed to announce World Series Games?

It’s time that Baseball quits punishing Fans with these 2 clowns. It’s time that baseball allows local home team to hear their own announcers or at the minimum lets Joe Morgan and Jon Miller of ESPN Sunday baseball announce the game. Both have humor, intelligence, knowledge and passion for announcing the game they truly love.

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