Making Our Ears Bleed

For as long as I can remember (which may not be as far back as I’m thinking), we’ve had the voices of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver call the World Series. Both are considered by FOX to be their best baseball announcing duo, so we see them for every playoff series aired by FOX, along with many of their Saturday Game of the Week broadcasts.

Despite being the #1 crew for baseball telecasts, it’s clear that a large number of people do not like Joe Buck, including myself. For me, it’s rather easy in explaining why I don’t like him.

1. Randy Moss “mooning” the Packer fans

I watched this game on TV, and I distinctly remember Buck’s reaction.

In a playoff game where a player with an attitude like Moss scored a touchdown against the Vikings’ biggest rival, I wasn’t surprised by Moss’ celebration. Buck wasn’t too impressed, however, and I felt that he overreacted. I also found out later that it’s a tradition for Packer fans to moon the opposing team bus, which is a fact that Buck did not mention. Perhaps he didn’t know this, but I still felt that it was a harmless move by Moss.

2. Why can’t you see it’s a home run?

I don’t remember what year this happened or one of the teams that were playing, but there was a playoff series in Cleveland that had Buck and McCarver as the announcers. A player hit a fly ball deep to right, which bounced off the top of the wall and into the crowd (similar to the Robinson Cano, possible fan interference home run, minus the fan interference). For those that don’t know, this is how the right field fence looks like at Progressive (then Jacobs) Field.

If you look towards center field, it’s very clear that there is about 3 feet of space between the front and back of the fence. Like I said before, the home run in this playoff game hit the top of the wall and bounced into the crowd. What upset me was that in my eyes, it was a home run, no questions asked, but Buck and McCarver spent about 5 minutes discussing whether or not it was indeed a home run. The ball bounced above/behind the yellow line, it went into the crowd, it’s a home run. I could have said that in 5 seconds, not 5 minutes like they did.

Some general complaints I have about Buck is that he throws his opinion into the game far too often. The Moss mooning is an example of this, where he called it a “disgusting act.” I feel that a play-by-play announcer should stick to talking about what’s happening on the field, whereas the color commentator is the one that offers up opinions and explanations to what is happening.* That first definition of the color commentator is almost the exact premise why Dennis Miller and Tony Kornheiser were able to work Monday Night Football telecasts, but also why Rob Dibble lost his job. The second definition is why you almost have to be a former player/coach in order to be a color commentator (an unwritten rule that I despise).

* However, if I was ever a play-by-play guy, I know that I would voice my opinions whenever possible. I know that makes me a hypocrite. It’s OK, I’ve known that since I was a kid, and my opinions would be less abrasive.

Another issue for me is that Buck has said that he doesn’t like baseball as much as football. I’ve read this many times, and I’ve had people tell this to me before, but I will admit that Buck does not sound as controversial as many people made me believe if you listen to him in the clip on the post I linked. If anything, he’s giving us the same reason why many people might say they prefer football over baseball. Still, how can you not like baseball???

However, what bothers me is because he doesn’t pay much attention to sports when he’s not working, which vastly reduces his knowledge of other teams. Instead of discussing a point that he’s noticed on his own, he has to rely on discussion points either given to him by FOX, or have been common in past years (see: Twins do the little things). This prevents him from talking about something that is new, such as the Twins outfield defense suffering because of Delmon Young, Michael Cuddyer, and Jason Kubel in the corners. Perhaps the one thing that will discount Buck’s problem with this is that he’s not the only one guilty. We always see commentators that regurgitate the same story lines, or fabricate new ones that overshadow the actual game (Manny Ramirez returning to Boston).

I’m not alone in my dislike for Buck, however. Although in a small sample size, I did poll some friends on Facebook and Twitter and had about 9 people say they dislike Buck, and only one that said he liked Buck. However, I bet every one of you that reads this post could go find all your friends and family that know and have listened to Joe Buck, and poll them on whether or not they like him. I’m willing to guess that at the least, you’d have a 50/50 split between like and dislike. At most, everyone would hate him.

If this is the case, then why is he the #1 play-by-play announcer? The same question can be asked about Joe Morgan on ESPN. If so many people complain about a particular announcer, then why keep him on the air?

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