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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Broadcaster Joe Buck Discusses Charges of Nepotism, His Cancelled HBO Show, Why He Quit Twitter and

“Losing his Father”. Natch.

Buck weighs in on the debate of who is the true home run king in baseball: “I mean the home run king, to me, is Hank Aaron, but statistically, it’s Barry Bonds.” Buck continues: “I just look at it as almost two different records, two different times in the game, and it doesn’t upset me like it does others.”

In 1996 at the age of 27, Buck was the play-by-play announcer for his first World Series. He discusses his discomfort leading up to the broadcast: “You always feel like you’re going to get exposed as some fraud.” He remembers thinking: “Am I really ready for this? Am I capable of doing a World Series… I don’t feel like you ever really feel totally comfortable with that.”

As the son of Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck, Joe has faced charges of nepotism throughout his career. And even after having surpassed his father in the number of World Series he has broadcast on television, Buck still feels the specter of his father’s accomplishments and the perception that he only has the job because of his last name: “I’m my dad’s kid, and I’m still, right or wrong, fighting that uphill battle, and I’m not saying that makes sense. I mean my dad didn’t hire me at FOX… but it certainly gave me my start, and I think I’m always kind of fighting that.”

Repoz Posted: September 25, 2012 at 05:24 AM | 34 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: announcers

Reader Comments and Retorts

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Statements posted here are those of our readers and do not represent the BaseballThinkFactory. Names are provided by the poster and are not verified. We ask that posters follow our submission policy. Please report any inappropriate comments.

   1. JE (Jason) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 07:42 AM (#4244908)
Watch clip!
   2. shoewizard Posted: September 25, 2012 at 08:15 AM (#4244916)
Artie Lang........that was awesome
   3. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 25, 2012 at 08:35 AM (#4244927)
Saying "Charges of nepotism" about Joe Buck is like saying there are "allegations" that Chelsea Handler slept her way to the top. Nobody had ever heard of her and her TV bigwig boyfriend gave her a talk show. It is a factually accurate statement, not an allegation. And yet her show was a big success, providing a rare example in which sleeping one's way to the top sometimes leads to the right person getting the job.

Joe Buck is either an example of nepotism with good results, or an example of nepotism with bad results. I say the latter, as nobody watches sports broadcasts because they enjoy hearing Joe Buck talk.
   4. Dirty Tom Rackham Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:05 AM (#4244944)
The name probably got him in the door, but at this point it's pretty clear that Fox thinks Joe Buck is really good or they wouldn't have put him on the top spot in both baseball and football for all these years.

   5. spycake Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:46 AM (#4244989)
Or Fox just has poor judgement when it comes to sports announcers -- this would not be a new phenomena.

And at this point, I'm sure they value consistency and name recognition more than quality anyway. For better or worse, Joe Buck is part of baseball's "brand". Ugh.
   6. villageidiom Posted: September 25, 2012 at 10:02 AM (#4245015)
Joe Buck is either an example of nepotism with good results, or an example of nepotism with bad results. I say the latter, as nobody watches sports broadcasts because they enjoy hearing Joe Buck talk.
There has never been a sports broadcast I have tuned into because I enjoyed hearing the broadcaster talk.

That doesn't mean I think your conclusion is wrong; it just means I disagree with your rationale for it. As a viewer I agree that it is a bad result.

If I were a FOX exec, depending on how the pay scale goes I might be happy with it. With Joe Buck handling both MLB and NFL, perhaps they're getting a bulk rate from him, paying less for him than they would for separate lead broadcasters for the two sports.
   7. Tom Nawrocki Posted: September 25, 2012 at 10:10 AM (#4245031)
There has never been a sports broadcast I have tuned into because I enjoyed hearing the broadcaster talk.


Well, I have. I used to make a point of trying to catch NFL broadcasts when John Madden was broadcasting. And several people here have said they go out of their way to hear Vin Scully do the Dodger games.

Those are exceptions, but I think for many people it operates on a more subtle level: The better the broadcasters are, the more fun you have watching the games, and the more likely you are to tune in again. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say they watched an NFL telecast because Gus Johnson was doing the game - but I have heard people talk about how much fun it is to hear the excitement in Johnson's voice during a big play, and I think that brings people back for more, even if just on a subconscious level.

I can't imagine Joe Buck making baseball broadcasts more fun for anyone.
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 10:16 AM (#4245038)

The name probably got him in the door, but at this point it's pretty clear that Fox thinks Joe Buck is really good or they wouldn't have put him on the top spot in both baseball and football for all these years.


I agree with this, and he's not the only one in his industry working on his name. Its not like Thom Brennamen is doing World Series games.

I don't like NL baseball, but I will watch Dodgers games on MLBtv on occasion to listen to Vin Scully. I will also watch a few minutes of random NBA games because I think Jeff Van Gundy and Mike Breen are awesome.

I don't think I've ever heard anyone say they watched an NFL telecast because Gus Johnson was doing the game


I have actually heard this. During March Madness, if I have my choice of games, I'll tend to want to listen to his games, all things being equal (although you have to take him in small doses IMO).
   9. Nasty Nate Posted: September 25, 2012 at 10:52 AM (#4245067)
I like to think that there's some eccentric old man who is all-powerful at Fox Sports (like Garry Marshall's character in the recent Louie episodes), and there are only 2 things he really likes: Joe Buck's announcing and a robot-football player mascot for his NFL broadcasts. He is otherwise sane and very successful so his bosses let him keep his job and tolerate these two bizarre indulgences.
   10. GregD Posted: September 25, 2012 at 11:28 AM (#4245109)
I like to think that there's some eccentric old man who is all-powerful at Fox Sports (like Garry Marshall's character in the recent Louie episodes), and there are only 2 things he really likes: Joe Buck's announcing and a robot-football player mascot for his NFL broadcasts. He is otherwise sane and very successful so his bosses let him keep his job and tolerate these two bizarre indulgences.
Yes! How great is that Louie storyline?
   11. Random Transaction Generator Posted: September 25, 2012 at 11:34 AM (#4245117)
There has never been a sports broadcast I have tuned into because I enjoyed hearing the broadcaster talk.

I turned in to watch Blue Jays broadcasts with Dan Shulman all the time.
In fact, any time he's broadcasting any sport, I'll probably stay on that channel for the entire time.

   12. Shrike Posted: September 25, 2012 at 11:53 AM (#4245142)
Yes, Dan Shulman is first-rate.
   13. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:07 PM (#4245163)
I enjoy the Sunday Night Football pairing of Michaels and Collinsworth. Outside of eagles games those are really the only other games I will turn on.
   14. Into the Void Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4245173)
There has never been a sports broadcast I have tuned into because I enjoyed hearing the broadcaster talk.


I'm already getting upset that within a few weeks I won't be able to listen to Jon Miller for another six months.
   15. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:12 PM (#4245174)
There has never been a sports broadcast I have tuned into because I enjoyed hearing the broadcaster talk.

You're right. I should have said nobody who has already tuned into the games stays tuned because they enjoy hearing Joe Buck.
   16. TVerik, the gum-snappin' hairdresser Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:14 PM (#4245178)
With Joe Buck handling both MLB and NFL, perhaps they're getting a bulk rate from him, paying less for him than they would for separate lead broadcasters for the two sports.


Hey, Announcer-bot 5000! What's your opinion of this?

Seriously, if this is a criteria, they could replace him with the voice of the baseball video games.
   17. cardsfanboy Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:17 PM (#4245187)
Those are exceptions, but I think for many people it operates on a more subtle level: The better the broadcasters are, the more fun you have watching the games, and the more likely you are to tune in again. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say they watched an NFL telecast because Gus Johnson was doing the game - but I have heard people talk about how much fun it is to hear the excitement in Johnson's voice during a big play, and I think that brings people back for more, even if just on a subconscious level.


I wonder if there is a perverse pleasure that people get out of watching a broadcast and enjoy telling the tv (broadcaster by proxy) that it's stupid or wrong? Considering there was once an entire website dedicated to proving how stupid a broadcaster was, it wouldn't shock me to learn that a sizable portion of the viewing audience claims they hate a certain broadcaster but end up enjoying the tv watching experience because it allows them to flout(even if it's to an audience of only themselves) their superiority over the paid talking head.
   18. greenback calls it soccer Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:26 PM (#4245196)
I'm not a hockey fan, but Gary Thorne was fun to hear when he was calling the NHL. Different sports have different rhythms, and Thorne's cadence was perfect for hockey.
   19. PreservedFish Posted: September 25, 2012 at 12:37 PM (#4245212)
I enjoy the Sunday Night Football pairing of Michaels and Collinsworth.


Agreed, their quality and the generally high quality of the broadcast makes this the one game I watch every single week. This is also the one game that is not introduced by a gallery of five to seven thick-necked men in pinstriped three-piece suits that spend the entire time laughing at each other's jokes. The game isn't constantly interrupted by other nonsense.

I really wish that something similar happened in baseball: the best games done by the best broadcasters, the best producers etc. But what happens is closer to the opposite. I don't hate McCarver quite as much as most people around here do (although I am tired of him), and I don't think Buck is inept, but he is deathly boring, and the surrounding foofaraw of product placement, extra analysts, flashy graphics etc that Fox brings just makes everything worse.
   20. Dangerous Dean Posted: September 25, 2012 at 01:56 PM (#4245304)
You guys have already mentioned Schulman and Miller. I think they are both spot-on. I think Vin Scully has an incredibly rich and soothing voice. His voice will always remind me of postseason baseball.

Being a Rangers fan, I think Eric Nadel spoils me. While his voice isn't in Scully's league, Nadel is well informed and has a great sense of humor. He only works in radio as far as I know, but I watch an NFL football game or something I am not especially interested in just to hear him announce it.

Buck seems wooden and forced to me. It seems he knows generally what he is talking about, but I wouldn't miss him if Fox showed him the door.
   21. Ron J2 Posted: September 25, 2012 at 02:20 PM (#4245334)
paying less for him than they would for separate lead broadcasters for the two sports.


Jim Hughson left TSN precisely because they wanted him to do baseball when there was no hockey. Hughson wasn't bad as a baseball guy either. He knew he didn't know anything on the technical side of the game so he'd stick to describing the action or he'd ask good leading questions for the color guy.

Thing is he really knows hockey and I think he thinks his knowledge of the subject is important.

   22. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 02:24 PM (#4245343)
Some of the best announcers are pretty anonymous. Schulman is a great example. Mike Tirico and Mike Breen are two others. I doubt most sports fans could pick their name out of a lineup, but they'd recognize their face as "that guy" and that's the point, they're supposed to blend into the panorama of the game and be secondary to what happens on the field, whereas we notice the idiocy of the broadcasters that stand out.
   23. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 02:29 PM (#4245351)
The best broadcasters, like the best umpires, generally do their jobs in a way that doesn't bring themselves to your attention.
   24. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: September 25, 2012 at 03:27 PM (#4245411)
The best broadcasters, like the best umpires, generally do their jobs in a way that doesn't bring themselves to your attention.


That removes Miller out of the equation.
   25. ...and Toronto selects: Troy Tulowitzki Posted: September 25, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4245417)
Did anyone catch the saturday Yankee game a few weeks back Buck/McCarver did? Was just shortly after Strasburg was shut down, and McCarver went on a big rant about how pitch counts have 'finally gone too far'. He explained what drove him over the edge was, he watched a Dodgers game that week where Hanley Ramirez had a 14 pitch AB that resulted in an out. Upon returning to the dugout his teammates congratulated him because he made the pitcher throw 14 pitches, but even though he made an out. I found this hilarious and enraging. During the early-mid 2000's when the Yankees often dominated, wasn't one of McCarver's fawning narratives (justifiably) how the Yankees were so skilled and smart to wear down the oppositions starters, and get to teams bullpens?
   26. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: September 25, 2012 at 03:38 PM (#4245420)
boy am i losing my eyes cause i thought the title was that buck had invested in neosporin cause his contract was cancelled so he quit broadcasting
   27. Don Geovany Soto (chris h.) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 03:41 PM (#4245424)
Jim Hughson left TSN precisely because they wanted him to do baseball when there was no hockey. Hughson wasn't bad as a baseball guy either. He knew he didn't know anything on the technical side of the game so he'd stick to describing the action or he'd ask good leading questions for the color guy.

My first sort-of-modern-ish baseball game for the PC was Triple Play 98, with Jim Hughson and Buck Martinez as the virtual broadcasters. Martinez was annoying as ####, but I thought Hughson did a pretty decent job on play-by-play.
   28. NJ in DC (Now with temporary employment!) Posted: September 25, 2012 at 03:42 PM (#4245426)
[25] Yeah, that was a bizarre way to bash pitch counts. I was so confused that I searched "Tim McCarver" on twitter to see if I had been hearing things and upon reviewing a few tweets it was clear that I wasn't the only one confused by McCarver's latest rant.
   29. Greg Schuler Posted: September 25, 2012 at 04:09 PM (#4245466)
Ian Darke gets my vote, as does Maccas...although I don't mind Kyle Martino. I'll admit it.
   30. PreservedFish Posted: September 25, 2012 at 04:24 PM (#4245484)
The best broadcasters, like the best umpires, generally do their jobs in a way that doesn't bring themselves to your attention.


That is debatable. Actually I think it's wrong.
   31. michaelplank has knowledgeable eyes Posted: September 25, 2012 at 08:52 PM (#4245732)
I enjoy the Sunday Night Football pairing of Michaels and Collinsworth.



Agreed, their quality and the generally high quality of the broadcast makes this the one game I watch every single week. This is also the one game that is not introduced by a gallery of five to seven thick-necked men in pinstriped three-piece suits that spend the entire time laughing at each other's jokes. The game isn't constantly interrupted by other nonsense.


All true. Collinsworth is pretty good even though he suffers greatly from the syndrome of, "That guy who just made that routine tackle is the best in the league!" But even on the Sunday night broadcast, you've got the useless female sideline reporter, plus Bob Costas sticking his mug in, and Rodney Knowitall and Frozen Headlights Dungy in the pre and post game.
   32. Greg Pope thinks the Cubs are reeking havoc Posted: September 25, 2012 at 09:22 PM (#4245754)
I used to think that Collinsworth was the dorky sidekick (who thought he was cool) of the crew when he was on the pre and post game shows. However, hearing him do the games, I think he's excellent. This may be my relative lack of knowledge about football, but he says things 3-4 times a game where I learn something.

Gruden is annoying but he does seem to know what he's talking about.
   33. jacksone (AKA It's OK...) Posted: September 26, 2012 at 08:46 AM (#4245965)

All true. Collinsworth is pretty good even though he suffers greatly from the syndrome of, "That guy who just made that routine tackle is the best in the league!"


Huh, I like him because I don't hear him do that as much as other announcers and he is one of the few that will actually call a player out when they make a mistake or are just not very good.
   34. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: September 26, 2012 at 08:50 AM (#4245967)
I used to think that Collinsworth was the dorky sidekick (who thought he was cool) of the crew when he was on the pre and post game shows.

You may be confused because that's the role he plays on "American Pickers".

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