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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Will Leitch: Why I Like Joe Buck

That’s okay, I’ve finally come around to admitting I like my old next door neighbor…Johnny H, The Singing Cop.

I am the guy who founded Deadspin, after all, so everyone always expects me to hate Joe Buck. But I don’t. In fact, I think he does as well as anyone reasonably could with one of the most high-profile, visible jobs in sports. I like him. I’m pretty sure his broadcast of Game 6 of the World Series last year was a master class in live sports coverage; he knew exactly when to talk, exactly when not to and exactly when to make the precise call he’d surely been waiting his whole life to make. 

All told, I’ve always been a bit baffled as to why he’s so unpopular. So I surveyed a bunch of Buck haters—it was not difficult to find them—to hear the primary reasons, and to see whether or not I could refute them.

3. He’s moralistic and priggish. Buck absolutely is not moralistic or priggish, but it’s still hard to say he doesn’t have this coming. Fact is, he’ll never live down that Randy Moss “that is a disgusting act” call. I’ve never quite understood what Buck was thinking there. Did he believe Moss had really pulled his pants down? Did someone at FOX tell him to start adding in a moral component to his broadcasts and he overreacted? Did he have a stroke? The world may never know. But this call, unfortunately for Buck, is going to go on his gravestone.

4. He likes baseball more than football. This is probably true, but, frankly, this is probably true of most broadcasters: Football is rarely the first broadcast choice for anybody. (It’s hard to spot the ball, there are a million things going on that are impossible to describe, no one will ever be better than Pat Summerall, and so on.) No one ever says, “I hate Jim Nantz! He totally likes golf more than football,” even though he totally does. Fact is, Buck’s dad, Jack—who, full disclosure, I desperately wanted to be growing up—received this same criticism when he broadcasted NFL games on the radio with Hank Stram. Football people always resent baseball people, probably because we like a better sport than they do.

Repoz Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:00 PM | 77 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:12 PM (#4275387)
this is the same author who was taken aback that a good many fans are not enthralled with the cardinals

methinks the lad doesn't get out much.........
   2. JJ1986 Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4275391)
I don't like Buck because he'd rather talk about other stuff than what is currently happening on the field.
   3. Brian C Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4275405)
Annoying fans is one of the primary job descriptions of a broadcaster. More fans see and hear Joe Buck than any other broadcaster in the country. Therefore, he annoys more of them. He’s doing his job.

Huh?
   4. madvillain Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:25 PM (#4275407)
Leitch is trolling BTF, among other places.
   5. boteman Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:32 PM (#4275418)
...a master class in live sports coverage; he knew exactly when to talk, exactly when not to...

So in the middle of an article about Joe Buck, he describes Jon Miller. WTF???
   6. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:32 PM (#4275419)
Shouldn't this be, "Why We Like Joe Buck"?
   7. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4275422)
He doesn't have the "it" factor commensurate with the magnitude of the games he's assigned to call. Voice, gravitas, you name it -- it just isn't "Big Game."
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:37 PM (#4275423)
Will Leitch: Why I Like Nickelback
   9. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:45 PM (#4275432)
Why I Like Joe Buck

THAT is a disgusting act!
   10. eddieot Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:46 PM (#4275437)
Buck has managed to spend hundreds of hours in a booth next to Tim McCarver and never slugged him. So he's got that going for him.
   11. Moe Greene Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4275440)
I am a Reds fan. In response, I am penning the following articles:

- I know you'll never love the Reds as much as I do
- Why I like Thom Brennaman
- Why Pete Rose is a paragon of virtue (and you're not)
- Marge Schott was good in the beginning but she just went too far
   12. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:48 PM (#4275443)
I don't particularly like Buck though I wonder how much of that is Buck and how much of that is Fox forcing him to do certain things (e.g. talk about the NFL or TV shows). There are two things in the article I thought were interesting. The idea that Buck likes baseball better than football is very much at odds with what I hear from him. Maybe he does but I don't get the sense he enjoys baseball much. The other is that I agree with Leitch that Buck as the anti-Gus Johnson is a point in his favor. I'd much rather an announcer I don't notice to one I notice frequently.
   13. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:49 PM (#4275444)
...a master class in live sports coverage; he knew exactly when to talk, exactly when not to...

So in the middle of an article about Joe Buck, he describes Jon Miller. WTF???


Yes Jon Miller in between his bits and stories that go nowhere sometimes gets to action on the field. And as a bonus he might even throw in the score.
   14. pthomas Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:49 PM (#4275446)
SEO troll bait article.
   15. Good cripple hitter Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:50 PM (#4275450)
Leitch is trolling BTF, among other places.


I thought the level of Joe Buck hate had died down somewhat from a couple years ago. If Leitch really want to troll BTF, a better headline would've been "Why I Like Rick Sutcliffe".
   16. bunyon Posted: October 18, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4275454)
I have a feeling that Will Leitch and I should never, ever go to the same shows.
   17. Crosseyed and Painless Posted: October 18, 2012 at 02:06 PM (#4275473)
I don't know if I "like" Buck. But there are far, far worse out there. I definitely agree that being the anti-Gus Johnson is sometimes a point in Buck's favor, especially in baseball. There are many moments in big baseball games where he just shuts up, which I think is absolutely the correct thing to do.
   18. Dave Spiwak Posted: October 18, 2012 at 02:21 PM (#4275506)
After many years of disliking him, I'm starting to come around to Joe Buck.

First off, hating the guy has become a meme. It's a reflex to say you don't like the guy. And there's nothing much worse about him than your average announcer. Listen to him with fresh ears. He's actually pretty good at being self-depreciating and occasionally makes fun of the tacky schilling that he does on-air. At least this robot is self-aware.

I mean, hey -- he's pretty good for a boring play-by-play guy, as far as boring play-by-play guys go. It's a low bar to leap. Yeah sure -- we'd all like Vin Scully or Ernie Harwell, but those guys are once in a lifetime.

McCarver's the real problem. Just kind of saccharine and seems to have more and more "senior moments" (i.e. mixed up which dugout was which so he thought Pagan was taunting the Cards dugout on his HR).

And like others have said, there's a LOT worse out there.
   19. ASmitty Posted: October 18, 2012 at 02:30 PM (#4275514)
He's actually pretty good at being self-depreciating and occasionally makes fun of the tacky schilling that he does on-air. At least this robot is self-aware.


That's actually something I don't like about him, or other TV personalities that do the same thing. I think it's wildly unprofessional. You're accepting money to read those shills, so read them. Taking the money and then trying to salvage your own personal coolness by mocking them is obnoxious.

My main beef with Buck, however, is that he's not any good and doesn't really seem to care. He has a job because his dad was famous, so he just shows up and mails it in. The end.

His "memorable" butchery of the David Tyree catch in the Super Bowl was just exhibit one out of 1 million of him sleepwalking through the biggest moments and events in American sports.
   20. jack the seal clubber (on the sidelines of life) Posted: October 18, 2012 at 02:34 PM (#4275518)
My main beef with Buck, however, is that he's not any good and doesn't really seem to care. He has a job because his dad was famous, so he just shows up and mails it in. The end.


Can't improve on this; the correct argument, in two succinct sentences. Well, three.
   21. My name is Votto, and I love to get blotto Posted: October 18, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4275522)
Has he actually been a little more engaging this year, or is it my imagination?

Also, FTF excerpt: people actually complain that Buck likes baseball more than football?
   22. Dave Spiwak Posted: October 18, 2012 at 02:50 PM (#4275545)
My main beef with Buck, however, is that he's not any good and doesn't really seem to care. He has a job because his dad was famous, so he just shows up and mails it in.

I can only take the man at his word, but he seemed pretty fired up about the Giants-Cards game this Sunday while he was working the 9ers broadcast earlier that day. Surely some here will say that's just classic Joe Buck -- talking about baseball during a football game, just as he talks about football during baseball games. But whether he cares or not is a judgement call. And the only people that seem to care if he cares are people like us who argue about it from our mothers' basements.
   23. Kurt Posted: October 18, 2012 at 03:00 PM (#4275553)
Nobody would care if he liked baseball more than football if baseball were a 9.5 and football a 9 on a 1-10 scale. The problem is that both appear to hover between 2 and 2.5 based on his enthusiasm while calling the games.
   24. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 18, 2012 at 03:08 PM (#4275557)
McCarver's the real problem.


Well yes, if I had my pick I would get rid of Tim McCarver fifty times before I axed Joe Buck. Pair Buck with someone decent like Ron Darling or David Cone or John Smoltz and he'd be pretty acceptable.
   25. ASmitty Posted: October 18, 2012 at 03:12 PM (#4275559)
I mentioned this in another thread, but does Smoltz ever do games in a two-man booth? I like what he adds, but can't stand three-man announce teams. I'd like to hear how he does in a convential pairing.
   26. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: October 18, 2012 at 03:33 PM (#4275581)
Buck has managed to spend hundreds of hours in a booth next to Tim McCarver and never slugged him. So he's got that going for him.


You say that like it's a good thing.

   27. PreservedFish Posted: October 18, 2012 at 04:12 PM (#4275624)
I think most of the hate for Buck stems from overfamiliarity. He's totally average in my opinion.
   28. RB in NYC (Now Semi-Retired from BBTF) Posted: October 18, 2012 at 04:28 PM (#4275653)
The idea that Buck likes baseball better than football is very much at odds with what I hear from him. Maybe he does but I don't get the sense he enjoys baseball much
I've always thought this, and it would seem to make sense, given that his Dad was a baseball annoucer first. I will grant it is hard to judge, given that Buck seems to have so little emotional register for anything, but I've always thought he enjoyed baseball more.
   29. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: October 18, 2012 at 08:36 PM (#4276059)
My main beef with Buck, however, is that he's not any good and doesn't really seem to care. He has a job because his dad was famous, so he just shows up and mails it in. The end.

A big ol' bucket of THIS.

The "jub jub" thing really put me over the edge. It's the f@cking WORLD SERIES, and you're so g@ddamned bored with it all, you have to do stuff like this? Screw you, and yer old man.
   30. Guapo Posted: October 18, 2012 at 08:55 PM (#4276095)
   31. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 18, 2012 at 09:08 PM (#4276115)
Technically, Joe Buck doesn't suffer from anhedonia; he's a carrier.

Last year's preposterous Game Six, ending with David Freese's walkoff, crystallized some of my other negative thoughts about Buck's broadcasts. Unsurprisingly, I still agree with myself and my two posts in this thread.
   32. VoodooR Posted: October 18, 2012 at 09:13 PM (#4276121)
Buck may not be that bad, and I concede that some of my annoyance with him over the years has more to do with his partner and his employer.

But I thought his play by play during Game 6 last year was lousy. There's being understated and then there's being boring and he was decidedly in the latter camp, IMO. His call of the David Freese triple (one of the most exciting moments in American sports history) was lame. Both Dan Shulman's ESPN Radio call, and Gary Thorne's on ESPN International were far, far superior. I don't expect bananas Gus Johnson (who I really liked during March Madness), but when I rewatch that play, Buck did not capture the drama and power of that moment. AT ALL.

Also, I didn't care for the "we'll see you tomorrow night" call on the Freese HR very much either. It was made out to be something he'd "waited his whole life to make." But I can't be the only one to remember that HE ALREADY DID IT back in 2004 on Ortiz's walk-off in the ALCS Game 4, except it was "WE'LL SEE YOU LATER TONIGHT". That was a clever twist and a nice homage to his pop. Doing it again was overkill.

EDIT: Apparently I wasn't the only one to remember the ALCS G4 call, as Gonfalon's link clearly shows.
   33. cardsfanboy Posted: October 18, 2012 at 09:58 PM (#4276195)
I think it's funny that the writer found five things on the internet that people complain about Buck and didn't hit what is probably the single number one complaint, and that is "He just doesn't seem to like the sports he is covering".

As a tv personality you need to share the energy level of your audience. You can assume a neutral audience if you want, but even then, they enjoy the game.

One of my favorite comments about Pete Rose is after game six of 1975 world series, in which his team lost, he was asked why he was smiling and he said he got to play in the best game ever, (he added we'll win tomorrow). That is the emotion you want from your sports announcers in the big games, They need to enjoy it. Angel Pagan has had a good game today in the playoffs, whether you are a Cardinal or Giants fan, you have to appreciate it, the fact that Joe doesn't seem to care much more than the immediate moment is his flaw.
   34. zonk Posted: October 18, 2012 at 10:50 PM (#4276274)
I thought the level of Joe Buck hate had died down somewhat from a couple years ago. If Leitch really want to troll BTF, a better headline would've been "Why I Like Rick Sutcliffe".


Well, I'm not sure how often Wiki Gonzalez gets updated anymore...

Future Leitch column:

Why I Don't Give a Damn about Frank Tanana

   35.     Hey Gurl Posted: October 18, 2012 at 11:02 PM (#4276285)
I know I'm in the minority, but I quite like Joe Buck's understated style. Which is different from saying I like Joe Buck, of course, but I don't feel like I need announcers SCREAMING AT ME ABOUT HOW EXCITING SOMETHING IS !! EXCITEMENT !! for me to feel excitement. There's something I like about when a batter hits it to the shortstop and all Buck says is "inning over." Basically, he talks less than most idiots which I consider a plus.

He still sucks, don't get me wrong; I am speaking only to his style. I like the call linked to in [30].
   36. SoSH U at work Posted: October 18, 2012 at 11:41 PM (#4276319)
I know I'm in the minority, but I quite like Joe Buck's understated style. Which is different from saying I like Joe Buck, of course, but I don't feel like I need announcers SCREAMING AT ME ABOUT HOW EXCITING SOMETHING IS !! EXCITEMENT !! for me to feel excitement. There's something I like about when a batter hits it to the shortstop and all Buck says is "inning over." Basically, he talks less than most idiots which I consider a plus.


I'm with you here Shock. I'll take understated over exclamation points any day. I have no desire to listen to Gus Johnson's overreactions in any sport, particularly baseball.

   37. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 18, 2012 at 11:54 PM (#4276325)
I actually like Joe Buck, too, which may have something to do with the fact that I listened to him doing Cardinals games back in the mid-90s, but also has to do with his understated, unobtrusive delivery. There are a lot of announcers I like better, but there are certainly announcers I like less.

   38. VoodooR Posted: October 18, 2012 at 11:59 PM (#4276329)
I said it before, but I'll say it again: understated doesn't have to be boring. Joe Buck is boring.
   39. karkface killah Posted: October 19, 2012 at 12:03 AM (#4276330)
I dislike Buck because he is smug towards and detached from the event he is calling.
   40. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: October 19, 2012 at 12:10 AM (#4276332)
But I thought his play by play during Game 6 last year was lousy. ... when I rewatch that play, Buck did not capture the drama and power of that moment. AT ALL.

Also, I didn't care for the "we'll see you tomorrow night" call on the Freese HR very much either. It was made out to be something he'd "waited his whole life to make." But I can't be the only one to remember that HE ALREADY DID IT back in 2004...


His "they just won't go away" comment in game 6, which sounded like he spat before and after, was awesome (in retrospect). I remember that disappointed, frustrated, "c'mon, I have an awesomely generic series-ending call all ready to go for the rangers" more than anything else from that series (though to be fair, by the end of the night I was pretty much toast).

I would have been fine with the "we'll see you tomorrow night" if he had made it his own- reprised it somehow, "these comeback kids, who came back all summer long, and three times tonight- they just wouldn't go away- and now they're walking off- looks like we'll see you tomorrow night, folks! or something, but the way he did it was just so bland and generic that it made the original call worse. In retrospect, the original call now sounds bland and generic.

And who will ever forget his 2006 WS call- "for the first time since 1982, the cardinals are world series champs". I mean, that's brilliant.

I remember these specifically because I'm a cards fan, but if the yankees and phillies and red sox and Giants in the interim were any better, I certainly can't remember anything about them.
   41. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 19, 2012 at 12:20 AM (#4276335)
Honestly, I think that for a lot of us, the problem isn't the announcing, it's that we don't find the post-season as riveting and exciting as we used to. There's more of it, teams on average make it more often, and we have a better understanding of how random the results are. That's a clear recipe for boredom and dissatisfaction.
   42. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: October 19, 2012 at 12:36 AM (#4276349)
Honestly, I think that for a lot of us, the problem isn't the announcing, it's that we don't find the post-season as riveting and exciting as we used to. There's more of it, teams on average make it more often, and we have a better understanding of how random the results are. That's a clear recipe for boredom and dissatisfaction. sign of getting older


FF

"get off my lawn" is the next step in the 12 step program

(or is it 8--I'm too old to remember)
   43. Dr. Vaux Posted: October 19, 2012 at 01:08 AM (#4276359)
I would think that was the explanation if not for the other explanations. Sabermetrics was around when I was 12 (1992), though, so I suppose I could have been into it then. I knew on base percentage was important and that pitcher wins were meaningless, at least.
   44. VoodooR Posted: October 19, 2012 at 01:27 AM (#4276363)
Honestly, I think that for a lot of us, the problem isn't the announcing, it's that we don't find the post-season as riveting and exciting as we used to. There's more of it, teams on average make it more often, and we have a better understanding of how random the results are. That's a clear recipe for boredom and dissatisfaction.


I've noticed this attitude around here a lot and it makes me sad. I find it as riveting and exciting as ever. And my understanding of the "randomness" of it all doesn't diminish that one iota. Despite whatever warts the game might possess, I'm as engaged and satisfied with the final product as ever, and frankly cannot fathom a time in the future where this will not be the case.
   45. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 19, 2012 at 01:43 AM (#4276365)
Re: understated delivery
Bob Costas doesn't yell. Vin Scully doesn't yell. Ernie Harwell didn't yell. Jim Kaat doesn't yell. Ken Singleton doesn't yell. Jon Miller doesn't yell. Apparently Red Barber didn't yell (I'm not old enough to vouch for it). Bill White didn't yell. Denny Matthews doesn't yell. Certain announcers in other sports, from Jim McKay to Adrian Healey to Jim Nantz, don't (or didn't) yell. Commending Joe Buck for keeping the Fox Sports chair away from a yowling blusterer is a false premise.
   46. Sleepy supports unauthorized rambling Posted: October 19, 2012 at 01:51 AM (#4276367)
Vin Scully doesn't yell.


I know what you mean, but when there's something to yell about, at least he shows emotion.

   47.     Hey Gurl Posted: October 19, 2012 at 02:02 AM (#4276371)
It's a false premise that nobody made.
   48. danup Posted: October 19, 2012 at 03:24 AM (#4276382)
SEO troll bait article.

You'll have to decide for yourself whether it's troll bait—I like Joe Buck and I think he gets a bum rap because he's not obviously terrible like most broadcasters—but considering the permalink has no words in it and the title isn't "World Series 2012: Joe Buck Is Actually Really Good," it's actually pretty badly SEO'd.
   49. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: October 19, 2012 at 03:31 AM (#4276383)
Re: #47--
"Premise" may be too declarative or definite. But a comparative appreciation of Buck's value as a subdued speaker, in contrast to the shouters, was made by more than one person: "I like him because he's not like that."
   50. RMc is a fine piece of cheese Posted: October 19, 2012 at 05:01 AM (#4276386)
5. He’s on television all the time. This is the main reason. Fact is, Buck has been calling every NFC Championship Game, a third of the Super Bowls and every World Series for almost 16 years now. (His first World Series was in 1996; his first Super Bowl was in 2005.)


This nails it, I think. Buck has been calling WS games for what seems like forever already, and thanks to a new deal between FOX and MLB, apparently will until the end of time (or at least through 2021). Did anyone ever ask the fans who they'd like to see announcing the Series? The ESPN guys, maybe? The TBS people? Vin Scully? No, it's Jack Buck's smug kid and the much-despised Tim McCarver. (And you'll like it, pigs!)

Considering this WS will be between two flyover cities with 88-win teams, this could well be the lowest-rated Series ever.
   51. Andy McGeady Posted: October 19, 2012 at 06:46 AM (#4276391)
Based in Dublin, Ireland, I don't get as much exposure to Joe Buck as anyone based Stateside.

Sure, on the scale of annoyance he's not Hawk Harrelson, but saying that people think he's annoying just because he's on all the time is a little silly.

Annoying fans is NOT one of the primary descriptions of a broadcaster; not in the US, not in the UK, not in Ireland, not anywhere really. A sports broadcaster is there to describe events taking place without getting in the way of the action, adding entertainment to the mix by way of stories and/or banter with a colour/analysis man. To say that "to annoy fans" is part of a broadcaster's role description is, well, weird.

I would echo those who have mentioned his lack of research. Joe Buck doesn't demonstrate much knowledge about anything beyond whatever saccarine, sugary, syrupy, schmaltzy narrative is flavour-du-jour at FOX. If he does actually have a deep knowledge of the game, whether baseball or football, and is also blessed with an insightful, inquiring mind then he's remarkably good at hiding it. Le-Carré-esque, in fact.

It's odd that in the list of things Leitch mentions, not one of them is his voice itself. Not the tone, his actual voice. This might be unfair but it just doesn't have the same resonant quality as an Al Michaels or a Jon Miller. That's not Buck's *fault*, per se, but it's not something that can be ignored.

Fact is, Buck really is annoying.

Truly, monumentally annoying.

When it comes to broadcasters, people might not know *good*, but people definitely know annoying.

But we live in a world where the late, great Bill King still hasn't won the Frick award what the hell do I know anyway.
   52. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 19, 2012 at 08:34 AM (#4276409)
i did my summary of red barber a long time ago and don't feel the need to re-visit my disdain for that overrated hack of an announcer

joe buck on his best day with some of his hair back wishes he could be red barber

all this talk of understatement is somewhat baffling since i didn't think not having a pulse really qualifies as 'understated'. last i checked that equates to dead.

buck is so busy being curt gowdy he left any zest in the suitcase. he's an automaton. you might as well have your gps calling the game for cr8ssakes. at least there you could have some foreign woman's voice and that has some s8x appeal.

understated? he's under ground more like it

good gravy
   53. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 19, 2012 at 08:58 AM (#4276420)
Honestly, I think that for a lot of us, the problem isn't the announcing, it's that we don't find the post-season as riveting and exciting as we used to. There's more of it, teams on average make it more often, and we have a better understanding of how random the results are. That's a clear recipe for boredom and dissatisfaction.


There is something to this and the rise of snark, but I have honestly found all the postseason series this year to be riveting, and the TBS crew to be good at times. Joe Buck hasn't been god awful or anything, but he's certainly no better than average, and he's certainly not worthy of his overexposure.
   54. zack Posted: October 19, 2012 at 09:34 AM (#4276452)
you might as well have your gps calling the game for cr8ssakes


That's genius.

Vin Scully is nearing the end of his career, someone somewhere with say in these things absolutely should arrange it for him to call another World Series.
   55. ASmitty Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4276477)
you might as well have your gps calling the game for cr8ssakes.


This might be my favorite thing ever.

I totally agree. The call in #30 is typical and awful. It's not "understated," it's "uninterested." He's monotone and has no inflection whatsoever. A walk-off homerun deserves a change in intonation. It's not "Gus Johnson or bust." Scully, Harwell, you name it, all give a play like that its due without trampling all over it or sounding like Albert Pujols just killed their dog.

"Fly ball. Over the fence. You have arrived at your destination."
   56. Bourbon Samurai Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4276485)
There is something to this and the rise of snark, but I have honestly found all the postseason series this year to be riveting, and the TBS crew to be good at times. Joe Buck hasn't been god awful or anything, but he's certainly no better than average, and he's certainly not worthy of his overexposure.


It's interesting- recently the Division Series week has been my favorite week of the year. More tragedy and triumph. The LCS and WS can be hit or miss, but pretty much every LDS week delivers me some great stuff.

I assume that happened again this year, but I seem to not be able to remember any of the LDS because of some kind of trauma.
   57. ASmitty Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:20 AM (#4276493)
It's interesting- recently the Division Series week has been my favorite week of the year.


Five game series are made for drama. For lack of a better expression, both teams are in it until one of them isn't. I'm almost thinking of lobbying MLB to make the entire regular season be composed of five game series, winner takes all in the standings.
   58. SoSH U at work Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:30 AM (#4276511)
all this talk of understatement is somewhat baffling since i didn't think not having a pulse really qualifies as 'understated'. last i checked that equates to dead.

buck is so busy being curt gowdy he left any zest in the suitcase. he's an automaton. you might as well have your gps calling the game for cr8ssakes. at least there you could have some foreign woman's voice and that has some s8x appeal.

understated? he's under ground more like it

good gravy


Oh, for Christ's sake. No one (other than maybe Leitch) is claiming that Joe Buck is even good. But we're talking about what we like/dislike in announcers. Of course he's not Scully. Few are. The point is, to us, there are far worse things you can inflict on our ears than comatose.

Joe Buck is easy to ignore. Gus Johnson types are not. Hawk Harrelson types are not. He may not bring anything to the broadcast, but considering the number of PBP guys who actively detract from the experience, dead isn't the worst thing in the world. Sorry
   59. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4276519)
i didn't compare buck to vin scully. that would be a ridiculous comparison.

and being pretty close to dead myself i take traits of being dead in others pretty seriously. (there's a joke inside there if you are paying attention)

my half 8ssed assessment of buck is that he is doing the job because he could get the job. but that's it. it's a job. he doesn't enjoy it. and it bleeds into his performance.

he's a tax attorney calling a sporting event.
   60. ASmitty Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:47 AM (#4276531)
i didn't compare buck to vin scully. that would be a ridiculous comparison.


I don't think it's ridiculous at all. Joe Buck calls the biggest event in baseball, but isn't the best announcer in baseball. Not even close.

He also calls the biggest event in football, while not being the best football announcer. Not even close.

He's mediocre on his best days, and yet he calls the two biggest sporting events in America. It's insane. He should be held to a very high standard. The highest of standards, in fact.
   61. Flynn Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:55 AM (#4276540)
Honestly, I think that for a lot of us, the problem isn't the announcing, it's that we don't find the post-season as riveting and exciting as we used to. There's more of it, teams on average make it more often, and we have a better understanding of how random the results are. That's a clear recipe for boredom and dissatisfaction.


If you didn't find the 2003/2004 ALCS exciting then I don't see how you can call yourself a baseball fan and Buck sounded bored even during the most exciting moments in that Series.

   62. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 19, 2012 at 10:56 AM (#4276542)
asmitty

ridiculous in terms of ability.

you are using a different context which is completely valid and ergo, has a different output
   63. SoSH U at work Posted: October 19, 2012 at 11:03 AM (#4276547)
He's mediocre on his best days, and yet he calls the two biggest sporting events in America. It's insane. He should be held to a very high standard. The highest of standards, in fact.


That's a consideration for his employer, but I don't see why it is for me. Joe Buck announces baseball games I watch. I judge his work against the other guys I hear announcing baseball games. The number of folks joining me in watching those baseball games doesn't fit into my assessment of his abilities.

For some, his lifelessness is the reason they loathe him. I get that.

For me, it's a trait that I find easy to ignore, which renders him mostly benign. Considering the number of guys in the booth who actively detract from the broadcast, benign isn't the worst thing in the world.

Do I wish Fox had a better crew for the World Series? Of course (though I'd give the heave ho to his partner first). But if they shitcan Buck, it's not at all difficult to imagine them replacing him with a downgrade.
   64. Heinie Mantush (Krusty) Posted: October 19, 2012 at 11:12 AM (#4276555)
Joe Buck's been announcing games since I was in middle school. I've literally grown up with him, and as a result, he's something of a ph7 in the broadcast booth to me. I'd much prefer Vin Scully or, to be a homer, Gary Cohen. However, I can live with Joe Buck most of the time. He's not outright irritating, the casual fans I know seem to appreciate him, and that's all I'm really asking for.
   65. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: October 19, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4276560)
not my area of expertise but if i were a network trying to get the casual fan to transition to a more committed fan i would want someone who could convey the passion of the event in some manner versus calling out the next stop for the bus.
   66. zonk Posted: October 19, 2012 at 11:19 AM (#4276561)
One of my favorite comments about Pete Rose is after game six of 1975 world series, in which his team lost, he was asked why he was smiling and he said he got to play in the best game ever, (he added we'll win tomorrow). That is the emotion you want from your sports announcers in the big games, They need to enjoy it. Angel Pagan has had a good game today in the playoffs, whether you are a Cardinal or Giants fan, you have to appreciate it, the fact that Joe doesn't seem to care much more than the immediate moment is his flaw.


You know, as douchy as Pete Rose is -- this is something I often forget about him, and I concur -- I like people, be they players, managers, broadcasters, or whatever involved in baseball who truly love baseball. It's contagious. Even when he lost all of his fastball, that was what really kept Harry Caray listenable (with ample Steve Stone crutches) -- he always loved baseball. However selfish and foolish Rose may have been for throwing that away, I do respect the fact that he was (and still is) a guy that really, really did and does love baseball.

It's the difference between a movie critic who really just doesn't seem to like movies and someone like, say, Roger Ebert who really does love movies.

Buck may not be the worst when it comes to the flipside of that -- but at minimum, there's just no sense that he loves baseball. If you look at the sportswriters that get bagged on most around here, I would say that's one thing most of them share -- they write as if they hate the players, hate the teams, and hate everything about the game.

If you're a fan, it's just a better experience if the person broadcasting has a way of getting across that he's a fan, too. Buck just doesn't do that. He does games in a boring, "it's just my job - and it beats filling out spreadsheets" fashion. That's the majesty of someone like Vin Scully - every game I've ever heard him do, I feel like he's as thrilled to be describing a baseball game as I am to be watching or having it described to me. It's just catchy.
   67. VoodooR Posted: October 19, 2012 at 12:05 PM (#4276594)
Just who are these Gus Johnson-style, over-exuberant baseball announcers that contrast the understated, benign and boring Buck? The fact that a guy who doesn't even do baseball games is brought up numerous times as a counterpoint, leads me to believe they don't exist and are merely hypothetical.
   68. boteman Posted: October 19, 2012 at 12:23 PM (#4276612)
you might as well have your gps calling the game for cr8ssakes.

THROW TO RIGHT. NOW!!!
   69. Topher Posted: October 19, 2012 at 12:39 PM (#4276623)
I think part of Buck's problem is that he was originally hired to be the setup man for Scooter. His understated enthusiasm was a nice contrast to the energy that Scooter brought to the telecast. Buck never adjusted after Fox inexplicably removed Scooter from the broadcast team.

I really don't think it is Buck that is the problem. It is the absence of Scooter.
   70. Moloka'i Three-Finger Brown (Declino DeShields) Posted: October 19, 2012 at 01:04 PM (#4276643)
Joe Buck's biggest weakness is actually one external to him -- the need for networks to have "big event" announcers. FOX picked him as theirs. He's not qualified for the job, not even on his best day, but it's not his fault that the network chose him.

Part of the problem with sports broadcasting is that everyone's looking for that signature call. But, often, it's not the words but the delivery that makes all the difference. Compare what Vin Scully said on the ground ball in 1986 Game 6 with how he said it.
   71. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: October 19, 2012 at 02:37 PM (#4276701)
I remember these specifically because I'm a cards fan, but if the yankees and phillies and red sox and Giants in the interim were any better, I certainly can't remember anything about them.


My absolute favorite, which I only saw on replay because I was fortunate enough to be at the game, was Game Five of the 2004 ALCS. A win would bring the Sox to within 3-2 in the series and send the series back to the Bronx, Ortiz stepped up and...

"Ortiz fights it off into centerfield! Damon running for the plate and he can keep on running to New York!" It captured the moment really well and then he just shut up and let the pictures do the talking.

goosebumps to this day (more for the memory than the call of course).

For what it's worth he also used "we'll see you tomorrow night" for the second time in 22 hours after that hit.
   72. ASmitty Posted: October 19, 2012 at 02:40 PM (#4276704)
If you're a fan, it's just a better experience if the person broadcasting has a way of getting across that he's a fan, too. Buck just doesn't do that. He does games in a boring, "it's just my job - and it beats filling out spreadsheets" fashion. That's the majesty of someone like Vin Scully - every game I've ever heard him do, I feel like he's as thrilled to be describing a baseball game as I am to be watching or having it described to me. It's just catchy.


A while back in one of the political threads someone repeated the meme that people hate Mitt Romney because he's wealthy. The correct counterpoint was made that Bush II was also wealthy and, like Romney, was born into a great deal of wealth. Despite this, nobody seems to hold Bush II's wealth against him.

The difference between the two is obviously one of temperment. Romney comes off very much like someone who was born on third and thinks he hit a triple, whereas Bush II comes off much more as "just happy to be here."

Buck was gifted the foremost jobs in American sportscasting because his father is famous, and not because of any talent at all on his own part. People might not begrudge him that fact if he acted in any way happy to be there, but his broadcasting style oozes smugness and humorlessness. Those are bad enough traits to have in the ABSENCE of obvious nepotism.

I don't blame Buck for cashing in on his father's fame, but I do blame him for being so miserable while doing it. Lighten up, your job is awesome.
   73. Swoboda is freedom Posted: October 19, 2012 at 04:11 PM (#4276794)
Joe Buck may not be a real announcer, but he's one helluva stud.
   74. Tom Nawrocki Posted: October 19, 2012 at 04:20 PM (#4276802)
Just who are these Gus Johnson-style, over-exuberant baseball announcers that contrast the understated, benign and boring Buck?


Ken Harrelson. That's why everyone here loves him.
   75. SoSH U at work Posted: October 19, 2012 at 04:29 PM (#4276814)
Just who are these Gus Johnson-style, over-exuberant baseball announcers that contrast the understated, benign and boring Buck?


I don't know that there are any true Gus Johnson-types, thank goodness. But there are more animated types, such as Hawk, or blowhards, such as Marty or Berman (who was doing the radio with Sutcliffe, ick). I'd say both of those types constrast with the dull Buck. And I find it a hell of a lot easier to tune out dull than to tune out obnoxious.

I guess I just can't develop strong feelings against a guy who can't develop strong feelings.

   76. Portia Stanke Posted: October 19, 2012 at 04:59 PM (#4276842)
this is the same author who was taken aback that a good many fans are not enthralled with the cardinals

methinks the lad doesn't get out much.........


Perhaps he just prefers to think the best of his fellow man.

Buck is far from humorless; dry and deadpan, but not humorless. He's perfectly capable of calling a decent, understated game and, as others have already noted, he knows enough to shut his trap occasionally and doesn't break the trust of the listener by being an overt homer or projecting a Thom voice. Of those working in tv today, I don't know that I'd go beyond Scully, Costas, Miller, Kuiper, Enberg, and Staats as a list of potential upgrades for national tv. Maybe Kasper. Get rid of the moralizing, oblivious, aww-shucks doofus sitting to his left, and most of the Buck hate would disappear overnight.
   77. Lassus Posted: October 19, 2012 at 07:38 PM (#4276929)
Get rid of the moralizing, oblivious, aww-shucks doofus sitting to his left, and most of the Buck hate would disappear overnight.

It's actually McCarver who improves without Buck.

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