Tuesday, November 01, 2016

National announcers do not hate your favorite team.

Vin Scully, as impartial an announcer as you’d ever find, covered major national sporting events for both NBC and CBS. He once told me for every letter he received claiming he hated a fan’s local team there was another from a fan of the opposing team accusing him of the same thing. Al Michaels has said something similar.

Here’s the truth: National announcers don’t hate your local team. They have no vendettas. They carry no billy goats.

Joe Buck, is currently in the hot seat calling the World Series. I think he has haters from every professional sports franchise, even rugby teams in New Zealand. In San Francisco recently a pub printed a shirt: “Hey, Joe. Go Buck Yourself.” Good sport that he is, Joe signed the shirt.

But you don’t get to that level of national broadcaster without displaying extreme professionalism. You have an obligation to serve fans of all teams along with people who don’t give a shit either way.

Hometown announcers can be more partial and in some cases they’re ridiculous. “Phil Rizzuto was doing a Yankees postgame show when his broadcast was interrupted with a bulletin that Pope John Paul I died. Phil went back on the air and said, “Wow, news like that can spoil even a Yankees win.”

But even local announcers tend to be at least fair. They have to be if they want to preserve any credibility.  Hawk Harrelson of the White Sox even once said something nice about an opponent.  I think it was in 1993. 

Back in the ‘50s and ‘60s the lead announcer from each team participating in that year’s World Series got to call the games on NBC. It was really a treat – the only time we’d get a chance to hear other teams’ mouthpieces.

Even big homers like Harry Caray (St. Louis) and Bob Prince (Pittsburgh) toned down their cheering during the Fall Classic. They were on the air coast-to-coast. They realized they had to be more neutral.

And something else to consider. National announcers have directors talking into their ears the entire game, steering them towards topics. Joe might hear “We’re putting up a graphic on how many errors the Cubs have made this postseason.” So Joe has to discuss that on the air. And some Cubs fans will then think he’s got it out for their beloved team.

You can’t win.

So Joe Buck or Jim Nantz or Mike Breen or Sean McDonough or Doc Emrick does not hate your team.

Here’s what they do hate:

Bad games. Blowouts. Lopsided affairs. Garbage time. Rain delays.  When you’re calling a 10-2 game in the third inning you can almost hear America click off your broadcast. And then it’s just dragging a dead horse across the finish line to shoot it.

Announcers root for exciting games. Nail biters. Extraordinary feats. High emotional drama. A great storyline. Thrilling come-from-behind charges. Records being challenged. Sudden death. Decent eyelines from the booth.

If they’re calling a “Best-of” series they’re rooting for it to go down to the final game. So tonight, in the back of his mind, Joe might be hoping the Cubs win, but only so there will be a game seven. But more than that, he’s rooting for game six to be one for the ages no matter who wins.

If anyone roots for one team over another it’s the networks. Look, Fox is THRILLED the Cubs are in the World Series. They haven’t won since 1908. Fox is enjoying the best WS ratings since 2004 – when the Boston Red Sox won for the first time in like a hundred years. Networks want big market teams with national fan bases. The Cubs, Yankees, Dodgers, Red Sox, Cardinals. Joe Buck may not hate the Giants but Fox sure did when they played the Cubs in the NLDS. For Fox the ultimate nightmare might be Houston vs. San Diego. Or Tampa Bay vs. Arizona.

One of the most exciting World Series in the last twenty years was 2002 – the Angels vs. the Giants. No one watched. Two west coast teams. America yawned, despite the thrilling games themselves. Don’t you think ABC would rather the Celtics and Lakers in the NBA Finals rather than Oklahoma City or San Antonio?  Don't you think CBS would prefer a Super Bowl of Dallas vs. New England? 

Networks also root hard for series going six or seven games. They lose money on four-game sweeps.

So for tonight (and maybe tomorrow), if you want to hear an announcer more on the side of your team, listen to the radio broadcasts of Pat Hughes for the Cubs and Tom Hamilton for the Indians.  (You can get them on the MLB At Bat app and also Sirius/XM.)  Both are exceptional play-by-play men. And more than that, both are very fair. You know where their allegiance lies, but when Cubs’ pitcher Aroldis Chapman forgot to cover first base Sunday night, which resulted in a single, Pat and analyst Ron Coomer called Chapman out for the bonehead play it was. You won’t see any “Hey Pat, Screw Hughes” T-shirts in any Chicago pub.

56 comments:

John in Ohio said...

Ok, so Joe Buck doesn't really like Schwarber as much as he appears to - Fox is pimping him out. He is being paid to suck his d*** rather than doing it because he wants to.
Whether it is the network or the announcer at fault, it is frustrating to listen to the announcers go ON AND ON AND ON about the other team. The best comparison to Buck/Schwarber was Madden/Favre. Although I think Madden just had the hots for him, not Fox pimping him.

Original John in Ohio

Michael said...

Here's an interesting article about when they started phasing out using local announcers during the World Series and how that upset Vin Scully (who was only a local announcer at the time).

http://awfulannouncing.com/2016/the-year-vin-scully-was-unhappy-about-his-reduced-role-on-network-television-coverage-of-the-world-series.html

iain said...

Respectfully Ken, Joe Buck is infatuated with all things Cubs & blatantly biased in his approach. It's nauseating. By contrast, Smoltz has been excellent on color commentary

The good news is that you can google a wedding registry for Joe & Cub Kyle Schwarber at Bed, Bath & Beyond! April 4, 2017, save the date!

rs3taylor said...

Great blog here Ken,
Nice of you to mention (fantastic hockey announcer) Doc Emrick.

Mike Barer said...

Of course Seattle teams may be the exception. We won a MNF game on a controversial call and the announcer's sounded like it was a huge tragedy.

Anonymous said...

I remember Game 6 in 2011 (I admit I'm biased, but one of the best WS games EVER), Joe took a beating from the Texas fans for using a phrase his father used..."We will see you tomorrow night"(I still get chills hearing that). And of course, the St. Louis fans really raked him over the coals for getting excited when Texas did something right. He just can't win.

Joe is an excellent broadcaster, I'd argue even better than his dad. Not as funny as Jack was, but close. I always enjoy anything he does because you know he puts everything he has into it. I get he may not be everyone's taste, but he's not nearly as bad as some say, lol.

Oh, BTW, GO, CUBS, GO!

Pam, St. Louis

Jack said...

I certainly agree with your point that Joe Buck doesn't "hate" the Cubs... or any other team.

I still don't like him. And, yes, I'm in Chicago -- but I'm a White Sox fan. I didn't like him in 2005 either.

I don't know when I began disliking Joe Buck, but it dates at least to 2003, during the Bartman game. (Yes, I was watching-- but, remember, Ozzie Guillen was the Marlins' 3rd base coach, so it was OK.)

Now, maybe you can blame the director... who kept focusing in on Mr. Bartman... but Buck was the one who kept describing Bartman as the focal point (first he was pretending to fret that Bartman was a 12-year old -- Bartman is short) -- while it was really the failure of the Cub shortstop, whatever his name was, booting a routine double play grounder just a few minutes afterward, that actually opened the floodgates for Florida. That guy should be sending checks to Bartman every month.

Buck could have focused on Moises Alou's ridiculous temper tantrum. He could have pointed out that there were six or more people reaching for that same foul ball -- but, no, he had to focus on Bartman. Bartman was in the picture, but Buck provided the words... and fanned the flames that still burn in stupid Cub fans to this day. Bartman had to move out of town. Literally.

On the other hand, John Smoltz has been nothing less than superb in this playoff season.

As for the Hawkeroo, he says positive things about opponents all the time. Usually its about players who played for the opponent in the 1950s or 1960s, but still... And there are few broadcasts where he does not work in hosannas to Ted Williams or Carl Yastrzemski. So he's more than just a White Sox 'homer.' Hawk does do a terrible job of concealing his emotions -- when the White Sox mess up, as they have so often lately, you can feel him seething. When he goes silent, you know he wants to really lash out at someone, often one of our guys, but frequently, too, an umpire. Like Cowboy Joe West.

Which brings up another question: How in the blue blazes does a showboater like Cowboy Joe West get to stand behind the plate in Game 6 of the World Series? You can make book right now that some call he makes tonight (at least one) will be a huge factor in the outcome of the game.

Anthony Hoffman said...

The runner who reached after Chapman forgot to cover first did not score. Sorry about being that guy. Excellent post though. Listening to an actual, less biased play-by-play man in Jason Benati for the Sox has been so refreshingly surreal after years of Squawk Harrelson.

Bryan Kenny said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
VP81955 said...

In contrast, the White Sox are the rare big-market team without a national fan base, so when they finally won it all in 2005, ending a "curse" even longer than Boston's (88 years to 86), no one made a big deal of it. To be fair, the Bosox doing it the year before sort of blunted the impact -- but the '05 Series, despite also being a sweep, was far more evenly played than 2004's, with better games...although having Houston (remember the Astros as a National League team, kiddies?) rather than tradition-rich St. Louis as an opponent didn't help.

Would've been interesting to see the ratings for an LA-Cleveland Series. Neither are as sexy to casual fans as the Cubs, but the Dodgers currently are in the longest pennant drought in franchise history, even longer than the "daffy Dodgers" days (1920 to 1941), and it's been 28 years since they last won it all. Which is 40 years fewer than the Tribe's, and 80 years fewer than the North Siders (heck, the Cubs were the West Siders when they last won a Series).

Matt said...

My favorite announcers are college football hometown radio announcers. Some of them are such blatant homers that it makes for the funniest calls. Especially when they lose.

Stephen Marks said...

Thank you for mentioning Doc Emrick in your list. Probably not a lot of hockey fans here but Doc is the Vin Scully of hockey broadcasters. NBC foolishly had Doc doing water polo at the recent Olympics, that's like McLean Stevenson asking Levine and Issacs to write for Hello, Larry.

I'm to hung over to look this up but wasn't Joe Buck the name of the Jon Voight character in Midnight Cowboy, or am I wrong? Thats my Tuesday question.

John in NW Ohio said...

(First of all, my apologies to the original "John in Ohio" for stealing his user name the other day. I had no idea there was already a guy using that name.)

I remember fondly guys like Marty Brenneman, Monty Moore, Lindsay Nelson, Chuck Thompson, and Harry Caray joining Curt Gowdy, Joe Garagiola and the NBC crew for the fall classic. I LOVED that as a kid. Day games, too! I also remember being very surprised when they chose George Kell over Ernie Harwell for the '68 World Series.

Tom Hamilton on Indians baseball is a real throwback to those great old radio guys. Very excitable. He really hates the Yankees, though, and does not even try to hide it.

Paul Gottlieb said...

To my surprise, the Mets - Yankees series of 2000 got lousy ratings. So it's not just an anti-West Coast or anti-small market thing. I don't know what it is, but Baseball is running out of teams that haven't won in a century!

justsomeguy05 said...

re : Phil Rizzuto :

early 1970's I am listening to a Yankees game on radio. Rizzuto is partnered with Bill White. Phil goes on and on about some minutia of Yankeedom and a perceived injustice. Eventually, Bill White says "Of course Phil, there's more to life than baseball".
It was hilarious.

Michael said...

As Vin would say, "it is interesting to note" that when the Dodgers moved west, Walter O'Malley asked him and Jerry Doggett whether they should start rooting for the Dodgers. In New York, with three teams, such open rooting wouldn't be tolerated. In Los Angeles, at the time, the announcers were homers--my dad grew up there and remembers Bob Kelley, who did the Rams and the AAA Angels, saying things like, "At the end of 5, Angels 5, the other guys 2." Vin and Jerry talked about it and then Vin pointed out to O'Malley that, like the Dodgers, many southern Californians came from somewhere else. They would listen and go to games not to root for the Dodgers but, if they were from Pittsburgh, to keep up on their Pirates. To root would be to offend them. O'Malley agreed with their preference. So if you grew up on Vin, you expect announcers to play it down the middle. If you grew up with, say, Harry Caray or Hawk Harrelson, you feel differently.

YEKIMI said...

Along the same lines a columnist from the Akron Beacon Journal wrote basically the same thing you did: http://www.ohio.com/writers/bob-dyer/bob-dyer-buck-ain-t-great-but-he-s-no-hater-1.723706. And if you live somewhere east of the Mississippi River you should be able to pick up WTAM 1100 a 50,000 watt blowtorch on the AM dial and hear Tom Hamilton calling the game. The AM station I listen to, whose tower is only 3 miles away from me, usually has the radio network feed of the Indians but for some reason is carrying ESPN's broadcast of the World Series.....must be a rights issue or something.

Nancy Beach said...

Ideal broadcast team for this WS?

Satchel Paige and Ron Santo

Pat and Ron are great too. Fans want real passion from the first pitch. Tune into the local team announcers.

Nancy Beach said...

With Ray Scott and Dan Maskell.

Nancy Beach said...

Satchel Paige and Ron Santo are the Network team.

bryan north of seattle said...

Liking Joe Buck is like liking Wonder Bread.

Nancy Beach said...

And Satchel Paige with Ron Santo for the network.

Breadbaker said...

I'd be interested in your evidence that Harry Caray toned down his support for the Cardinals in the '67 and '68 Series. Not to these ears (and I was rooting for the Cardinals in the first one).

Dave Is From Ohio Too said...

Someone mentioned college PBP guys. Worst homer ever in that universe might have been Bob Ufer, who did Michigan football and basketball for years. One year in the mid 70's, Michigan lost to Ohio State (I'm thinking 1974) and at the end of the game, Ufer talked about "The 84,000 Ohio State fans in attendance; 10,000 alumni, and 74.000 truck drivers".

Wally said...

Unrelated, not sure if you blogged on this from early 2015 #Skymall:
https://www.wired.com/2015/01/skymalls-demise-save-american-airlines-350k-year-fuel/

Unknown said...

I hope the series goes to 7 games so I can hear more commentary from Pete Rose.

David said...

On the flip side, it's always odd hearing your local guy (or gal, soon, I hope) doing a national broadcast. Randy Hahn does TV play-by-play for the San Jose Sharks and bleeds teal. But he occasionally does play-by-play for NBC's national broadcast of Sharks games and it's almost like listening to another person with the same voice. He does a great job of not favoriting the Sharks and keeping his excitement and narrative balanced.

To me, simply mentioning both team names with the same frequency goes a long way towards appearing balanced. The hacks NBC had covering last year's San Jose/Nashville NHL series were a great example of getting this wrong. Even though their tone was relatively neutral, they described the action by referring to "Nashville," "Predators," and Nashville player names far more than they did using Sharks-related terms. It gave the overwhelming impression that we were essentially watching a Nashville feed of the games.

Finally, let's dispel once and for all with this fiction that Doc Emrick is a good play-by-play man. He's insufferable, turning every event into a part of some secret narrative, into something weighty and significant. Maybe he could just tell us what's happening and let the action carry its own meaning. The three worst days of the NHL playoffs are when your team gets eliminated, when your team's home broadcasts end, and when your team gets far enough that you realize it's now Erick until the end.

J Lee said...

National announcers can at times get caught up with one player, which may or may not be at his producer's orders. I remember back in the late 1970s when Dick Enberg was heading up NBA's national college basketball broadcasts, he seemed to have such an infatuation with Notre Dame's Kelly Tripuka you would have thought he, and not Magic or Larry Bird, was the best college player at the time.

Phil Rizzuto was definitely a homer for his former team, but starting in the late 1960s-early 1970s, when he became senior announcer after the Yankees canned Mel Allen and Red Barber, Phil would go off on these tangents about good seafood restaurants in Teaneck, N.J. or bumpy plane flights that would offset the homerism (especially with Bill White playing the sane straight man in the booth). There's actually a book with some of Phil's verbal riffs on Amazon.com.

Jim said...

All I need to hear from Hammy is "Napoli stands in. Pitcher sets. Here it comes. A swing and a drive . . . ."

Jim said...

Forgot to include Hamilton's walk-off, inside-the-park call

cms said...

Jack, you put into type many of the things that I've thought over the years since 2003, although as a Cubs fan, I don't remember Joe Buck's role in targeting Bartman--I was too traumatized over the loss of the game and NLCS.

Still, Bartman didn't deserve to be hung out to dry for doing what fans do multiple times each game of the year. Even after all these years, I reserve my wrath for Alou, who did throw a ridiculous temper tantrum, and for Dusty Baker, who didn't calm down his team or his young pitcher, Mark Prior.

Even now, I don't hear Buck or other announcers talking about those shortcomings. The story of 2003 is always Bartman, Bartman, Bartman. Poor guy has my deepest sympathy.

Mike Schryver said...

Being a Mets fan and thus being used to non-rooting announcers, I think Joe Buck in this series sounds the way the Mets announcers would sound if they worked for the Cubs. He isn't overtly rooting, but there's an extra excitement and an extra lilt in his voice when the Cubs succeed. It definitely comes across.
That's when he isn't making football analogies. He's said in at least one interview that he doesn't like baseball, and I think that comes across as well.

MikeK.Pa. said...

Harry Kalas, the late, great Phillies announcer, didn't get to call the Phillies' 1980 World Series championship because, at that time, MLB prohibited local radio broadcasts; only the national feed. In part because of the outcry of Phillies' fans, MLB relented and let the local teams' broadcasters call the WS the following season. Fortunately for Harry, the Phils won another championship in 2008 and he got to call the last out of the clinching game. Sadly, he died in the broadcast booth April of the following year.

Doug G. said...

Reminds me of 1997 when the Indians played the Marlins in the World Series and the NBC affiliate in Cleveland was getting complaints that NBC's broadcast was rooting for the Marlins but according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer the NBC affiliate in Miami was getting complaints that NBC's broadcast was rooting for the Indians. What this means to me is if both sides think you're rooting for the other, then you're probably doing something right.

John R. said...

@ David:

Your comments regarding Mike "Doc" Emrick were spot-on. Every single one of them. I cannot STAND that guy, and everyone I tell that to says he's a legend, he's awesome, etc. Ummm....no, he's not. He is the auditory equivalent of fingernails on a chalkboard. He is beyond annoying, no matter what team he's verbally fellating on any given night. My wife and I feed the radio through the soundbar for when the Bruins are on "Wednesday Night Rivalry" (which is also incredibly annoying). Actually, we do it every game because the local Bruins tv guy is also something of a tool. Dave Goucher and Bob Beers do a great job on the radio here in Boston. Anyway, thanks for showing me that I'm not the only guy who finds Emerick insufferable!

MikeN said...

They're biased. I saw them praise the Yankees and Derek Jeter over and over. It took them up to about the 8th inning of Game 7 for them to accept the Red Sox might win. Until that, it was about how the Yankees come back(which they did in the previous series too), the Red Sox will mess up, etc. The only thing left was for them to start cheering '1918'.

And they were silent as Derek Cheater was grabbing players to keep them from advancing to third against Arizona.

MikeN said...

Ken what do you think of this idea from Bob Cringely?

Nearly all original ideas in Hollywood, and anywhere else visual entertainment is made, begin in the mind of a writer. Yet writers, like most actors, are notoriously underpaid. Apple just needs to create a welfare state for writers.

What Apple needs is an option for the online rights to every writer’s work. There are probably 10,000 “writers” in the entertainment business earning anywhere from $5000 to $5 million per year. I want Apple to put under contract every writer who has ever written anything that’s been produced, paying them each a guaranteed baseline of $40,000 per year (that’s $400 million annually) with an additional $600 million going to writers whose work is actually produced. Let’s say there are 2000 films and TV shows produced per year so that would be, say, $500,000 per movie and $50K per series episode.

These amounts are substantially above Writers Guild rates and what they’d buy is a streaming option. Apple gets its pick of everything.

MikeN said...

Friday question, have you ever pulled material or used and found out later that was too old for your audience?
I was thinking of how SNL made a joke about Amazon opening stores and said it was like Netflix opening video rentals. I figure half the audience has never heard of Blockbuster.

suek2001 said...

I could tolerate Joe Buck IF his voice wasn't like nails on a chalkboard....and even as a Packers fan, I find it hilarious that play by play announcers still drool over that team..even when they suck...

One weird Friday question....I have noticed that MASH incorporates a lot of scenes of people driving in jeeps...there's a lot of scenes with people riding/driving in jeeps..long shots...close ups...no dialogue..no real reason...I was curious if that was padding for time...

..and another MASH question/observation...anytime Colonel Potter talks on the phone to an old buddy..his asides and responses remind me of Bob Newhart's phone gag...was that an inspiration?

Louis Burklow said...

Ken, You and I are just going to have to agree to disagree about Joe Buck. Others here have pointed out a lot of the things that annoy me about the guy. His role in making Bartman infamous was hard to miss. I've also heard of his preference for football over baseball, which makes you wonder how he got this gig to begin with.

This World Series is a rare time when I'll be happy with whichever team wins but I hear Buck favoring the Cubs in his calls; you can hear the obvious excitement in his voice over every Cubs single, every Indians flyout caught, no matter how routine. Hope he and Schwarber get some nice gifts off that registry.

Maybe this is personal to me but the big thing that bothers me about Joe Buck is the smarmy, I'm so witty tone to his commentary in any sport he covers. My memories of Jack Buck are hazy but I have to believe the only way his son caught on is nepotism, pure and simple. There are announcers who held on too long (like Brent Musberger, who I wish had never been heard from again after his firing by CBS) but then there are ones who you wonder how they got their jobs to begin with. Tim McCarver and Joe Buck are the ultimate example of the latter. McCarver never met a long, pointless anecdote he didn't love to death, especially if he could work a lame pun into the story. His pairing with Buck was like a three-hour chorus of fingernails on a chalkboard. An announcer like you who worked hard to perfect his craft is far superior than hacks like them.

ChgoMagic said...

It is hilarious reading these comments. Listening to sports radio in Chicago, everyone hates Joe Buck because he obviously dislikes the Cubs. The hosts keep saying that every team's fans think the national broadcaster is for the other team. I'd rather listen to Pat Hughes anyway he is an exemplary and knowledgeable broadcaster.

Mike B. said...

About Doc Emrick and water polo. He didn't do the most recent Olympics, he begged off because of off-season surgery. However, he is the perfect person for water polo. I'm quite the fan of both polo and hockey and there isn't anyone finer.

yatesy said...

I hate Joe Buck. His heart is not in baseball, he has even come out and said it. I think it's wrapped up in his contract and he can't get out of it. His call when the '08 Phillies won the WS was like "ok, they won, can I leave now?". Seriously. Check it out on youtube. It's insulting to the fans and insulting to baseball.

H Johnson said...

Gotta go with most of the crowd Ken, Joe Buck blows. He offers too many opinions and just won't shut-up. Doesn't let the game breath at all. I'm a Dodger fan so I have no skin in the game other than my love of baseball, but there had to be at least a dozen better choices to call the Series.

Aloha

PS: You have the greatest comment contributors. Well done.

Joel Keller said...

Jack... didn't Thom Brennaman do that Cubs-Marlins NLCS? I seem to remember Buck and McCarver doing the other epic LCS that year: Yankees-Red Sox (the Aaron Bleepin' Boone series).

I've always enjoyed Joe Buck. Can he be a little droll from time to time? Sure. But he never took himself as seriously as people think he does. In fact, I think he's been better since McCarver left, because he doesn't feel he has to defer to his analyst all the time. Smoltz has been fantastic this year, by the way, a marked improvement over the Tom Verducci/Harold Reynolds combo that used to work with Buck (mostly because of HR... Verducci was just fine).

The whole reason people hate him is because, like Ken said, he rooted for an exciting game and a good storyline, and when your team is losing, that sounds like he's against your team. People are so used to listening to hometown announcers, even fair ones that just lean towards the home team, that hearing an announcer be neutral about your team is a shock.

ELS said...

Mike Barer said... "Of course Seattle teams may be the exception. We won a MNF game on a controversial call and the announcer's sounded like it was a huge tragedy."

And that touchdown was a gross foul up, and it was a great big black eye on referees and the NFL in general. Nothing against the Seahawks - they did their best on that play - but it was a tragedy.

Jim said...

All I need to hear from Hammy is "Napoli stands in. Pitcher sets. Here it comes. A swing and a drive . . . ."
Don't forget to add, "It's up... a WAAAAAAY back... GONE!" Good heavens, how I enjoy listening to Tom Hamilton call a baseball game. I'm glad we have him, and I hope he remains a Clevelander for a LONG time to come.

Michael said...

John in NW Ohio, in 1968, George Kell was the Tigers TV announcer and Ernie Harwell did radio only. So, for the series, NBC put Kell on TV and Harwell on radio. Interestingly, I think that was the year Jack Buck made a phone call to get himself onto the radio coverage of the series so he would get a chance, because Harry Caray wanted to do it all, and ended up with TV.

Sean Robbins said...

Ken,

Joe Buck may not hate my favorite team, but if my favorite team is playing his beloved Cardinals in a playoff series, you can hear that he has rooting interest. And my team did play the Cardinals in two playoff series in five years.

But my biggest problem with Joe Buck isn't that he's a Cards homer. That makes the Cardinals losing more entertaining. My biggest problem is that he is monotonous and boring. Add a healthy dose of sanctimonious drivel, and he's intolerable to watch call a game. That being said, I am impressed with John Smoltz in the booth this year. For someone who hasn't done broadcasting all that long, (A few years on TBS' Saturday game) he is nailing it.

Sean in NoCal
Yes, I'm a Giants fan and blessed to listen to Jon Miller.

Sean Robbins said...

I'd just like to point out that in every comment thread on every "Joe Buck sucks" post I've seen this year, the majority of the "I love Joe Buck" comments come from St. Louis. Coincidence? I THINK NOT!

Dayhew said...

Jon Miller. My fantasy is he leaves the Giants, does TV for the Dodgers 9 innings solo, and the Dodgers fix their incredibly stupid cable deal. After missing Vin for 3 years, it would be like he never left. (not a real Dodger fan, but they are the local NL team, so I watch them)

Andy Rose said...

Call me naive, but I find it hard to believe Fox would stick with Buck year after year if he were as actively offensive to as much of the audience as comment boards about him suggest. The networks test and study everything to death, including sports. You can argue that he's bland (and tries to make up for it with a "clever" tone that can come off the wrong way), but he's not a talentless hack... or a distracting goof like John Sterling.

(Aside to @Sean Robbins, I worked at a Cardinals radio station when Joe started announcing there, and I can tell you he was NOT beloved by Cardinals fans. Mainly because he was not Jack, and didn't try to be. And when he left the Cards for the Big Time, he was even less liked.)

Ken hit the nail on the head about announcers getting led by the nose by producers. Sports broadcasts these days are all about finding "storylines" in the game, which are often built around casting a particular player as either a hero to be fawned over or a goat out for redemption. If the designated hero is on the other team or the designated goat is on your team, it sounds biased.

Diane said...

This is all very true but I'm pretty sure Fox's worst case scenario involves the Blue Jays because they lose one market altogether.

Speaking of which, it was embarrassing that the TBS guys couldn't pronounce Edwin Encarnacion's name correctly during the AL wild card game. Stuff like that is what causes fans to think the announcer is biased against their team.

ELS said...

Oh, don't even get me STARTED on the TBS broadcasts. Horrendous doesn't begin to describe them... "objective" to them must mean how a lot of fans felt about the way they called the game. It sure as hell didn't show up any other way.

Jahn Ghalt said...

Up here we get damn near all the Mariners game on ROOT SPORTS NW - a good team, obvious "homers" but they don't annoy me (unlike the whiners on Boston's local Celtic announcing team whom I hear sometimes on NBA TV). Unless there's F##TB@LL, we get the M's on ESPN radio - Ric "Rizz" is a fine pro on radio.

The local Golden State Warriors team is quite good - very knowledgeable - homers, but not whiners.

Not to "start" with ELS, but Ernie Johnson, Ron Darling, and Ironman (uhhh, Ripken! Cal!) can call any baseball game for me. Johnson is the pro, played college ball, and seems to be well-educated in that he not only knows a lot of old-school baseball lingo but seems to actually read - occasionally slips in a literary reference - but not much at all. I only check them out for the playoffs since I don't give a good goddamn about the Braves.

Joe Buck is clearly a polished pro. I don't hear him enough to get "annoyed".

I'm sure glad that Joe Morgan seems to have stopped announcing color. Not only has he never heard an old, stupid baseball cliché that he doesn't like but repeats them at exactly all the same old obvious moments. He's so "reliable" in that respect that you'd think he was a football coach at some point.

I watch a lot of NBA on TNT - which has the unmatched Marvelous Marv Albert (even if he did coin the stupid clock "differential" to mean difference - I'm in the 1% that one time knew what an actual math differential was). Kevin Harlan is a fine pro, and I like Reggie's "tough talk" even if he wasn't much of a fighter in his day. I also like C-Webb in small doses - as a former 'big man' I like his 'big man perspective'.

Jahn Ghat said...

Pete Rose! All on his own, he's nearly as funny as Chuck/Shaq/Jet.

Harold Reynolds! He bugs me - a lot - even he is occasionally smart.

Neihaus!!! I didn't hear him nearly enough. I loved his old-school baseball lingo.

ScarletNumber said...

For all of you Joe Buck haters, he was at Fenway Park the day of the Bartman game.