Searching for the Mute button…

October 24, 2008 at 2:36 am | Posted in Baseball, World Series | 15 Comments

We’re in the middle of the World Series, America’s oldest and greatest sporting event.  It’s a time when all baseball fans unite in the annual tradition of watching the games to see a new champion crowned.  What should be an entirely positive experience for the fans is unfortunately diminished every year when we have to endure the broadcasting of Tim McCarver and Joe Buck.

There are many talented analysts and play-by-play announcers working for every team in Major League Baseball.  Many of them would do a great job broadcasting nationally televised games.  So why is it that we are forced to listen to McCarver and Buck at every single All Star Game, World Series, and one of the league championship series every year?

Let me start by ranting about Tim McCarver.  As far back as I can remember, going back more than 20 years, McCarver has been the analyst for every All Star Game and World Series.  He’s been on ABC, he’s been on CBS, and he’s been on Fox.  No matter what network buys the rights to broadcast baseball nationally, they hire McCarver.  I am baffled by this because I have never heard McCarver provide any interesting insight during a baseball game.  He constantly spews meaningless platitudes and makes obvious points.  He frequently launches into lengthy explanations about mundane things as if his audience has never seen a baseball game before.  Worse, he always seems unprepared to discuss the teams that are playing.  I think he memorizes a few points about each team and then repeats these points throughout each game.  From listening to him, it’s obvious that he hadn’t watched any Rays games this season and he probably never watched the Phillies before the NLCS.  For example, he seemed amazed by the Rays infield shift against Ryan Howard after they’ve been doing the same thing against David Ortiz and other left-handed pull hitters for the last few years.

Unquestionably, my favorite memory of Tim McCarver is when Deion Sanders dumped buckets of water over him after a game in the 1992 NLCS, which prompted McCarver’s helplessly hilarious comeback of “You’re a real man, Deion”.  It couldn’t have happened to a more deserving idiot.

I was hoping that I could find a video of McCarver’s humiliation on YouTube to post here, but I couldn’t find it.  Instead, I found a very funny song about McCarver.  Why is it that it’s always Red Sox fans who post great YouTube videos:

Now, on to Joe Buck.  I was never very impressed by Buck as it seemed that his only qualification to be the play-by-play man for national baseball broadcasts was that he was Jack Buck’s son.  Jack Buck was an extraordinarily good announcer for the St. Louis Cardinals and for CBS.  Joe Buck, on the other hand, has never had anything interesting to say during any broadcast that I’ve ever seen.  I’ve also never heard him show any enthusiasm or passion for baseball.  This summer, we found out why.  He admitted on a radio show that he hates watching baseball and actually prefers watching The Bachelorette.  Seriously.  He thinks baseball is boring and he thinks the games are too long.  That’s funny since he seems to love the NFL, which has even longer games.  You can listen to his appalling comments and read about it here.

It is not good for Major League Baseball to have such useless, unenthusiastic announcers broadcasting the most important games every year.  Tim McCarver and Joe Buck certainly do not help attract new fans and they infuriate the current fans.  They should be replaced before next season.  If Fox won’t get rid of them, then MLB should try to find a new network once its current deal with Fox expires.

It shouldn’t be hard to find good replacements.  I wouldn’t mind seeing Bob Costas doing play-by-play again.  Sure, we’d have to put up with hearing him talk about Mickey Mantle every other minute and listening to his diatribes about how horrible he thinks the DH is, but at least he actually likes the game of baseball!  There are plenty of other candidates who are currently announcing for individual teams.  Josh Lewin of the Texas Rangers is one who I think would do a really good job.  The Rays radio announcer, Andy Freed, would be another good choice.  Let’s face it, anyone would be better than Joe Buck!

Likewise, there are many analysts out there who would do a much better job than Tim McCarver.  However, I don’t think that just one should be picked to replace McCarver.  My idea is that for every postseason series, the analysts from both teams that are playing would both participate in the broadcast.  So, for this World Series, it would be Joe Magrane of the Rays and Gary Matthews (I think) for the Phillies.  This way, fans would get insight from guys who have been following the teams all season.  I think that setup would work very well.  I want to actually learn information that I didn’t know from the analyst, and again, pretty much anybody would be better at doing that than Tim McCarver.

What do you think?  Can you tolerate listening to these buffoons during the World Series, or have you been hitting the mute button on your remote?

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15 Comments »

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  1. I’ve been saying the same thing for years. It became very apparent, for me, during the 2005 World Series. The Chicago radio station that carried the Sox at that time, still had their regular announcers working the entire playoffs that year. I could turn the radio on and feel comforted by announcers who followed the Sox AND knew something about the Astros.

    Buck & McCarver need to be muzzled for the duration of the series. I’d rather listen to silence than their boring banter.

  2. I’ve been listening to ESPN Radio, to be honest, because I don’t have a TV at work. Jon Miller isn’t that great but the TV guys are worse.

    Last year, I was looking through the diary I kept when I was 10-12 and found a rant about Tim McCarver’s rotten color commentary. If an 11-year-old girl realized he was awful, well…why 20 years later is he still on the air?

  3. For the World Series they should get a solid play by play guy in there like Jon Miller or Thom Brennaman. Then they should have one announcer from each team to provide analysis. Harry Kalas would provide 10000% better analysis in this series than McStupid.

    The major flaw in my plan is that if the Yankees get their act together we might have to listen to John Sterling. DAaAaAAAaaAaaaaYANKEEESWIIIN!

  4. Tim McCarver is a raging piece of crap. I have had it out for him ever since the 91 World Series, where all he did was shit all over the Twins that year. I was only 12, but I remember it clear as day, and I still hope he gets hit by a bus for it to this very day.

  5. Tim and Joe are not very good and I would much rather have the teams own announcers call the games. One the flip side at least it isn’t Joe Morgan calling the games!! Nobody is worse!!

  6. I may be way off here, but I’m of the opinion that Gus Johnson should be involved in every major sporting event.

    Team him up with Fritz and that would really be something.

    OK, maybe not Fritz.

  7. I think McCarver’s just getting a bit too old for his job. I remember McCarver way back when he used to broadcast Mets games on the old WWOR. He actually wasn’t too bad. And he didn’t appear so clueless or go off on such ridiculous tangents about the old days. He’s getting senile. … If you notice, Fox doesn’t seem to care who does its baseball coverage. Look who they have doing the pregame show. It’s just bad across the board.

    Having some local announcers provide the color if their teams make the World Series would be nice. But I shudder at certain ones getting the opportunity. John Sterling is a great example by dayf. I’m close to Canada, and if you’ve ever heard Josh Barfield provide commentary on Blue Jays games, you’d think McCarver wasn’t half bad.

  8. I’m surprised it took you to game 2 before you muted! 🙂

    I haven’t been a McCarver fan since his WWOR days in the ’80s.

    Fox should have demoted Joe Buck after his summer comments about not even liking baseball that much. His lack of energy and enthusiasm is very obvious.

    How about a game without announcers! Didn’t Fox or someone do that with football once?

  9. Correction on my post. I meant JESSE Barfield. Geez, I’m as bad as McCarver!

  10. Wow – every single commenter agrees with me! Come to think of it, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say that they like Tim McCarver…

    morineko – I am fascinated that an 11-year old girl was once writing about Tim McCarver’s horrible announcing in her diary. You have just reached the highest level of awesomeness in my mind.

    dayf – my idea is that the analysts (color commentators) for each team broadcast the World Series with a neutral play-by-play guy. I agree that John Sterling would be terrible, but he’s a play-by-play guy. Ken Singleton is the Yankees TV analyst and he’s not half bad.

    I just wish that I could listen to XM radio indoors so that I could hear Andy Freed and Dave Wills announce the game instead of the Fox clowns…

  11. I have to mute Yankee games on ESPN because the utter crap that is said during the game. I absolutely hate Joe Morgan as an announcer. It would make sense to invite the local announcer of each team to commentate back and forth. You have 162 games of knowledge for both teams playing, and they can apply relevant anecdotes. They can actually add value to the two teams playing. Where’s Bob Uecker when you need him: “Evan Longoria is 5 – 5 when facing a left handed pitcher for the first time, at night, in a dome on an even numbered day”

  12. couldnt agree more. I cant stand Joe buck no matter what sport he is doing.

  13. ALL of Fox’s baseball people are incredibly difficult to listen to. From the pregame show with self-absorbed blowhards Kevin “Did you know I managed the Rangers and Red Sox” Kennedy, Eric Karros, Mark Grace, Jeanne Zelasko, that midget Ken Rosenthal, and of course Buck and McCarver, Fox has assembled and amazingly bad TV staff.

    As you said, they add no insight, are redundant, love to belabor the obvious, and have nothing to say other than meaningless platitudes.

    Vin Scully and Bob Costas … now THAT would be a joy to listen to.

  14. Phillies starters are nasty. The Rays have been outpitched in four straight games.

  15. It’s always a tough call. I dislike both of them with a passion, yet I always find myself wanting to hear what stupid thing McCarver will say next.


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