First off, I’m going to apologize right away because this column is nothing more than personal therapy so that I can get something off my chest that has been bothering me for at least eight years and counting. Well, actually, it’s not as if I’m losing sleep over this, but every time the situation rears its ugly head once more, the stabbing pain in my brain returns. In the end, I hope that, if I accomplish nothing else, I will be able to relax the next time I am forced to deal with this matter.
I’ve reached the breaking point with having to endure Red Sox games that are broadcast by the FOX Sports Network on Saturday afternoons. Granted, the game I watched between my beloved Boston nine and the New York Yankees was a “classic” if you were rooting for the Sox. You had both teams trying to out-slug the other, whether it was with the bat or with the fist, and the emotions swung in all directions for the players and the fans. In the end, Boston won in dramatic fashion off ever-steady New York closer Mariano Rivera, who surrendered a one-out, game-ending, two-run home run to light-hitting Bill Mueller to give the home team an 11-10 victory.
However, what made it most unbearable for this Red Sox fan, besides the edge-of-your-seat drama, was the two idiots squawking in the broadcast booth. I’m referring to play-by-play announcer Joe Buck and color analyst Tim McCarver. These two have been ruining my afternoons for the better part of the last eight years or so, especially when the main entrée happens to be the Red Sox and the Yankees. They have to be, bar-none, the worst broadcast tandem in sports. They offer nothing but inane chatter for three straight hours or more.
I’ll start with Joe Buck, son of legendary, Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck. I don’t want to sound trite, but I believe that the only reason that he has this gig is because he is the son of a legend; in short, he is average at best. His attempts to induce the dramatic in his calls seem to fall flat and he repeats the same tired clichés over and over.
Then again, Buck is not even half as bad as his two-bit partner-in-crime, Tim McCarver. The former catcher played for 21 seasons in the major leagues and you would think, with all that experience, he would be able to offer more insight and depth to the game. Instead, he points out the obvious and rambles on and on about nothing in particular; I once heard someone likening him to a kindergarten teacher explaining how to tie your shoelaces. I also cannot count the number of times that he makes a point only to have it discredited almost immediately; he’ll second-guess the effort a player is making only to then watch the player make a great play in the field or punch a timely hit down his throat.
Together, these two just pollute the airways, whether they are calling a regular season game, the All-Star Game, or the playoffs. They are the essence of FOX baseball coverage, which spends more time fooling with cutting-edge graphics and goofy sound effects then trying to develop the formula of a successful broadcast. The game seems more like an opportunity to promote the newest reality show or the next Simpsons episode and less like a chance to watch and enjoy some afternoon baseball.
I think that it’s time to give the weekend baseball broadcasts back to NBC or have ESPN broadcast all the nationally televised games; let FOX concentrate its efforts on other sports like football and NASCAR. I don’t know how soon the contract runs out, but perhaps my fellow baseball fans can start a collection to buy out the remainder of the agreement. Surely, I can’t be the only one who feels a headache every time I have to watch and listen to these broadcasts; otherwise, I’m just going to have to kill my television, turn on my radio, and enjoy the games as my grandfather did.