Sports talk radio is the place where announcers and analysts take off the masks and tell us how they really feel about the sports they cover and the people playing them — because they really don’t think anyone is listening. Last month, Justin Gimelstob used a D.C. radio show to spew against Anna Kournikova. Now, we get Fox’s lead baseball and football announcer, Joe Buck, admitting to ESPN’s Colin Cowherd that he just doesn’t enjoy baseball as much as he used to.
AWFUL ANNOUNCING has the recorded audio, and is appropriately flabbergasted at the whole mess — because he’s right: this is why fans hate so much of the sports media right now.
The rationale for Cowherd and Buck both not being able to enjoy the sports they supposedly cover has to do with having adult responsibilities (wives, families, etc.), which translates to not having the time — and that “society has changed”, making them weekend viewers. Buck notes that the games take too long, and that he’d rather watch “The Bachelorette” than sit through a baseball game on television. He and Cowherd compare the daily grind of baseball to the one-game-a-week of football, which is easier to take in.
The last thing I want to hear from two people paid very good salaries to work in sports media is that they don’t enjoy what they cover and don’t take the time to watch that particular sport during the week. If you’re going to get paid in this business, it’s part of the job description to care about sports and pay attention to them as much as you can, not just “read the dailies” for the teams you are specifically covering. Just reading the papers in the teams’ markets for the game of the week is superficial, and the equivalent of trying to learn the material for a college course in one Adderall-fueled night before the final.
Now, Buck is not the first to make these sorts of admissions. CBS college basketball analyst Billy Packer outed himself as a non-sports fan before the 2007 Final Four.
What goes through the minds of executives when guys like Buck and Packer are hired or come up for contract extensions? Joe, you are paid millions as the lead broadcaster for Fox’s baseball coverage every Saturday. If you don’t care about the sport you cover, don’t cover it any more. Just quit. Spare us, the viewing and listening audience, your apparently half-hearted and probably ill-informed attempts at doing your job.
Why not double your efforts on trying to get that talk show going? You probably cared about it more.
Frankly, based on that clip alone, doubling those efforts may not be enough.