Tag: Joe Buck

St. Louis Cardinals Clubhouse Appears Void of Leadership

The St. Louis Cardinals were active at the non-waiver trade deadline this season.  The moves shook up the clubhouse by sending two clubhouse favorites, Allen Craig and Joe Kelly, to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for John Lackey and Corey Littrell.  News reports quickly surfaced, such as this one from Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, that players were unhappy with the deal.

The Cardinals have struggled at the plate.  One of the most glaring examples was Craig, who saw a dramatic decline from his former production.  Meanwhile, the team’s top prospect, Oscar Taveras, continued to struggle in a part-time role.  General manager John Mozeliak saw the opportunity to eliminate the platoon in right field while also bolstering his pitching staff.  

Many assumed it would be Taveras who would be on the move.

Joe Buck suggested during a Fox Sports 1 telecast this weekend that Taveras is not well liked among Cardinal players.  Joe Strauss, who covers the Cardinals for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, echoed those sentiments when he joined local CBS Sports Radio 920’s morning show, “The Morning After,” via Brendan Marks.

Strauss states that players don’t appreciate the lack of work ethic from the youngster.  He also casts stones at Taveras’ sense of entitlement, which appears to be based on his pedigree.  Each of these things are concerning for fans.

Lost in the shuffle is the throwaway comment from Buck and Tom Verducci that the Cardinals lack the leadership of someone who can say something directly to Taveras.  Indeed, that is the major difference between this Cardinals team and those of years past.

The veterans on this club are a bit different.  They are players, like Adam Wainwright, who show tremendous support to each other.  They are the strong and silent types, like Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina.  Gone are the Chris Carpenters and Lance Berkmans.  

Most significantly, gone is Albert Pujols.

Pujols, possibly more than most players, seemed to be the leader who would pull guys aside.  He would address their work ethic.  He set the example, and he expected players to follow it.  He was often the voice of reason within the clubhouse.

Molina needs to be that player now.  A protege of Pujols while he was in St. Louis, Molina blossomed under the tutelage of Albert.  He has proven to be the field general the young pitching staff so desperately needs.  

The Cardinals need a leader.  The Cardinals need someone willing to get in the face of the young guys and tell them what is expected of them when they wear the Birds on the Bat.  The Cardinals need someone to step into that role.

That someone likely needs to be Yadier Molina.


Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball.com
Follow him on Twitter to discuss all things baseball.

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Boston Red Sox: Are Fans Getting a Fair Shake with Joe Buck as Lead Broadcaster?

The World Series, like any league’s championship playoff round, is a time for fans to bathe in the hype surrounding their favorite team. The 2013 World Series involving the Boston Red Sox and the St. Louis Cardinals is no different from any sport in that regard.  

With the advent of the internet, there are of course a plethora of sources available to fans that really want to dig deep on their team’s prospects. On-demand video, blogs, and endless news stories are just a fraction of what’s available.

Having said that, the most important piece of media is the actual coverage of live competitive action. This reality puts a large burden on whichever television network is covering the championship to produce the highest quality and most unbiased proceedings possible.

In the case of the 2013 World Series, that network is Fox Sports, a division of Fox Broadcasting Company and a global media giant with a fairly robust history in covering such climatic sporting events.

This brings us to one particularly perplexing aspect of the 2013 World Series, and for that matter, more than a few that have come before it. In the case of this year’s World Series, Fox Sports selected Joe Buck and Tim McCarver to be their lead announcer and analyst in the telecast booth, respectively.  

These two are of course extremely experienced, as one would assume of any duo selected for such an important event. However, one peculiar aspect of this specific pair as it relates to the 2013 World Series is that Joe Buck has extremely close ties to the St. Louis Cardinals.

Specifically, Buck was not only raised in St. Louis, but also happens to be the son of long-time sportscaster Jack Buck. The elder Buck was the play-by-play announcer for the St. Louis Cardinals for 47 years and it’s probably safe to say one of the biggest individual supporters of the Red Birds.  

Joe Buck, having followed in his father’s sportscasting footsteps, is now a national sportscaster with Fox Sports. He also remains a resident of St. Louis and undoubtedly a huge fan of local teams from the region.    

It is Fox Sports’ designation of Joe Buck as the lead broadcaster for the 2013 World Series between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Boston Red Sox that begs some serious questions.

First and foremost, one would wonder if Joe Buck could be a truly impartial observer during such emotional proceedings. Surely, Mr. Buck is keenly aware of his potential conflict of interest and likely makes every effort to conduct himself in the most professional and unbiased manner possible.

However, attempting to realistically judge Joe Buck’s impartiality is a highly subjective endeavor and quite honestly shouldn’t even be a conscious piece of something like the World Series.  

The fact is, Fox Sports has likely made a huge mistake in placing Mr. Buck in such a precarious position. The network risks alienating at least half of their prime target audience (Red Sox fans) while also putting a damper on their ability to create the most neutral viewing conditions possiblea scenario which would arguably help them net the largest absolute audience.  

It is of course well known that nothing in this world is perfectnor perfectly fair. That fact being a key reason why sports themselves are so popular to begin with, as they provide an escape for fans from real life hardships. And in the playoffs, this escapism can arguably reach its maximum level.  

In this age of instant feedback, it’s stunning to think that a network with the considerable resources of Fox Sports wouldn’t have already learned, through viewer feedback or a myriad of focus groups, that presenting the most impartial programming possible would be most ideal for an event as emotionally-charged as the World Series.  

Instead, the network apparently believes that designating Joe Buck, a man whose father worked for nearly a half century covering the St. Louis Cardinals, somehow represents their best option for lead broadcaster. All this despite the fact that the season is all but over, leaving a stable of other idle announcers available for the job.  

I’m neither a Cardinals nor a Red Sox fan, but if my team was facing such an unfavorable broadcast scenario I’d be leaning heavily on my local radio broadcast to mark the proceedings.

An immense network such as Fox Sports certainly isn’t going to change its behavior because a few small voices highlight a puzzling and imperfect situation. On the other hand, television networks do have one significant Achilles Heelratings.

Maybe a large dent in that vital statistic would send a strong enough message to Fox Sports and other networks that striving for the most neutral broadcast possible would be a win-win for both networks and viewers.


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Baseball and Pro Wrestling: More Similar Than You Think

What image do you get when you think of both baseball and professional wrestling?

You never think of the two as being “peas in a pod.”

And the only similarities you might think of are the vast amounts of steroids used by their stars.

However, the two sports share a similarity that goes beyond comparing Barry Bonds’ physique to that of Triple-H. Both sports are American institutions.

American institutions that are slowly losing interest.

The reason ironically is because of their attempts to “cater” to the casual fan.

Baseball has Yankees-Red Sox, while pro wrestling has John Cena-Randy Orton.

Both are long rivalries that were exciting at first but now we’re just sick of, and both will intensify again after Thanksgiving, with the Yankees and Red Sox fighting over the latest prize free agents, while at least the WWE will go into a different direction with Cena and Orton, and Orton will be a face while Cena will be the heel.

These rivalries are what Major League Baseball and the WWE think that people want to see.

There might be some truth to that—the Yankees and Red Sox do pull in higher ratings than most other teams—while the WWE’s ratings are higher when John Cena is around.

But this has done nothing but turn off the die-hards.

In wrestling, the die-hards want to see newer wrestlers get a push. They’re waiting for the day when John Morrison, The Miz, Alberto Del Rio, and other newer, fresher faces get their turn.

In baseball, true fans want to see teams be featured on ESPN and Fox other than the Red Sox, Yankees, Dodgers, Cubs, Cardinals and Phillies. 

Thankfully in baseball, as long as the good teams win, they get the attention of the press—well, sort of.

The San Francisco Giants had an excellent team with a great pitching staff this year. Because of that they won their first World Series since 1954, which was four years before they moved to San Francisco.

But all I heard about this series from ESPN were questions about where Cliff Lee was going to wind up and if the Yankees, who ironically were eliminated by Lee and his Rangers, would make a push toward him.

ESPN might as well hire Michael Cole based off of how they talk about the non-marquee franchises, especially compared to their constant over-hyping of the Red Sox. They were doing everything but dismissing the Giants like they were just a mediocre NBA team who won the eighth seed in the East.

So what will the solution be for baseball? Oh, more wild cards, great.

The current system in baseball is fine. Three division champions, one wild card per league. Four playoff teams in each league, one goal.

Now their plan is to have two wild cards face each other in a play-in series, which is a mistake. 

Say a team finishes with the second best record in the National League, yet is second in their division. Why would they have to play against a team that finished second in a weaker division and is more than five games back of the first wild card team?

Isn’t 162 games enough?

Wrestling fans probably feel the same way about Vince’s “Brand Extension,” which looks more and more like it will be slowly phased out.

The Brand Extension, for those of you who aren’t into wrestling and clicked on the article because I mentioned baseball, was the splitting up of the WWE roster into Raw and Smackdown, their two shows. The reason being to cut down on travel and employ more wrestlers.

But this ended up just diluting the titles. Right now there’s a WWE Champion, and a World Heavyweight Champion. 

Who’s the real champ?

Yes, I know, maybe wrestling and baseball are completely different, but not in the treatment of the hardcore fans in an attempt to appeal to casual fans.

To bring in casual fans, both need drama. With baseball its already there, but it isn’t being packaged correctly, unless of course its Yankees-Red Sox. Adding more playoff teams won’t solve this problem, it will only make it worse.

Wrestling its all about packaging to create the drama, and they seem to be back on the right track.

Maybe Baseball needs to take some pointers from pro wrestling, and no I don’t mean they should start fixing games, but knowing how Bud Selig, Fox and ESPN think, I wouldn’t put it past them.

After all the last time they did, attendance did go up.

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New York Yankees: Lance Berkman Gets Noticed For Wrong Reasons

Had old George still been around, the incident clearly would have led to a public flogging, and maybe, even an old-fashioned water boarding, military aficionado that “The Boss” was.

Instead, the batting-practice liner Lance Berkman sent off Alex Rodriguez’s shin was nothing more than a cringe-worthy incident and a succinct summary of Berkman’s first week with the Yankees.

“Serves A-Rod right,” you may think to yourself. Taking his eyes off the field to banter with Joe Buck, a noted douche, warrants some kind of penalty. But the timing couldn’t have been worse for Berkman, who just wants to blend into the background these days.

It didn’t help matters that Berkman had another hitless day, getting booed off the field twice. He’s 2-for-22 since joining the Yankees, numbers that make fans long for the salad days of Juan Miranda.

To Berkman’s credit, he’s saying all the right things. He told reporters after Saturday’s win over the Red Sox that he’s “booing himself,” which would actually be kind of funny if true.

He has a fine resume and the sample is still way too small to call him a wash-out in New York just yet.

But I can’t seem to shake the nagging feeling that Berkman will eventually be viewed on the wrong end of the Yankee Thirty-Something Veteran Trade Scale that has David Justice on one side and Pudge Rodriguez on the other.

I still believe Johnny Damon would be an attractive option for the Yankees, and with the Tigers all but out of contention in the AL Central, it’s possible he’d be available via the waiver-and-trade route.

But it’s more likely that Brian Cashman will stay put with the team he’s assembled, and give Berkman every chance to succeed in his current role against right-handed pitchers.

Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter were cracking up as Rodriguez writhed in pain on the Yankee Stadium turf after Saturday’s mishap.

Let’s hope this doesn’t become the most noteworthy aspect of Big Puma’s tenure in pinstripes.

Dan Hanzus writes the Yankees blog River & Sunset and can be reached via e-mail at dhanzus@gmail.com. Follow Dan on Twitter @danhanzus .

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Alex Rodriguez: Could Joe Buck’s Killer Wave Land A-Rod On DL?


Before Saturday’s game between the Yankees and the Boston Red Sox word spread Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez was sidelined. The news was true, Rodriguez was placed on day-to-day status.


The announcement gave Yankees fans plenty of reason to worry, because anyone with a brain had the same thought….WTF?


How did this happen to Rodriguez?


Then the replay tape of batting practice visually explained that new Yankee Lance Berkman hit a line-drive that nailed A-rod in the ankle. A-rod fell to the ground in an agony of pain.


Berkman felt awful, as it was his ball that might have cost the Yankees the season. It was an accident and accidents happen, but this was not good.


Minutes later the game started, Fox Sports announcer, and known Yankees hater, Joe Buck was openly proud of the fact that he was to blame for the injury.


Buck said he was waving to A-rod at the time, which caused the All-Star to turn and acknowledge Buck.


“I just said hello for literally one second to Joe and just got smoked,” Rodriguez said. 


Fact is the Yankee line-up struggles without Rodriguez. To put it more accurately, the Yankee bats are better with A-rod active.


Whichever way it’s phrased, A-rod has proved time and time again his worthiness, while Joe Buck continues to prove he is not a Yankees fan.



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