Between 1996 and 2021, Joe Buck called 23 World Series and 21 MLB All-Star Games for FOX. However, following the play-by-play man’s exit to ESPN for Monday Night Football in the Spring, fans of the midsummer classic couldn’t help but speak their mind on the broadcaster’s first major absence from the network.
Replaced by Vin Scully’s Dodgers successor Joe Davis, Buck’s absence reminded fans for the first time that the announcer left FOX. Davis performed well, but the change caused some confusion and mayhem between baseball purists.
One fan calls the listening experience “really weird” without Buck. However, Davis pairs with Buck’s former baseball analyst and retired fireballer, John Smoltz.
However, some enjoyed the Buck-less broadcast, saying good riddance to the former FOX host.
Another overjoyed fan phrases his satisfaction with the updated booth as “so nice.” Buck’s polarization of the broadcast booth stems from disdain toward his apparent favoritism toward his hometown St. Louis Cardinals. But the broadcaster found success in shedding a majority of the negative comments about his style in recent years.
The uproar caused the longtime host of the All-Star Game to trend on Twitter. Nobody necessarily has an indifferent take on the situation. Joe Buck embodies the truest form of ‘you either love him or hate him, no in-between’. The broadcaster’s frequent and emphatic usage of the phrase “back at the wall” for any World Series home run no longer remains. But he still sits alongside his color commentary partner since 2002, Troy Aikman, in the newest Monday Night Football booth.
How Joe Buck’s FOX Departure Impacts Every Network’s NFL Coverage
Not only did Joe Buck anchor the FOX No. 1 spot for baseball, but Buck and Aikman covered every important broadcast the network owned for the NFL. Without the bona fide crew in the booth, FOX scrambled to replace the dynamic duo with a new organic team. While the short-term solution sees last year’s No. 2 crew move up a slot, the network plans to swing for the fences when Tom Brady retires from the league.
Kevin Burkhardt and former NFL tight end Greg Olsen expect to get the call for this season’s Super Bowl LVIII coverage. However, if this is Tom Brady’s final rodeo with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the quarterback joins Burkhardt next year. FOX’s plans for Olsen remain unknown, but a three-man booth is unlikely, yet not unfamiliar to the network.
As Amazon Prime Video enters the NFL atmosphere with primary coverage of Thursday Night Football, the landscape continues to shift. Al Michaels and Kirk Herbstreit make up the two-man coverage while an all-star cast of former players join Charissa Thompson for pre and post-game. Michaels leaving NBC forces Mike Tirico into the play-by-play role for Sunday Night Football.
But regardless of the warnings, it’s likely we see a similar reaction on the first Sunday on the NFL season. Joe Buck at ESPN truly is more shocking than it might seem. But his presence – or lack thereof – in the locker room before the All-Star Game is certainly cause for celebration.