Thursday, February 5, 2009

Joe Buck Joins HBO

Earlier this week, word broke that Bob Costas was leaving HBO after 8 years to join MLB Network. HBO moved quickly to replace Costas and today signed Joe Buck of FOX Sports to a multi-year contract. Buck will begin at HBO in May and will host a show in a live town hall format four times a year, similar to "Costas Now" in 2008.  Good hire for HBO.

1 comment:

John Howard Nesbitt, MBA said...

RE: Today’s Baseball Announcers: the Good, the Silly and the Buffoonery

Since we are now in post season Baseball, I would like to take a moment to reflect on the current state of Baseball announcing (at this glorious time of year). For the record, I grew up in the Tri-State NY Metropolitan area. I watched Yankees games and Met games, on either WPIX (Channel 11) or WOR (Channel 9) and listened as “old school” guys called the games; men such as Ralph Kiner, Lindsey Nelson, Bill White and Phil “The Scooter” Rizzuto (in spite of Rizzuto evacuating the Broadcast booth in late innings in order to beat the west-bound Jersey traffic on the GW and Bill White teasing him about on air—he was still a good Announcer!). These guys were skillful Baseball Announcers. They called Baseball games with great flair, great knowledge, good humility and with an understanding that sometimes, you should just shut up on air! Today’s Baseball (or Football) Announcers don’t know when to be quiet sometime or just plain shut up and let the game “speak for itself”-- as if several moments of on air silence during a broadcast is too terrible for the Networks to imagine. One of the sublime beauties of listening/watching Baseball on TV at home, is the majesty of having it on in the background as you putz about the house or yard while doing things, but this unending, inane, and pointless chattering (by today’s Announcers) is roughly akin to the mind numbing aggravation of having a crazy neighbor or ex-wife drop by your house or Condo (unannounced) and you can’t get them to leave!

The worst (and silliest) of the modern Announcing breed might very well be Joe Buck and Tim Mc Carver; I cringed when these two call a game. When this happens, I mute the sound of the game and turn on a smooth Jazz station to accompany my viewing of the game. Their combined garrulousness--particularly Tim Mc Carver’s ad nauseam (and over explaining) dissection of the most routine and obvious of plays--coupled with the corny and silly buffoonery of Joe Buck (who once asked, for example, former Yankee skipper Joe Torre during an “in game” interview to rub the bald head of former Yankee Coach Don Zimmer for good luck, fortunately Torre wisely declined the silly request from the camera hogging Buck) drive me to the mute button every time. Additionally, Buck is no better, in my mind (or ear) at broadcasting NFL games. In all honesty, Joe Buck should listen to tapes of his departed Father, Jack Buck, calling a St. Louis (Football) Cardinals game; he could learn a lot. Today’s Announcers should simply call the game with an economy of words and more importantly, tell us (the viewing Public watching a game) what we do not see (on the screen) about a particular Baseball or Football play! Now that would be something worth listening too--true insight. Finally, I watched a fair amount of night Baseball games this summer with the MLB package I bought and I noticed that some other Announcers such as Kenny Singleton, Dave Cone and Jim Palmer call a game with a minimum of words and tomfoolery.

And while we are talking about broadcasting silliness, could we also do away with the inane Football (during the game) sideline update statements by the female (or male) bimbo-like Announcers; these interruptions add nothing to the enjoyment (or understanding) of the game but rather serve as some silly sort of “face time device” for the Announcers. Cutting away to the Cheerleaders on the sidelines would be a better (and more enjoyable) use of the sideline on-air camera time.

John Howard Nesbitt, MBA

Jacksonville, FL &
Chicago, ILL