On MLB Playoffs
There have been a ton of blunders throughout the 2009 MLB Playoffs, most of which have been committed not by the players, but by the supporting cast. And, there’s been even more attention paid to these blunders than the typical scrutiny that comes with October baseball. I’d be remiss, I think, to not mention the fact that the umpiring in general and certain broadcasting have been brutal. However, this horse is dead, metaphorically speaking, and I don’t feel like beating it further. So, instead, I’m going to focus on a major bright spot that has shone even clearer during these playoffs — Joe Buck.
A lot has been made about the job Buck has done during this postseason — how he has, on numerous occasions, guided the oft side-tracked, albeit really quite good, Tim McCarver and typically inarticulate, though informative, Ken Rosenthal back to relevance. He has tactfully fulfilled his responsibility to note when the umpires err, which has been a lot, without crossing the line of ragging on them in my opinion.
He has brought story lines of varying public attention, not only within the game but also within the past couple of years, back to light. A great example of this is when, with Alex Rodriguez at the plate in the 5th inning, Buck noted that, although it can be dangerous to read body language, A-Rod is clearly confident in his game right now.
He brought up the antics that Rodriguez employed in past postseasons to try to mask the fact that he was desperately trying to figure out how in the world to get on base, and astutely commented that those painful antics are no longer on display. While he was discussing the difference in Rodriguez’s body language, A-Rod stepped back into the batter’s box with no wasted nervous movement, intensely peered out to the mound with lips pursed in concentration, and promptly hit the ball 400 sum-odd feet into the left field stands.
As a broadcaster, that is a moment we pray for. When you bring up a story line, make an observation or profer a possible scenario, strategic or otherwise, and in the blink of an eye, or in this case the swing of a bat, the situation or story line you referenced (or guessed at) actually occurs, as if on cue.
It’s funny, SI.com writer Tom Verducci advised that everyone realize that they’re watching one of the game’s best in A-Rod at the very top of his game and to appreciate that, but in that moment when A-Rod hit that home run in the 5th inning on Tuesday, it became evident that we’re also listening to one of the game’s best (if not the best) at the top of his game in Joe Buck, something we should also realize and appreciate greatly.
Andrew Buchbinder is entering his second season as director of broadcasting/media relations with the Crawdads. He previously served in similar capacities with the Bakersfield Condors (ECHL) and the Bakersfield Blaze, the ‘Dads High-A affiliate in the California League.