Apologizing Goes A Long Way In The Booth

Monday, June 02, 2008


One of the phrases in the booth that announcers need to learn in the booth is a very simple one that doesn't have anything to do with the game itself. According to Phil Mushnick of the NY Post it's "I'm Sorry", and I couldn't agree more. Mushnick shares an example with the biggest culprit when it comes to breaking this rule....

Home plate ump Tim Welke made an emphatic "safe" sign to indicate that Ethier was not yet out, that the ball was alive. Schneider picked it up and tagged Ethier, who'd started toward first. Welke signaled "out." Baseball 101. End of story.

Except on FOX, where Joe Buck, a career baseball play-by-player who has demonstrated shocking weakness on baseball rules, made a fantasy-filled mess of it.

With a knowing chuckle, Buck stated that Welke had at first got it wrong, then changed his call to make it right. Welke, Buck claimed, "put his hands out to signal foul tip." (No he didn't, that's signaled with a hand-on-hand brushing motion.) But by starting to run to first, Buck continued, Ethier let Welke know that he'd actually swung and missed. That, Buck affirmatively concluded, was why Welke called Ethier out.

Huh?

Tim McCarver, without actually telling Buck that he might have been the only one watching who didn't understand what had just happened, then straightened it out for all of us - a clarification politely designed to get only Buck straightened out. Ethier, McCarver explained, swung and missed but was not out until he was tagged by Schneider.

Buck didn't say another word about it. It was as if he'd never said anything to the contrary in the first place, and that either way, we wouldn't know any better.
I don't know if production people are afraid to tell some of the egos in the booth that they're wrong or announcers just don't want to admit it, but trust me it goes a long way. Part of the reason people can't stand Buck is because of his "I'm better than you attitude". At one point in his career he was great at identifying with the fans, but he lost it somewhere along the way. If you mess up a name or a rule, don't try to blame it on someone else....just say you screwed up. Unless it's something like the batter being out after bunting foul with two strikes, I and everyone else aren't even going to pay attention.

Also, when someone like Tim McCarver has to explain a rule to you it might be time to re-evaluate your knowledge of the game. Just sayin'.

In The Wrong (NY Post)

Posted by Awful Announcing- at 1:58 PM

12 Comments:

I really hate it when on air personalities get stuff wrong and there's no correction. Jackie MacMullen killed Curt Schilling on ATH for criticizing steroid users, saying he had the opportunity to say his piece before Congress but that he turned them down. HUH?! He was right there sitting next to Raphael Palmeiro. Jackie Mac writes for the BOSTON GLOBE! How could she not know that?

Mike Greenburg really ticks me off sometimes, but he really came through last week when he mentioned the Mets signing someone who was named in the Mitchell Report rather than Bonds, calling them hypocrites, then after the break made good and said that the player they signed was only asked for his medical records by the Mitchell Commission, not named in the report.

Pete said...
Jun 2, 2008, 2:47:00 PM  

I was watching the game when that happened. My response was "what the hell is he talking about?" They showed the replay as he talked over it and the video proved him completely wrong, but he just kept talking. Pathetic.

Zachary said...
Jun 2, 2008, 3:33:00 PM  

Swing and a miss, Joey, swing and a miss.

GMoney said...
Jun 2, 2008, 4:16:00 PM  

Well... as a broadcaster it isn't proper protocol for your partner to correct you on air. In radio, if you have no one in your ear, then you go off headset for a second, correct them there, then go back on headset and let the person in the wrong correct him/herself. People make mistakes; it happens all the time.

Timesout anybody?

Mikey said...
Jun 2, 2008, 4:40:00 PM  

@mikey- I hear color guys correcting their pbp partners all time on TV; some more than others(cough*Al Hrabosky*cough).

Bruce said...
Jun 2, 2008, 5:43:00 PM  

Well it just makes the person that made the mistake look like an idiot. That's not too cool in my book.

Mikey said...
Jun 2, 2008, 6:29:00 PM  

Slamalamadingdong!

Anonymous said...
Jun 2, 2008, 6:46:00 PM  

Pete, I think MacMullen's point was that Schilling didn't really say anything at Congress, not that he didn't show. And I agree with her. For someone who always has his say about everyone under the sun on his blog and on WEEI, he was awfully quiet on Capitol Hill.

As for Buck, I really can't think of a PBP'er who is more high profile and less deserving. If he was simply the PBP'er for the Cards, he'd just be bland. But as a guy who routinely calls Super Bowls and is always calling the World Series, he's downright annoying.

Kyle said...
Jun 2, 2008, 7:01:00 PM  

mikey-well since Buck *is* an idiot, it was ok.

And yes, if McCarver is explaining rules of the game to you, it's time for you to move on.

Anonymous said...
Jun 3, 2008, 1:34:00 AM  

I wouldn't say Buck is less deserving anymore. Yes... he'll never be daddy and without daddy he probably might only be a regional announcer. However, it's one thing when it comes to how you got to where you are and its another to stay where you are. Buck wouldn't still be the top dog if he wasn't performing well in the eyes of his bosses. Every announcer is criticized and no one is above criticism. I'm not a Buck apologist or anything, but I can think of worse announcers with top jobs.

Mikey said...
Jun 3, 2008, 8:32:00 AM  

Most notorious was Chris Russo calling Pedro Martinez a coward for how poorly he pitched along with Don Imus and his minions doing a racist impression of Omar Minaya of Omar calling Pedro a pansie. Then it was found out that Pedro torn his shoulder and was out for the season. Look that up in Mushnick's archives.

Anonymous said...
Jun 3, 2008, 12:04:00 PM  

I've wondered for some time why the PBP folks don't watch the umpires/referee's signals. .
The "safe sign" meant the ball was in play. If it was a foul ball, Welke's hands would have been in the air.
Then again, we could ask for Vin Scully to appear.

Anonymous said...
Jun 3, 2008, 2:13:00 PM  

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