I have watched and re-watched the Fox replay footage of Nelson Cruz's walkoff GS about 20 times, and one of the reasons it is so compelling is the call of play-by-play man Joe Buck. This is a man who clearly grasps the medium.
Buck's last word comes at the eight-second mark of this clip. He does not speak again until the 1:17 mark. His silence allowed the images to speak for themselves, from Cruz's jubiliance to the fans to everything in between. No words from color man Terry Francona either, who, BTW, has been outstanding working with Buck.
This clip is what makes Buck the very best TV play-by-play man in the business today - nobody grasps the visual element of his position any better. You simply do not need the words.
Today, far too many TV sports announcers are just dying to talk when they don't need to. It's not an indictment on their skills or their ability, but often times the best is the one where you don't say a thing.
There is a rather large legion of sports fans who believe Buck is awful. There is even a Facebook page dedicated to bagging on the son of the legendary former St. Louis Cardinals radio announcer.
Can Buck come across as a bit smarmy and in love with his own words? Yes, and that would make him different from nearly no one in this business. Most of us have long since forgotten it's not about us.
Is Buck going to be the next Bob Costas and make a cross-media jump into something other than calling games? It's rather obvious from his attempts at hosting late night talk shows to his own HBO specials that he would prefer that, but it has not clicked.
I vividly recall him saying in an HBO Real Sports profile that he did not want to be an old guy calling games. Maybe he doesn't, but for the time being there is nobody any better at what he does.
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