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.


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)

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