Fox’s three-man MLB on Fox booth of Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds, and Tom Verducci received plenty of negative feedback for the two seasons they were together. But MLB fans that weren’t fond of the trio can breathe easy – John Smoltz will be joining Buck in the Fox booth for the 2016 season, replacing Reynolds and Verducci according to Andy Martino of the New York Daily News.
After two years, Tom Verducci and Harold Reynolds are out of the Fox broadcast booth, and John Smoltz will the network’s lead game analyst, two people familiar with the plans told the Daily News. Smoltz and play-by-play man Joe Buck will be the new World Series team.
A Fox Sports spokesperson confirmed the change. An official announcement is expected later on Tuesday.
According to Martino, both Reynolds and Verducci will probably remain with Fox in *some* capacity, though their roles are still unknown. Both men also appear on MLB Network, as does Smoltz.
Verducci and Reynolds will likely have a role in Fox’s coverage, but the specifics have not yet been determined, and could include studio work or other reporting. Fox is still considering various options for its broadcast, but all with Buck and Smoltz in the booth.
This is a logical move for Fox, and one that will likely be well-received among baseball fans across the country. The trio of Buck, Reynolds, and Verducci never impressed fans, with Reynolds in particular being dealt a fair amount of scorn. Smoltz worked with Matt Vasgersian throughout the MLB Postseason and received high acclaim, leading many to question whether or not he should have received the promotion to Fox’s A-team alongside Buck following Tim McCarver’s departure from the network in 2013.
Reynolds is much better suited to being a studio analyst than a game analyst, and Verducci shined as a reporter before moving to the booth. It’s also refreshing to see Fox abandon the three-man booth, which seemed overly crowded over the past two seasons. Smoltz had developed a solid rapport with Vasgersian, and giving him the promotion the work alongside Buck is well-deserved.
This news still won’t please fans who want Joe Buck launched into the sun at all costs, but it’s definitely a step forward in the right direction for MLB on Fox in 2016.