For the first time in more than two decades, the World Series will be played without Joe Buck on the call. Count Bill Simmons among the MLB fans who are very disappointed.
When Buck left Fox to join Troy Aikman in fortifying ESPN’s Monday Night Football booth earlier this year, the World Series losing its long-time play-by-play voice was an ancillary effect. And with the World Series now upon us, it’s going to be strange to hear a different voice in the booth after Buck called MLB’s season finale in 24 of the last 26 years.
“I miss Joe Buck,” Simmons said near the 48-minute mark of the above podcast. “We should be able to vote on this. Where it gets announced, ‘Buck and Aikman are thinking about going to ESPN. We should all have a vote the same way we would vote on laws or whatever. Where we’d be like, ‘wait a second, so we lose Buck on baseball? And we lose him on those 4 o’clock awesome Fox Sunday games?’”
“I just would rather have Buck on Fox,” Simmons continued to Cousin Sal on their Monday podcast for The Ringer. “They gotta trade him back…I don’t even know who these announcers are doing the baseball games. There all like these generic white guys, I don’t know who’s who. It’s like, ‘I’m Joe, I’m Jim, I’m John.’”
Pointing out “all these generic white guys” is a fair gripe especially in Major League Baseball, a sport that currently has only two full-time Black play-by-play announcers and just four in its entire history. However, Joe Buck, who is white, is not capable of fixing that problem.
“We had Buck for the first two decades of the 21st century and it’s just like, the baseball playoffs are here, here’s Joe Buck’s voice. And now we don’t have Joe Buck’s voice. We don’t have Vin Scully either and it’s like who’s the voice of baseball? We don’t have a voice?”
Replacing Buck on the ALCS and the World Series for Fox is Joe Davis, who is no stranger to replacing iconic announcers, having filled the void left by Vin Scully in the Los Angeles Dodgers broadcast booth.
Simmons is right, however, in saying that Major League Baseball currently lacks a defining voice. Davis has the opportunity to become what Buck was for the sport, but it will take time. Buck was already a household name because of who his father was when he called his first World Series in 1996 at the age of 27.
Bryce Harper with a 2-run homer to give the Phillies a 4-3 lead in Game 5 of the NLCS! ⚾️?
"HARPER… THE SWING OF HIS LIFE!"- Joe Davis pic.twitter.com/kAkVVcqJG1
— The Comeback (@thecomeback) October 23, 2022
“Hits one in the air, left-center field, back it goes,” Davis began. Harper! The swing of his life!”
Davis followed the passionate “the swing of his life” call by getting out of the way and letting the crowd noise take over for the next 30 seconds. He let the game breathe, something Buck excelled at, and Bob Costas struggled to do in his return to postseason baseball this year. Despite the epic call from Davis, Simmons isn’t ready to give up on his hope of seeing Buck return.
“We just need Joe Buck back,” Simmons insisted. “Why can’t he do the World Series? What the f*ck? He can’t take two weeks off and do the World Series?”