John Smoltz on FS1 Credit: Fox Sports

Fox baseball analyst John Smoltz reached for the old ‘you never played the game’ defense in response to fans who are critical of his on-air work.

Smoltz began his broadcasting career in 2008 and was named the lead baseball analyst for Fox in 2016, joining Joe Buck and later, Joe Davis in the booth. One of the most frequent criticisms Smoltz receives for his commentating comes in the way of fans on social media believing the Hall-of-Famer hates the game of baseball. Smoltz recently joined Jomboy Media’s Talkin’ Baseball podcast and responded to those critics.

“They don’t know what they’re talking about,” Smoltz said. “There’s a reason I don’t have any Twitter. Because it’s a waste of time. Those people who claim that they have a lot of answers or know things? They never played the game.”

Despite how he sounds at times on the broadcast, Smoltz probably loves baseball. He had a long career on the field, fighting his way back from multiple injuries to continue playing, and Smoltz has continued to make a living off baseball by working in media for over a decade. Smoltz doesn’t hate baseball, but he does have issues with the analytics era of the game, calling for the sport to make rule changes long before they finally did this season. But Smoltz dismissing his critics as if not making it to Major League Baseball should eliminate a person’s ability to have a voice in the game is lame. It’s a tired insult that many former professional athletes have reached for.

“When I do a game, I’m doing a game bringing the insights that most people wouldn’t know because I played the game,” Smoltz continued. “And anybody who can pull stuff out of a computer, there’s value there, but they don’t understand the insights. They don’t understand the feel, they don’t understand what goes on between the lines. But all that other noise, I don’t pay attention to it. And yeah, people try to tell me, and I say that’s fine. Unless my bosses think differently, I’m good with it.”

Some of Smoltz’s issues with the analytic era of baseball are just, and MLB proved that by instituting new rules against the shift this season. But responding to critics who think he sounds too much like a ‘back in my day’ guy with “you never played the game” isn’t going to win Smoltz too many new fans.

[Toeing The Slab]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to