Joe Buck will be announcing the World Series beginning on Fox tonight. Fox, promoting a Taco Bell campaign, offered him up for an interview. We last spoke with him in 2009, just before the Artie Lange thing happened.
Q: Overwhelmingly, the most popular question from readers – why did you stop tweeting in May? Was there an incident?
A: There was nothing, really. Nothing specifically. Except that I found I was spending a lot of my time on it, and I found it was not as productive as I wanted it to be. I would engage the haters more than I would the complimenters – if that’s the right phrase – and I finally just gave up on trying to turn the tide, one hater at a time. I think twitter is a great tool for information … I wasn’t interested in the stuff I was sending out, so I can’t imagine other people were.
When I would engage people, they’d turn in one second. On some level, and I don’t think it’s a bad thing, I think people just want to be heard. You understand that going in … but it started to seep into my performance and it started to affect how I was doing games because I would have it open as I was doing the games. Then you find yourself letting it seep and … and that wasn’t good for me. I don’t think it’d be good for anybody. I think you have to do your games how you want to do them, and let people like it or not like it. That’s how I think you perform the best. When you’re chasing down everything … you’re chasing your tail and trying to put our fires that just don’t go out.
Q: So you had a computer open with twitter as you were announcing games?
A: It was on my phone. It’s easy. On some level, you start becoming obsessed with it – maybe obsessed is too strong a word – but you start going to the well too often, and that wasn’t productive.
Q: Are the San Francisco Giants a tough sell to the casual baseball fan? Between the Melky Cabrera suspension, their most popular pitcher now coming out of the bullpen, and a faceless offense besides Buster Posey …
A: I think the casual baseball fan latches onto a series … I think if there’s one thing we’ve learned doing this 17 years now, you need games and storylines to develop and you need to get to game six and seven. Then it doesn’t matter who is playing, people really want to see the outcome. It has to build. You can get the best matchup you think – city, market size, lineup, stars – and then you get a 4-game sweep, and it was over before it began. I liked last year, Texas-St. Louis … you get to games six and seven and you’re doing games in front of 35 million people.
Q: How important are ratings to you? Do you care or not?
A: I don’t worry about ratings at all, personally. But I’m a fan of my network, and the executives at my network being happy, and ratings has a part in that. I get both sides of it.
Q: Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers or Mike Trout of the Angels for MVP?
A: I don’t get a vote, but I’d go with Cabrera. That’s such a rare thing, obviously. Hasn’t happened since ’67. This guy dominated a really good hitting league. He’s moved to the top of the list as far as dangerous, who-do-you-want-up, can’t-pitch-to guys in baseball.
Q: When I asked readers for questions, Tim McCarver’s name came up a lot, and not in a positive way. Twitter seems to light up with McCarver during baseball games. He seems to be very polarizing. When you see fans in public, do they say anything about him?
A: No, that doesn’t happen. I just think that’s the nature of sports on TV. That’s just the open thread, people are going to have their comments. I was a kid in 1996, and got to sit next to him … and having his experience with me when I was in New York doing that World Series … I’ll never forget the impact he’s had on my career. I still think there is nobody better at not being scared to criticize or scared to 1st guess. I think he’s the best in the business at that. People are going to complain about their breakfast, let alone what they’re watching on TV. That’s just the way it is.
Q: You were at Indiana University at the same time as Bob Knight. Any good Knight stories from your time in Bloomington?
A: I was always taken with how, when someone would make a mistake on the court, he would pull that player out, and everyone’s attention would go to the bench. It was crazy. I’d never seen anything like that. Game’s going on, but people are watching what he’s doing on the bench, lighting up a player, while baskets were happening. He was a larger than life figure there. I’m a fan. I’ve gotten to know him because of his time and friendship with LaRussa, and I like him a lot.
Q: Do you still get asked about the Randy Moss moment from the game in 2005?
A: No. Every once in a while someone will bring it up. I said it then and I’d say it again. The one thing that people forget – and it’s silly to even talk about – I didn’t care about the beginning part, but how that whole thing ended, him up against he goalpost, I thought that was too much, and that’s what got my attention. It’s such ancient history, I don’t even know what year that was.
Q: Alex Rodriguez. Do you see any A-Rod craziness happening during the World Series. During a World Series, his agent once dropped the bomb that he was opting out of his contract.
A: I just i don’t see how this can continue. Where this is right now, there has to be a lot of fence-mending for him to go back to the Yankees. It may be best for all parties involved if they could move him. It may be best for him. I could see his career taking off again out of the spotlight in NY.