A classic Joe Buck anecdote yesterday to Howard Stern: Explaining why Yankee fans hate him, Joe retells a 2010 incident when A-Rod tweaked a paw during a pre-game talk.
"He says, 'Hey Joe, and he's starting to say, 'Is that your boy?' And Lance Berkman, who was playing for the Yankees at the time, hits a rocket. It crunches him right under his knee. He goes running out one-legged into center field. He's rolling around in the grass in center field grabbing his leg... And eventually one of the players said, 'I know how he got hurt. He was talking to that Fox guy, Buck.'"
And that, dear world, is why Yankee fans hate Joe Buck?
Insert sigh here.
First, I would propose that one reason Yankee fans dislike Joe Fucking Buck is because of stories like the one he tells to rationalize why Yankee fans hate Joe Fucking Buck.
Secondly, Yankee fans don't hate Joe Buck. Hate is too steroidal a word. To me, he's a meh, a radish, a medium dislike, a who cares? It's been years since the Yankees dominated baseball, warranting his smug moral condemnations on behalf of Middle America. Yesterday, Joe claimed he roots for the Yankees, because they bring higher ratings, and I suspect there is truth to this. With the Yankees being so mediocre, why bother ripping them? It's not the same.
But back in the great years, the Mo and Jeter years, Joe's St. Louis views were always on display - though deftly subtle, and you had to listen carefully to hear the Yankee bigotry in his voice. In Oakland, Jason Giambi was a beloved teammate; in New York, he was a stone cold mercenary. In Boston, Roger Clemens was a hardscrabble workhorse; in New York, he was an angry boar. In Toronto, David Wells was quirky; in New York, he was exactly the kind of off-the-field controversy that baseball DOESN'T need!
Look, I can't prove this on tape. Frankly, I haven't the energy to prosecute the guy. But back in the good days, it just seems that whenever the Yankees got a lucky bounce, or an ump's decision went our way, Joe would be furious. He would never let up. It wasn't that the ump missed the call; it was that the Yankees had stolen something, that a great injustice had occurred, and that's what the Yankees always did. It didn't help that Tim McCarver - a former Yankee announcer who left on bad terms - was his broadcast mate. McCarver didn't hide his distaste for George Steinbrenner - (by the way, most of baseball shared it) - and together, the two could jab the Yankees like Fox News on Hillary.
The other thing about Joe Buck is that, despite his Midwestern upbringing, he's as big city as they come. He's no small market guy. He is an comfortable with wealth and power as with the $1,000 suits he wears. He is the consummate pro, the pure company man. I can't recall him ever even remotely criticizing the powers that run MLB and the NFL. In his eyes, the owners are great men, never to be questioned about their roles in work stoppages or hiding brain disease. He looks so young and clean - and he deftly personifies industries with incredibly brutal and corrupt undersides.
So now he says he roots for the Yankees? Bullshit. It's just words and smiles. If he just came clean, just said he hated the team as a kid and will always fight his childhood instincts, I might forgive the guy. And if want to save his soul, particularly with the NFL, he better someday start taking a stand about head injuries, brutality and the holding of cities for ransom - (See San Diego and - well, whaddaya know! - St. Louis.) Don't hold your breath.
Some of you cringe at my support of John and Suzyn, with their blathering pro-Yankee slants. But for all their negatives, at least John and Suzyn are honest. Joe Buck... he's just words and smiles.
Funny. I'd forgotten about that time A-Rod got hurt. Joe Buck thinks that's why we don't like him? Wow. A message from Mars.