Buck Excited To Debut New Fox MLB Booth During Regular-Season Premiere Saturday
For the first time in 18 years, Fox will unveil a new MLB broadcast booth Saturday when Joe Buck, Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci call the Giants-Dodgers game on FS1. This marks the first time since Fox acquired MLB rights in '96 that longtime analyst Tim McCarver will not be in the booth. THE DAILY caught up with McCarver's longtime partner, Buck, to find out what to expect from the new booth.
Q: How is the booth going to be different this season?
Buck: You're going to hear analysis from different angles. Harold comes at it as the ex-player, but he's not an ex-catcher like Tim. He's an ex-middle infielder, and he's somebody that was looking at pitching from behind the pitcher as opposed to in front of the pitcher. He can talk about middle infield defense and defensive positioning. Even the way he was as a player and the style of hitter he was gives him a little bit different angle coming into this. Tom is kind of the wild card here. He's really known for his writing. I was blown away when we sat down and launched into the mock telecast. The way he was going through pitching sequences, what he was noticing from batters, how he was ahead of the curve with how a pitcher was trying to get a hitter out. They're different guys. Three men in a booth doesn't work with two analysts if they're the same person wearing a different suit and have the same opinion. These guys come at it differently. One's analytical and one's more with his gut. I like that. That's what gets me the most excited.
Q: Reynolds has only been in the studio before. How will he adapt to calling live games?
Buck: What I love about Harold is that I've got a guy now sitting next to me that these players really know. He can talk to players. He's got their respect. They know that he played. They know he played with [Ken Griffey Jr.]. He's got a relationship with these players that we can take advantage of. He's texting them before games, he's texting them after. He can go down on the field and get nuggets of information that we didn't have before. Guys have a different type of relationship with Harold than they would with me or did with Tim.
Q: How would you define Verducci's role?
Buck: With Tom, we've got baseball's business side taken care of. You've got somebody that MLB Network goes to as the end-all voice as to what's going on business wise in the game. I like the combination of those two guys. They're just so different that I think it can work. We'll talk the Moneyball stuff. We'll talk about what's going on in front offices or who's on the trading block or what Verducci's hearing from his sources inside the league. We'll listen to Harold from at-bat to at-bat or where defensive players are playing.
Q: How strange will it feel for you to be in a baseball booth without McCarver at your side?
Buck: We were together for 18 years. It got to the point where I knew when he was ready to say something and jump in just by a subtle thing I could catch out of the corner of my eye -- a lean forward or a raising of a finger. We sat so close that I could feel where to take the broadcast and where not to. That made it very easy. He's a guy who's done it a long, long time. Freshness and a new perspective is a good thing. Tim's voice is synonymous with big game baseball broadcasts. Soon these two new guys will fit in with me and we'll have a unique approach.