Joe Buck is now officially an ESPN employee. He and longtime partner Troy Aikman were introduced Monday as the new voices of Monday Night Football. By leaving FOX, Buck is leaving baseball behind, but he may have been poised to do that anyway.
According to Andrew Marchand, Joe Buck intended to give up his role as FOX’s play-by-play man for the World Series after 2022.
People will read all kinds of things into that. Last week, WFAN’s Evan Roberts said that he was sad to see Buck choose regular season football over calling the World Series. It was a sign, according to Roberts, of how far baseball had fallen.
In reality, it isn’t about baseball at all. It is about workload.
Marchand wrote for the New York Post on Wednesday that FOX made an offer to keep Buck that was worth around $12 million per year. Buck chose a similar paycheck from ESPN that was attached to less work. That seems to indicate that the motivation was not about prestige, but about being able to spend more time at home with his wife, fellow ESPN employee Michelle Beisner-Buck, and their twin sons.
In fact, Marchand writes that Michelle’s new deal at ESPN was a motivating factor. The couple will travel together for Monday Night Football and perhaps produce some featured together.
Joe Buck Says He Won’t Miss World Series
“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game.”
Among the bigger chain reactions set off by Joe Buck leaving FOX for ESPN was the sudden vacancy in FOX’s main MLB broadcast booth.
The 2022 World Series will mark the first time since 1995 that Buck will not be on the microphone.
Speaking to Chris Long on his podcast Green Light, Buck hopes to be in a more exotic location watching World Series games this fall.
“I would like to be in Cabo San Lucas with a margarita in my hand and a half-smoked cigar watching Game 7 of the World Series,” Buck said. “Cheering on Joe Davis and John Smoltz, and Ken Rosenthal, and Tom Verducci, and Pete Macheska and Matt Gangl and right on down the line.”
Buck added he’ll take pleasure in turning the broadcast off if it’s Game 7 and there’s an insurmountable lead. But the broadcasting legend said even on a bigger scale, not calling any baseball games at all this season, let alone the World Series, is a bit surreal after covering the sport for so long.
“This is the first time since I was 18-years-old, and I’m 53, that I’m not doing a baseball game,” he said. “And that’s really weird to me, but I walk away really proud of what I and we did.”
He added that he will not miss the opportunity, because he does not feel like he will “leave any unfinished business” in FOX’s MLB booth.
Buck further praised his FOX colleagues and said it was time for a change. He knows Joe Davis will thrive in the opportunity.
NFL Likely To Launch NFL+ Streaming Service This Summer
“A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+.”
According to the Sports Business Journal, consumers could be downloading NFL+ by July. Now, just what NFL+ will be is still yet to be finalized.
Ben Fischer of Sports Business Journal reported in the site’s newsletter that live games will certainly be at the center of the league-owned streaming service. It is likely to only be available on phones and tablets with no option to stream to a larger monitor.
The viewing options would be limited. No out of market games would be available on the app. It is meant to replace the deals that recently expired with Yahoo and mobile phone carriers that recently expired.
The app could also include other content. Radio calls, team-created digital content, and league-owned podcasts are all options.
A source tells Fischer that a $5 per month price has been discussed for NFL+. The pricing structure can and likely will change before the app hits the market.
Stephen A. Smith To Charles Barkley: ‘I Worry Because You’re Big’
“You’ve always been big. But now you’re bigger.”
ESPN host Stephen A. Smith is concerned about his friend Charles Barkley.
Barkley, while in Dallas with TNT for Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Finals between the Mavericks and Golden State Warriors, Barkley hopped on a horse. The clip Stephen A. used in his ESPN+ show Stephen A’s World showed Barkley needing assistance by handlers to get off the horse.
Stephen A. was astounded.
“Ain’t no way Charles Barkley needs that much help getting off the horse,” Smith said. “But he did – he did!”
Smith then used the closing seconds to express his concern about Barkley’s size.
“I worry about you cause you’re a big boy,” he said. “You’ve always been big. But now you’re bigger.”
Barkley hasn’t had any publicized major health incidents stemming from his weight, but still Stephen A. was hopeful his friend might take some time and initiative to work on cutting a few pounds.
“Let’s address that, because I need you around,” Smith said. “I love you bro.”