Joe Buck finally stopped talking to America shortly before midnight ET on Sunday. And no one was happier about that than Joe Buck.
"I've been sick of hearing myself since the late '90s, so forget tonight," Buck told SI.com early Monday morning after he performed a unique San Francisco broadcasting doubleheader by calling both the New York Giants at 49ers NFL game and the St. Louis Cardinals at SF Giants postseason baseball game on the same day. "I think I would have had to have done a telethon to have been on television more in one day."
Buck had previously called doubleheaders as a Cardinals broadcaster, but he'd never experienced the kind of Sunday he had in San Francisco. After Giants quarterback Eli Manning took a knee to close out the Niners, Buck darted out of Candlestick Park at 4:32 p.m. local time and arrived at AT&T Park at 5:04 p.m.�, about 10 minutes before the scheduled first pitch of Game 1 of the National League Championship Series. He compared his seven mile, police-escorted trolley trip -- Fox rented the wheels from the Cable Car Charter Company -- to another famous ride in the Golden State. "I'm in the White Bronco being driven by Al Cowlings," Buck said from his cable car earlier in the afternoon. "This whole street car thing is a diversionary tactic. We'll be in Mexico by midnight."
As Fox's lead baseball announcer, Buck had been assigned to the NLCS, but prior to the playoffs, Fox Sports president Eric Shanks brought up the idea of the two-sport, same-day doubleheader if both the Giants and Cardinals won their divisional series. When the Cards pulled off their miracle ninth-inning rally against the Nationals on Friday night, Buck was off to San Francisco instead of Washington D.C. Had he arrived late for the baseball game, his longtime partner, Tim McCarver, would have handled the action until he got there.
After the game, Buck's voice remained strong, and he announced that he was off to grab some pizza and a seltzer. "I'm fine; it's not like I was in the pentathlon," he said. "I just sat there and talked. It's cute for Fox, but beyond that, people just want to watch the game."
In a broadcasting variation on Tony Stewart's "double duty" drives in the Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600, ESPN's NBA announcers Mike Breen and Jeff Van Gundy last year called a Christmas doubleheader in two cities, beginning with an afternoon Miami Heat vs. Mavericks game in Dallas before taking a charter flight to Oakland where the Golden State Warriors were hosting the Los Angeles Clippers. Breen also called a doubleheader in 2010 at L.A.'s Staples Center, an afternoon Lakers game for ABC followed by a Knicks-Clippers tilt for MSG Network.
(SI.com examines some of the more notable sports media stories of the weekend)
1. You know what's never funny on Twitter? Joking about death. Offering a rather dreadful spin on sports television criticism, Scott Torgerson, a talk host at The Fan 97.1 FM in Columbus, Ohio, tweeted on Saturday that "I wish Desmond Howard would get fired or die so I can watch Gameday again." Torgerson later apologized for what he defended as an obvious joke (his Twitter feed has since been deleted), but Howard's wife, Rebkah, didn't let him off the hook, tweeting, "Thx for the 'apologizes'. Are you fortunate enough to be a father? Know who didn't get your 'total (dead) joke'? Our daughter."
2. No NFL pregame show is complete without a segment on Tim Tebow, and the NFL Network's First on the Field (which airs at the obscene time of 7 a.m. ET) made news thanks to first-year analyst LaDainian Tomlinson. The former Chargers and Jets running back weighed in on shaky play by quarterback Mark Sanchez, who was his teammate last season.
"He is almost at the end of his rope," Tomlinson said. "Talking to guys in the Jets locker room, they are starting not to trust Sanchez as a football player; turning the football over, inconsistent play. Here's the thing: They have to get better play from the quarterback position. Rex Ryan has said it over and over again. I think they are going to give Sanchez two or three more starts to try to turn this team around, [and] then they are going to go with Tim Tebow." That's very strong stuff from a guy who is fresh out of the league.
3. Nice work by TBS reporter Craig Sager, who interviewed Yankees manager Joe Girardi about dealing with the death and funeral of his father, Jerry, the loss of captain Derek Jeter, and the pressure that comes with managing in a major city. "He told me when he woke up this morning and looked in the mirror he felt like he was 106," Sager told viewers. "In reality, he has aged. Yesterday he was 47. Today is his 48th birthday."
a. The late-night thrill ride between the Tigers and Yankees on Saturday drew a 4.2 rating and 6.847 million viewers on TBS, making it the top-rated sports program of the day across all networks and the highest-rated and most-viewed game of the 2012 MLB postseason. TBS said the rating was up 104 percent among total viewers compared to its broadcast last year of NLCS Game 1 (St. Louis vs. Milwaukee -- 3,350,000 total viewers).
b. TBS broadcaster Ernie Johnson might be the best working studio host today. He's ego-free, always prepared and has brilliantly played the straight man on TNT's Inside The NBA. But the best play-by-play announcer in the TBS stable is Brian Anderson and he should be doing the ALCS.
c. Graphics glitch: Thanks to the eagle-eyed kids at Awful Announcing, TBS does not get away with channeling Willie Mayes Hayes for Willie Mays.
4. It was an active weekend for the NFL's TV information brokers. Fox's Jay Glazer tracked down the news that the Redskins were facing a "hefty" fine for their less-than-forthcoming approach to the concussion-like symptoms suffered last week by quarterback Robert Griffin III. ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter reported that "people around the league believe that unless [quarterback] Michael Vick leads the Eagles to the playoffs and possibly deep into them, this would be his last season in Philadelphia." Reporter Jason LaCanfora on CBS's The NFL Today said the Chiefs have offered general manager Scott Pioli a two-year contract extension, but he was contradicted by The Kansas City Star late on Sunday. We'll soon learn who was correct about Pioli.
5. Sharpian Nonsense: Since his days at ESPN, Sterling Sharpe, now an analyst with the NFL Network, has always been an infuriating listen for viewers. Here's his take from Sunday on Jets cornerback Antonio Cromartie: "Not only is he right now the best defensive back in football, he may be the fourth or fifth best receiver in football." No argument about Cromartie's corner play this year, but Sharpe might want to wait for Cromartie's first official NFL reception before declaring him the next Larry Fitzgerald.
b. Loved the call by CBS broadcaster Bill Macatee on the 61-yard field goal by Cardinals kicker Jay Feely that tied Arizona's game against Buffalo at 16-16. "Nine game-winning field goals in regulation or overtime. He boots it. On its way. Got it!" Then Macatee did something great. He shut up for 20 seconds so viewers could hear the crowd go nuts.
c. Via Buzzfeed, NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport got drilled by a football on Sunday and revealed a nice sense of humor by tweeting out the video.
6. Need for Speed: On Sunday, the NBC Sports Group and Formula One Management announced a four-year partnership to begin with the 2013 season. NBC gets exclusive U.S. media rights on all platforms and devices to every F1 Grand Prix race, qualifier and practice session. The network will televise 20 races -- four on NBC and 16 on NBC Sports Network -- as well as studio shows and re-airs that amount to more than 100 hours of programming annually. All F1 races will be live streamed on NBC Sports Live Extra.
F1 had been a Fox property since 1996, with most races aired on the Speed Channel. "Speed has been the U.S. voice of F1 since the mid '90s, and it is a passion for many people at the network," Fox Sports said in a statement. "Fox Sports Media Group made what we believed to be a fiscally responsible bid based on the sport's current viewership levels, but F1 has elected to go in another direction. We wish them well."
7. Wake Up the Hyperbole: Announcers often get caught up in the moment -- and NBC never shies from waving the pom-poms for Notre Dame -- but play-by-play announcer Tom Hammond went way over the top by describing the Irish stopping Stanford at game's end as "a goal-line stand for the ages." (Dude, it's Week 6.) Hammond took some shots on Twitter, including this spot-on take from Eric Freeman of The Classical.
b. Props to ESPN's Chris Spielman, who predicted how West Virginia would run against Texas Tech based on left tackle Quinton Spain's pre-snap body language and foot placement.
c. The director of ABC's Texas-Oklahoma broadcast suffered the misfortune of having a Longhorns fan drop an F-bomb during the Sooners' rout.
d. All viewers want is honesty from announcers, so credit ESPN's Jesse Palmer for not sugarcoating what he thought of the Longhorns defense in that 63-21 blowout. He called it "awful."
e. NBC's Notre Dame-Stanford game drew a 3.9 overnight rating, topping ESPN's South Carolina-LSU (3.7) as the highest-rated college football game of the week.
8. Knight Moves: USA Todayreported on Sunday that ESPN college basketball analyst Bob Knight has shifted assignments. He's now calling SEC games, meaning that part of his assignment will include Kentucky road games. (Knight's enmity for the Wildcats and coach John Calipari is well known.) ESPN has catered to Knight's every whim during his time in Bristol, including allowing him (at one point) to get away with not saying the word "Kentucky." As a game analyst, he's very good. As a grump, he's even more accomplished.
9. In what has great promise as a compelling documentary, the NFL Network will air Steve McNair: A Football Life on Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET.
a. Love that Sirius XM has formed a new channel dedicated to soccer. "Sirius XM FC" debuts Oct. 15 and will include Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup and Major League Soccer playoff coverage as well as a number of specific talk-shows.
b. Did the NHL's interference force the LA Kings' in-house blogger to switch jobs because he violated league policy by interviewing a player during the lockout? Los Angeles Daily News writer Tom Hoffarth has an interesting piece on the subject.
c. As part of her Women in Sports Media podcast, host Amy Goodwin interviewed Andrea Kremer about Kremer's new role with the NFL Network. It's worth the listen.
d. My colleague Bryan Graham says the Brandon Rios-Mike Alvarado bout -- which aired Saturday as part of HBO's Boxing After Dark doubleheader -- is a strong candidate for fight of the year. You can watch it here.
e. Love the hiring of Clinton Portis as a guest analyst on Comcast SportsNet's pre- and postgame Redskins programs. Here's hoping he brings back one of his many characters, such as Sheriff Gonna Getcha, who sported goofy, oversized glasses and a Led Zeppelin T-shirt.
10. Here's yet another example of why media members should be extra careful before they hit send on Twitter.