There are relatively few people in the world who were less happy that the San Fransisco Giants beat the Kansas City Royals in the seventh game of the 2014 World Series. See, I was the Royals Review staff member tasked with writing the recap of that game. Not only did I want the Royals to win, of course, but I most definitely did not want to write about the Royals losing (spoiler alert: I did indeed write about them losing).
But over five and a half years later, I never said one of the things that I’ve thought since the World Series, and I’m going to take advantage of the absence of baseball right now to say it: y’all need to get over Joe Buck, who is an excellent and impartial broadcaster.
The main reason why Royals fans hate Buck has to do with the 2014 World Series. Royals fans were irked at how often Buck gushed about Madison Bumgarner, the San Fransisco Giants lefty starter who kicked off the first and fourth games of the series—and closed out the seventh game at Kauffman Stadium to steal what should have been a triumphant storybook ending for the Royals.
Apparently, at least according to the first Change.org petition that wanted Fox to remove Buck for the 2015 World Series, Buck mentioned Bumgarner 87 times and the Royals only 8 times. This rings true because, well, Buck did indeed mention Bumgarner a lot.
But he did it for good reason, and it’s the reason that Royals fans ought to bury the proverbial hatchet.
The story of the game was not that the scrappy Royals were playing good baseball. No, the story of the game was that Madison Bumgarner was closing out one of the greatest World Series performances by any pitcher, ever. He gave up a single run over 21 innings (that’s a 0.43 ERA if you’re counting at home) with a 17:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. After starting two games earlier in the series, Bumgarner was closing out a winner-take-all contest where his team had a one-run lead. That’s an astounding story, and that’s what Buck covered because he’s good at his job.
Want to get mad at someone? Get mad at Ned Yost for having Alcides Escobar sacrifice bunt in the fifth inning, freely giving away a precious out, or for Yost sticking with Jeremy freaking Guthrie for a full four innings in game seven of the World Series. Get mad at Salvador Perez for refusing to take a single one of Bumgarner’s high fastballs for a ball. Get mad at Bumgarner himself for existing. Don’t get mad at the guy who was telling the right story at the right time.
It’s curious that Royals fans weren’t unhappy at Buck the following November, when he consistently showed excitement and reverence to a really special Royals squad that eventually did win the World Series. Buck was repeatedly in awe of how good that 2015 Royals squad was, and we’ve got receipts.
Top to bottom best, most relentless lineup I've covered in the 20 years I've done it.They had no bottom of the order https://t.co/HfCjBE05h9— Joe Buck (@Buck) November 6, 2015
But you know who was complaining about Buck, then? New Yorkers. Mets fans. They thought that Buck was too into the Royals.
Keep waiting for Fox to cut to the booth revealing Joe Buck in a Royals jersey.— Tom Ceraulo (@tceraulo) November 2, 2015
Look, I know why there’s still a Joe Buck hate going around. First, it’s become somewhat of a meme of its own at this point, and lingering jokes have been more or less the only thing Royals fans have had since the 2017 season came to a close. Second, it’s fun to find someone to collectively hate. It’s why a lot of people hate anything in these social media days.
But mainly, people hate Buck because they’re just pouting that the Royals didn’t win it all in 2014. Yeah, fine, some people dislike Buck because they don’t like his announcing style—but that’s true of every announcer, even ones as universally liked as Tony Romo. The Kansas City Joe Buck hate has nothing to do with Buck and everything to do with how the Royals got completely and utterly dumped on by a single left-handed pitcher. It’s just easier to channel frustration elsewhere than simply accept that Bumgarner freaking destroyed the 2014 Royals in that World Series.
So get over it, Royals fans. Buck is a fine announcer who is also impartial. Don’t like it? That’s your problem. Pettiness doesn’t suit anyone.