Sam watches a lot of baseball and knows how to spice things up.
The MLB All-Star Game happens every July, which means we get to indulge in Joe Buck’s baseball commentary. Joe Buck is a national treasure, but he and his team sometimes fail to deliver at the highest level. Although his wealth of knowledge should yield insightful commentary, that is simply not the style of Joe Buck. His method is geared more towards audience members who don’t know too much about baseball and are tuning in for the first time this season.
Although he and the other members of the broadcast team do their best to provide good analysis, their efforts often fall short of what the audience deserves. To help you better enjoy the All-Star experience, we encourage you to pay close attention and take a drink whenever you hear Joe Buck and company use any of their go-to phrases listed below.
1 Drink: “Pick His Brain”
If you’re looking to pregame before the main event, check out the warmups leading up to game time. The interviewers will be out on the field or in the dugout talking to players about how great they’ve been playing all year and will inevitably ask what it’s like to pick the brain of so many great players. Interviews continue intermittently during the game, so this line should continue to produce drinks throughout the evening.
2 Drinks: Mispronounces a Player’s Name
Now, it’s hard to remember people’s names. I misremember someone’s name at least once a week, and Joe Buck talks to a lot more people than I do. At the same time, the Fox broadcast team must have met each of these players, must have talked to them, and have probably heard them pronounce their own name at least once. On top of that, they only have 75 names at the most to remember, most of which they’ve had to say before, and they are getting paid to say them.
Despite this, they will, before the game is over, pronounce the name of at least 1 player in a way you are 100% sure is incorrect. Bonus drinks if a broadcaster pronounces a name incorrectly right after another pronounces it correctly.
Half a Drink: Calls a Player by Their First Name
Many national broadcasters call players by their last name. It makes it easier to differentiate between people with the same first name, it shows respect, it makes it easier to look a player up later if you’re interested, and it adds to a player’s cachet when they are identifiable by just their last name. “Trout.” “Judge.” “Harper.” You know who these players are. There’s a mystique to it.
However, our friends at Fox have made a habit of calling players by only their first name. For example, Buck might introduce Javier Baez’s at bat with his full name, then proceed to call him Javier or Javy for the remainder of the plate appearance. It makes sense that a player’s home broadcaster calls a player by their first name, because they might interact 160+ days a year. But why would a national broadcaster do it?
Maybe they do it because they want to appear as if they, too, are on a first name basis with players. Maybe they struggle with pronouncing last names. Maybe they can’t remember last names. It’s irritating and unnecessary either way, but luckily we have a way to numb the pain.
1 Drink: Uses a Name Instead of a Complete Sentence
For example, on a ground ball to the AL shortstop, Buck might cry, "Lindor! 2 down!" Of course, "Lindor!" is not a complete sentence. He maybe should have said, "Ground ball to Lindor. Throws to first—2 away!" Be warned—depending on the game's flow, this may happen a lot.
2 Drinks: “More Than a Great Hitter”
Every player at the All-Star Game will have good numbers. Since they’re all good, the broadcast team will need to dig deep in order to show that even among All-Stars each player is unique. They’ll tell you that a player’s numbers are impressive, but even more impressive is his presence and demeanor in the clubhouse. Props for filling in air time, but for future reference, unique facts about each player results in much better commentary.
Half a Drink: Guesses Which Pitch Is Coming Next
Some national broadcasters will tell you either which type of a pitch a batter is looking for or which type a pitcher will throw in a certain situation. Sometimes, their analysis is based on how well a batter hits each type of pitch, but broadcasters rarely show those statistics, which makes it seem like they’re just guessing. Then they’ll double down by predicting the next pitch, which will seem like just as much of a guess.
It’s possible that there won’t be too much guessing during the game. The friendly atmosphere of the All-Star Game suggests that Buck is more likely to talk about the overall effectiveness of hitters than about how they perform on certain pitches. But definitely keep this one in your back pocket for when the World Series comes around.
1 Drink: "A Year Ago"
They’ll naturally want to compare players’ statistics to the previous season, and they’ll do it by describing player statistics from “a year ago.” However, a year ago from the All-Star Game was last year’s All-Star Game. It’s a subtle difference that continues to fly right over their heads.
The All-Star Game is some of the summer’s most exciting baseball. While not necessarily as competitive as the rest of the season, the players taking the field will be a unique mix of baseball’s youngest stars, its respected veterans, its brightest talents, and whoever the Padres send.
The season’s traditional halfway mark means that the playoff race will soon begin in earnest, but nothing is on the line at the All-Star Game but pride, reputation, and a chance to introduce people to America’s Pastime. Enjoy this once-a-year event, and drink to Joe Buck responsibly.