Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Joe Buck and Tim McCarver discuss Barry Bonds and steroids during the All-Star Game

I only caught the last four innings of the All-Star game yesterday, and while they were good, I fear I may have missed the blog-worthy happening of the night: the Joe Buck-Tim McCarver conversation about steroids.

Does anyone have a link to a clip? Or a transcript? It happened right after the Barry Bonds in-game interview (not certain whether this was before or after Chris Young served up the first inside-the-park home run in All-Star history to eventual MVP Ichiro Suzuki). YouTube and Google Video's got nothing... yet. There's not much on the blogosphere or world wide web, either.

According to my friend K, who is cooler than you*, Buck basically apologized for Bonds (and Mark McGwire?), excusing him and other sluggers for their all-but-proven steroids use as a result of the Zeitgeist of the time. And you know what? He has a point: we did want home runs, and we did love McGwire and Sosa in that summer of '98. It's a bit unfair for us to vilify those guys on a clear conscience.

K, however, has a different opinion: CENSORED FOR INDECENT REFERENCES TO LEWD, ADULT ACTS.

I should make clear, if you haven't already figured this out, that K is a Cubs fan, so his disdain of all things St. Louis extends into the city's announcers booth. I personally have nothing against the man with the voice of velvet mixed with peanut butter, but Buck is the kind of nondescript sports media celebrity that polarizes the national fandom.

Again, if someone has a transcript or a clip of Buck/McCarver, we can begin our own earnest conversation on this topic.


1) My roommate Cranston remembers Buck's commentary for its double-animal reference: "Something like, 'It ends up being a cat-and-mouse game that leads you on a wild goose chase.'" That's three animals. Cranston -- that's his nickname because he's from the city of Cranston, Rhode Island (and you know where Rhode Islanders' baseball allegiance lies) -- also deadpanned, "I like how the Yankees players were trying to throw the game." Oh yeah, he also made a snide remark about A-Rod's white shoes.

2) Not to say Joe Buck has never expressed his opinion on Bary Bonds or steroids elsewhere, or that it hasn't been reported before, like here by the Boston Globe (specifically mentioning Buck and this year's All-Star game).

Here's what Buck said in an exclusive Yahoo Sports interview just a couple days prior:

Question: How important was it for baseball and this city that Barry Bonds got voted in to play in this game?
Very. I'm glad he's here. I'm glad he's playing in it. Everybody's got their opinions on Barry Bonds, but I would submit to you that whatever your issues are with whatever he's done -- and we can only speculate because he hasn't failed any Major League Baseball-sponsored steroids tests -- you could say the same for a lot of guys that are in the game today. The simple fact of it is, he is still the most disruptive player in any lineup in the game. And that guy deserves to be in the All-Star game. He's four home runs away from Hank Aaron and it's in his backyard -- he should be here playing in this game, period. I'm glad he is.

You're a baseball purist. Does it bother you at all that they're questioning him and calling this the Steroid Era?
It is what it is. If this is the Steroid Era, I would tell you that I think we're now in the steroid or performance enhancing drugs, whatever you want to call it -- it might not just be steroids, HGH, whatever -- it's all through sports. And if it's the Steroid Era in baseball, I would say it's the HGH Era in other sports. So it's a wild goose chase that has started now, and I don't think we'll ever have definitive answers on who was doing what, and these stories are getting older and older and we're going back years to try to... I think people are pretty much willing to accept that this is what it is, and we're going to be on a hunt for this for the rest of time, and I don't think the people testing are ever going to totally catch up with the people who are cheating.

You mention that baseball is one that's under the microscope. Why is it that this is the sport that's getting all the attention for it?
Because people care about the records. People care that Barry Bonds is breaking a record that was set by Hank Aaron. Period. And it's been said many times -- it's nothing new coming out of my mouth -- but you would struggle, even for the most ardent football fan, to have him give you a list of all the major records in the NFL. But people in baseball care. And when they care about something, then they have issue with it. I think that's what we're dealing with, and I'm glad people care. If people didn't care, then baseball would have a problem, and I think it's the pressure from the public that tries to steer this game and any game toward honest competition. And I think [the testers]'re going to try and do their best, but I don't think they'll ever get over the hump and totally eradicate performance enhancing drugs, not just from baseball but from any of these sports.

In your opinion, should commissioner Bud Selig be in attendance when he breaks the record?
Absolutely. I don't know how he can't be. I really think Bud Selig has been a wonderful commissioner -- and a lot of people like to take their shots -- he's accomplished major, major things in this game, not the least of which is revenue sharing and what he's done with the Internet and what he's done with the playoff system and the Wild Card and -- I mean, he's done a lot of good stuff for this game -- what he's done in the Pacific rim in globalizing baseball.

But I take issue with him on it... I think [attending Bonds's record-breaking game] should have been determined a long time ago. Now that's saying one thing. I think you can get on a long-time trek of trying to follow him around because he's not on a pace where he's hitting two a day anymore. But if he hasn't failed any Major League Baseball-sponsored tests, [Selig]'s gotta be there, because you're condemning your own testing policy by not being there. So I'd like to see him there, and I think at the end of the day he will be there.

* Please understand: K discovered Ryan Theriot. He discovered him the moment THE RIOT caught his ceremonial first pitch one cool night at Wrigley. Or put another way: Theriot discovered K.

1 comment:

  1. ok i got some transcripts... that i transcripted myself! bottom of the fourth is when it all started, but let me get some of my comments in first...

    Top 1:
    Jeter GIDP with Itchy on 1st. Buck's call... "It might be, it could be, it is," in probably the least exciting call of all time. What grinded me there is that Harry Caray used to use that to call home runs, and JB blows it on a DP.

    Top 3:
    Right after Haren's interview in the dugout, Itchy gets a single off his toes. I like to call him Itchy, but Ichiro was incredible last night. So incredible that Tim McCarver had this to say about his second hit of the night:

    "It looked like he hit that ball, heh heh [GEORGE W BUSH CHUCKLE], like a violin"


    Ok let's go to the top of the fourth, Jose Mota interviewing Bonds in the dugout after Soriano replaced him in left.

    Bonds on the AS game in SF - "It's been fabulous, this is great. It was phenominal to walk in with my Godfather [Mays]."

    Asked if he wants to break the HR Record at home in SF: "I was trying to do it off Beckett there! My job as a second hitter, though, gotta get the runner over."

    On A-Rod "He's one of my closest friends. We're ballplayers, we gotta stick together. We gotta get this fraternity back together."


    Bottom Four is where it starts getting fun...

    Joe Buck on Bonds:
    "They love him here, they voted him in as a starter. We're glad he's part of this game, he thrills them night after night."

    With Prince Fielder up to bat, more JB:
    "What it tells me Tim, is that the public realizes that they're going to have to tolerate a certain level of suspicion when it comes to sports, all sports. Not just baseball. Not everyone loves Barry Bonds, but people want to come out and watch him play, even with the steroid suspicion that surrounds this game."

    Tim McCarver: "He had a tremendous increase in his home run total in his mid-30's, which added to an already Hall of Fame career."

    Ken Rosenthal in the dugout - "We don't know the whole truth and frankly we're never going to know BLAHH"

    JB: "We're never going to know who's doing what. This is going to be a cat and mouse game and a wild goose chase for all time."

    TM: "1920-1965, sixteen players hit fifty or more home runs in a season. In the last twelve years, twenty-one players have hit over fifty. Did that just happen? The clear answer is no."

    (As the inning ends...)
    JB: "Mounting evidence, circumstantial as it may be, makes that all hard to believe. Guys will always try to beat the system..."

    Fox goes to commercial, and we are treated to the sweet sounds of the Grateful Dead's "Touch of Grey," which is great irony. One of the most famous lines of the song...

    "Every silver lining's got a touch of grey"

    Just like the last 12 years of baseball. Bonds and McGwire are in the middle of it. They have less a "touch of grey" and more like a "pile of shit" all over their "silver lining."