...I did see the travesty that took place in the bottom of the third, when Joe Buck and Tim McCarver -- without a trace of guile in their voices -- gave airtime to a large Corvette advertisement hanging in the outfield as if it were the handmade work of some fan. "Welcome back to Detroit," remarked Buck. "A lot of banners and signs around the ballpark. No surprise there. Somebody just unfurled a big banner behind left field."So there.
Uh-huh. Of course, this was a premeditated advertising opportunity of which Buck and McCarver were fully aware. "Buck might have been saying that tongue in cheek," Fox Sports spokesman Dan Bell told The Register, a UK tech publication which carries syndicated news feeds. "For sure, it was planned. It's not like we didn't know about it. Both parties knew about it." As the Register's Ashlee Vance reported:Buck certainly did not sound "tongue in cheek" to us at all. Both he and McCarver sat there debating the sign like marketing automatons, wondering if it was real and how much time some true fan of baseball spent hammering it out. They most certainly wanted all the saps watching to believe in the sign's authenticity and go hunting for this mysterious website. "Yet another Chevy ad" probably would not have worked as well.Blech. If you listened carefully enough, you could hear Jack Buck, Joe's Hall of Fame-honored father, spinning in his grave. His son has long since barreled through any line between reportage and corporate prostitution via the Budweiser "Leon" commercials. Now he's added to that distasteful legacy.
Look, I realize this isn't first-degree murder, or even all that surprising; I expect no better from Fox with all of its tacky lasers and sound effects and the entire network's complete abdication of journalistic integrity. Baseball and advertising have gone hand in hand since the early days of radio. But it's one thing for a radio announcer to read promos between innings, quite another for a pair of TV announcers to pass themselves off as innocents as they shill. So it's with more than a little glee that I note that Fox's broadcast set a new ratings low for the second year in a row. The people have spoken, and no sir, they don't like what Fox does to the game. As [Salon's King] Kaufman put it, baseball fans "get slapped every time they try to tune in to Fox, the network with a contract to broadcast the biggest events of a sport it hates..."
Enough is enough, so I've decided to give the All-Star Game the Star Wars treatment, at least for one year: I wash my hands of the entire franchise. I won't watch next year's game, I won't write about it, I won't vote, and I won't give a shit who makes the team. To Fox Sports, Buck and McCarver and anyone else involved in this charade, I say, "This time it's FUCK YOU."
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