Voting is currently ongoing for the Joe Morgan Memorial Tournament Final between Craig James and Joe Buck. To mark the occasion, we turned to the AA Staff to get some of their takes on who to vote for in the final. Vote as often as you'd like until the final poll closes Friday night at midnight, but take a moment to read over our thoughts on who should take that final spot on Awful Announcing's Mount Rushmore and tell us whether you agree or disagree. Is it #TeamBuck or #TeamJames?
Ben Koo: As much as I want to knock that grin off of James' smug face, I have to go with Joe Buck here. As a sports fan James is much easier to avoid given he's limited to college football and just one of dozens of key personalities covering the sport for ESPN. It's easy to hate him for his slimy tactics over the years and his generally poor efforts as an announcer, but he's much easier to avoid than Buck and is probably on his way out at ESPN regardless. The guy certainly deserved to be fired and banished for his despicable actions in regards to Leach but from an on air quality perspective, there are dozens of folks at ESPN who are worse than James, and more than a handful covering college football. He's a smarmy scumbag but I don't want that to blur my judgement in terms of who is the worst announcer.
Every Time Fox bids on new programming, I shudder at the thought of Joe Buck tainting more things I like to watch. World Series TV ratings have been cut in half since Fox took over. A lot of that is not on Joe Buck but there is little doubt that his style and lack of flair doesn't do much to bring in and retain casual fans. On the NFL side, I never thought he was that terrible until this year when that Vikings game got moved to Monday Night and was competing with Monday Night Football. Every time I flipped to Buck's Fox broadcast, I realized how much better ESPN's Monday Night crew and production was than Fox's.
From top to bottom, Fox's well of talent is drier than a Mormon bachelor party. If Buck wasn't the top guy for both MLB and NFL, than maybe I'd hate him less for his blandness. The infamous talk show debacle didn't help and what does it say that there wasn't really any sympathy for Buck after Artie Lange ambushed him. He is somebody I don't enjoy watching, doesn't add anything to broadcasts, rubs me the wrong way, and is someone I wouldn't even want to grab a beer with. Given it took quite an effort to get Morgan off of ESPN, let's buckle in here against Joe Buck. Your outrage wants James gone but logic says Buck is worthy of the crown.
Ryan Yoder: At first, I wasn't sure Craig James belonged in the upper echolon of awfulness like that walking caricature (Berman), that smug, race-bating douchebag (Cowherd) or the condescending bore (Joe Buck). Let's face it, Buck is terrible and there's no way he should be broadcasting events like the Super Bowl and World Series, let alone for multiple years. People may argue Buck isn't all that bad, but really, he is. Buck's tired act (the "wish I wasn't here" attitude, the lame jokes, the smugness) brings down the quality of the telecast so much that it ruins the special feel of the most special events on the calendar. You don't have to be as excited as Gus Johnson or Kevin Harlan to make a game feel special, Pat Summerall proved that. Buck falls far short...
But... even if Craig James's Cinderella run has been boosted by #FreeBruce, I think he's the right choice to go on AA's Mt. Rushmore. Not only is James a terrible analyst, he's a terrible human being and a symbol of ESPN's corruption and lack of transparency. His smug face on ESPN's Mt. Rushmore would represent how far ESPN has fallen in the eyes of many. The fact that Craig James continues to be employed and worshiped by ESPN as an ex-jock, while honest journalists like Bruce Feldman are kicked to the curb, makes me sick. My only request is James' picture include a 10-gallon cowboy hat, representing his Texans for a More Texan America/Using My Influence To Save My Pathetic Excuse For A Son/Hiding The Truth agenda.