Gameday Hack: Tell Joe Buck to shut up

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 15: FOX NFL Lead Play by Play announcer Joe Buck attends the FOX Upfront on May 15, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage)

Spend enough time as a sports fan and you’ll have your favorite announcers and least favorite ones. I was a big Vin Scully fan, and I still treasure hearing Jerry Remy, who announces the Red Sox for NESN. To me, those local announcers are the ones who really know a team and the fans. They’re the ones that make it easier on the fans when the team loses, and are right there to celebrate when the team wins.

So, I’m naturally going to be a little less charitable to those national announcers. They have a harder job, I’ll agree. The losing team is always going to accuse them of bias. Sometimes the winning team is going to accuse them of bias. As non-partisans, they call the game as they see it. And sometimes, without a deep connection to either team, they call the game just by the facts.

Apologies to Mr. Buck but…

I’ll admit first and foremost that I couldn’t do Joe Buck’s job. Certainly I couldn’t do it as well as he does it. All that said, his style is a little less interesting to me than that of other announcers. He’s a by-the-facts kind of announcer, almost as if he’s describing the game for a radio audience. And, he uses the term “batsman” a lot when he calls baseball game. That sounds like an archaic term and out of step with the way people think today, even if Major League Baseball is (for now) exclusively male.

So faced with an MLB playoff season in which I’d head a lot from those national announcers, I set off to try to eliminate them. The MLB app lets you hear “gameday audio” which is the ambient noise minus the announcers. Of course this year that’s been simulated anyway.

How to mute the announcers without muting everything else

Here’s a tip I found on another blog that I thought I’d try. When you’re watching sports and you have a home theater with separate speakers, disconnect the center speaker but leave the others connected. Most games have the announcers on center and the ambient sound on the other speakers.

It worked! Now, I got a few bits of echo that let me know there were announcers, somewhere, but it was almost as if I’d locked them in a room and closed the door. I found that to be an apt metaphor, honestly.

I tend to mute during commercials, but even when I didn’t the commercials didn’t seem too different. There were some muted ones but really I didn’t care.

This was about as close to “gameday audio” as I could get. It avoids the sterile feeling you get when the game is muted. You still get sounds from on the field, and you don’t have to hear some guy in the booth yammering on about Shoeless Joe Jackson or Knute Rockne or whatever. Best of both worlds.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 6,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.