Living on the west coast, the All-Star Game starts a little early for me at 5 p.m local time. But that’s a good thing, because I get to DVR the game and fast-forward through the commercials and most of the banal banter from FOX Sports sleep-inducing announcing tandem of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver. I won’t go into how much this duo is despised, all you have to do is read TTFB columnist Jed Rigney’s take on Buck and McCarver and you’ll know exactly how I feel.
In my feverish attempt to move to the exciting parts of the game, which by my count included only four plays – Jose Bautista’s foul-ball catch, Hunter Pence’s laser throw to nail Bautista at the plate, and the home runs by Adrian Gonzalez and Prince Fielder – I almost missed the absolute highlight of the entire game: Justin Timberlake’s shredding of Joe Buck.
When I saw Timberlake’s face hit the screen, I had to hit rewind just in case there was a wardrobe malfunction publicity stunt with FOX Sports interviewer (and that’s being kind) Mark Grace. But what Timberlake had to say was 1,000 times better than a potential glimpse of Grace’s pecs.
In addition to anointing beer as the best ballpark food, which alone probably had thousands of suds-swilling frat boys running to Facebook to add Timberlake as a friend, Justin was even better when he deftly and underhandedly called out Buck for being a boring announcer. And I don’t think the half-slugged beer (or three) had anything to do with it. Reading this without hearing JT’s inflection doesn’t do it justice. He was laying it on thick and I’m sure many Buck-bashers loved it. (This link is the only place I could find on the web that still had the interview. MLB and FOX are sure to shut it down, so check it out before it’s gone.)
Justin Timberlake: Joe Buck, you’re calling a great game, Joe!
Joe Buck: Thanks, Justin.
JT: Just a classy guy …
JT: … with a classy voice.
It was obvious to me that Buck was a little agitated by Timberlake’s glib superlatives, but when Buck later countered with this, I knew he was in a spot of bother:
JB: Gracey, ask him if his movie is any good.
Mark Grace: Joe wants to know, is your movie any good?
JT: It’s fantastic, Joe. You’re gonna laugh, you’re gonna cry, because I know you’re that type of guy. You’re gonna laugh.
MG: He’s a sensitive guy.
JT: He’s a classy guy, that Joe. And you’re calling a great game!
And it all ended when Timberlake uttered the phrase one more time at the conclusion of the interview, getting Buck’s goat in the process.
JT: Good game Joe, you’re calling a great game!
JB: Really appreciate it and it’s said with such sincerity.
All-Star Games are usually uneventful, especially with Buck and McCarver on the call. But Timberlake’s undressing of Buck made this year’s mid-summer classic a game to remember for all the Buck-haters out there.