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All fans are delusional. It comes with the territory. Fan is short for fanatic, so it makes sense. But then there are St. Louis Cardinals fans, who think there’s any chance that Joe Buck is returning to the team.
Former Cardinals play-by-player announcer, Dan McLaughlin, incurred his third DWI earlier this month. It’s baseball, so three strikes and you’re out. Bally Sports Midwest relieved McLaughlin of his duties after 25 years, though the decision was reported to be “mutual.”
My highly-educated guess is that McLaughlin would be calling Cardinals games in 2023 if it weren’t for his arrest, so I’m not sure how they got to “mutual decision” but here we are.
That’s not really what this story is about, though. This story is about who Cardinals fans want to replace McLaughlin. That would be the guy who had McLaughlin’s job prior to him: Joe Buck.
Joe Buck is NOT coming back to the St. Louis Cardinals
Buck has ascended quite a bit since his time calling Cardinals games. He called the NFL on Fox and MLB on Fox and his network duties forced him to permanently leave the Cardinals booth in 2008.
Now, Buck is one of the highest-paid broadcasters in the country, making $15 million per year to call Monday Night Football on ESPN. If you include preseason and postseason responsibilities, Buck works about 20 games per season on the current contract that runs for the next five seasons.
He makes roughly $750K per game. He works probably about 50 days per year, including travel and prep. Maybe 75. Not a bad deal.
But Cardinals fans have some crazy delusion that Joe Buck misses St. Louis and might return to the booth.
I cannot stress how outside the realm of reality that notion actually is.
First, Bally Sports does not have near the money to pay Joe Buck. Regional sports networks are failing financially at it currently stands.
But for fun, let’s just say money wasn’t the issue. That they had an unlimited budget. How much money would it take to get Buck — who works roughly 50 days per year — to call 150+ baseball games, while traveling every other week?
I say there is no number. No amount of money is getting Joe Buck to turn away from arguably the best gig in sports media.
Keep dreaming, Cardinals fans.
Follow Dan Zaksheske on Twitter: @OutkickDanZ