About Joe Buck’s voice

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People have noticed Joe Buck’s obviously weakened voice since the beginning of the season. As it was revealed last month, he’s the victim of a virus that has affected a nerve in his throat, and in turn, his vocal cords.  It’s killing his high register — wasn’t aware he had one, but hey, you learn something new every day — and is affecting his overall tone.

There was a story in the New York Times yesterday in which Buck talked all about it. He’s getting better, it seems, though the whole recovery process could take many more months.  All of which makes me wonder about why he’s still calling FOX’s top games in both baseball and football.

This is not some personal shot at Buck, a pile-on bash of his broadcast style, or some cold-hearted jab regarding his medical condition. It’s simply a realization that this condition is adversely affecting FOX broadcasts.  It is his job is to be the voice of the sports he’s broadcasting and his voice itself continues to be a distraction — sometimes a serious distraction — from the game itself.

If he had some sort of illness that affected his ability to work a full schedule but which would not substantially impact his ability to do his job when he could work it would be a totally different story. But this is different. This isn’t a matter of making an accommodation for someone whose temporary medical condition makes the logistics of doing the job a bit more challenging. It’s a situation in which the temporary medical condition is adversely affecting the quality of the work itself and for which there doesn’t appear to be an accommodation which can fix it.

Maybe that’s insensitive. I don’t know. But the product really is suffering. And it will only become a bigger problem once the playoffs start and the games themselves get bigger.

Anthony Alford to miss 4-6 weeks following wrist surgery

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Blue Jays’ outfielder Anthony Alford will miss at least 4-6 weeks after undergoing surgery on his left wrist, the team announced on Saturday. Alford was placed on the 10-day disabled list earlier in the week after sustaining a left hamate fracture on a foul pitch, and could miss significant time in what looks to be a lengthy rehab process. MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm reports that the procedure has been scheduled for next week and will be performed by Dr. Donald Sheridan in Arizona.

Alford, 22, was called up to the majors from Double-A New Hampshire last Friday. He went hitless in his first three outings, finally catching a break against the Brewers on Tuesday when he pinch-hit a leadoff double in the seventh. The injury occurred two innings later when Alford fouled off a pitch in the ninth inning, fracturing his wrist in the process.

Alford will join eight other players on the Blue Jays’ disabled list, including outfielders Steve Pearce (calf strain), Dalton Pompey (concussion) and Darrell Cecillani (partial shoulder dislocation). He’s expected to be replaced by 24-year-old outfield prospect Dwight Smith Jr.

Stephen Strasburg hit a new career high today

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Good luck getting a hit against the Nationals this weekend. Stephen Strasburg followed Max Scherzer‘s 13-strikeout performance on Friday with a dazzling outing of his own on Saturday afternoon. The right-hander whiffed a career-best 15 batters in seven innings, allowing just three hits and a walk in the Nats’ 3-0 win.

It took Strasburg several innings to get into a groove after pitching into (and out of) a jam in the first inning. The Padres loaded the bases with Allen Cordoba‘s leadoff single, a throwing error by Ryan Zimmerman and a four-pitch walk to Cory Spangenberg. By the third, Strasburg was cruising, striking out the side on 18 pitches and keeping the Padres off the basepaths until the sixth. He recorded his 15th and final strikeout in the seventh inning, catching Padres’ prospect Franchy Cordero swinging on a 1-2 pitch to effectively end his outing.

While 15 strikeouts set a new career record for the Nationals’ ace, he came close to reaching the mark twice before. The first time, he struck out 14 of 24 batters during his major league debut against the 2010 Pirates, though the 5-2 win did little more than keep the Nationals neck-and-neck with the Marlins at the bottom of the NL East. Five years later, he tied his 14-strikeout record against the 2015 Phillies, tossing a one-hitter in eight innings to cement his ninth victory of the season.

The only one who doesn’t seem overly enthused by the new record? Strasburg himself, who told MLB.com’s Jamal Collier and AJ Cassavell: “It’s pretty cool, but there’s another game five, six days from now. I’ll enjoy it tonight, but back to work tomorrow.”