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.

Will Middlebrooks carted off field with left ankle injury

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Phillies third baseman Will Middlebrooks suffered a serious injury during Saturday’s Grapefruit League contest against the Orioles. The infielder was chasing down a pop fly in the eighth inning when he ran into left fielder Andrew Pullin, who inadvertently trapped Middlebrooks’ ankle under his leg. Middlebrooks was unable to put weight on his leg following the collision and was carted off the field and taken to a local hospital for X-rays.

Per MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki, not much is known yet about the severity of the ankle injury or the recovery time it will require, though it appears serious enough to set Middlebrooks back considerably as he seeks a backup/bench role with the team this spring.

The 29-year-old is currently seeking another opportunity to extend his six-year major-league career in 2018. He’s coming off of two down years with the Brewers and Rangers, during which he slashed a cumulative .169/.229/.262 with four extra bases through 70 plate appearances.