There’s nothing sadder than fans complaining about media bias

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I am thankful for the wild card, division series and the non-Fox LCS each year because they remind me that we’re actually kind of lucky to have Joe Buck.

No, he’s not a particularly wonderful baseball announcer compared to many around the game, but he’s considerably better than some of the other ones on national broadcasts. By the time the Fox-broadcast LCS and the World Series rolls around and Buck is on the scene it feels like we’re improving some. And heck, he’s familiar after all of these years. There are a lot of guys I’d rather have call big games, but given the slim pickings we have in this regard, Joe Buck is quite tolerable as an exercise in enjoying the product of reduced expectations

But not everyone is even as charitable as that. Some Royals fans have decided that Joe Buck is biased against their team and have started a petition to have Fox remove him from their games:

It was announced today that Joe Buck will be calling the ALCS games on Fox and Fox Sports 1. As a Royals fan who was forced to endure his love for our opposing team, more specifically, their pitcher, we find this to be untenable.

For example, on October 29th, 2014, Joe Buck said Bumgarner 87 times, Giants 56 times, San Francisco 24 times, Kansas City 13 times, and Royals 8 times.

Our opinion is clear and simple, why not have someone that will call the game evenly and without a preconceived love for either team?

The only thing dumber than these sorts of petitions is the claim by fans that announcers (or writers for that matter) are biased against their teams.

For one thing, it isn’t true. Really, no one cares about your rooting interest, chief. Certainly not as much as you do. Your life may be so narrow and sad that your team matters to you more than anything in the world, but the rest of society doesn’t think about them that much. And when they do think about them they don’t gin up enough emotion about it to actually hate them. You’re just imagining it.

Indeed, when someone says “[person] is biased against [my team]” I instantly translate it to “I have a pretty severe insecurity/persecution complex and, while I’m not fully conscious of it, my belief that people have it in for that which I love serves to validate my myopic and sad fixation on the professional sports team from my general geographic area.” The media isn’t biased against your team. But they do pity you when they stop to think about you.

There’s also the fact that, even if Joe Buck or other person did hate your team, it doesn’t really matter. I know there are a great many sports fans who think that what an announcer says has some sort of impact on the outcome of sporting events — RIP to all of those no-hitters jinxed by commentators doing their job and noting that a no-hitter is underway — but there are a great many people in the world who believe all manner of dumb things. This may not be the dumbest, but it’s way closer to, say, believing in the tooth fairy than it is to thinking anything reasonable.

If you don’t like Joe Buck, turn the sound down. Or mute him altogether and synch up the radio broadcast to the TV. Or just do what I do and try to tune him out. Any of those approaches are far more effective — and far less reflective of a pathetic person — than railing against his bias or demanding his removal from your team’s games.

But maybe I’m just biased.

Texas Rangers ink free-agent ace Jacob deGrom to 5-year deal

Jacob deGrom
USA Today
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Jacob deGrom is headed to the free-spending Texas Rangers, who believe the health risk is worth the potential reward in trying to end a six-year run of losing.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner agreed to a $185 million, five-year contract Friday, leaving the New York Mets after nine seasons – the past two shortened substantially by injuries.

“We acknowledge the risk, but we also acknowledge that in order to get great players, there is a risk and a cost associated with that,” Rangers general manager Chris Young said. “And one we feel like is worth taking with a player of Jacob’s caliber.”

Texas announced the signing after the 34-year-old deGrom passed his physical. A person with direct knowledge of the deal disclosed the financial terms to The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the club did not announce those details.

The Rangers were also big spenders in free agency last offseason, signing shortstop Corey Seager ($325 million, 10 years) and second baseman Marcus Semien ($175 million, seven years).

The team said deGrom will be introduced in a news conference at Globe Life Field next week following the winter meetings in San Diego.

“It fits in so many ways in terms of what we need,” Young said. “He’s a tremendous person. I have a number of close friends and teammates who played with Jacob and love him. I think he’s going to be just a perfect fit for our clubhouse and our fans.”

Texas had modest expectations after adding Seager, Semien and starter Jon Gray ($56 million, four years) last offseason but still fell short of them.

The Rangers went 68-94, firing manager Chris Woodward during the season, and then hired Bruce Bochy, a three-time World Series champion with San Francisco. Texas’ six straight losing seasons are its worst skid since the franchise moved from Washington in 1972.

Rangers owner Ray Davis said the club wouldn’t hesitate to keep adding payroll. Including the $19.65 million qualifying offer accepted by Martin Perez, the team’s best pitcher last season, the Rangers have spent nearly $761 million in free agency over the past year.

“I hate losing, but I think there’s one person in our organization who hates losing worse than me, and I think it’s Ray Davis,” Young said. “He’s tired of losing. I’m tired of losing. Our organization is tired of losing.”

After making his first start in early August last season, deGrom went 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA in 11 outings. He helped the Mets reach the playoffs, then passed up a $30.5 million salary for 2023 and opted out of his contract to become a free agent for the first time.

That ended his deal with the Mets at $107 million over four years, and deGrom rejected their $19.65 million qualifying offer in November. New York will receive draft-pick compensation for losing him.

The fan favorite becomes the latest in a long line of ace pitchers to leave the Mets for one reason or another, including Nolan Ryan, Tom Seaver, Dwight Gooden and David Cone.

The Rangers visit Citi Field from Aug. 28-30.

When healthy, deGrom is perhaps baseball’s most dominant pitcher. His 2.52 career ERA ranks third in the expansion era (since 1961) behind Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw (2.48) and Hall of Famer Sandy Koufax (2.19) among those with at least 200 starts.

The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career postseason starts, including a win over San Diego in the wild-card round this year that extended the Mets’ season. New York was eliminated the next night.

A four-time All-Star and the 2014 NL Rookie of the Year, deGrom was a ninth-round draft pick by the Mets in 2010 out of Stetson, where he played shortstop before moving to the mound. He was slowed by Tommy John surgery early in his career and didn’t reach the majors until age 26.

Once he arrived, though, he blossomed. He helped the Mets reach the 2015 World Series and earn a 2016 playoff berth before winning consecutive NL Cy Young Awards in 2018 and 2019.

But injuries to his elbow, forearm and shoulder blade have limited him to 26 starts over the past two seasons. He compiled a career-low 1.08 ERA over 92 innings in 2021, but did not pitch after July 7 that year because of arm trouble.

DeGrom is 82-57 with 1,607 strikeouts in 1,326 innings over nine big league seasons. He gets $30 million next year, $40 million in 2024 and 2025, $38 million in 2026 and $37 million in 2027. The deal includes a conditional option for 2028 with no guaranteed money.

The addition of deGrom gives the Rangers three proven starters along with Gray and Perez, who went 12-8 with a career-best 2.89 ERA in his return to the team that signed him as a teenager out of Venezuela. Young didn’t rule out the addition of another starter.

With several holes on their starting staff, the Mets have shown interest in free agents Justin Verlander and Carlos Rodon to pair with 38-year-old Max Scherzer atop the rotation.

Now, with deGrom gone, signing one of those two could become a much bigger priority.