Los Angeles Dodgers play-by-play Joe Davis was 11 years old in October 1999, the last time Joe Buck didn’t call the World Series for Fox. Instead, NBC held the rights that year as Derek Jeter and the New York Yankees swept the Atlanta Braves to win the Fall Classic for the third time in four years.
Nearly 25 years later, Davis has emerged as a favorite to replace Buck, who is leaving Fox for ESPN, as the World Series’ television voice.
Sports fans who have become accustomed to Buck’s monotonous and often sarcastic commentary should prepare to instead enjoy plenty of Davis and Kevin Burkhardt, who is widely expected to become Fox’s new lead NFL voice.
Kevin Burkhardt is expected to replace Joe Buck as Fox’s lead NFL play-by-play voice
Out with Buck and Troy Aikman, and in, most likely, with Burkhardt and Greg Olsen.
According to the New York Post’s Andrew Marchand, Burkhardt is considered the “internal favorite” to replace Buck on Fox’s No. 1 NFL broadcast team. Olsen, the former Pro Bowl tight end who became a full-time broadcaster last season, is expected to join him in the booth.
Marchand reported on Friday, March 11, that Fox could also pursue former New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who now works for NBC Sports, or even try to sign then-retired quarterback Tom Brady as a color commentator.
Two days later, Brady announced that he was unretiring to rejoin the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It appears he’d rather try to win an eighth Super Bowl instead of calling one. Fox will air two of the next three Super Bowls.
As of publication, Fox had not officially announced if Burkhardt and Olsen would be promoted to the No. 1 broadcast team. It is also unclear whether veteran sideline reporter Erin Andrews will remain in her role next season. Tom Rinaldi, who joined Fox in 2021, is expected to continue serving as the lead team’s second sideline reporter.
Joe Davis is the favorite to replace Buck on World Series coverage
For nearly 20 years, Buck served as both Fox’s lead voice for MLB and NFL games. Burkhardt has extensive experience with baseball and currently serves as Fox’s studio host. It is not yet known if he will retain that role if he replaces Buck on the lead NFL team.
As of publication, it appeared Fox would not force the NFL’s top voice to perform double duty in the fall. Davis, who has been the Dodgers’ full-time play-by-play announcer since 2017, would likely simply replace Buck on Fox’s No. 1 MLB team.
In recent years, Buck typically worked select regular-season games (often featuring the Yankees and Boston Red Sox), the All-Star Game, either the American League or National League Championship Series, and the World Series. Fox holds the World Series rights through 2028.
Buck most recently worked with Braves legend John Smoltz and sideline reporter Tom Verducci. There have been no credible reports regarding Fox parting ways with either analyst.
Matt Vasgersian, who served as ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball voice from 2018-21, is another dark horse option. The 54-year-old worked at Fox from 2006-17 and currently serves as the Los Angeles Angels’ television play-by-play announcer.
Fox should use Buck’s departure to get new blood in the MLB booth and find a new role for John Smoltz
When it comes to baseball credentials, there is no dismissing Smoltz, who entered the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2016 after winning 213 games and striking out 3,084 hitters in a stellar career.
His broadcasting skills are another conversation.
Social media regularly mocks Smoltz for complaining about bat flips and analytics. His tone has earned its fair share of detractors to the point where Buck defended the eight-time All-Star in a 2018 interview with WEEI in Boston and dismissed the claim that Smoltz “hates baseball.”
Perhaps the time has come for Fox to start over entirely. Former All-Star catcher A.J. Pierzynski currently works for the network as a game analyst, and MLB Network’s Sean Casey, a three-time All-Star, has done color commentating duties in the past. Although ex-Yankees star Curtis Granderson is a studio analyst for TBS, he makes sense as someone who could replace Smoltz down the line.
For now, Fox needs to officially lock down Buck’s successors. Sports fans will be in good hands if Burkhardt and Davis are the men tasked with replacing the Pro Football Hall of Fame announcer.