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#pounditFriday, February 23, 2024

Joe Buck Cites Willie Mays ‘Interview’ from Wall Street Journal that Never Happened

FOX MLB announcer Joe Buck was providing commentary during the All-Star Game about several players skipping the Midsummer Classic. Buck was obviously dissatisfied that so many players elected not to partake in the game, so he cited a quote from Willie Mays that would seem to disparage the absent players.

“You talk about Stan Musial being a 24-time All-Star. He is tied with Willie Mays for the top spot, and Hank Aaron,” Buck prefaced before diving into the story.

“Willie Mays had some interesting quotes today in the Wall Street Journal with regard to guys not showing up for this All-Star Game. He said ‘I was rewarded 24 times as an All-Star, and I went 24 times. It’s not jury duty, guys should show up.'”

Those were some pretty powerful words from Mays, and something I hadn’t heard all day. First, I was wondering how I hadn’t heard about this quote earlier in the day. Secondly, I thought to myself “since when does the Wall Street Journal score MLB interviews with Hall of Famers?” And third, I went to find the story so I could write about it here at LBS.

One problem.

When I found the article and actually read it, I knew why I hadn’t heard about the “quotes” much less the “interview.” It’s because Willie Mays was not interviewed and he never made those remarks. Follow me here.

Jason Gay, a writer for the Wall Street Journal, was merely making the point that other players could learn from Willie Mays who played in 24 All-Star Games. Here’s what Gay wrote:

But there are some borderline cases. Derek Jeter won’t play because he wants to rest his still-healing right calf—a calf that looked very solid this past weekend as he raced around the bases after hitting a home run for his 3,000th hit. There’s a formidable list of pitchers who won’t toss an All-Star pitch because they threw on Sunday.

Fellas, this is the All-Star Game! It’s not jury duty!

If you want out of the All-Star Game, you have to call Willie Mays and tell him why.

Yes, that Willie Mays. The Willie Mays who made 24 All-Star Games, and went to every one of them. The Willie Mays who once played ten innings of an All-Star game in the St. Louis heat. The Willie Mays who is considered one of the best players who ever wore a uniform, if not the best.

All-Star dropout crisis solved. Because here’s how those conversations would go.

After that, Gay wrote up a few mock conversations of how they “would” go.

That’s like me writing on LBS, “You know what Pete Rose would say to these guys who aren’t taking the All-Star Game seriously? He’d punch them in the face and say ‘There’s never going to be a bigger game in your life'” and then having Joe Buck cite LBS and repeat that line on national TV.

I know there are plenty of staff members who assist the broadcasters during these games, so it’s possible someone else screwed up. If that’s the case, then I really, really feel badly for Buck and that person should be fired. But if it was Buck who skimmed the story and thought that Mays made the quotes, then he deserves all the ridicule he’ll receive for misinterpreting it. Let’s hope for his sake it was someone else who passed along the note to him, but since he said it, he’ll be the one receiving the criticism.


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