While inexplicably calling Joe Buck “baseball’s best play-by-play announcer,” The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir inquiries with Fox’s lead duo about what it’s like like to engender so much ill-will.

In this news media age, it’s rare for a public figure as prominent in his field as Tim McCarver to escape the notice of fans and bloggers who dislike you and may start a Web site to advance their animosities. McCarver is the star of a couple of Web sites that make clear their view him. And Buck has been the subject of an online petition demanding his retirement from sportscasting, which would leave him with the Holiday Inn ad in which three hotel guests place their hands on his throat as he says, “Swing and a miss.”

“I don’t go online, “Buck said yesterday during a Fox teleconference call. “I don’t search out Web sites or chat rooms or IHateJoeBuck.com.”

McCarver said, during the call, “No one starts ILoveThisGuy.com.”

Headed into his 17th World Series, McCarver’s opinions and the way he expresses them are fodder for those who loathe him.

He said that “over the course of a year” he will make silly statements that will be posted online by his legion of haters. “But as a broadcaster, I try to be on the money about talking about things before or after a play,” he said. “But tongue-in-cheek remarks are tough to translate.” When Joe and I are smiling, how do you convey that to someone looking for a slip-up?

Told that there were 329 members of ShutUpTimMcCarver.com at about 1 p.m. Eastern time yesterday, he seemed relieved at the small number compared with the overall viewership for the Fox games. But, he added, if the forces of anti-McCarverism swell to huge numbers, “Ed will call and say, ‘That’s enough,'”  referring to Ed Goren, the president of Fox Sports.