Joe Buck

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This article is about the sportscaster. For the fictional character, see Midnight Cowboy. For the rockabilly musician, see Joe Buck (musician).
Joe Buck
Joe Buck.jpg
on the field at Busch Stadium
Born Joseph Francis Buck
(1969-04-25) April 25, 1969 (age 45)
St. Petersburg, Florida[1]
Education Attended Indiana University. Did not graduate.
Occupation Sportscaster
Children 2
Parents Jack Buck and Carole Lintzenich

Joseph Francis "Joe" Buck (born April 25, 1969) is an American sportscaster and the son of legendary sportscaster Jack Buck. He has won numerous Sports Emmy Awards for his work with Fox Sports, including his roles as lead play-by-play announcer for the network's National Football League and Major League Baseball coverage.

Early life and education

Buck was born in St. Petersburg, Florida (where the St. Louis Cardinals, for whom his father broadcast, then conducted their spring training) and raised in St. Louis where he attended St. Louis Country Day School. Buck began his broadcasting career in 1989 while he was an undergraduate at Indiana University.[2]

Personal life

From 1993 to 2011, Buck was married to Ann Archambault. They had 2 children.[3] He married NFL Network reporter and former Bronco cheerleader Michelle Beisner on April 12, 2014.[4]

Career

Before Fox

Buck called play-by-play for the then-Louisville Redbirds, a minor league affiliate of the Cardinals, and was a reporter for ESPN's coverage of the Triple-A All-Star Game. In 1991, Buck did reporting for St Louis' CBS affiliate KMOV. Also, in 1991 Buck began broadcasting for the Cardinals on local television and KMOX Radio, filling in while his father was working on CBS telecasts. In the 1992–93 season he was the play-by-play voice for University of Missouri basketball broadcasts.

Buck continued to call Cardinals games after being hired by Fox Sports, initially with his father on KMOX and later on FSN Midwest television. As his network duties increased, however, Buck's local workload shrank, and prior to the 2008 season it was announced that Buck would no longer be calling Cardinals telecasts for FSN Midwest. This would mark the first time since 1960 that a member of the Buck family would not be part of the team's broadcasting crew.[5]

Fox Sports

Hiring at Fox

In 1994, Buck was hired by Fox, and at the age of 25 became the youngest man ever to announce a regular slate of National Football League games on network television.

Major League Baseball on Fox
Joe Buck (right) with President Barack Obama and Tim McCarver (left) during the 2009 MLB All-Star Game in St. Louis

In 1996, he was named Fox's lead play-by-play voice for Major League Baseball, teaming with Tim McCarver, who had previously worked with Joe's father on CBS. That year, he became the youngest man to do a national broadcast (for all nine innings and games, as a network employee as opposed to simply being a representative of one of the participating teams) for a World Series, surpassing Sean McDonough, who called the 1992 World Series for CBS at the age of 30. McDonough had replaced Jack Buck as CBS' lead baseball play-by-play man after the elder Buck was fired in late 1991.

On September 8, 1998 Joe Buck called Mark McGwire's 62nd home run that broke Roger Maris' single-season record. The game was nationally televised live in prime time on Fox. It was a rarity for a nationally televised regular season game to not be aired on cable since the end of the Monday Night/Thursday Night Baseball era on ABC in 1989.

During Fox's broadcast of the 2002 World Series, Joe Buck paid implicit tribute to his father, who had died only a few months earlier (he had read the eulogy at his father's funeral), by calling the final out of Game 6 (which tied the series at 3–3, and thus ensured there would be a Game 7 broadcast the next night) with the phrase, "We'll see you tomorrow night." This was the same phrase with which Jack Buck had famously called Kirby Puckett's home run off Braves pitcher Charlie Leibrandt which ended Game 6 of the 1991 World Series. Since then Joe has continued to use this phrase at appropriate times, including Game 4 of the 2004 ALCS, in which the Boston Red Sox famously rallied off of New York Yankees closer Mariano Rivera in the 9th inning to avoid elimination. When David Ortiz's walk-off home run finally won it for the Red Sox in the 12th inning, Buck uttered "We'll see you later tonight," alluding to the fact that the game had extended into the early morning. He also used the phrase at the end of Game 6 of the 2011 World Series when the Cardinals' David Freese hit a walk-off home run in the 11th inning against the Rangers to send the series to a seventh game (it was actually 20 years and a day since Kirby Puckett's home run). The similarity of both the call and the game situation resulted in mentions on national news broadcasts.

Another notable Red Sox game in the ALCS was in 2013, Game 2 against the Detroit Tigers at Fenway Park. The Red Sox were trailing 5-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, with the bases loaded with David Ortiz at-bat. Ortiz hit a game-tying grand slam off of Tigers' closer Joaquín Benoit. His call: "Hard hit into right, back at the wall," and then he screams "TIE GAME!" as the ball flies over Torii Hunter who flipped over the outfield wall.[6]

NFL on Fox

Soon after arriving at Fox, Buck became the play-by-play man on the network's #4 NFL broadcast team, with Tim Green as his color commentator. After three years, he stopped doing NFL games to concentrate on his baseball duties. During the 2001 season, Buck occasionally filled in for Curt Menefee as the network's number-six play-by-play man.

Buck became Fox' top play-by-play man in 2002, replacing Pat Summerall. He is teamed with Troy Aikman as color commentators and Pam Oliver as the sideline reporter. Buck is only the third announcer to handle a television network's lead MLB and NFL coverage in the same year (following NBC's Curt Gowdy and ABC's Al Michaels). By 2002, Buck's Fox duties forced him to cut his local Cardinal schedule to 25 games.

Fox NFL Sunday

On August 14, 2006, Buck was named the host of Fox's pregame NFL show, Fox NFL Sunday and postgame doubleheader show. According to the Nielsen ratings system, viewership was down for the entire season.[7] Fox announced in March 2007 that Buck would no longer host Fox NFL Sunday in 2007, concentrating on play-by-play for the week's marquee game.[8]

Two-sport, same-day doubleheader

On October 14, 2012, Buck called a doubleheader, first with New York Giants-San Francisco 49ers game at 4:25 PM, then traveled via trolley, for the seven mile journey across town to call Game 1 of the NLCS between the St. Louis Cardinals and the San Francisco Giants.[9]

HBO Sports

On February 5, 2009, Buck signed with HBO to host a sports-based talk show for the network called Joe Buck Live, with a format similar to that of Costas Now, the monthly HBO program previously hosted by Bob Costas.[10] The show's debut on June 15, 2009 made national headlines due to the tension-filled banter between Buck and guest Artie Lange, a comedian from The Howard Stern Show, who made several outrageous jokes at Buck's expense.[11] Two more episodes aired in 2009. In March 2010, Buck told a St. Louis radio station that HBO might be planning to cancel Joe Buck Live, adding that he "won't really miss" the program and that it involved "a lot more effort and hassle than I ever expected".[12] HBO subsequently confirmed the show's cancellation to Broadcasting & Cable.[13]

Other notable appearances

In the late 1990s, Buck hosted a weekly sports-news show, Goin' Deep, for Fox Sports Net cable. He also called horse racing and professional bass fishing events early in his Fox career, as well as the network's first Cotton Bowl Classic telecast in 1999.

Since 2001, Buck has hosted the "Joe Buck Classic", a celebrity pro-am golf tournament that is played each May to raise money for St. Louis Children's Hospital.[14]

In 2007, Buck filmed a pilot episode for a prospective late-night talk and comedy program with former Saturday Night Live writer and director Matt Piedmont. Piedmont and Buck wrote and produced the pilot with Piedmont directing, filming in New York City and Los Angeles and featuring Molly Shannon, David Spade and Paul Rudd. Buck co-hosted the program with Abebe Adusmussui, an actual New York City taxi driver.[15] The pilot was not picked up as a series, however.

Buck has also appeared in various national television commercials for such clients as Holiday Inn and Budweiser beer. One of the more memorable spots for the latter had Buck goaded into using the catchphrase, Slamma-lamma-ding-dong! (He also does local commercials in the St. Louis market for the Suntrup chain of automobile dealerships.) His 2008 commercial for National Car Rental has him using the catchphrase "Now that's a good call".

Buck also contributes occasional opinion pieces to The Sporting News, and is a key contributor on Team 1380 on the ITD Morning After program in St. Louis.

In the week before calling Super Bowl XLVIII, Buck starred in a Web video for Funny or Die in which he tries to report on the game from New York City but continues to get interrupted by locals who dislike him.[16]

Controversies

Reporting from the field following the game in which Mark McGwire broke Roger Maris' single-season home run record in 1998, Buck began his postgame interview on Fox by requesting (and getting) a hug from McGwire, which led to criticisms of Buck's on-air professionalism from some sources.[17]

In January 2005, Buck drew fire for his on-air comments during an NFL playoff game between the Minnesota Vikings and Green Bay Packers. After Vikings wide receiver Randy Moss simulated mooning the Green Bay crowd in the end zone, Buck called it a "disgusting act." The moon was allegedly an attempt to respond to Packer fans, who traditionally moon the Vikings players aboard the team bus, which Buck did not mention.[18] It prompted Red McCombs, then the owner of the Minnesota Vikings, to request that Buck be removed from covering their upcoming playoff game, saying that Buck's comments "suggested a prejudice that surpassed objective reporting."[19] Buck also received criticism from other members of the media who felt he "over-reacted" and was being "inconsistent" given his network's history of programming.[20][21][22][23]

In 2007, Buck was only scheduled to call eight regular season MLB games out of a 26-game schedule for Fox (along with a handful of regional Cardinals telecasts on FSN Midwest). In an interview with Richard Sandomir of the New York Times, Buck defended his reduced baseball commitment:[24]

If you or the casual fan doesn’t want to consider me the No. 1 baseball announcer at Fox, it’s not my concern ... I don’t know why it would matter. I don’t know who had a more tiresome, wall-to-wall schedule than my father, and I know what it’s like to be a kid in that situation ... He was gone a lot. He needed to be. I understood it. So did my mom. Because my career has gone the way it’s gone, I don’t have to go wall to wall. ...While I’m deathly afraid of overexposure, I’m more afraid of underexposure at home with my wife and girls.

In 2008, Buck drew criticism for comments he made during an appearance on ESPN Radio's The Herd with Colin Cowherd, in which he admitted to spending "barely any" time following sporting events he doesn't broadcast, and facetiously claimed that preferred watching The Bachelorette instead.[25]

Vocal cord ailment

In 2011, shortly after broadcasting Super Bowl XLV for Fox, Buck developed a virus on the nerves of his left vocal fold. Despite the ailment, which according to Buck "came out of the blue" and hampered his ability to raise his voice, he continued to broadcast baseball for Fox during the 2011 season, and resumed as the network's lead NFL announcer that fall.[26][27][28][29]

Notes

  1. ^ Tuttle, Dennis (October 14, 2000). "Making a Name for Himself; Jack Buck's Son Calls the Playoffs, Series for Fox". Washington Post. 
  2. ^ Fox Sports’ Joe Buck wraps up Speaker Series Indiana University
  3. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0118374/bio
  4. ^ http://www.people.com/article/Joe-Buck-Marries-Michelle-Beisner
  5. ^ Caesar, Dan (2008-03-04). "Run of Bucks broadcasting Cardinals comes to an end". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. 
  6. ^ . WBUR.org http://hereandnow.wbur.org/2013/10/14/boston-sports-comebacks. Retrieved 25 March 2014.  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  7. ^ NFL on Fox#Changes for 2006
  8. ^ Fox Press Release (2007-03-29). "Fox NFL Sunday & the OT return to Los Angeles home in September". The Futon Critic. 
  9. ^ Richard Deitsch. "Joe Buck's double duty; Ex-Jet Tomlinson blasts Sanchez". Retrieved October 27, 2012. 
  10. ^ Weprin, Alex (2009-02-05). "HBO taps Joe Buck for sports show". Broadcasting & Cable. 
  11. ^ McCarthy, Michael (2009-06-16). "Comedian Lange Crosses the Line on 'Joe Buck Live'". "USA Today". 
  12. ^ "Joe Buck Live May Be Over; Buck Says He "Won't Really Miss It"". Sports Media Watch. 2010-03-25. 
  13. ^ "HBO Confirms ‘Joe Buck Live' Canceled". Broadcasting & Cable. 2010-03-29. 
  14. ^ http://www.stlouischildrens.org/content/JoeBuckClassic/default.htm
  15. ^ Hiestand, Michael (October 9, 2007). "Fox's Buck makes pitch for late show". USA Today. 
  16. ^ Eisele, Elizabeth (January 30, 2014). "Must See: Joe Buck's Funny or Die Super Bowl fail". KMOV-TV. 
  17. ^ Wolfley, Bob (1998-09-11). "Fox's Buck embraced the moment in the wrong way". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 
  18. ^ Wolfley, Bob (2005-01-13). "A Lambeau tradition? Depends whom you ask". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. 
  19. ^ Fox denies Vikings request to pull Buck from booth - NFL - ESPN
  20. ^ ESPN.com: Page 2 : Commentators need to chill
  21. ^ "SI.com". CNN. 2005-01-13. 
  22. ^ Moss' moon pales in comparison to Fox
  23. ^ "SI.com". CNN. 2005-01-14. 
  24. ^ Sen, Paul (2007-08-14). "Is Buck the new Michaels?". sportsmediawatch.blogspot.com. 
  25. ^ Sandomir, Richard (July 4, 2008). "Joe Buck Makes Some Waves by Channel Surfing". The New York Times. 
  26. ^ Caesar, Dan (April 22, 2011). "Buck, despite voice issue, to call Cards game". stltoday.com. 
  27. ^ Yoder, Matt (June 20, 2011). "It's Time For Fox To Sit Joe Buck For MLB Coverage". awfulannouncing.com. 
  28. ^ McCarthy, Michael (July 10, 2011). "Fox announcer Joe Buck regains voice, gains perspective". usatoday.com. 
  29. ^ Sandomir, Richard (August 27, 2011). "For Joe Buck of Fox Sports, Sotto Voce". The New York Times.