I recently sat down with announcer Joe Buck. The interview is for a new episode of In Depth. The broadcaster of 14 World Series and three Super Bowls describes the intensity of calling play-by-play in front of a worldwide audience. Buck discusses getting his big break at 20-years-old, what it was like growing up the son of Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck, the charges of nepotism that followed and opens up about his father's passing in 2002. Buck also reflects on his canceled HBO show, losing his voice in 2011, his reasons for quitting Twitter and gives his opinion on who holds the title of baseball's home run king.
Having broadcast three Super Bowls, Buck describes the enormity of over 110 million viewers watching you: "You can let the size of the crowd, when you do Super Bowl, overwhelm you if you want, and that opening on camera is one of the most intense, awkward feelings you can ever have." During Super Bowl XLII, Buck was told less than 90 seconds before he went on-air that he had a clump of hair gel in his hair: "It looked like Something About Mary... so the whole time I'm on camera, during that beginning of the Super Bowl, going, 'How bad does my hair look right now? This is awful..." Watch clip:
In 1996 at the age of 27, Buck was the play-by-play announcer for his first World Series. He discusses his discomfort leading up to the broadcast: "You always feel like you're going to get exposed as some fraud." He remembers thinking: "Am I really ready for this? Am I capable of doing a World Series... I don't feel like you ever really feel totally comfortable with that."
As the son of Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck, Joe has faced charges of nepotism throughout his career. And even after having surpassed his father in the number of World Series he has broadcast on television, Buck still feels the specter of his father's accomplishments and the perception that he only has the job because of his last name: "I'm my dad's kid, and I'm still, right or wrong, fighting that uphill battle, and I'm not saying that makes sense. I mean my dad didn't hire me at FOX... but it certainly gave me my start, and I think I'm always kind of fighting that." Watch clip:
After seven months in the hospital, Joe's father Jack passed away in 2002. Buck shares some advice he got from his father during his dying days: "'Hope my time in here, laying in this bed, had taught you to make the most out of your time... because, when you're laying here, it's too late.'" Buck also opens up about the last words he shared with his dad: "''I love you, and we've had an unbelievable run together. And it's time for you to let go.'" Watch clip:
In June 2009, "Joe Buck Live," a quarterly talk show hosted by Buck, debuted on HBO. On the premiere episode, comedian Artie Lange launched into a vulgar diatribe during the live broadcast. According to Buck: "HBO reacted like they were going to have him deported." Buck proposed having Lange on the second episode to acknowledge the much talked about incident. Buck recounts that HBO said: "'Under no circumstances are you going to even refer to Artie Lange.'" Buck told the head of HBO to: "Either cancel the show or have him on, but that's the way I, as the host, want to do it." While Buck prevailed and Lange made a brief appearance in the taped open, the show was ultimately canceled after three episodes. Watch clip:
In February 2011 after the Super Bowl, Buck lost his voice due to a paralyzed vocal cord. The doctor told him that his voice would likely return but that: "It could be three months. It could be six months. It could be 12 months or it could be never coming back." Losing his voice took an emotional toll on him: "I just didn't want to talk to anybody... I would just rather be quiet and not hear myself. So it kind of turns you into a recluse." Watch clip:
Buck weighs in on the debate of who is the true home run king in baseball: "I mean the home run king, to me, is Hank Aaron, but statistically, it's Barry Bonds." Buck continues: "I just look at it as almost two different records, two different times in the game, and it doesn't upset me like it does others." Watch clip:
Joe Buck shares funny stories from growing up around baseball and traveling as a broadcaster. Watch clip:
Joe Buck tells about the lessons he has learned from his mom. Watch clip:
Joe Buck shares stories from growing up the son of Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Buck. Watch clip:
Joe Buck tells about being a father and the impact his father had on his parenting. Watch clip:
Joe Buck discusses how he faked it early in his career and his lack of confidence. Watch clip:
Joe Buck tells about his preparation for a broadcast and shows the board he creates for NFL games. Watch clip:
Joe Buck picks his favorites for the World Series, Super Bowl and top quarterback. Watch clip:
Watch full Joe Buck episode (above clip links contain content from full episode and also bonus content unable to make full episode due to time constraints):