One of the things that make an all-time-great play something that sticks with us is not just what happens on the field, it’s how we hear it. A great play and a great call go hand in hand to making something memorable.
Long-time FOX commentator Joe Buck knows all about big calls from doing countless MLB playoff games and World Series, along with the Super Bowl — including the miracle catch by the New York Giants against the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII.
97.1 The Ticket’s Jeff Riger caught up with Buck before Game 3 of the ALCS on Tuseday and talked about the feeling in the booth during the game-tying grand slam home run hit by David Ortiz in Game 2.
“(All I thought was) don’t screw it up. That’s the first thing,” Buck said. “Try to be loud enough so that you can be heard over this crowd which was going nuts, but it just came out of nowhere. Even though the bases are loaded, it’s David Ortiz, he knows these big moments and what to do in them, it still kind of hit me by surprise, so you just try to get up over the crowd and it was a moment that you won’t forget. That’s what makes this game so fun.”
Buck also talked about the dominance that Tigers’ starting pitchers showed against a potent Red Sox lineup in Games 1 and 2.
“The lineup for the Red Sox, and this is a good lineup, they’re 2-for-41 against the starters of the Tigers with 25 strikeouts,” Buck said. “That’s unheard of and it gets no easier for Boston today with Verlander and Tim (McCarver) and I both happen to be huge fans of (Doug) Fister tomorrow.
“So, it’s just so unique in today’s game to have that kind of group in a rotation. It’s been so impressive and they’re all such good guys and they all do it in their own way. It’s a really fun team to watch.”
Even though the Red Sox tied the series on a blind-side grand slam, Buck believes that the Tigers are still in a good position in the series.
“If you’re Boston and you look at this and you’re down, they got up off the mat, but if you don’t get up off the mat there, you have to come here down 2-0 against Verlander,” Buck explained. “So with one swing the whole thing takes on a different tenor. That said, the Tigers have had a day off, the whole thing has had a day off, Verlander goes today; Detroit is still in a great spot.”
There are some people out there who are not too fond of Buck’s work, saying that he isn’t excited enough or that he is biased when it comes to calling games. Buck issued a simple response to his critics:
“I say have a great day and I’m going to do my job as best I can,” Buck bluntly stated. “If I’m ever at home and you’re doing the games maybe I’ll feel the same way. I’ve been doing this for a long time now, I’ve been at FOX for 20 years, and I just do it the way I do it and if people like it, great, and if they don’t, fine. The important thing is the guys that pay me like it and the other people can just tweet all they want.
“(The players are) not down there on the field worrying about and rooting for the game that I’m having in the booth, and I’m sure as heck am not going to care or root for what they’re doing on the field,” Buck continued. “I’ve got a job to do and I get paid to be as balanced as I can be. The one thing I know is that you’re not going to please everybody, you’re not going to please a lot of people because they always think you’re for the other side.”
Detroit fans may want to get used to Buck calling games, because FOX is carrying both the ALCS and the World Series this season.