How Fox’s Joe Buck Survives Being the Voice of the Busiest Month in Sports
The 52-year-old broadcaster is tasked with doing play-by-play for the NFL and MLB's postseason during October
Adam Duritz of Counting Crows may feel differently, but for Fox Sports play-by-play broadcaster Joe Buck the longest month of the year is unquestionably October.
The lead voice of Fox’s pro football and baseball coverage, Buck is charged with calling Thursday night and Sunday afternoon games during Weeks 5-8 of the NFL season as well as handling the entire MLB postseason during the 31 days of the calendar’s 10th month.
To get through October, Buck, who also will be doing 25 personalized Cameo messages as part of a new campaign for HALLS minis (which he uses on a daily basis), makes a concerted effort to stay sober, (which hasn’t always been the case.)
“I try not to drink as much or at all during October because it feels like I’m flying every night,” the 52-year-old tells InsideHook. “I’m going pretty much nonstop so I’ve got to try to get as much sleep and rest as I can. Drinking and staying up late and the like is kind of out of the window. I have to be smart about it, especially the older I get.”
Though it doesn’t involve alcohol, Buck, who has been the lead MLB play-by-play voice at Fox since 1996 and began leading the network’s NFL coverage in 2002, does indulge in somewhat of a liquid diet in October.
“This makes me feel old and my wife laughs at me for it, but I think I inherited a soup gene from my dad,” he says. “I remember my dad always ordering soup, and I would say I’m a soup connoisseur at this point of my career. That warmth is comforting to me, especially in the month of October. You can usually get back to whatever hotel you’re staying in and they’ll have soup left to scrape off the bottom of the pot they have down in the kitchen. If it’s hot, I’ll eat cream of anything. I’ll take whatever the hell I can get. Even if involves a vegetable I don’t like. I don’t even care how it tastes. Sometimes you’re just at the mercy of what they have.”
Scrambling for soup on the road, Buck is at the mercy of whatever his three-year-old twins throw at him during his rare nights at home during October.
“When you have kids, you have somebody you’re doing it for. If I’ve got a day off, I’m going to go home because the most important thing I’m doing on this planet is raising kids,” Buck says. “Having that perspective is a mental cue to chill out and enjoy doing these games because it’s important, but it’s not the only thing in my life. Comparing going through fatherhood in my late 20s to now going through it in my early 50s, there are a lot of similarities. I think the difference is I had a lot more patience back then. I’m working on that. My [older] daughters are my best friends in the world, and I think they would tell you that, too. I plan on that being the case with my sons. Now, they just want to beat me up and make me get on the floor to see me try to stand up again. On the road, at least I’m getting uninterrupted sleep, so that’s way better. I try to not highlight that for my wife.”
Besides being a good broadcaster and an even better father, Buck’s goals include showing the world a different version of himself, which is one of the reasons he released his memoir Lucky Bastard: My Life, My Dad, and the Things I’m Not Allowed to Say on TV in 2016.
“When you feel people don’t really have the full snapshot of who you are or what you’re about, I think showing different sides and being able to laugh at yourself and have fun is important,” he says. “I feel like I’ve made a lot of good choices along the way, like going on Howard Stern and doing Pardon My Take. That stuff’s good for public perception and my career, but it’s also fun for me. I like exercising different muscles on camera. That’s why it was a blast to be a recurring character on Brockmire and fun to host Jeopardy! .”
And Jeopardy! isn’t the only show Buck has his eyes set on hosting.
“My lifelong dream is to host Saturday Night Live. It was in my yearbook in the 25 years hence that I would host SNL,” he says. “I’m a little past 25 years out of high school, but it’s still a dream of mine. Not that I think it will ever happen, but I’ve done Jeopardy! and I’ve been on Brockmire. I’m going to have my agents spin it that way. Whether it’s the late, great Norm Macdonald on Jeopardy! or Will Ferrell doing Alex Trebek, I think it’s the next natural step.”
Maybe once October is over.
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