CenterStage with Joe Buck
Joe becomes “shell-shocked” on his first trip to New York with his dad
We were at the Grand Hyatt, where the Cardinals stayed and my Dad said, [giving him a $50 bill], “Take your sister tonight across the street, up a block and a half, there is a McDonald’s and then come right back here to the hotel, and get up and lock the room and go to bed.”…I think I was 10, so I am walking up, with my sister, to McDonald’s, with my fifty, and I notice a crowd of people gather around somebody that’s doing a phenomenal shell game, which I didn’t know what it was. So I said, “Oh look, he is moving those shells around. And well, obviously, the ball is under the first shell.” And I am standing there, and he has got his…patsy in the crowd and he goes, “Uh yeah, sir, where do you think it is?” And he is like, “Uh, three.” And the guy is like, “Nope!,” And he takes his money, five dollars.
He [then] looks at me and he goes, “Young man, how much money do you have in your pocket?” I am like, “Well, I got a fifty…”And he is like, “I don’t know if I have that much, but I’ll try to match it. If you can tell me where the ball is under the, the shell, I’ll give you another fifty dollars.” I am like, “Hmmm, that’s easy.” So, being the fat kid, I am thinking, “This is Big Macs for life...” “It’s under the first one. Oops, not there.” So he takes my 50 and I am standing there empty?handed. So my Mom and Dad come back from dinner that night and there is a room service tray outside the door to the hotel room. And he comes in and he is like, “Where is my 50, where is my change?” And I said, “Well, about that…” At least I was smart enough to order room service.
Providing context to the 2009 Artie Lange debacle on Joe Buck’s HBO sports show, “Joe Buck Live”
I went to [Artie Lang] before the show started, and I said, hey man, just lighten me up when you get out there, just make fun of me, I don't care, I can take it…and boy did he follow through on that. I felt like the way it was shot made it…uncomfortable, because it was a lot of cursing, and it wasn’t really, my kids were in the front part of the audience, and it wasn’t really what I had hoped for. That said, it was still pretty compelling live television. The rating was great, and it didn't upset me, or I hope by now you know that I can laugh at myself and joke around. I threatened to quit over the second show, when I said, if he doesn't come back on, I'm not doing it. So, he was a part of the second show, in the cold open, and he was great. He called me after the first show, and he said, hey man, I'm sorry if I messed with your ability to do a show. I never want to get in the way of a guy with a living and he was unbelievable. He said anything I can do? And I said, well you can, come back on the second show, and let’s laugh about it, let’s make fun of it.
Joe Buck was not a fan of Randy Moss’ 2005 Minnesota Viking playoff touchdown celebration at Lambeau Field
What struck a chord with me was, [Randy Moss] scores the touchdown at Lambeau Field, goes in the end zone, and pantomimes like he’s pulling his pants down, and sticks his backside toward the fans, and then goes to the goal post and rubs his butt on the goal post. That seemed a little much to me, so, I said, let’s not show the replay, and that's disgusting. Well, I found out that disgusting is a word that you shouldn't use in that situation for whatever reason. Some people come up and they pat me on the back, some people go, why did you react like that? I'm not a prude. I don't mind touchdown celebrations. I think it’s a fun part of the game. But that one just seemed like it was in bad taste. I think as an athlete you have to hold yourself to a higher standard.
Buck’s opinion on the new one-game playoff in Major League Baseball
I don't know. I want to see it play out once before I have a real firm opinion on it. I do like sweetening the pot at the end of the year and opening the door for another team. I think it’s good to add a team. If you can replicate what happened at the end of last season, where it’s play-ins all over the place and this crazy day of baseball, then I’m all for it, because that's when baseball is great.
As a child, Joe spent some of his time at casinos in Las Vegas with his dad
Well, I used to love going on trips to Dodger Stadium because my Dad would take me to Vegas on the way back to St. Louis. We’d leave the charter, stop in Vegas and he’d shoot craps all night, so I was like the little rat kid that was hanging around the casino, as my Dad rolled craps and I played Donkey Kong and then went to bed. Then he’d come back in the morning and be like, “Well, we worked for free this week, Buck…”And we’d get on the plane and go back to St. Louis.
Why the All-Star game is the hardest game to call
I love the All?Star Game. It is — by far — the hardest game to do during the course of the year. If you are doing a World Series Game Seven, you think “Oh, that’s the…” And you have done ‘em. Yet you think, “Oh, that’s gonna be the most intense, the hardest one to do.” That’s the easiest one to do…Because it does itself, you just kinda get out of the way. An All?Star Game, whoever is at the plate has got a story why they are there [and] whoever is on the mound has got a story why they are there, so it gets a little hectic. [Also] it’s more of a TV show really a game. But it’s fun because it is a celebration of the sport that we love and to be there in Kansas City this year will be a blast.
Joe Buck on his father’s passing on June 18th, 2002
It was strange, because I don’t know that I ever really got a chance to let my emotions go with that. Because when he passed away—and it was the end of a long seven?month stretch of peaks and valleys in an intensive care unit in St. Louis, in a St. Louis area hospital. I was kinda the spokesperson for the family and I had to talk to the media about what was going on. A very private situation became very public. But that’s kinda like our whole lives in St. Louis. And they continue to be. So when he died, I basically had to become the emcee of his funeral. And they had an event at Busch Stadium, well, that I had to emcee.
Then I turned around and did the eulogy at his funeral on a Friday morning. [Then] go to Chicago, get ready for the Cardinals?Cubs game, and that’s the morning that Darryl Kile was found dead in his hotel room. But, to answer your question: People were lined up on the highway saluting the hearse as we went by. And to see the reaction from people and the stories on the radio — stuff we didn’t even know as family members — that he did for people that he didn’t talk about, just because it made him feel good. That’s what I loved about him… he had a big heart and he was there to help whoever needed his help because he started with nothing. He didn’t come home and say, “Hey, guess what I did today?” He just did it and lived his life.
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