Like an overworked and under-appreciated CPA in early spring, this is Joe Buck's crazy time of the year. There's Sunday afternoon football. Thursday night football. Those he calls on the rare off day between American League Championship or World Series games. He's ubiquitous on Fox, essentially the human version of leaving a television on long enough to have the logo imprint on plasma. It's exceedingly impressive every year and repetition has dulled the masses to the degree of difficulty. Plus, Buck continues to be unfairly criticized despite posting a multi-decade run at the top of the field — or perhaps because of it. Whatever reason leads people to miss the clear greatness in real-time is a shame because they're missing a hell of a called ballgame out there.
Consider the fact Buck has been working non-stop for a few weeks, flying all over the country, juggling bats, balls, and pigskins. Consider his jaunt out to the desert came after Game 2 of the Fall Classic and the quick turnaround. Then consider the energy, poise and professionalism he put forth during last night's Packers-Cardinals game, capped by a pitch-perfect explosion when Green Bay's Rasul Douglas picked off a Kyler Murray pass putting a wrap on proceedings.
Buck absolutely nailed it. He brought the emotion to an unexpected level and was quick to identify Douglas, an unexpected hero who three weeks prior has been on Arizona's practice squad. Of all possible names, Douglas' was far down the depth chart before sports happened and he thrust himself into the spotlight with some help from a confused A.J. Green.
Contrast the clutchness shown by Douglas and Buck with what happened on the Packers' home radio, where Rasul Butler was mentioned in a misguided attempt to Remember Some Guys.
And that's not to pick on Wayne Larrivee. It's to show just how hard the job of reacting in real time can be. It's the exact type of moment that might force an error for Buck, a broadcaster perpetually on the road and inundated with last names and trying to remember what city he is in currently. Instead he rose to the moment and matched the shocked excitement while getting all the facts and figures in order.
This is the time of year Buck proves he's as good as any in the field and does things no one else either has the leverage or confidence to take on. Tonight brings Game 3 of the World Series in Atlanta. And if long history is any indicator, another call fitting of the biggest stage.