Joe Buck isn’t everyone’s favorite TV play-by-play personality, especially among baseball fans. But regardless of what you think about him, he made a pretty difficult admission to Sports Illustrated‘s Richard Deitsch, one that will likely open him up to future ridicule and continued animosity from fans.
In his upcoming memoir, Lucky Bastard: My Life, My Dad, And The Things I’m Not Allowed To Say On TV, which will hit bookstores on Nov. 15, Buck admits that an addiction — or at least a very vain need — to get frequent hair replacement treatments led to the paralyzed vocal cord that threatened his broadcasting career in 2011.
Naturally, that sounds strange. Hair plugs affected his vocal cords? But as Deitsch explained on Buck’s behalf, a mishap during a hair replacement procedure led to the vocal cord paralysis.
“But something went wrong during the six-hour-plus procedure. When he woke up from the anesthetic, Buck could not speak. He believes his vocal cord was paralyzed because of a cuff the surgery center used to protect him during the procedure. A doctor not part of the operation theorized to Buck that the cuff probably got jostled during the procedure and sat on the nerve responsible for firing his left vocal cord. Buck was also going through personal stress at the time, as his marriage to his high school sweetheart was ending. That stress, Buck theorizes, could have made him more susceptible to nerve damage.”
Afraid to tell the truth — the procedure was Buck’s eighth hair replacement treatment — Buck told nearly everyone, from his bosses at Fox Sports to the media and friends, that a virus in the laryngeal nerve of his left vocal cord was what caused the loss of his voice. Admitting how the vocal cord was really damaged would have meant revealing his addiction to hair plug treatments. The nerve damage occurred during Buck’s eighth such procedure.
Buck would undergo the treatments whenever there was a break in his broadcasting schedule, typically flying to New York between the end of the NFL season and the beginning of the MLB regular season. In his book, Buck initially makes it sound as if the pressure to maintain his looks on air was behind his need for hair plugs. But he quickly dismisses that and admits that it was done for vanity. He didn’t want to lose his hair.
Some will surely poke fun at Buck for this, while those even more cynical might say he’s trying to sell a book. But he could have kept his difficulties (including marital problems and anxiety issues) to himself and preferred instead to reveal something about himself and his personal life, which he was under no obligation to do.
Clearly, he wanted to relieve himself of the burden of having lied to colleagues, writers covering him, and many friends. (Those closest to him, including his football broadcast partner Troy Aikman, were among the few who knew the truth.) Losing the ability and function of that which allows anyone to make their living would be a scary experience.
But if you prefer to keep Buck solely as the guy you watch and listen to on TV, rather than get a glimpse into his personal side, this Funny or Die video might be the way for you to go instead. Hey, he cops to his vanity here too.