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This weekend, I get to do something nobody has ever done before: a TV broadcast of a World Series game at Wrigley Field.
It will be the No. 1 highlight of my career.
I probably shouldn’t say that. Indians fans will think I hate their team. (I don’t.) Cardinals fans will think I hate my hometown of St. Louis. (I love St. Louis and still live there.) Some Cubs fans may think I’m on their bandwagon. I don’t ride on bandwagons. But if you put your allegiances aside for a moment, hopefully you can understand. This is history.
Last week, when I announced on FOX that the Cubs had won a pennant (another thing nobody had ever done on live TV before), I got chills. I’ve never done a baseball game quite like it. The crowd at Wrigley Field seemed to hold its breath the whole night, even when the Cubs took a 5–0 lead. There was this release when they won. It was the loudest I have had to scream to get over the crowd since I lost my voice in 2011. Then I was silent for a couple minutes. The Cubs and the city of Chicago deserved that moment, and our producer John Moore did a great job of telling the story with live video and natural sound. Anything I said only would have detracted from it.
Thanks to some good fortune and the fact that my employer, FOX, has held Major League Baseball rights for most of my adult life, I have broadcast 19 World Series. I have never seen the kind of fervor for a team and a venue like I have for the Cubs and Wrigley in 2016. It’s national front-page news, and it should be. For many of us, it is the sports story of a lifetime.
Interestingly enough, thanks to Eric Mirlis’ new I Was There book (more on this at AA soon), we have what Buck listed as the five top events he’s been at (as a fan and a broadcaster) before this: Game Seven of the 1982 World Series (as a fan), and Game Three of the 2001 World Series, the 2004 ALCS, Super Bowl XLII, and Game Six of the 2011 World Series. It’s notable that he thinks this will surpass those even before any of the games in Chicago have been played, but he’s right that the Cubs’ first World Series appearance in 71 years is a big deal. Buck also had some notable comments for those who think he’s “betraying his dad” (Jack Buck, who was a long-time Cardinals’ broadcaster as well as a national voice):
To the people who think I am betraying my dad: I’m pretty sure I knew him better than you did. My dad would be over the moon about this. He would want to be sitting where I am. My dad was a baseball fan first and foremost. His favorite player to watch was not a Cardinal; it was Willie Mays. His favorite person, among baseball stars, was Stan Musial. But his favorite player on the field was Mays.
My dad loved the Cubs. He didn’t love them like a fan loves them. But he loved going to Chicago. He loved doing games at Wrigley. You can’t devote your professional life to baseball and not love walking into Wrigley Field. There is nothing like it. To do it for a World Series game? I can’t wait.
Game Three of the World Series is Friday night at 8:08 p.m. Eastern on Fox.
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