Like many of you, I am no fan of Joe Buck. Â I don’t like his broadcast style, I don’t like his personality and I don’t like his snarky derisiveness when it comes to baseball and especially the Red Sox.
But seven years ago tonight, I heard Joe Buck say the most amazing words I have ever heard a broadcaster say and because of that every time I hear Buck’s voice during a World Series game, just for a few moments, I love him. Â I was reminded of this tonight when I turned on Game 6 of the World Series. Â When I hear him say something baseball-related over a visual of the World Series, I’m suddenly in my den on October 27, 2004 watching Edgar Renteria hit the ball “Back to Foulke”.
While reminiscing today about that amazing evening, I wondered something I hadn’t ever wondered before. Â Why didn’t I have WEEI on that night, to listen to Joe Castiglione call the end of the game and the winning of the World Series? Â I’ve since heard both Joe Buck’s and Joe Castiglione’s calls (and even have a bottle opener that plays Castig’s ALCS and World Series calls when you use it) and, hands down, I prefer Joe Castiglione’s but for some reason that night (heck that entire series) it never occurred to me to listen to the radio and it never occurred to me to ask myself why until this year.
As a comparison, during the 70s and 80s, I watched all the Boston Celtics games on television, usually with the volume off and Johnny Most on my radio (especially for the playoff games) because it was important to me to hear his emotions and reactions. Â Johnny was as much a part of the game for me as the Celtics were but for some reason Joe Castiglione (who I enjoy listening to) never compelled me that same way.
So while I prefer Castig’s call, the one I heard live and the one that really does play over in my mind when I think of this day seven years ago is Buck’s. Â As I write this, I’m listening to him call this year’s game six live and every time his voice gets a little louder with a hint of excitement in it, I’m transported back in time. Â (It isn’t going unnoticed by me that the St. Louis Cardinals are in the same place tonight that they were in 2004, albeit a game off. Â With a win tonight, the Texas Rangers will become the World Champions on the Cardinals’ field, seven years to the day that the Boston Red Sox did the same thing.)
I’m going to rip myself off here and repeat something I wrote this morning: Â I hope that no matter what is going on in my life, the memory of that day will always make me happy even if only for a moment.
Let me tell you something, this year has been probably the worst year of my life for many reasons, yet, as stupid as it might sound to some people, when I woke up this morning and realized what today was and went looking around for stories and pictures and videos from October 27, 2004, it made me happy. Â It made me remember that life isn’t always terrible and that there are moments in it that make everything else all right…even if only for a moment.
October of 2004 was such an amazing time in the lives of Red Sox fans and it’s something that deserves to be remembered and celebrated. Â I will always feel a bit sorry for sports fans who will never have the opportunity to feel what we all did during that time. Â There was a local commercial that came out a few months after the World Series win that showed a Red Sox fan sitting in his car at a red light and suddenly just freaking out with joy. Â Punching the steering wheel, woo-hooing, just going wild…the point being that even in the middle of a mundane day when you aren’t thinking about it, suddenly thinking about it again will bring back all those amazing feelings. Â Hearing the St Louis crowd cheering while I type this is bringing it all back.
I’m not ashamed to say that the post-season of 2004 changed my life. Â It did. Â You don’t devote a significant part of your life to something like following a baseball team that hasn’t won it all in 86 years without being affected by it when they finally do. Â Maybe I’m not richer, maybe I’m not any better a person than I was in 2003, and maybe the world didn’t turn entirely upside down but, at the very least, I’m a bit happier. Â And that’s a lot to be thankful for.
I’m thankful to the Red Sox, their players, their owners, the coaches, Tito and Theo…and I’m even thankful to Joe Buck for giving me a memory that will never grow old.