Fox Sports’ Joe Buck — the network’s lead voice for MLB and NFL coverage, to the satisfaction of absolutely no one outside Newscorp or Buck’s immediate family — has been suffering from a laryngeal nerve virus on his left vocal cord for several months. The New York Times’ Richard Sandomir considers what it must be like for an announcer to work the Super Bowl and discover “a week or so later, your moneymaker is nearly gone.”
When Prince Fielder and Adrian Gonzalez hit home runs at last month’s All-Star Game, Buck could barely be heard over the crowd. His call of a touchdown to the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Hines Ward during a N.F.L. preseason game last week was perfunctory, as if he were a quiet Pat Summerall.
One person wrote, “Seems like someone strapped a bomb to Joe Buck tonight & said, ‘If you change the tone of your voice or get excited, this thing goes off.’ ” Another said: “I can’t believe Joe Buck can’t shake this voice box virus. Scares me to death.” A third compared his voice to Macy Gray’s.
Still others used his vocal problems to vent their evident dislike for him.
“People say just rest your voice and don’t talk, but that doesn’t do anything,” said Buck, who first revealed his ailment to The St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “This is a nerve issue. It’s not like I have polyps or a strained vocal cord. I’m waiting for one of the longest nerves in the body to recover. Nobody has said this is something that won’t come back, but they told me it could take 6, 9 or 12 months.”
He added: “I’m the best judge of this. I can do things now that I couldn’t do two weeks ago. I feel it coming back incrementally. It’s a question of being patient and riding it out. There is more at the upper end. You may not hear it as the average listener. Now it’s more fine-tuning, like when we were younger and went to the UHF station and tried to tune it perfectly. That’s where I am.”