As for the children’s song that has swept Nationals Park, Buck is plenty familiar with that, too.
“I have listened to the f--- out of that song for the last year,” he said with a chuckle. “I have 1½-year-old twin boys. I didn’t need Gerardo Parra” — the National who uses the song as his walk-up music and sparked the phenomenon — “to introduce me to ‘Baby Shark.’ ”
Buck was trading emails recently with a St. Louis Blues staffer, looking for tickets for the Baby Shark stage show coming to Enterprise Center in St. Louis. “I’m pulling out every string I have to get five tickets,” he said, adding: “If I had a walk-up song in 2019, it would be ‘Baby Shark.’ It’s haunting. It’s mesmerizing. It’s catchy."
Buck is on the call for his 22nd World Series, which begins Tuesday night, alongside partner John Smoltz, a former starting pitcher. Viewers can expect both broadcasters to revel in the pitching matchups in Games 1 and 2: the Houston Astros’ Gerrit Cole and Justin Verlander against Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg for the Nationals. Buck was surprised, though, that Las Vegas oddsmakers had installed the Astros as more than 2-1 favorites to win the series.
“I don’t believe that number,” he said. “I wouldn’t be betting that.”
If Buck will see Washington sports at its best this week with the Nationals playing in the city’s first World Series in 86 years, he will also see District sports at, well, not its best, when he calls Thursday night’s game between the 1-6 Redskins and the Minnesota Vikings, also on Fox.
“Yes, well, I like the way you phrased it,” he said. “I won’t be quoted saying it’s the best and worst.”
“But with regard to the Redskins, you guys in D.C. know the story a hell of a lot better than I do,” he continued. “It’s just rinse and repeat. Troy [Aikman] and I were talking about it with [recently fired Redskins coach Jay Gruden] and knowing that it didn’t work out. We both think the guy is a hell of a coach.”
Thursday’s Redskins game in Minnesota against the Vikings will also be a meeting with former Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, which, under different circumstances would be a dominant story line in Washington. The Redskins’ futility and the Nationals World Series run, though, has made the reunion feel like an afterthought.
“Yeah, it’s a little different,” Buck said. “And it’s sort of a daily double for the Redskins with [former coach] Kyle Shanahan coming to town as the coach of the [San Francisco] 49ers last weekend. But it’s worth saying that everything hasn’t been rosy for Kirk Cousins in Minnesota, either."
Buck will fly from Houston to Minneapolis on Wednesday night after Game 2 and then on to D.C. after the football game Thursday night to be in D.C. for Game 3 Friday night.
Game 1 of the World Series is Tuesday night with the first pitch scheduled for 8:08 p.m.