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Stanley Cup Final

Buck excited by Blues' run to Stanley Cup Final

'They own the town now,' says FOX announcer, longtime season ticket holder

by Tom Gulitti @TomGulittiNHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

Joe Buck believes he's feeling what Boston Red Sox fans felt before they won the World Series in 2004 or fans of the Chicago Cubs felt before they won it in 2016.

But instead of experiencing it while calling those series on television as the play-by-play announcer for FOX Sports, Buck is doing so as a longtime fan of the St. Louis Blues, who are in the Stanley Cup Final for the first time since 1970 and seeking the first championship in their 51 NHL seasons.

St. Louis will face the Boston Bruins in Game 1 of the Final at TD Garden on Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

"It just was a different feeling and that's, I'm sure, what those fans felt," Buck said Friday.

 

[RELATED: Complete Bruins vs. Blues series coverage]

 

For Buck, 50, rooting for the Blues is a family thing. His father, Jack Buck, the famed broadcaster who was known more for calling St. Louis Cardinals and NFL games, was the Blues' radio play-by-play announcer in 1967-68, their inaugural season in the NHL.

Although Dan Kelly took over calling Blues' games on the radio in 1968-69, Jack Buck became a diehard Blues fan.

"I used to sit on the couch with him and he'd jump and scream and yell at everything, and I loved it," Joe Buck said.

Buck has been a Blues season ticket holder since the early 1990s, when he'd marvel at Brett Hull's scoring touch and Adam Oates' passing skills. After Buck started his own family, he'd bring his daughters, Natalie and Trudy, with him to games.

Ironically, Buck almost gave up his season tickets last summer with Natalie now living in New York and Trudy in college.

"I'm remarried and I'm like, 'I've got twin 1-year-olds. I'm never going to go down there.'" Buck said. "Then they had that day when they made all those deals and I said, 'You know what? This is going to be one year when they win and I don't have tickets.' So I went back and got two tickets."

That day was July 1, when St. Louis signed center Tyler Bozak and forward David Perron as unrestricted free agents before acquiring center Ryan O'Reilly in a trade with the Buffalo Sabres.

Video: STL@SJS, Gm1: O'Reilly dangles in close to beat Jones

Buck was frustrated like other Blues fans when St. Louis struggled early, coach Mike Yeo was replaced by Craig Berube on Nov. 20, and they were in last place in the NHL on Jan. 3. He's delighted in their turnaround since then behind rookie goalie Jordan Binnington.

It reminds Buck of the 1999 St. Louis Rams' unexpected run to a Super Bowl championship behind Kurt Warner, who became the starting quarterback after Trent Green was injured during the preseason.

"You look at this Blues team and there are a lot of similarities that way because it comes out of nowhere," Buck said. "I think playing the role of Kurt Warner is Jordan Binnington, who is this 25-year-old rookie who was an afterthought."

Buck was unable to attend when the Blues clinched their spot in the Cup Final with a 5-1 win against the San Jose Sharks in Game 6 of the Western Conference Final on Tuesday because was recovering from a minor medical procedure. Instead, he watched from home with Trudy, his wife, Michelle Beisner, and their twins, Blake and Wyatt, who were wearing their matching Vladimir Tarasenko Blues T-shirts.

Buck will also miss Game 3 of the Cup Final at Enterprise Center on June 1 because he'll be in Charleston, South Carolina, to call the U.S. Women's Open golf tournament on FOX; Howie Long, a FOX NFL analyst and Pro Football Hall of Famer, and his son, longtime Rams defensive lineman Chris Long, will use the tickets. Buck said he plans to watch the game on television with FOX golf commentator Brad Faxon, a Bruins fan who grew up in Rhode Island.

"We usually just text during these games rooting for each other," Buck said. "Now, one of us is going to show up with bruises on Sunday."

Buck will be on hand for Game 4 on June 3 after hosting his annual Joe Buck Classic charity golf tournament, which benefits the St. Louis Children's Hospital. Hull, now a good friend, will be his playing partner. He also plans to be there to root on the Blues in Game 6 on June 9, if there is one.

"They own the town now, and in the spring or summer there's been no other entity that's been able to say that other than the Cardinals," Buck said. "The Cardinals are kind of scuffling around right now and nobody cares. I think of the first time the Blues are bumping the Cardinals off KMOX Radio for the Final, and it's everywhere you go."

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