For all of the hate that Joe Buck gets around here – and it’s a lot – he’s undeniably tied to one of the greatest sports moments in Philadelphia history: the 2008 World Series. While his sometimes lethargic delivery for Philadelphia teams (or really, whoever you are rooting for) strikes a nerve with a lot of people, his call of Matt Stairs’ NLCS bomb in 2008 belongs in the pantheon of Philly sports history:

Through his matter-of-fact delivery, “Stairs rips one into the night” bursts like Shakespearean prose. Recently, Buck sat down with Dave Davies on NPR’s Fresh Air to talk about his career and was asked about that call:

DAVIES: All right, now I want to play a call of yours, which is exactly about this – accentuating what the audience sees, not repeating it. This is from 2008, the National League Championship Series, Phillies vs. Dodgers. This – our program is broadcast from Philadelphia, so I’m a Phillies fan. I remember watching this game…

Now, I’ve remembered that call for eight years because it’s just a lovely piece of baseball poetry. Stairs rips one into the night as you see the ball disappear into the shadows. You know, writers have time to craft phrases like that. You’ve got to do it in the moment. Is there a technique? Are there muscles that you develop for coming up with that quick, evocative turn of phrase?

BUCK: Well, I think the first thing is you have to be prepared. And if you’re prepared, you can be relaxed. And I’m not giving you a canned answer. I’ve never thought about it in these terms, really. But I think if you are ready for a moment like that – and by ready, I mean you’ve got all the stats of Stairs at your fingertips if you want to go there. You know who’s on the mound. You’re aware of the game’s situation. And now you can just sit back and watch.

It’s when you’re ill-prepared and you’re on the edge of your seat and you’re gripping and you’re going, oh my God, where’s Stairs’ stats and yeah, he is a beefy, left-handed hitter and who’s the guy on the mound and, you know, I’m lost in this game that you don’t see that. I remember making that call. I remember that vividly. And it was one of those – it was like a thump. Those moments and that swing and that connection and that ball flying off his bat kind of hits you in the chest. And it takes a little bit of your breath away because it’s a stunning moment in a really intense game. And so you better be ready for that to happen.

Buck additionally defends his habit of “under-talking” and letting the game unfold for itself, saying:

“I just want to state what happened. I want to do it an exciting way. I haven’t always accomplished that, by the way. And I want to get out of the viewer’s head. It’s not about me…

I’ve joked that if I get hit by a bus going into a game, they’re still going to play. And the guys that bother me, without naming names, are the guys who sound like if they got hit by that bus, the game would be canceled.”

You can listen to Buck’s whole interview here if you can stomach hearing him talk outside of a game broadcast.

Kyle: I detect a shot at Buck there and I just don’t get it. He’s absolutely terrific and also interesting.

[h/t r/Phillies]