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JOESAM2002 01-11-2005 05:57 PM

Get ready to laugh...another BuddyD story..
January 11, 2005
Dilibertowas king of Saints critics

By Rick Cleveland

"When you go to Heaven after you die, tell St. Peter you're a Saints fan. He'll say, 'C'mon in, I don't care what else you done, you suffered enough.' "

- Buddy Diliberto

Rick Cleveland
Buddy Diliberto, better known to New Orleans Saints fans as Buddy D, died last Friday night at the age of 73 of a heart attack. If Buddy D has had his meeting with St. Peter, he surely has been passed through the gates. Despite Buddy's almost constant criticism of the Saints, he adored them.

Says Archie Manning, "Listeners always misunderstood that about Buddy. They thought because of the way he criticized the Saints, he hated them. The opposite was true. He loved the Saints, but, like most Saints fans, he was eternally frustrated."

Today's column comes with this disclaimer: I did not know Buddy Diliberto well. But as was the case with thousands upon thousands who listened to him on WWL I've heard him talk as much as I've heard some of my closest friends.

With apologies to Jim Henderson and Hokie Gajan, Buddy D really was the voice of the Saints. His pre-game and post-game call-in shows were often the highlights of a trip to New Orleans to watch the Saints.

The Saints might lose. Indeed, they might stink up the Superdome. You might get stuck in I-10 traffic for hours, but at least you could listen to Buddy D and his loyal callers such as Abdul from Pascagoula and so many others.

Buddy D was a malaprop waiting to happen. For Buddy, Snake Stabler would become Stake Snabler. Deuce McAllister was, at least once, Douche McAllister. A moot point was a mute point. Torn knee ligaments were just as likely to be torn lee nigaments. A torn rotator cuff was a turn rotary cup.

And a squirrel was always a squirrel. That's what Buddy D called overly optimistic Saints fans: squirrels.

Five minutes of listening to Buddy would drive an English teacher into hysteria. The King's English? Buddy's was anything but.

And then there was his delivery: fast, furious and filled with mispronunciations. When I listened to Buddy D for any length of time, I found myself waiting for his spit to come right on through the speakers.

You've heard people say that somebody has a face made for radio? Buddy D not only had a face made for radio, he had a voice made for newspapers. That's what he was in the beginning: a sports reporter for The Times-Picayune. He made the switch from newspapers to television and then to radio.

"The thing about Buddy was that he was a really good reporter and writer," Archie Manning said. "That's what he really was, a writer."

Times-Picayune sports columnist Peter Finney, one of the great people in this business, first met Buddy D in 1950 when Diliberto joined the newspaper's sports staff.

"Buddy was a fine writer, and he always considered himself a newspaper guy even after all those years in radio and TV," Finney says. "He never took himself seriously as a broadcaster. He'd just say whatever was on his mind, and if he was wrong he would admit it."

Buddy D's biggest admission came after he campaigned hard for Mike Ditka to be hired as the Saints head coach. Ditka was a bust, and Buddy D willingly took the blame.

Says Finney, "Buddy always said that they would probably put it on his tombstone that he was responsible for Mike Ditka."

Maybe they should. My guess is that Buddy D would get a kick out of it. But they should also consider using this, from Pete Finney, for Buddy D's epitaph:

"Buddy was a po boy-and-Barq's root beer guy. He was New Orleans through and through. That's why people loved him. He was one of them."

BrooksMustGo 01-11-2005 06:15 PM

Get ready to laugh...another BuddyD story..
Gosh I\'m going to miss Buddy.

Any chance would could get a Buddy feeds the squirrels sig?

Thanks for posting JoeSam.

Saint_LB 01-11-2005 06:26 PM

Get ready to laugh...another BuddyD story..
Thanks for the post...but, I wish I hadn\'t have read the po-boy and Barq\'s root beer part. I grew up on the Gulf Coast, but presently reside in the Chicago area. When I lived on the Coast, I would have po-boy and Barq\'s every day if I had my way. I always had trouble deciding between shrimp and roast beef...and the Barq\'s had to be ice cold and in the bottle. They don\'t have anything like that anywhere else in the country...why I don\'t know.

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