Wednesday, March 27, 2013

It was time to go a long time ago


During my budget spiel at work today, when I recount the top sports events of the day, I mentioned that Tim McCarver announced that he was retiring from broadcasting at the end of this season.

My boss, who isn't a baseball fan but likes sports, said immediately, "I can't stand that guy."

It took me off guard. It shouldn't have. But it did. This is how thoroughly McCarver has rubbed people the wrong way. That someone who wasn't even a baseball fan could recognize how annoying McCarver is on the air.

Then I read the story on the wire. McCarver said that it was time to go, that he wanted to leave while he could still do the job and was happy with his work.

OK. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion. Especially when you're critiquing your own work.

But I know that I speak for countless people when I say that, good gosh, Tim, it was time to go a long time ago. Even my boss could see it.

And this is coming from a person who actually liked McCarver once upon a time, who liked his announcing.

There are a lot of people who only know McCarver's work from his days on a national stage, only know him stating the obvious, stating the stupid, stating the incorrect, pairing with Joe Buck to provide the most painful announcing experience since the days of Merle Harmon and Ron Luciano (yeah, I know you don't remember that combo, but it was bad).

But there was a time, when McCarver broadcast Mets games on WOR in the 1980s, when -- and I hesitate to say this knowing how much people dislike the man -- he was delightful.

Yup.

His broadcasts were interesting. You learned things. You enjoyed baseball when he was talking. You liked him. You liked the game. It was fun.

I didn't feel any of that when McCarver was at Fox. I'm not sure how that happened. Did McCarver get too big-time? Did he get too old? Did Fox get to him? I haven't been able to figure it out. All I know is that when he talks during games now, all I can hear is "You're a real man, Deion."

I'm also not sure why other people can't see or hear that. There are some people who still like McCarver's broadcasting. When he announced his departure today, people came out and said how great a broadcaster he is and how much they learned from him. And then there are the people who elected him to win the Hall of Fame Ford Frick Award for excellence in broadcasting. What was that all about?

Is this just something you say and do when someone has worked for so long in the public eye? Do they mean all of that? And if so, can someone explain it to me?

My only regret about McCarver's announcement is that he didn't announce it at the end of a season. Now, we've got a farewell tour to live through. I have no doubt that Fox will make it as excruciating as possible. Buck will say a bunch of stuff he thinks is funny and cute and McCarver will be all "aw shuckins" and -- that's it, I'm not watching a single Fox baseball broadcast this year.

Happy trails to you, Tim. You should've left awhile ago. Like around 1989. When everyone else thought you could still do the job and were happy with your work.

9 comments:

  1. Here is Chicago, Harry Caray is revered like a saint. The sad part is for the last years with the Cubs, the guy was an absolute joke. Which is sad. Find a copy of "When It Was a Game" and you will hear a bit of Caray when he was a quality broadcaster instead of the pathetic shell that he was at the end.

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  2. I think you hit the nail on the head with the Deion comment. For whatever reason, ever since that happened it was hard for me to view him as anything but a cranky, stuck up, old man who thought he was too good for today's players. For whatever reason, that incident made him look bad too alot of people.

    I actually disliked him less (still disliked him, just less) the last year or two. Not sure why. Maybe I'm becoming a cranky old man myself.

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  3. The farewell tour is exactly why he announced it now. He wants the accolades and buttkissing.He's the anti-Barry Sanders.

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  4. McCarver doesn't really bother me, I don't know why. I think it's because the announcers are white noise to me, unless they are really good. Or maybe I don't care enough about his announcing to dislike him. Probably that.

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  5. I'm announcing I'm giving up blogging. Sometime in the future. Let the farewell tour begin.

    Seriously though, even though I'm not a fan, it's got to be tough to give up the game you've been involved with since you were a kid. I won't miss hearing him on the games (whenever they did a Rangers game, I turned down the sound and listened to the local radio guys anyway).

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  6. Couldn't have been happier to see that news today. The sad thing is, though, McCarver's work today is mostly a product of FOX's game of the week/playoff package baseball. As in, they decide to pretend that whatever game you're watching is the most important thing that you've ever seen and also that you've never watched ball-based games before.

    When I first subscribed to the MLB Extra Innings package in 2007, it provided me with my first experience of hearing out-of-market regional game broadcasts. I got to hear Joe Buck do Cardinals game for FSN Midwest as he was on his way out, just doing a dozen or so games a year. Even though he was pretty much "big timing" his local team by that point, I was astonished at how entertaining he was when the bright FOX spotlights were off. I had never been a fan of his work until then, but it swayed me a bit.

    I guess I can only hope that pre-FOX, regional broadcast McCarver offered something. He's only made my ears bleed, though.

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  7. I always thought it funny that both Yankees and Red Sox fans hated him for favoring the other team in his broadcasts when they faced each other.

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  8. Yup. McCarver was great as a Mets announcer! He always had stories and fun facts about seemingly everything. Then, he went to announcing Yankee games and became a typical Yankees fan. Any time the Yankees lost or made an error, there was an excuse behind it or it wasn't right or whatever. Thenhe went to FOX and became even worse.

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