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.
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.