McCarver had a very good career as a baseball player and he is in the hall of fame as a broadcaster. I do not question his love, passion and knowledge of the game. In fact, for newer fans, I thought McCarver did a great job of breaking down the game, and explaining the nuances in a way that was easy to understand, and at times, entertaining for the newbie. I do not know him personally but wish him well in moving on.
The reasons I won’t miss him as an analyst are:
- He is in love with the sound of his own voice.
- Too much second Guessing.
- Too negative.
I specifically mentioned beginners to baseball, because McCarver can go on and on explaining the same thing repeatedly. For people who know the game it can get to be a bit much.
Further, it’s almost like when McCarver realizes he makes a good point he then has to beat it home again and again. But sometimes he won’t make good points. He’ll make what he thinks are innovative and insightful comments and he’ll repeat those ad nauseam as well. Sometimes he’ll put others down to elevate himself during his pontificating.
I remember an instance where McCarver suggests that the umpire should have looked at an infielder’s body language as evidence that a call should have been safe instead of out. His reason was if the fielder would have made the play, it would have been the third out and he would have started running towards the dugout. Since he wasn’t running towards the dugout he didn’t make the out and the player should have been safe.
Umpiring is bang, bang. That was an absurd suggestion. Umpires cannot look at a play, then look at a player, and then make a call.
When this habit involves his second-guessing and negativity, I find it the most egregious. If ever there was an analyst who needed to be humbled by putting his money where his mouth was, it is McCarver. I would have loved to have seen him manage and put his acumen to the test.
Years ago, McCarver sat in a three-person booth where play by play was done by Joe Buck and McCarver shared analyst duties with former player and manager Bob Brenly. Brenly did a great job. He would challenge and disagree with Timmy from time to time. Brenly would often be right and make McCarver look bad (only because of McCarver’s arrogance with which he made his points). I recall two instances: In one, McCarver wanted a team to pinch hit its best players in the sixth or seventh inning suggesting their best opportunity to score is now as opposed to possibly later and against the closer. The team didn’t listen to McCarver. The team failed in the sixth but came back and won it late. Brenly reminded the audience of Tim Tim’s earlier advice and that the team may have lost if they had done as McCarver instructed.
The second was a playoff game where McCarver lambasted a manager for not bringing in a particular relief pitcher who had a great record against a hitter. “I don’t understand that, I don’t understand that at all!” McCarver rants. Brenly interrupts and points out that the statistics that the relief pitcher coming in has, are great against the hitter as well. This quiets McCarver.
After Brenly left FOX, he was not replaced, leaving McCarver as the sole analyst. I wonder why? Working alone with Buck, enabled McCarver’s “brilliance” to go more unchallenged.
Whether McCarver wanted to call it first guessing or second-guessing, I found his critiques, at times, to be bombastic and over the line. There is a reason why former managers who go to the booth are generally more respectful. It’s because they know the job and what it entails. McCarver never took that challenge to manage yet speaks as if he possess the wisdom of Solomon.
I would not suggest being bland or uncritical as an analyst, but you can be critical and respectful at the same time. You can state something without overstating it.
Unfortunately, I think a fair amount of McCarver has rubbed off on Joe Buck. Kudos to Buck’s football broadcasting partner Troy Aikman for not falling into that trap. Here is hoping whoever replaces McCarver is more like Aikman or Bob Brenly.