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More Confusing: Tim McCarver’s Broadcast Or His Scorecard?


Fox baseball analyst Tim McCarver — stripped of the calming influence provided by his usual broadcast partner Joe Buck — demonstrated an amusing lack of knowledge in subjects ranging from human anatomy to prehistoric anthropology during Saturday’s airing of the Red Sox at the Rays in St. Petersburg.

He also showed us the mess of a scorecard he created during Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

McCarver — whose mistaken conclusions are usually attenuated by the black hole of boredom that is Joe Buck — was instead enabled by fellow occaionally-confused play-by-play man Dick Stockton, who filled in. See what we mean:

In order, here’s the topics McCarver should read up on before next week’s broadcast.

1. LINGUISTICS. “Turnaround” in the sense McCarver used it has an identical meaning in both British and American English. If McCarver was attempting to refer to the wide area of a dead-end road that allows vehicles to turn around, however, that’s a uniquely American thing. We’ll leave his verbal attempt at an unidentifiable dialect without comment.

2. TRIGONOMETRY. If Rays’ pitcher James Shields had performed a “full 360,” he would be performing at the same level he did last season, which is to say terrible. Thankfully for Rays fans, the All-Star pitcher instead has performed a “180″ or a reversal of direction.

3. ANTHROPOLOGY. One would assume that spending 21 seasons in the most direct participant-observer relationship possible to study the behavior, behind the plate, McCarver would have noticed the vast majority of professional baseball players run toward first base upon making contact with the baseball (the Molina tribe being an example of the handful of players who reject this dominant cultural norm).

4. STATISTICS. Having been able to make neither head nor tails of whatever McCarver blathered about how .500 teams play .800, we suggest he start with a discussion of the regression toward the mean.

5. MEDICAL ETYMOLOGY. McCarver foolishly thinks the oblique abdominal muscle just got its name “a few years ago.” Sure, if you’re counting 1702 as a few years ago. Given McCarver referred to the year 1968 as being “recent” during the same broadcast, his awareness of the passage of time is questionable, though time is a subjective concept relative to the length of your own existence and maybe Tim McCarver has been a giant sequoia all this time and nobody noticed.

No, Stockton and McCarver do not have to go to Trigonometry Saturday School together, as some in the Twitter community demanded, as an oblique angle is very much a real thing.

6. ARCHAEOLOGY and/or GEOGRAPHY and/or ORTHOGRAPHY. There are cave paintings in Spain, yes, but no language because writing had yet to be invented for tens of thousands of years. Also, Spain is on a different continent than Egypt.


  • Stephen Francis

    This is one of the funniest, most inciteful articles I have ever read.  It may be a little ”deep” for the average sports fan (which automatically means Stockton and McCarver will have no idea what it means), but I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Where did this writer originally prep and who was his high school Journalism teacher???????     Stephen Francis, The Villages, Florida 

  • Never Give an Inge (DavE)

    McCarver foolishly thinks the oblique abdominal muscle just got its name “a few years ago.” Sure, if you’re counting 1702 as a few years ago.This one is being unfair to McCarver–his point was that they didn’t start diagnosing players with “oblique strains” until recently. And he’s right, at least according to a NYT article from earlier this season:http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/12/sports/baseball/12injury.html

    “Vexing Rise in Oblique Injuries, and Little Explanation”The Los Angeles Dodgers’ head trainer, Stan Conte, was so intrigued that he stayed up through the night last week going line by line through a list he has assembled of the roughly 7,000 players who have gone on the disabled list since 1991. “I had to do that because those injuries weren’t always called obliques,” said Conte, who has spent several years trying to build mathematical formulas to predict the physical problems that players may encounter. “Until the late 1990s, they were called rib cage injuries or abdominal injuries or lower chest injuries. As M.R.I. technology got better, the diagnosis became more particular and we began to see them called oblique injuries.”

  • jimn

    this is a load of crap.  no one ever said hieroglyphics were on cave walls in spain, no one said that writing was on cave walls in spain.  they were joking about his scorecard saying it was illegible, that it wasn’t in plain english so to speak.  no one ever said that the oblique muscle got its name recently, they said that the name of that injury has become popularized recently as an oblique injury.  just because you don’t understand the point he’s making about .500 or .800 ball doesn’t mean that there isn’t a point.  the guy was running on contact, a bit obvious, but the meaning was obviously such that he was “sprinting out of the box”.  full 360 makes more sense to me than 180 because it is a “complete turnaround” you are confusing metaphor with spatial reasoning here.  mccarver was obviously speaking metaphorically and it makes complete sense.  and he didn’t say that we don’t use turnaround in the us, he said that that term was used in england.  which could well be true.

    seriously not one of your points here is valid.  this is akin to people trashing president bush 43 for his use of non-words when he knew what he was doing and we knew what he was saying.  it’s a meaningless point.  you think you’re smarter than someone because you can make up inconsistencies about things that weren’t even explicitly said.  

    seriously, this was not entertaining, it was not intelligent, it was simply frustrating, bordering on idiocy.

  • http://hollenbeezy.tumblr.com davehollenberg

    Jim: Go read Bleacher Report. Obviously, the humor in this article went way over your head.

  • Ryan

    He didn’t articulate it well, but the .500/.800 discussion makes sense.  What he was saying was, for example, if the Red Sox have a 9-game lead over the Yankees with 30 to play, and the Red Sox just go .500 the rest of the season, it forces the Yankees to go .800 the rest of the way to catch up to them.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_EVUE3DY6XK433O5VXMUPWESV3Q cpass

    Perhaps McCarver doesn’t know trigonometry, but it doesn’t matter because the measurement of degrees in an angle is a principle of geometry – not trigonometry.

    (I did catch the “360 degrees” comment at the time and thought the same thing – c’mon man, it’s 180 degrees, otherwise you’re back where you started – but in all fairness to McCarver, it’s an extraordinarily common mistake.)


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