The Reaction To Tim McCarver’s Retirement Was Actually Somewhat Less Vitriolic Than Expected
Buckle up: we’re going long with this one. If Tim McCarver’s impending retirement doesn’t interest you, scroll down to item No. 2. For everyone else: when I heard the news earlier today that McCarver was stepping down after a three-decade-plus career in broadcasting, the first thing I thought was: “Oh, there is about to be a torrent of internet crap-talking.” After all, despite the site’s name, McCarver was arguably just as critical a component of Fire Joe Morgan’s lifeblood as Morgan himself. I even said in a group chat with fellow SportsGrid editors Dylan Murphy and Matt Rudnitsky:
the internet is good at a lot of things, and one of those things is hating tim mccarver
So I started looking. And what I found was… well, not quite what I expected. There was this praise from Ken Rosenthal:
I’ve learned a ton of baseball from Tim McCarver. And though you might not want to admit it, if you’ve watched him, you have, too.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) March 27, 2013
…but that’s to be expected. They’re Fox coworkers. Of course he’s going to be nice. But it wasn’t just him:
really actually gonna miss Tim McCarver. frankly i just like it when a game is called by a nice guy who enjoys baseball.
— Jon Bois (@jon_bois) March 27, 2013
Matt Yoder at Awful Announcing (which features McCarver on its own Mt. Rushmore of, well, awful announcing) had this to say:
It’s no secret McCarver’s work has not been as strong in recent years as it once was…However, as McCarver announces his retirement, we can be serious for a moment and recognize the impact he’s had on the broadcast industry. Now’s not the time to start breaking out the champagne bottles and celebrate ala Deion Sanders.
And Craig Calcaterra at HardballTalk had some outright praise for the guy:
When he came onto the broadcasting scene in the late 70s and early 80s, the ex-jock in the booth was almost a comic relief role…A lot of “hoo-boys!” and “that was a nice pitch” kind of commentary. It was usually a friendly voice, but not a necessarily informative one.
McCarver changed that. Especially in his early days, he would break down strategies and pitch sequences in ways that most color guys weren’t really doing. We take so much of it for granted now, but he really did work to explain what was happening in a game and why and how one thing would lead to the next in ways that TV viewers rarely got.
This is not to say there wasn’t plenty of “good riddance” sentiment out there as well – there was. A sampling:
And the above-mentioned Jon Bois? he was part of a point-counterpoint on SB Nation, the other half of which harbored decidedly less fond feelings toward McCarver. And as for Mike Schur, a.k.a. Ken Tremendous of Fire Joe Morgan fame:
Don’t mean to brag, but thanks to #FJM, Tim McCarver only got to do 23 World Series before he…retired…on his own schedule…never mind.
— Ken Tremendous (@KenTremendous) March 27, 2013
Even taking this into account, though, there was a good deal less hostility surrounding this announcement than I thought there would be. Team SportsGrid, for our part, couldn’t muster any: Matt, Dylan and I all agreed we had nothing much to say ourselves about McCarver’s legacy. And Grant Brisbee, who took the “won’t miss him” stance in that above-mentioned SB Nation point/counterpoint, actually came to a conclusion that was similar in a way:
He was a fake-to-first, fake-to-third non-pickoff move. He was something I could certainly do without, but he was also something I could ignore.
That’s, like, the worst description possible for an announcer.
It’s not necessarily a good description for an announcer, but I think one could do worse. If you’re not going to add to my viewing experience, at least don’t actively detract from it. While Brisbee said that to nail the role of color commentator one must be either “brilliant and endlessly compelling or completely loathsome and annoying,” I’d take “harmlessly ineffectual” over the latter personality every time.
I’ll join Brisbee in not missing McCarver once he’s gone from the booth, but I also won’t be counting the days until his exit. I don’t have any ill feelings toward the guy – and that’s despite me not even being alive, much less watching baseball, when he was probably at his best. For a guy who got ripped on as often as McCarver did, he’s really not leaving a bad legacy behind. [SI]
We now resume the regularly-scheduled roundup.
Wait, sorry, let me rephrase: godod twrertng PBHwo23′;;l; [Phil Jackson’s Twitter]
I don’t think I even look that calm writing this post right now. [Deadspin]
You know, aside from the “comparing people to Hitler is just plain uncool” thing. [Dirty Tackle]
5. Not sports related, still important.
“Mini brownie cupcakes, cream cheese frosting, and strawberries.”
It’s all about the strawberries.
Just Toothpaste Man at Ultra.