Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Best Broadcasting Strategy: Don't Let Tim McCarver Talk (Or, "Quite Possibly the Stupidest Thing to Live-Blog Ever")

When he asked who the one hitter who would matter most in the All-Star game tonight would be, it was probably for the better that Joe Buck answered his own question by saying "Albert Pujols." No doubt, McCarver just would have said, "Derek Jeter."

Depending on how idiotic Buck-McCarver sound, this may or may not be a live-blog of the All-Star game (or the commentary)...

(8:51) McCarver actually heaps praise on Ichiro first, and damn if I don't agree - I can't think of anybody who's better at working an 0-2 pitch, either.

(8:52) ...aaaaannnddd there's Buck with the first fellation of Jeter, countering McCarver (!) by suggesting Jeter's better with an 0-2 count.

(8:54) Jeter hit on the hand. It would have hurt if MLB weren't weak and allowed players to wear roughly 17 inches of bionic material on their arms.

Amazing that an entire Jeter at-bat, McCarver said nothing about his favorite player ever. Has the real Tim McCarver been kidnapped, substituted by a clone?

(8:56) The only thing worse than watching Teixeira get an RBI is watching Pujols flub it. I like Mark Teixeira better in April...

Jeter scores; AL up 1-0. The most remarkable thing - still not a peep out of McCarver not just about Jeter, but about the Yankees. Seriously, who is this guy impersonating Tim McCarver? He really hasn't done his homework on a McCarver impersonation.

(8:58) and since this is already an exercise in time-wasting and stupid commentary, let me just say that the St. Louis outfield's grass-cutting is pretty cool - they've cut a giant arch in there, with the design of the courthouse below (on the fringe of the infield). Though that raises an interesting question - yes, it's a landmark, but is it really a good idea to remind people where the Dred Scott decision was originally made? "St. Louis - baseball, the arch, and helping the U.S. get closer to civil war!"

(9:02) Here comes the NL to bat now, already down 2-0. Yadier Molina is batting 8th. I love All-Star game starting catchers. Advantage: AL.

(9:05) Buck threatens to talk to Ken Rosenthal about Roy Halladay's situation "later tonight." I can hardly wait.

(9:06) Buck and McCarver both saying Pujols is the best player in the game. The McCarver-impersonator shows he's catching up a bit, saying "It was A-Rod. Now it's Pujols."

(9:07) And the NL goes quietly. I'm sure it was nearly fun reading that live-blogging as it was to write it. That said, dissertation writing is calling, and I can't even trick myself into thinking this is a useful way to spend my time. If anything especially noteworthy (or snark-worthy) happens, maybe I'll say something.

Now, back to productivity.....*sigh*....

(9:12) OK, productivity after this question - does anybody talk more slowly than Ken Rosenthal? He's almost as hard to listen to as he is to read.

(9:17) Ah, screw it. Obama's in the booth now. This is the smartest the Fox broadcasting booth has sounded in years....

...until Joe Buck asks Obama if coming to St. Louis is a nice rest from traveling to Russia and Ghana.

(9:22) Obama just referred to Jimmie Rollins, Ryan Howard, and the defending-champion and first-place Philadelphia Phillies as "scrappy." Is he finding new ways to subvert notions of race in America?

(9:38) Jeter jumps to get a throw to first for the third out of the bottom of the 3rd inning. That's not so surprising. What is surprising? He was running towards first base, and still had to jump. But he's the greatest shortstop ever!!!

(9:50) Kansas City's Zack Greinke pitching now. This, of course means that a Royal has appeared before a Cleveland Indian. It's been that kind of year for Cleveland. Fortunately, I saw this coming back in April....

(9:58) In discussing Carl Crawford's speed (and strangely comparing him to Lou Brock), Joe Buck responds to McCarver's praise of Crawford's speed by saying, "Imagine how much faster he'd be if he just pulled his pants up!" Hahahaha! Fogeyism with a faint whiff of racism ("why do all these African-Americans wear their pants so low?")! Awesome!

(9:59) And in the "most useless trivia ever [ALL categories]", Buck tells us that Derek Jeter cried when Chris Webber called timeout in the 1993 NCAA championship. Jeter a Michigan Wolverines fan - nothing could surprise me less.

(10:45) Victor Martinez substituted for Joe Mauer in the 6th inning, and the Indians are represented! And he bats now in the 8th, with Curtis Granderson on 3rd and one out, and they opt to walk Martinez in hopes of the double-play. Everybody fears the Cleveland offensive threat.

(11:30) AL wins 4-3, marking the 13th straight year that the NL has not won. Obviously, it was Victor Martinez's brilliant calls from behind the plate that allowed the AL to maintain its tie and lead, and without him, the AL would have certainly lost the game. I don't know who else could possibly have been MVP, though no doubt, the standard anti-Great Lakes bias will come out, and it will probably go to some East-Coast elite (yep - sure, the catch was great, but Martinez called that pitch!). And this year, the game was remarkably short - just two and a half hours (only an hour and fifty minutes longer than the pre-game show). So the AL will host home-field again in the World Series, which will probably continue to be as meaningless as it has been since this rule was initiated. But, as somebody who doesn't get cable and who lives in a city where nearly all the games are blacked out, it was good to see baseball, even with Buck displaying his usual idiocy and McCarver being strangely restrained.