After calling his record-setting 24th World Series, Tim McCarver will sign off this week at the end of the Fall Classic. Sports editor Jon Styf and columnist Tom Musick discuss:
Musick: Love him or hate him, Tim McCarver has been a part of my Octobers for as long as I can remember. Now, the 72-year-old is stepping down. How many broadcast giants do we have left calling games? And is it fair to think of McCarver as one of them?
Styf: The one giant I really care about in baseball is Vin Scully. Back when I had the MLB Package, I found myself watching Dodgers games for no reason. And the way he called Yasiel Puig and what happened with the Dodgers’ turnaround this season was just about perfect. I don’t like McCarver as a broadcaster, but I can’t be too bitter because Mickey Lolich and the Detroit Tigers did get the best of him back in 1968.
Musick: Scully is perfect for baseball. He’s observant, he’s understated, and he somehow comes across as conversational in a one-man booth. As far as baseball voices go, I’m probably in the minority when I say that I enjoy Joe Buck’s dry humor, and I’m probably in the majority when I say that Len Kasper is one of the main reasons I’ll stay tuned to Cubs games.
Styf: The largest problem I have in this debate is that I rarely watch sports with the volume on, and when I do it’s the Bears game. This year, they’ve had some awful, awful announcing, led by Thom Brennaman and Brian Billick calling the game against the Lions. They missed several things, like Calvin Johnson hurting his knee on a run play (he missed the next game, at Green Bay, because of it) and Johnson’s knee coming down inbounds on a ball he bobbled and was then called incomplete. Five times they replayed it, four times both guys missed what happened. After the fifth, Billick chimed in that maybe he bobbled it. Ya think?
Musick: Never trust a Thom. You’re right, though, both of them are brutal. I kind of wish Brent Musburger could call every football game in both college and the NFL. His Katherine Webb stuff was awesome, and I loved him going back and forth with Eminem about which one was the legend.
Styf: I am still astounded that one network lets Chris Berman do play by play, of real games. He would be great at NHRA or horse racing. OK, maybe it would just be tolerable because it was so short. But he’s still employed, still doing his thing, seemingly oblivious to all the noise around him. I have a soft spot for Dick Vitale, too, not necessarily for his announcing but for his excitement (and positivity, which may or may not be a word) and all of the positive charity work he does. My other favorites are John McEnroe and Johnny Miller. Honesty, blunt criticism and the willingness to say what you really think is effective.
Musick: So you’re the one! I knew somebody still watched tennis. OK, so if Berman asked to be a part of the McHenryCountySports.com “Friday Night Live” webcast, would you let him join you and Les in the booth?
Styf: If it means me having to talk less, than yes. It would probably temporarily be a viewership boost, too, watching the train wreck get even worse. As long as it doesn’t cut down on Les’ commentary. ...