Chip Caray’s awful announcing caused me to watch much of TBS’ postseason coverage with the television muted and Richard Deitsch of SI.com recently asked Turner Sports president David Levy about the oft-criticized play-by-play man:
Certainly, Chip made some on-the-air errors that we are well aware of, and like we do with all our sports, we will sit down in the next two to three weeks and evaluate everything. including our production and our talent. We always want to make our telecasts better. We add people. We subtract people. We add cameras. We take cameras off. I can’t make any decisions or comments today, but we will look at it the next few weeks.
But I do think it almost snowballed to the point where some of the sportswriters and columnists were actually missing an incredible postseason. Instead of writing about the game and the storyline and what was happening, it became about Chip. And I think they missed a lot. I’m not saying he didn’t make errors. Don’t get me wrong. But was it that big? Was it that big of a story? That was always my question. I’ll never know the answer to that, but obviously the writers and columnists do.
Is an announcer doing a horrible job really a huge story? Perhaps not in the grand scheme of things, but it’s tough to ignore when TBS put Caray in position to be the lead play-by-play man for the early portion of the playoffs and he failed miserably. That’s going to get a ton of attention, right or wrong. Levy and Turner Sports probably don’t mind the positive attention that Charles Barkley, Ernie Johnson, and Kenny Smith get for doing a great job on TNT’s coverage of the NBA.
Levy’s comment that “the sportswriters and columnists were actually missing an incredible postseason” sums up why Caray was such a disaster. He caused huge baseball fans like me to actually turn off the sound accompanying the events TBS was covering and thus took away from the games being played. You can blame that on sportswriters and columnists, but ultimately TBS picked Caray for the job and Caray performed horribly. Luckily it sounds like we won’t have to suffer through him again next October.
MLB.com’s Jenifer Langosch reports that Cardinals’ shortstop Aledmys Diaz has been sporting a new look around Busch Stadium with a pair of “strobe glasses,” technology-enhanced specs designed to help athletes focus on the ball. Like a strobe light, the lenses of these glasses affect a player’s vision by rapidly changing opacity, giving its wearers the illusion that the objects they see are moving more slowly than normal. Once a player adjusts to the new speed of play, they gain a greater sense of control and are able to time their actions with more precision.
Diaz isn’t the first MLB player to utilize the technology, just the first Cardinals’ player to do so. It’s been tested by Bryce Harper, Corey Brown, Tommy Joseph, Austin Hedges and Joe Mauer, among others around the league, and has been used for everything from refining a catcher’s reflexes behind the plate to tweaking a hitter’s ability to track a pitch. Per Langosch, Diaz has been using the glasses to hone in on the ball during pregame drills, increasing both his confidence and response time on the field and improving his defense at short.
The shortstop has been the focus of some concern this season after seeing a sizable dip in his production at the plate, and his five fielding errors, 0.6 UZR and 0.6 fWAR haven’t helped matters, either. He sustained a minor thumb injury during an at-bat on Friday night, and was left off of the Cardinals’ starting lineup on Saturday, though manager Mike Matheny didn’t rule out his ability to pinch-hit during the series. While the strobe glasses are a good start, Diaz will need more than a pair of specs to match the spotlight-worthy performance he turned out during his rookie season in 2016.
Red Sox’ left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez may finally get a chance at cracking the rotation again, assuming all goes well in Double-A Portland first. Rodriguez took the field prior to the club’s afternoon session with the Angels, firing 68 pitches in a simulated game as he prepared for an upcoming rehab assignment in Portland on Thursday.
The 24-year-old southpaw suffered a right knee subluxation during pregame warmups on June 1, and it’s been a slow path to recovery ever since. It’s not the first time Rodriguez has had issues with his right knee — he sustained a similar injury during spring training last year — and this time around, the Red Sox weren’t about to gamble with their starter’s health. Ian Browne of MLB.com reports that Rodriguez was put in a knee brace and underwent exercises designed to help him regain some mobility and stability while he worked back up to full strength on the mound.
He’ll still need to prove he can throw a 75- to 80-pitch outing in Double-A, and barring any significant setbacks, will likely rejoin the Red Sox’ pitching staff when they visit the Rangers next month. In the meantime, the club will continue to cycle starters through the No. 5 spot, which has seen no fewer than three different pitchers since Rodriguez hit the disabled list. The lefty is 4-2 in 10 starts this season after logging a 3.54 ERA, 3.1 BB/9 and career-high 9.6 SO/9 through his first 61 innings.