Tim McCarver’s departure from the broadcast booth at Fox was largely celebrated by fans even though we didn’t know who his replacement would be. As they say, be careful what you wish for.
Jason McIntyre of the Big Lead has the big scoop:
Fox Sports executives and baseball broadcasters huddled at the posh, isolated Terranea Resort in Rancho Palos Verdes in Southern California this week in preparation for the upcoming season.
It was here that Fox quietly decided to unveil its new “A-Team” that will call the World Series this Fall: Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci will join Joe Buck in the booth, two sources tell The Big Lead. From 1996 to 2013, Buck had been paired with Tim McCarver.
When reached for comment this evening, a Fox spokesman had no comment.
Reynolds, sources say, was offered the role earlier this month, and accepted.
The hiring of Reynolds has been seen as inevitable in some circles, as he was mentioned as frontrunner for the gig in reports from Richard Deitsch of SI.com and Chad Finn of the Boston Globe as far back as last fall. Still, he’s not the fresh new voice many fans have clamored for. Verducci could help balance out what Reynolds lacks from an analysis perspective, but a three-man booth can get a bit crowded when sometimes fans just want the game to breathe in important moments instead of having everyone tell you why something is really important. Sigh. Here’s hoping they find the right balance.
No word on if Reynolds and Verducci will work with Buck at all during the regular season or strictly during the postseason, but there should be an announcement on the situation soon.
The story of Rick Ankiel is well known by now. He was a phenom pitcher who burst onto the scene with the Cardinals in 1999 and into the 2000 season as one of the top young talents in the game. Then, in the 2000 playoffs, he melted down. He got the yips. Whatever you want to call it, he lost the ability to throw strikes and his pitching career was soon over. He came back, however, against all odds, and remade his career as a solid outfielder.
It’s inspirational and incredible. But there is a lot more to the story that we’ve ever known. We will soon, however, as Ankiel is coming out with a book. Today he took to the airwaves and shared some about it. Including some amazing stuff:
On drinking in his first start after the famous meltdown in Game One of the 2000 National League division series against the Braves:
“Before that game…I’m scared to death. I know I have no chance. Feeling the pressure of all that, right before the game I get a bottle of vodka. I just started drinking vodka. Low and behold, it kind of tamed the monster, and I was able to do what I wanted. I’m sitting on the bench feeling crazy I have to drink vodka to pitch through this. It worked for that game. (I had never drank before a game before). It was one of those things like the yipps, the monster, the disease…it didn’t fight fair so I felt like I wasn’t going to fight fair either.”
Imagine spending your whole life getting to the pinnacle of your career. Then imagine it immediately disintegrating. And then imagine having to go out and do it again in front of millions. It’s almost impossible for anyone to contemplate and, as such, it’s hard to judge almost anything Ankiel did in response to that when he was 21 years-old. That Ankiel got through that and made a career for himself is absolutely amazing. It’s a testament to his drive and determination.
A couple of weeks ago our president wrote one of his more . . . vexing tweets. He was talking about immigration when he whipped out the phrase . . . “Easy D”:
No one was quite sure what he meant by Easy D. Was it the older brother of N.W.A.’s founder? The third sequel to that Emma Stone movie from a few years back? So many questions!
Baseball Twitter had fun with it, though, with a lot of people wondering how they could work it in casually to their commentary:
It wasn’t a scout who did it, but twelve days after that, a player obliged Mr. McCullough:
I have no more idea what Turner was talking about with that than Trump was. We’ll have to wait for the full story in the L.A. Times. But I am going to assume Turner was doing McCullough a solid with that one rather than commenting on the president’s tweet. Either way, I’m glad he made the effort.
And before you ask: yes, it’s a slow news day.