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.
According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.
The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.
Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.
It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.
I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.
The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.
Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”
Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.