Tim McCarver wins the Ford Frick Award for broadcasting excellence

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This tweet from Major League Baseball speaks for itself, so I’ll just let it speak:

Tim McCarver selected as recipient of Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting by [The Baseball Hall of Fame].

Fine, go ahead and say what you want to say. I’ll defend McCarver, though.  While he hasn’t been at the top of his game for the past few years, he was a pretty fantastic color man for a long, long time and went a long way towards upping the intelligence of the discourse.

If you doubt me, go back and pull some tapes of games from the 70s and 80s if you can find them and listen to just how boring and basic the second banana’s commentary often is.  “Yeah, he really smoked that one,” passed for insight for a lot of guys back then. It seems obvious now, but McCarver’s ability to explain what is going to happen next and why was arguably revolutionary for the position.

My personal preference is a single-man booth. But I’m not necessarily the audience to whom a color commentator is aimed.  For those who do want a little more explanatory framework with their baseball viewing, McCarver has set a standard of sorts over his career, and is worthy of being honored.

The Nats want Trea Turner to attempt 75-80 stolen bases this year

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When it comes to cliche spring training stories, we talk a lot about “Best Shape of His Life.” Sometimes we talk about the “[Pitcher] has been working on a changeup” or “[Hitter] has made an adjustment to his swing” stories too. Then there’s the “we’re really going to focus on fundamentals” quotes managers love to give in February and March. They’re evergreens. 

Another one in that category is the “we’re going to run more” or “we plan to be aggressive on the base paths this year.” You hear that from at least one or two managers every spring. I imagine because, like the fundamentals one, it deals with something over which they have at least some moderate control. It’s a good quote.

We’re hearing it from Nats training camp this year with respect to one particularly speedy player in Trea Turner. From Mark Zuckerman at MASN:

Davey Martinez called Trea Turner into his office this week and told the speedy shortstop he wants him to attempt more stolen bases this season. How many? Let’s just say even the ultra-aggressive Turner was taken aback.

“Yeah, he gave me a number,” Turner said. “And I was like: ‘Wow, all right.’”

Martinez later revealed to assembled reporters that he thinks if Turner “attempts 75-80, we’ll be in great shape.”

Turner led the National League with 43 stolen bases on 52 attempts in 2018. The year before he attempted 54, which was his career high. Only only four players have attempted 80 or more stolen bases in the past ten years, so yes, 75-80 would be quite the escalation.

Which is not to say it’s silly. On a very basic level, yeah, if he is stealing bases more often, even without changing his basic approach, the Nats WILL be in great shape because it’ll likely mean that he’s on base more, and that’s good. If it’s merely a matter of him being more aggressive in the same number of times on base, well, let me know, but I’m not holding my breath.

I guess it’s nice to have goals, though.