Fox’s World Series broadcast gets a low grade from The New York Times


Richard Sandomir does his normally good job of reviewing and dissecting the Fox World Series broadcast over at The New York Times. His verdict: it wasn’t good. While Fox’s camera work was excellent and some of its graphics good (others bad) Sandomir gives the booth low grades, noting that the three-man setup is too chatty and that Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci’s insight was often shaky, too late or less-than illuminating. Ultimately, the three broadcasters need more reps together, Sandomir notes.

The big takeaway, with which I agree: we miss Tim McCarver. Not that he was the be-all, end-all, obviously. And not that he was as good in the past few years as he used to be (he clearly had lost a step). But (a) he was way better at anticipating things and offering his insight before an event happened rather than second-guessing afterward; and (b) the mere fact of a three-man booth just really, really sucks for baseball.

Mets fans like their three-man booth, but I feel like the Hernandez-Darling-Cohen booth is the exception, not the rule. They have a relaxed thing that is better geared toward the regular season (and Hernandez is not totally full-time anyway). And if you have to have three guys in the booth, at least the Mets’ setup is ideal: a pitcher to break down pitcher stuff and an everyday player to talk about hitting and defense. Indeed, I find it rather crazy that the Fox booth doesn’t have either a former pitcher or former catcher like McCarver was who can talk about pitching. That seems essential to me.

In an ideal world — in my view anyway — you have a one-man booth with a person who can talk about the game at hand, not get lost in conversation. Someone who can set the scene and offer some occasional color-style insights (broadcasts over-analyze unimportant crap as it is). No one really does that anymore, but I think there are a lot of decent play-by-play guys who, if allowed to do that for a while, would become good at it. Vin Scully is great, but he’s not some absurd freak of nature or a god. He got great at that because he’s done it forever and knows what the heck he’s doing. If, say, Len Kasper or someone was allowed to do that for a long time and became, say, 66% of what Scully is, we’d be about 200% better with broadcasting than we generally are now. Heck, I bet even Joe Buck could do it. He’s way better than he used to be — he’s actually gotten really good at feeling the moment in a baseball game, which was one of his early problems — and he’s been around enough to make note of significant strategic things if he was allowed to.

But I suppose that’s a pipe dream. Now Fox, ESPN and TBS give us three-man booths, for whatever reason they do it. Maybe because they can. It makes for a crappy game product though. So short of going to a one-man, ratchet it back to a two-man booth and get someone in there who knows what the heck they’re doing.

Houston’s Yordan Alvarez leaves game with ankle discomfort

Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports

HOUSTON — Houston slugger Yordan Alvarez left the Astros’ game against the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fifth inning with left ankle discomfort.

Alvarez, who is tied for second in the American League with 37 home runs, rolled his ankle running out of the box on a single in the first inning.

He looked to be in some pain as he jogged to first base and was checked on briefly by manager Dusty Baker and a trainer before remaining in the game. Serving as the designated hitter, he struck out in the third inning before being replaced by pinch-hitter David Hensley for his at-bat in the fifth.