A common pastime of intelligent baseball fans is to complain about the play-by-play men and color commentators on national baseball broadcasts.*
*Let’s leave out local broadcasters in this discussion; some are homers, some are barely able to communication using the English language.
Much vituperation gets directed at FOX’s Tim McCarver. Granted, McCarver does indeed offer his opinions as if he is being paid by the word. He can be arrogrant, self-serving and trite in his opinons. Surely he swoons over stars — he petitioned for the canonization of Albert Pujols at least three times last night — and states the obvious multiple times within the same inning. I get all that. For someone who reads Baseball Prospectus regularly or enjoys the intelligent snark of Craig Calcaterra, listening to McCarver, Rick Sutcliffe or Hall of Famer Joe Morgan can be a drag.
And yet, it’s easy to forget that the majority of baseball fans are not sabermatricians. Most baseball fans watch baseball for enjoyment and nothing more. They don’t necessarily understand the intricacies of the game and appreciate McCarver and the rest of his ilk explaining the minutiae that stat heads take for granted.
As I sat watching innings thirteen through twenty of the Mets/Cardinals last night, I realized that McCarver’s style focuses on the fellow who comes home from a long day of working in his backyard, cracks open a beer and sits down to enjoy the game.
And you know what? That’s alright with me. My TV remote has a mute button. And I use it.