Greetings from Istanbul. I was willing to forgo the rest of the World Series out of respect to a good friend who is getting married.
So while I won’t be watching all of Game 6, I might try to wake up super-early to catch the last few outs. (On second thought, maybe I’ll catch more than one or two innings. After all, the severe time difference is likely to be offset by the “patient” Boston hitters and “deliberate” pitching staff.)
Before the packing had begun, I came across an interesting column from Newsday sports media columnist Neil Best on soon-to-be-retired Fox Sports analyst Tim McCarver’s prescient commentary prior to the end of the 2001 World Series:
It was Nov. 4, 2001. Surely you remember, but let’s let Joe Buck set the scene:
“The chance of a lifetime for Luis Gonzalez — 2-2, bottom of the ninth, Game 7 of the World Series, bases loaded, infield in, one out,” Buck said on Fox that night.
Gonzalez fouled off the first pitch from Mariano Rivera. “Strike one,” Buck said.
Then Tim McCarver said this:
“One problem is Rivera throws inside to lefthanders. Lefthanders get a lot of broken-bat hits into shallow outfield – the shallow part of the outfield. That’s the danger of bringing the infield in with a guy like Rivera on the mound.”
On the next pitch, Rivera threw inside to Gonzalez, who hit a broken-bat single to the shallow part of the outfield, a ball Derek Jeter likely would have caught from his normal position.
Said Buck: “Floater! Centerfield! The Diamondbacks are World Champions!”
Sure, those in the analytics community will never forget his comments in recent times about home runs as rally killers and impacted by global warming, among others.
But the Best piece reminds us of what McCarver could bring to the microphone.
I will remember him fondly for forming an electric partnership covering Mets games for WWOR with Ralph Kiner during the 1980s and early 90s. McCarver had a knack of extracting great stories from Kiner, who had a Hall of Fame career, both on and away from the diamond. And not only was he informative about the game but also found time during blowouts to offer news-you-can-use tips, including one on dry cleaning that was useful for an 18-year old wearing suits for the first time at a summer internship for a Japanese bank.