SBD/October 31, 2013/Media

McCarver Gets Video Tribute, Praise From Partner Joe Buck During Final MLB Call

McCarver is done in his role with Fox, but is not ruling out broadcasting entirely
Fox ended its World Series Game 6 coverage last night with a tribute to analyst Tim McCarver, who was calling his final MLB game for the network. A video was aired of McCarver reminiscing about his career as both MLB player and broadcaster. McCarver noted his first World Series as a broadcaster was in '85 with Al Michaels and Jim Palmer. After the taped piece, McCarver told Fox' Joe Buck, "I don’t know who's going to replace me next year, but I will guarantee you one thing: This guy will make you better, and I mean much better, and it's been a privilege and an honor to be with you, Joe." McCarver added, "Thirty-four years ago my obligation shifted from the field and the players to the booth and to you, the viewers. Fairness and accuracy and honesty have always been my goals, along with teaching you something you may not have known about this great game. I hope I've achieved those things. Thank you very much." Buck said, "I speak on behalf (of MLB and Fox) when I say thank you for the credibility you bring us night after night in October. Personally I will tell you that as a kid in our first World Series back in 1996 -- scared to death, scared out of my wits, fearful of being found-out as some fraud, as some broadcaster's kid getting a chance to do it -- I looked to my right and I knew that I was covered because of you." Buck called McCarver the "best to ever do this in this sport." During a fourth inning dugout interview, Red Sox manager John Farrell said, "Before we go, I just want to tell Tim all of us are going to miss you. You've had a great run, a great career. All the best from us to you and congratulations" ("World Series Game 6," Fox, 10/30).

APPRECIATING THE MAN: FOXSPORTS.com's Ken Rosenthal writes of McCarver's retirement, "For those of us who work with him closely, the moment is difficult to accept." He is "not ruling out broadcasting in the future, and I suspect we will see him again soon," but the "loss for Fox -- and for baseball -- will be big." Fans who "harp on this comment or that from Tim miss the point," as anyone who "speaks his mind for more than three hours straight on live television is going to tick off someone, particularly when he sticks around for nearly a quarter-century and works every major event in his sport." McCarver is the only baseball analyst who has worked for all four major networks. Rosenthal: "I’m sure Fox will replace Tim with someone younger, but good luck to that analyst trying to match Tim’s work ethic." He is a "treasure, Fox’s treasure, baseball’s treasure." Rosenthal: "And dammit, I’m not ready for him to say goodbye" (FOXSPORTS.com, 10/31). YAHOO SPORTS' David Brown writes McCarver is "going to be missed -- no matter if you liked him or not." Most fans "probably like" McCarver and Joe Buck, as "it's unlikely that Fox would pair them for so long if all of the feedback was all bad, like it seems on social media." While "never reaching the level of popularity given someone like John Madden in football, McCarver often was a divisive figure for similar reasons." With a "folksy and friendly style, McCarver tried to simplify the game for viewers." No matter what you "thought of his work, he still deserves our respect as a person." Brown: "Happy retirement, Tim McCarver" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 10/31). The NEW YORKER's Roger Angell wrote McCarver "will be grievously missed." McCarver and Buck are the "primo pair in sports broadcasting, with their only possible rivals being Buck and Troy Aikman covering the NFL for Fox." The McCarver-Buck pairing "often feels more like a trio, because Tim’s intense, intelligent, deeply informed, excitable, verbose, folksy, intellectual, opinionated, and morally fervid participation in the events on the field inexorably takes hold of you, the listener, and pushes you into the adjoining seat, where you can almost feel McCarver’s jostling elbow and feel on your arm and elbow the heat of his eagerness for what’s coming next." He has been the "exception, the strong flavor, in a profession too often marked by blandness and cliché" (NEWYORKER.com, 10/30).

TWITTER REAX: SI.com’s Richard Deitsch wrote having interviewed Buck "many, many times, I can tell you his goodbye to Tim McCarver was totally genuine. Endearing moment. ... Growing up in New York, Tim McCarver felt revolutionary as an analyst on the Mets broadcast. I know many won't miss him. I will." ESPN’s Buster Olney wrote, "Some really classy words from John Farrell to Tim McCarver. Pretty cool that he remembered to say that." ESPN Senior Communications Dir Bill Hofheimer wrote, "Kudos to Fox on that tribute to Tim McCarver. Really well done. End of an era." FoxSports.com's Jimmy Traina wrote, "I know I'll get killed for this & I know Twitter loves to shit on them, but that was a very nice, real moment between Buck & McCarver."
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