The Final At-Bat: Analyst Tim McCarver To Leave Fox' MLB Booth Following '13 Season
Fox MLB analyst Tim McCarver yesterday announced he will not seek a contract extension once his current deal expires at the end of the '13 season. He noted the decision walk away from the Fox booth was not a tough one at all. He said, “It’s not a sad thing for me. I have neither tired of broadcasting baseball nor in any way lost my interest in the game. I don’t think there was any one event. I just thought, ‘It’s gotta end sometime.’” McCarver has worked a record 23 World Series and 20 All-Star games, including 28 straight MLB postseasons on network TV. The 71-year-old added that health was not a factor in his decision, saying he will work Fox’ entire ’13 schedule. He said, “It’s time to cut back.” McCarver noted that he had been thinking about retiring for two years and informed Fox Sports co-President & co-COO Eric Shanks of his decision in February. Fox' Joe Buck became emotional when talking about McCarver, his booth partner for 17 years, and said, “What he’s meant to me goes beyond professional, in the booth relationship. I’ve said it before, I don’t want to do these games with anyone but Tim.” Shanks left the door open for McCarver to appear on the new Fox Sports 1 channel, saying he would “continue to do what we can to fit into his schedule.” But McCarver said there was not a current plan in place for him at FS1. He said, “I just don’t know. I don’t want to speculate on it” (Josh Carpenter, Staff Writer). McCarver said, “Timing is everything and I wanted to step down while I know I can still do the job and proud of the job I have done.” SI.com’s Richard Deitsch reported Fox “considered the idea” of announcing McCarver’s retirement during the All-Star break this season, but McCarver “did not want to drag out the news” McCarver’s “critics -- and he had many of them for his tendency to over-talk in a broadcast -- would concede few were better at first-guessing as a baseball analyst” (SI.com, 3/27).
NOT RETIRING JUST YET: McCarver following his announcement talked with WFAN-AM’s Mike Francesa and said he is “by no means retiring next year." McCarver: "I didn’t announce my retirement. I just said I was stepping away from doing the job I’ve done since 1996. ... I’ve got to do something and I know there’ll be plenty of things out there to do.” Francesa asked, "So you’re not stepping away from doing games, you’re just not going to do the national game anymore?” McCarver said that terminology was “exactly right.” He noted he still has his self-titled TV show, but said, “I don’t know where that’s going to go. There are plenty of things with which to stay busy” (“Mike Francesa,” WFAN-AM, 3/27).
GOING OUT ON HIS TERMS: In L.A., Joe Flint writes McCarver is “occasionally criticized for being long-winded and dwelling on details,” but is “also considered one of the sharpest analysts to have covered the game.” News Corp. Senior Exec VP David Hill: “McCarver lives up to John Madden’s credo for great sports analysis -- the great ones tell you what you’re seeing, but not seeing” (L.A. TIMES, 3/28). MLB.com’s Marty Noble wrote McCarver “knows and shares more about how the game is played and should be played.” His “Memphisonian delivery is so comfortable they may want to mandate a Tennessee upbringing for all future guys behind the mikes.” His “sense of controlled outrage -- when players make foolish decisions -- is genuine, unfiltered and appropriate” (MLB.com, 3/27).
TIME TO LOOK FOR A REPLACEMENT: Fox execs said that the “search for a replacement as their lead analyst has not begun, though one name that constantly surfaces is" SNY and TBS analyst Ron Darling (N.Y. POST, 3/28). USA TODAY’s Paul White lists six possible replacements for McCarver including Fox’ Eric Karros, whose employment by the network “has to make him the favorite.” Karros is “smart, insightful and polished, far enough removed from playing to be critical when necessary” (USA TODAY, 3/28).