Tim McCarver A Refreshing Change On FOX Sports Midwest

Every St. Louis Cardinals fan, or baseball fan for that matter, has an opinion on Tim McCarver as a broadcaster. That meant there were already opinions aplenty about him making his debut on FOX Sports Midwest last night to begin the 30 games he’ll broadcast with Dan McLaughlin this season.

TimMcCarverI’ve never been reluctant to share my feelings about the quality of the broadcasters at FOX Sports Midwest — in a nutshell, as Cardinals fans we deserve better — nor that I take every opportunity possible to listen to optional broadcasts when I can, such as when the Cards play the Cubs or Brewers.

Yet I was curious to hear McCarver last night, willing to forego the chance to listen to FOX Sports Wisconsin. Yes, I too often found him annoying when he did games on FOX all these years. But the games on FOX Midwest are different since they’re local and not national. Would he be different too? (Plus, really, how could he be any worse than what we have to endure with whatever combination of McLaughlin, Al Hrabosky and Ricky Horton is on the air any given night?)

It didn’t take long to notice a difference from the usual broadcast. McCarver impressed me right away when he said that no only did he watch Wacha’s last start against the Mets, but he also picked up the phone and called Bob Gibson to talk more about Wacha’s pitching line from that day as well as his curveball and why he was throwing so many in the game. When the wind is in your face, Gibson said according to McCarver, that’s when your curveball works the best. And the curve worked both to Wacha’s benefit and detriment that day, as he was wild with it also.

Look at that — insightful broadcasting. Beats the heck out of hearing Al read yet again from that day’s media notes. And McCarver mentioned numerous times Cardinals games he’d watched this season and cited specific examples. Continue reading

Holliday Helps Westbrook Win

Holliday

Jake Westbrook definitely deserved a win Saturday, after allowing only four hits in eight scoreless innings. Thankfully, Matt Holliday came through with a two-run homer in the top of the eighth as the Cards shut out the Royals 3-0.

Wait, that’s not enough on the homer. It was a bomb into the left field fountains at Kauffman Stadium, 433 feet total. And it left male Cards fans on Twitter and broadcaster Dan McLaughlin gushing about their man-crushes on Holliday. I mean big-time gushing — click here for Danny Mac’s call. (He was still talking about it during the bottom of the eighth inning, and probably still talking about it this morning.)

Westbrook

True, it was impressive. And it had been a very frustrating game on offense for the Cards to that point — they were 0 for 10 with runners in scoring position through seven innings. But I was more impressed with Westbrook getting out of a bases-loaded, none-out jam in the fourth inning.

First, he got Jeff Francoeur to ground the ball right to him for a 1-2-3 double play. (Come on, how often do you see that particular play?) Then, Ryan Theriot (yes, really) made a diving stop of a grounder hit by Billy Butler and an equally good throw to first for the out.

Thankfully, Dave Duncan agrees with me about the importance of that fourth inning, as Rick Hummel pointed out in his Post-Dispatch article:

“That was the real key in the game,” said Duncan. “If something happens there, you don’t know how that game is going to go.”

Continue reading