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Tim McCarver wins the Ford Frick Award for broadcasting excellence

Dec 7, 2011, 10:55 AM EDT

mccarver ap AP

This tweet from Major League Baseball speaks for itself, so I’ll just let it speak:

Tim McCarver selected as recipient of Ford C. Frick Award, presented annually for excellence in baseball broadcasting by [The Baseball Hall of Fame].

Fine, go ahead and say what you want to say. I’ll defend McCarver, though.  While he hasn’t been at the top of his game for the past few years, he was a pretty fantastic color man for a long, long time and went a long way towards upping the intelligence of the discourse.

If you doubt me, go back and pull some tapes of games from the 70s and 80s if you can find them and listen to just how boring and basic the second banana’s commentary often is.  “Yeah, he really smoked that one,” passed for insight for a lot of guys back then. It seems obvious now, but McCarver’s ability to explain what is going to happen next and why was arguably revolutionary for the position.

My personal preference is a single-man booth. But I’m not necessarily the audience to whom a color commentator is aimed.  For those who do want a little more explanatory framework with their baseball viewing, McCarver has set a standard of sorts over his career, and is worthy of being honored.

  1. thefalcon123 - Dec 7, 2011 at 10:58 AM

    “Tim McCarver wins the Ford Frick Award for broadcasting excellence”.

    I know what all those words mean, but they don’t seem make any sense together in the same sentence.

    • philsieg - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:00 AM

      Think of it like a free agent signing. Often a player is rewarded for what he once did but can no longer do. Same here.

      • istillbelieveinblue - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:37 AM

        The Frick is a lifetime achievement award, of sorts. He is not being awarded this for his work over the last year, but for his work over the last 30.

    • itripledogdareyou - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM

      Ridiculous, the Ford Frick award? His lack of baseball intelligence displayed in the booth is only surpassed by his arrogance. And to think, now his name sits next to people like Vin Scully and Mel Allen….pathetic MLB HOF.

  2. grapes911 - Dec 7, 2011 at 10:59 AM

    Maybe I’m in the minority, but I don’t think an intelligent baseball sentence has ever come out of his mouth. I think he is a joke and has always been a joke.

    • thefalcon123 - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:02 AM

      Ha! I get it…it’s actually an Onion story. Nothing this absurd could possibly be true.

    • gammagammahey - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:02 AM

      Mid-80’s McCarver with the Mets was gold but he hasn’t been anything approaching that for over a decade.

    • cintiphil - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:14 AM

      Keep in mind that this guy forgot more baseball than you or I ever knew. Why don’t we ask Steve Carlton about Tim, and see what he thinks about McCarver, or what he knows about the game.

      • grapes911 - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:22 AM

        What he knows and what he says to his viewership are two different things. He’s been around baseball a long time and I don’t doubt he knows a lot. He struggles relaying that info to me.

      • thefalcon123 - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:25 AM


        Joe Morgan seemed to know a lot about the game while playing it too…and somehow forgot all of it when he stepped into a broadcast booth.

        I actually think the most irritating thing about McCarver is constantly stating the extremely obvious. He’ll chime in with stuff like “A curve ball is a ball that curves” all game long.

      • paperlions - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:26 AM

        Or Bob Gibson, who once sent McCarver back behind the plate by saying something to the effect of, “the only thing you know about pitching is that you can’t hit it.”

      • 5thbase - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:42 AM

        Watched a game in which a completely routine double play was turned by Cano. It was so easy I’m pretty sure David Ortiz could have turned it without a thought but Tim went on for 3 innings about what an amazing play it was and how much better Cano is than any other second baseman. He said he is the “only one who could turn that double play.”

        This is one of many examples I could give and usually I turn the volume down when he’s on so I’m sure I’ve missed a ton of his stupidity. He seems like a nice guy, but if at one point he was better and smarter than average announcers, I feel sorry for people who had to suffer through that brainless era.

      • dwishinsky - Dec 7, 2011 at 1:16 PM


        Give it a few years and “a curveball that is a ball that curves” will turn into “a fastball is a ball that fasts”.

        Wait for it… it is surely coming…

      • djpostl - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:11 PM

        Except it isn’t a baseball IQ test award, it’s one for broadcasting and for going on two decades he has sounded like he had a Johnny Walker IV drop going during games.

  3. mithrophon - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:00 AM

    Like Billy Packer, he hung on too long, but 20 years ago he was one of the best. Tough to listen to now.

    • cintiphil - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:18 AM

      I can agree with you on this. McCarver seems to stammer too much now or back track on some statements, but you can’t take away any of his past because he is slowing down now. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t know the game or diminish his talent.

      • paperlions - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:27 AM

        What McCarver does now is ramble, and make up nonsense as he goes…it is painful, he talks over the action and works very hard to decrease the baseball viewing experience.

  4. kirkmack - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:01 AM

    Yeah, and you know who once won the Nobel Peace Prize?


    Yes, he’s been better, but anymore the only broadcast teams worse than Buck/McCarver are Bremer/Blyleven and Hawk/Stone.

    • pauleee - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:04 AM

      Godwin’d in six!

    • Kevin S. - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:21 AM

      Clearly you’ve never listened to Chip Caray or Sterling and Waldman.

    • grapes911 - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:24 AM

      Yeah, and you know who once won the Nobel Peace Prize?


      Get your facts straight. Hitler never won a Nobel Peace Prize.

      • djpostl - Dec 7, 2011 at 2:14 PM

        Thank you for smacking that bullshit down like it deserved.

  5. burnsy - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    Joe Morgan will just tell people that he won.

  6. lardin - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    I think this is the funniest thing I have read on this board.

  7. Mark Armour - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    McCarver is a wonderful choice for this award. He’s knows more about baseball than most of his critics, and his 1980s-1990s color work set the standard that few have reached.

    • clydeserra - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:30 PM

      even if he was a good color guy in the 80s, which I, as a WPIX haver, dispute, why is he a good choice for this award?

      If you limited his good years in the 90s, you must fell he is bad now and has been for over a decade. Why should a bad broadcaster get an award for broadcasting?

  8. The Common Man - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:02 AM

    Inasmuch as this is an award for contributions to broadcasting and career accomplishments, I’m totally fine with McCarver getting the Frick Award. He was terrific for a lot of years…until he wasn’t. It’s a shame that his recent work has overshadowed his previous solidness.

  9. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:03 AM

    If you doubt me, go back and pull some tapes of games from the 70s and 80s if you can find them and listen to just how boring and basic the second banana’s commentary often is

    A shitburger with cheese is probably preferable to a shitburger, doesn’t mean I’m going to order one off the menu.

  10. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:04 AM

    I kind of agree with you Craig, and I could kind of see him getting some sort of “lifetime achievement” type award for the reasons you mention. But as the quote states, this is an annual award, so the implication is that he is being honored for his work THIS YEAR, which is silly.

    Whether it is annual or lifetime, I don’t understand why they don’t just call it the Vin Scully award and give it to him, every damn year if need be. I suppose that would take away from all of the anticipation leading up to this announcement.

    • The Common Man - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:22 AM

      No, that’s just completely wrong. It’s not an award that is given for work in the current year. It’s basically a lifetime achievement award, but they give out one per year. Thus annually.

      • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:33 AM

        I stand corrected. Or type corrected, or something. Though it may be hyperbole to say I’m completely wrong. After all, the second paragraph stands, and I did get some Thumbs up, which are hot commodities round these parts.

      • - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:50 PM

        Vin Scully has had Frick Award since 1982.

  11. woodenulykteneau - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    “If you doubt me, go back and pull some tapes of games from the 70s and 80s if you can find them and listen to just how boring and basic the second banana’s commentary often is. ”

    So, because Peter Dinklage is taller than Verne Troyer he should book a trip to Springfield, Mass.?

  12. hgfrombc2 - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:06 AM

    Are the voters for this award all deaf?

  13. cur68 - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    Lord he’p me…are their no awards associated with MLB that are awarded on the basis of actual merit? McCarver’s work this post season was tepid, punctuated with error and uninspired. Is that what he’s winning the award for? Fine. Mike Young for MVP makes total sense, now.

  14. thefalcon123 - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:18 AM

    “Favorite” Tim McCarver quotes!

    Mine are: “Mount Everest erupts again!” after a David Ortiz home run or “A walk is just as good as a home run in this situation” in a situation that was NOT the bottom of the 9th in a tie game.

    • thefalcon123 - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:19 AM

      EDIT: Should read n a situation that was NOT the bottom of the 9th with the bases loaded in a tie game.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:41 AM

      By far my favorite [courtesy of fjm]

      “We had our friends at Stats, Inc. check and see whether more multi-run innings came with a lead off homer or a lead off walk. You would think that a lead off walk would lead to more big innings than a lead off home run. Not true. A lead off home run, this year, has lead to more multi-run innings than lead off walks. It’s against conventional thinking.”

      • thefalcon123 - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:10 PM

        @ Church

        That is the most mind blowing, ridiculous thing I have ever read.

      • Jonny 5 - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM

        I’m still trying to wrap my brain around the sheer thoughtlessness of that statement.

  15. vendolius - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:20 AM

    The words “That was a beautiful foul ball by Jeter” should never be uttered by man. This man uttered those words during a broadcast. He should be disqualified from every award, ever.

    • Kevin S. - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:23 AM

      “Calm eyes.”

  16. sdelmonte - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    His days with Steve Zabriske and Ralph Kiner in the Mets’ broadcast booth were great. And IIRC, he was canned by the Mets for being too honest, which is always a badge of honor for a broadcaster.

    Is he the best in the game now? No. I think he’s struggled with both the new math and a broadcast partner who would rather be covering football. But I still like him and congratulate him on this honor.

  17. poreef - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:29 AM

    In “The Worst Team Money Can Buy” (for my money one of the best baseball books of all time), it’s said repeatedly that, ca. 1991, McCarver was revered by the broadcasting world because of his willingness to criticize the players on the field.

    I think Craig’s call is right – at some point he was new and fresh, but the 1000th time you hear about how framing a ball can help get a strike call, it gets old.

  18. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    New drinking game: every time McCarver uses the phrase, “…and by that I mean…” take one drink. Every time the thing he says after that phrase does NOT explain the thing he said before it, take 2 drinks. By the second inning, you won’t mind listening to McCarver.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:44 AM

      And by the 4th you are dead from alcohol poisoning

    • cur68 - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:48 AM

      But you will need a new liver. Jeez, someone’s gonna lose a major organ behind this game.

    • Francisco (FC) - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:19 PM

      Nahh by the third inning you are so out of it you will have tuned out McCarver and won’t even be able to reach the bottle. No Alcohol poisoning risk there.

  19. franklb - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:54 AM

    I can agree with Tim McCarver getting this award, for the reasons that Mr. Calcaterra. I cannot agree with his getting it before Bill King, Bay area legend whose career was much longer than Mr. McCarver’s, and who performed at a much higher level for longer than Mr. McCarver did.

    • clydeserra - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:34 PM

      very much agreed

  20. ndrocks2 - Dec 7, 2011 at 11:58 AM

    Please retire now Captain Obvious, when you are on the volume goes off.

  21. shawndc04 - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:07 PM

    Will never forget how he looked when the earthquake hit during the pregame in San Francisco in ’89.

  22. denny65 - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:13 PM

    I’m still waiting for Waite Hoyt to get the award.

  23. felser - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    He and Chris Wheeler did excellent work with the Phillies back in the early 80’s. And that was as a supplement to the beloved Harry Kalas/Whitey Ashburn team. Best set of sport announcers ever.

  24. shea801 - Dec 7, 2011 at 12:23 PM

    McCarver’s at the point now where I just suspect him to end every rambling statement with “he wears on onion on his belt because that was the style at the time.”

  25. xmatt0926x - Dec 7, 2011 at 3:06 PM

    I agree with the commenters who state that his biggest problem is that he goes way overboard to state the obvious. It does become insulting after a while. Yes, us fans will never have the total amount of insight of an ex-major league catcher, but baseball fans more than other sports fans are typically pretty knowledgeable about the fine points of the game. Baseball is a game where you kind of need to know the little fine points to enjoy it. I think McCarver has the same issues that guy’s like John Maddon had or Chris Berman has. They become these characters that have to be lived up to and they begin to play up the personality traits that they think people expect of them instead of just being natural. It ends up coming off as phony. They end up becoming unwatchable. Try getting through a Chris Berman football highlight show or a baseball broadcast. It’s unbearable.

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