You Cannot Be (World) Serious
The Boston Red Sox pounded the stuffing out of the Colorado Rockies 13-1 on Wednesday night at Fenway Park to take a one-game to none lead in the 2007 World Series.
The game wasn't close from the get-go, as the Bosox scored three in the bottom of the first off Colorado's Jeff Francis, and Red Sox righty Josh Beckett handcuffed his opponents over seven solid innings.
Given that the Rockies gave up the ghost about 12 minutes in, the suspense in the game came from wondering what moronic thing FOX announcers Joe Buck and Tim McCarver would say next.
In the first inning, when the Red Sox were scoring their first three runs, Joe and Tim stated that everything Francis was throwing was "up"--even as a freeze-frame showed J.D. Drew hitting a pitch at his knees. In fact, the Red Sox' big hits in the first came on pitches low in the strike zone. They just happen to hit those pitches well. I'm not sure what game these guys were watching.
During the last of the third, Boston's Julio Lugo bunted for a hit. McCarver used this opportunity to teach all of us some of the 3,000-year-old wisdom about baseball he apparently inherited with his first jockstrap, noting that it’s a good play to bunt with two out if you have speed, but if you’re slow, bunting for a hit with two out is a bad play.
Did he mean that slow guys shouldn't bunt for hits? If I were in a charitable mood, I might give Tim the benefit of the doubt on this one, since it's something any four-year-old might agree with. But since he was talking expressly about bunting with two out, I have a sinking feeling he meant that even if you get a hit, it's a bad play.
See, I've always thought the point of baseball was to get men on base. In addition to improving your chances to, er, score runs, it makes the opposing pitcher throw more pitches. Why worry about how fast your baserunners are? A slow baserunner is better than no baserunner, isn’t it? I swear, McCarver’s unquestioned, uncritical blather is so ossified it might as well have been written by Hammurabi.
During the top of the fourth, FOX treated us to a brilliant interview with Red Sox manager Terry Francona. We viewers missed most of Todd Helton's double to left because FOX felt a pathological need to remind us that Terry Francona was talking to us from the dugout, answering some dumb question about how he and Dustin Pedroia play cribbage. How many times have we already heard that stupid story this post-season? Who plays cribbage?
Shortly afterward Buck chose to lionize Todd Helton. It wasn't one of Joe's good nights; he claimed that 1) Helton was “just as good” on the road as in Coors Field in his prime (which is false and easily disprovable) and that 2) Helton is “just as good” now as he was back then. THis is also both false and disprovable. Helton doesn’t need you to obfuscate for him, Joe. He’s a terrific hitter.
In the top of the sixth, McCarver, obviously saving up to try and match Joe's level of analysis, commented that you can tell the Rockies pitchers have been affected by the eight-game layoff after the NLCS because of their long counts and falling behind hitters, but that you can’t state that Rockies hitters are affected by the layoff because Beckett is throwing such a good game.
This is the traditional baseball mentality—that hitting is incidental, that pitching defines everything. Isn’t it just as likely that the Red Sox hitters are just better than the Rockies’ pitchers, and that the Rockies’ hitters aren’t taking a good approach against Beckett? The FOX boys have been constantly reminding us how Boston outscored Cleveland 30-5 in the last three ALCS games; doesn't this mean that their offense is just good, regardless of Colorado's pitching staff?
I could go on, but thinking about how mediocre and paper-thin the level of analysis we're getting is making me seriously consider turning the sound down for Game Two and listening to Jon Miller and Joe Morgan on ESPN Radio. And it takes a lot to lead me down that path.
I've written about this before, but we deserve better broadcasts--and broadcasters--for the World Series, dammit.