Tim McCarver, in his 24th and final season in the World Series broadcasting booth, might have had a touch of déja vu after Saturday night's game.
Some Boston Red Sox fans and players are still fuming about the “obstruction” call in the bottom of the ninth that gave the St. Louis Cardinals a dramatic 5-4 victory.
However, most broadcasters, including McCar ver and Joe Buck, felt the call, while unusual, was a good one, although it took the Fox duo a few moments to sort it out.
Will that call be a deciding play in the series? McCarver could be thinking about his World Series broadcasting debut in 1985, when the Kansas City Royals beat St. Louis in seven games.
In Game 6, a bad call at first base was a turning point for the Royals. Kansas City rallied at home in Game 6, then crushed St. Louis in Game 7.
Being a longtime Cardinals fan, I recall McCarver immediately saying the Kansas City runner was out at first.
It should be noted that a large part of McCarver's career — on the field as a catcher and in the booth — has a Cardinals tinge to it.
McCarver's first World Series was an indirect result of Howard Cosell's gigantic ego.
That 1985 series, aired on ABC, was to feature Al Michaels, Jim Palmer and Cosell. But ABC Sports president Roone Arledge was outraged at Cosell's autobiography “I Never Played the Game,” which featured derogatory comments about “Monday Night Football.” Arledge removed Cosell from the telecast and inserted McCarver, who had been scheduled as an on-the-field reporter. McCarver worked World Series for five years at ABC before moving to CBS. He joined Fox in 1996.
McCarver's departure isn't producing a wave of verbal and written bouquets.
Some critics contend he occasionally misidentifies players, is too wordy and is not as concise with analysis as Vin Scully (who is?). One critic noted that if you ask McCarver what time it is, he'll tell you how the watch was made.
But down through the years, few baseball broadcasters have displayed McCarver's uncanny knack for anticipating plays, particularly during the World Series.
And McCarver, 72, can display an agile memory, particularly when it comes to St. Louis.