As if it isn't bad enough that the Skip/Joe/Don/Pete foursome no longer calls Braves games on TV (OK, they're an acquired taste, but just indulge me here), yesterday we were subjected to over three hours of Tim McCarver because Fox deigned to show a game not involving the Yankees or Red Sox. (Fortunately, Fox will correct their mistake over the next four Saturdays, as their games will be the following: Red Sox-Angels, Red Sox-Yankees, Yankees-Red Sox, and Yankees-Mariners. I think my "I'll enjoy baseball so much more if I just ignore ESPN" resolution might need a signing statement. I digress.) McCarver's absence from Braves games in recent years has mercifully deprived me of the chance to chronicle his every ill-reasoned attempt at commentary, but yesterday was a nice return to the good old days. And by good old days, I mean this:
The one occasion on which I was actually sympathetic to McCarver.
McCarver showed off his Billy Packer-ish ability to sound authoritative while being completely and utterly wrong during the Braves three-run sixth yesterday. Here's the situation: bases loaded and one out in a 2-2 game. Matt Diaz drives a pitch to the right-center field gap. Shawn Green gets under the fly ball, but then gives the Braves a Passover offering by dropping the ball. (Why is this inning different from all other innings? Non-Jewish readers, just smile and imagine that I've said something witty.) Andruw Jones comes in from third, while Jeff Francoeur, who was on second, advances to third, but doesn't score because he had retreated to tag up. McCarver proceeds to declare that this is bad baserunning and that Francoeur should have scored after being one-third of the way to third when Green dropped the ball.
In what world does McCarver's pronouncement make sense? Green dropped a ball that he and just about any other major league rightfielder would catch 90% of the time. If Francoeur doesn't tag up, then he's still at second base with two outs. On the rare event that Green drops the ball, Francoeur ends up on third with one out and can score on a sacrifice fly, which is exactly what happened when the next batter, Chris Woodward, flew out down the rightfield line. Nonetheless, McCarver was absolutely certain that Francoeur had made a mistake. There are so many good reasons to criticize Jeff's performance and McCarver managed to pick one that made no sense at all.