"Crazy (bad) Like A FOX!" And Other (A)musings

"The guy second to the left, officer -- THAT'S the guy who wasted 3 hours of my life!" - Jim McIsaac

We begin with a rant about FOX and Tim McCarver because honestly, you can never really rant too much about Tim McCarver. The 2012 World Series set records for low ratings, and of course much of this had to do with the fact that a team from the West Coast was playing a team from Detroit, and who could possibly care about two teams that ESPN has probably never mentioned?

But let's also put some responsibility on the shoulders of FOX for systematically convincing viewers that grocery shopping, staring into space, watching The Gluten Channel ("Tonight on The Gluten Channel, it's a very special episode of 'The Golden Grain Girls' as Blanche accidentally eats a wheat noodle..."), and mowing the cat are all better options than watching the World Series.

Yes, I'm interested in where Justin Verlander's barber's next door neighbor gets his pedicures, it's just that I don't necessarily want to do that particular learning over the course of an entire inning. It's not that I don't want to see various replays of the same play 17 times, 6 of those from the identical angle -- ok, it is that I don't want that.

And then there's Tim McCarver. Hall of Fame announcer Village idiot Tim McCarver. Rather than dwelling on the last 12 idiotic things he said, I would prefer to preview the next few. Here are the next 3 observations I expect to hear from McCarver:

  • In order to block balls in the dirt, you need to be mobile -- but not too mobile.

  • Because it's a "breaking ball" count I'd expect he might throw a fastball here to surprise him, or maybe a curve or slider because he's expecting the unexpected. So I'd go with a changeup. Of course, he doesn't throw a changeup, so possibly a cutter.
  • What makes him such a good manager is that he's not afraid to go against the book. But he's also not afraid to go by the book, if you catch the drift of which I speak about the book being not so much a book but a concept -- or paradigm, if you will -- that you know how to use but also know that you don't have to use it.

You know the theory about "If a monkey at a typewriter..." McCarver is living proof, because clearly his observations are just random strings of words that happen, eventually, to form sentences one can decipher. Sort of. I'm imagining that the broadcast is on a delay so that McCarver can keep stringing random words together until suddenly, "Boom!" -- out comes a string of words that, while utterly moronic, actually has the nouns and verbs in the right place and the producer shouts, "Cut! Print!" and that's what we hear.

I imagine that in the morning, at the breakfast table, we would hear the "live, unedited' version of McCarver: "sack of Argentina ... shoes put gerbil slider ... pass the orange juice." "OK, Tim, here you go, dear!"


Well, enough about that. There will now be a medium-sized intermission...

...And we're back. The A's suffered a significant loss yesterday, one that went largely unmentioned because Gil Patterson doesn't hit dingerz or make diving catches. But the A's minor league pitching instructor has left the A's to go work for the New York Yankees, in order to be able to work from his home in Tampa, Florida. Patterson is beloved by many current and former A's pitchers, including Andrew Bailey and Dan Straily (see link) and Brad Ziegler, who learned his unorthodox delivery under Patterson's tutelage.

The A's obviously do a tremendous job developing young pitching, and while Patterson is most certainly not the only reason, it's noteworthy that the organization has now lost both Ron Romanick and Patterson in the past year. Rick Rodriguez is still with the organization (but no longer the bullpen coach in Oakland), and Curt Young's return was huge. Still, there has been some turnover of late and we just have to hope that it won't break the momentum of incredible pitching development that has been so steady over the past "decade and change".


Finally, while Bartolo Colon was clearly signed for starting pitching depth (and width), with his contract including incentives for relief appearances you have to wonder if the A's might also be thinking about the value of a bullpen that has multiple relievers who can "go long". I think a "very decent 3 inning reliever" can be more valuable than a "very good one inning reliever" -- especially if you can put together a balance of both.

It's conceivable that the A's could, at some point, wind up with a rotation that includes neither Colon nor Blackley, to where Oakland could balance a core of "plus relievers" with a couple "luxury longer relievers". Just as an example, a bullpen of Balfour, Doolittle, Cook, Blevins, Norberto, Blackley, and Colon? Wow. Lots of flexibility to handle, effectively, a myriad of different kinds of game situations.

And yes, I probably got the grammar wrong in the way I used the word "myriad". I often do. Perhaps I should be broadcasting for FOX.

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