Airwaves: McCarver, Buck set for 81st All-Star Game 

Fox Sports will do its usual A+ broadcast on the 81st MLB All-Star Game on Tuesday night. Joe Buck and Tim McCarver are doing their 12th Midsummer classic. Fox has done 11 All-Star Games and this duo has been in the booth through them all.

Buck at times bores me with his football broadcasts, but he is very, very good with baseball. Maybe hanging around the booth with his late dad, Jack Buck has rubbed off on him. McCarver however, will make the telecast. He is off-the-cuff, opinionated and usually very accurate in his assessments as to what is happening on the diamond.

Being an ex-catcher, I am partial to the way a catcher sees the game, all in front of him. This is why catchers make the best managers and the best broadcasters: They can see the whole game.

On the production side of things, Fox had over 100 people on its crew to bring us this game. New Fox Sports President Eric Shanks will be proud, with this being his first “big event” in the new role. Talk about a little pressure! Shanks can handle it. Although relatively young, he has a long résumé of big-time experience. The transition from Ed Goren to Shanks at the helm has been seamless. Goren is still with Fox; he has just moved up the food chain, if that is possible.

Ken Rosenthal is the sideline reporter, doing his best to be a wannabe Chris Mortensen with an inside look at things. He is solid and will add to the telecast. My only hope is they do not go to him too often because that upsets the rhythm of the booth. I have never been a huge fan of sideline reporters in any sport.

From a technical standpoint there will be 80 microphones positioned around the field. Additional mics will be placed in the dugouts, the stands — and of all places — the bases themselves. You talk about high-tech at its best. An extra 15 mics will be “around the dugouts” and will be available solely to the coaches and players.

Major League Baseball has the only real All-Star Game. This, by far, is the most popular All-Star Game in all of pro sports. Hockey is OK, but no one can pronounce the names of who is playing. Football is trying to make their game mean something. I thought it was a good move by the NFL to host the game in the Super Bowl city. The problem is that some top-flight players will always miss the game for whatever reason. The NBA also tries, but something doesn’t sizzle there for me.

However, we all have a Baseball All-Star Game memory from our youth. The Midsummer Classic is really American. It is apple pie and the Fourth of July. It is colorful and truly displays its stars. May this game live on forever!

 

Bay Area teams hot and cold in ESPN rankings

 

In a recent combined study and fan vote, ESPN has cleverly come up with a rating system of the four major leagues’ professional teams. In our world of the Bay Area, the Sharks were clearly ranked the highest amongst our teams. This poll was based on fan feedback, “bang for the buck,” coaching, fan relations, ownership, players, stadium and game experience, and title track record.

The Super Bowl-winning New Orleans Saints were considered the No. 1 franchise in all of sports while the L.A. Clippers picked up the rear end by being ranked 122, dead last.

The Sharks were ranked 12th. Although I can’t skate, those of us who have ever had dealings with the Sharks and root for them know this is where they should be ranked. As a franchise, they do it all correctly. The 49ers were 49th. This would never have happened under Carmen and Eddie Debartolo. Surprisingly, the Giants were 61st. Huh?

This is a first-class outfit in every way. Larry Baer is the best in sports at running a franchise. I disagree with this ranking. The A’s came in at 79th while the Warriors were 110th. The Silver and Black help pull up the rear in the 115th slot.

Although it is only a dumb paper poll, with no cash prizes being awarded, it is shocking our teams are not closer to the top.
Rounding out the top five after the Saints were Orlando Magic (2), Anaheim Angels (3), Indianapolis Colts (4) and Pittsburgh Penguins (5). The Angels, although a class group surprised me they are so highly thought of.

 

Who said it

 

Jerry Rice

“What I want people to remember is that I just played for the love of it. It was not about records,” said the great one in a July 2 interview on Comcast’s Legends Show. The piece on his 20-year career was very well done and quite interesting as they looked at what made him tick.

Carmen Policy

“He is again, almost as though he is from a different planet. He is on the edge of being non-human because he is so perfect,” said the former 49ers boss man on the same July 2 show in reference to Jerry’s passion for football. Said perfectly, as always, by this Napa resident. I miss Carmen and his daily presence in the Bay Area sports scene.

 

One to watch

 

The Giants send rookie Madison Bumgarner to face off against a potent Nationals offense. The hard-throwing lefty will take on former Giant Livan Hernandez in the final game of the first half of the season for both teams. San Francisco will look to end on a high note and continue the momentum they picked up from sweeping the Brewers through four games in the previous series. First pitch is set for 10:35 a.m. and the action can be seen on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area.

 

Sports by numbers

 

Cost of a gallon of gas in 1989, last time the All-Star Game was in Anaheim

97 cents

Average cost of a home in 1989

$71,733

Cost of child’s admission to Disneyland in 1989

$25

 

On Target

 

MLB has recently adjusted regulations of the All-Star Game. The designated hitter now applies to both teams no matter where the game is being played. As Tim McCarver said, no one wants to watch an All-Star Game and see a pitcher bat. Also the expansion of the rosters has taken the pressure off the managers as to who to play and how much.

Artie Gigantino spent 25 years as a coach at the major-college and NFL levels, was lead college football analyst for Fox Sports Net for seven years, was with CBS for one year and was an executive with the Raiders for three years. E-mail him at agigantino@sfexaminer.com.

 

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A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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