War on viewers

Here’s one more memo to Fox: If you’re looking to hook the baseball fans in, and not have them switching over to “Lost,” during a World Series “rain delay,” the execrable “War at Home” isn’t the answer.

We need to wait another day for Game 4, which was rained out last night in St. Louis. They finally made the announcement at 10 p.m., but this game was as good as cancelled at 3 in the afternoon. But what’s the comfort and well-being of thousands of soaked Cardinal and Tiger fans when Fox can use the moment to their advantage? How better to make lemonade out of lemons than to force-feed one of your most despicable shows on an audience just waiting to watch a baseball game? Loved Joe Buck’s 8:30 update that the storm was moving out, this despite the fact that we’ve already been told that it’s going to rain in St. Louis until something like Christmas Eve.

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The Detroit Free Press calls this Fox’s version of a water torture. “Instead of that lousy sitcom and rainout updates from Joe Buck, why didn’t Fox just put on two hours of Jillian Barberie doing the weather?” they ask. I would have settled for a two-hour retrospective on the supposed genius of “The New Adventures of Bean Baxter.”

It was a similar situation for Game 3 of the 2004 ALCS, when everybody in the ballpark knew the game was going to be called, but it wasn’t done officially until Joe Buck could go on the air at 8 p.m. and announce it to America. At 8:01, they made the announcement on the Fenway loudspeaker. This is, after all, Fox’s world. We just live in it. Catch an all-new “Prison Break” on Monday.

How much longer baseball allows itself to be handcuffed and bossed around by these inefficient morons is the major question that needs to be asked. There will be some needed relief next year when TBS takes one of the championship series off their hands. Fox, on the other hand, is involved with Major League Baseball until…deep breath…ready…OK…2013.

At least McCarver should be retired by then. Right?

  • Michael Kruse of the St. Petersburg Times has a great interview with former umpire Vic Voltaggio, who was behind the plate in 1986 for Rogers Clemens’ first 20-strikeout game. And HE can’t stand Fox either.

    On Fox television announcers Buck and McCarver: “These guys here? I turn off the volume. You’ve got to turn the sound down just to keep from getting a headache. They start quoting rules and they don’t know the rules. Tim McCarver played the game. You’d think he’d know something. Drives me nuts.”

  • Not sure if you noticed, but Derek Lowe has apparently found time in his schedule to star in the CBS drama, “Jericho.”

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  • Gary Sheffield’s response to having his $13 million option picked up by the Yankees? “This will not work, this will not work at all,” he said. “Maybe they picked it up just to trade me. If they do that, if I just [go] to a team for one year, there’s going to be a problem.”

    Oh, this sounds like a valuable commodity to go after.

  • Reader Roger Assad sends the following in, by Baseball Prospectus’ Jim Baker, as to why Red Sox fans deserve to blame Bill Buckner. Just not for the error.

    With the Red Sox getting deeper into another postseason, can we get one thing straight about Bill Buckner? It is this: he had lost the 1986 World Series for that team long before he let the ball go through his legs in Game Six. In fact, they made it to the World Series in spite of Buckner. In the hard-fought American League Championship Series, Buckner came to the plate with men on base 16 times and got all of three hits. He batted with 27 runners on base and managed to score just three of them. Sound bad? The World Series was worse. He came to the plate with 29 men on base and put just one of them across the plate. (I didn’t count a 30th because he was hit by a pitch before getting a chance to make an out.) What always seems to be forgotten about the infamous Game Six is that had Buckner come through in any of the following situations, there never would have been a 10th inning in which he would become infamous:

  • First inning: Runner on first, one out. Flew out to center
  • Second inning: First and second, two outs. Flew out to right
  • Fifth inning: Runner on first, one out. Flew out to right
  • Seventh inning: Runner on first, none out. Grounded out to second (runner did move up!)
  • Eighth inning: Bases loaded, two outs, score tied 3-3. Flew out to center

    A double on any of those occasions would have iced the game. A single in the second or eighth would have won the Series for the Sox. A walk at any time would have at least done something. Buckner came to the plate 62 times in that postseason and did not draw a single walk. (In fact, in his postseason career, he didn’t draw a walk in 101 plate appearances. Is that a record of some sort?) So, in total, that’s 56 men on and only four of them driven home. I have no idea if that’s the worst performance in the history of October baseball, but it’s got to be, doesn’t it? Of course, he made up for it with his rangy defense in the field.

    The 1986 loss to the Mets had nothing to do with curses and fate and all that crap and everything to do with a manager enthralled by a veteran player with 102 RBI. Wade Boggs reached base 304 times that year (not counting homers). Just about anybody could have gotten 102 RBI with that kind of action as an entrée.

  • Rajon Rondo. Sidd Finch. Discuss.