When Fox's McCarver talking, not much goes without saying

The Kickoff

Commentary

October 19, 2007|By RAY FRAGER

Taking a spin around the sports media block while thinking about how much I'll miss all those Frank TV promos:

With the World Series beginning next week, expect to hear the wails of protest about how Fox's Tim McCarver overanalyzes a game, stating and restating the obvious. Not to deny that point, but John Madden has accentuated the obvious in each of his network NFL gigs, yet he hasn't been subject to the same widespread criticism. Maybe McCarver would fare better if he had a best-selling video game named after him.

A quick difference noted between the look of TBS' postseason baseball coverage and that of Fox: TBS doesn't go quite so heavily into the extreme close-ups of faces on the field, in the dugout and in the stands, meant to convey the high tension and intensity of certain moments. Fox certainly makes sure people all over America are wondering whether Cleveland Indians manager Eric Wedge is trying to grow a beard or just not shaving before a game.

Because I know you can't wait any longer for a ratings item: Game 4 of the American League Championship Series on Tuesday night got an 8.2 rating among the nation's 55 biggest television markets. Baltimore came in under the average, at 7.7. The Indians and Boston Red Sox couldn't beat out the likes of NCIS, Law & Order: SVU and The Unit.

(Now, if only Randy Johnson had been pitching for one of the teams, I could have made some lame joke about how The Big Unit couldn't beat The Unit. Oh, apparently his absence didn't stop me.)

Blast fans might want to add a sports channel package to their cable or satellite subscriptions. Fox Soccer Channel will carry an MISL Game of the Week on Fridays (all but one starting at 8 p.m.), and five of the 20 games feature the Blast, including the first telecast Nov. 16. For a league and sport that have struggled to gain any kind of national profile, this could be a significant step, but the MISL has a long way to go even to approach the presence of, say, poker on TV.

The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network will televise nine Georgetown basketball games this season. The Hoyas, expected to be ranked in the top 10, will show up in three nonconference games before MASN picks up six games against Big East Conference opponents.

Loyola has announced its schedule of TV games, and the Greyhounds will appear on MASN five times, twice on ESPNU, once on CN8 and once on the Big Ten Network. Navy is scheduled for two ESPNU games, two on CN8 and one on CSTV. CBS will carry Navy's game at Army.

After giving the show several listens, I would rate ESPN Radio'sThe Mike Tirico Show an ears-up. It sounds a lot more relaxed than the Dan Patrick program it replaced.

Certainly, the wit factor has been turned down, because Tirico doesn't get a daily segment with Keith Olbermann. But regular sidekicks Kirk Herbstreit, Michele Tafoya and Scott Van Pelt mesh well enough with the eponymous host. (Once in a while, I like to throw in a word such as "eponymous" so that Mom doesn't think she wasted that money on college tuition.)

If ESPN had done this while Willis McGahee was still in Buffalo, maybe the Ravens running back wouldn't have been critical of the city. Sunday NFL Countdown dispatches Kenny Mayne to check out Buffalo's "hot spots" with Bills running back Marshawn Lynch.

ray.frager@baltsun.com

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