While FOX’s Harold Reynolds always said much too much, FOX’s John Smoltz says much too little.
Smoltz’s analysis throughout the World Series was disappointing.
Joe Maddon’s staggering Game 7 decision to remove in-control starter Kyle Hendricks, 63 pitches thrown, up 5-1 with two out and a runner on first in the fifth, was met with Smoltz’s shrugging acceptance — until Cleveland quickly scored two runs off plays-no-defense replacement Jon Lester. Only then was Smoltz moved to suggest Maddon had provided aid and comfort to the enemy.
Too often he was stuck on how the baseball “spins” and what batters and pitchers “are trying to do,” while, as if not wishing to offend players, he ignored senseless, presumptive play that placed batters a base short or put them and their teams in unnecessary peril. Thus, Smoltz residually offended those he ostensibly was working for: FOX’s audience.
In other words, Smoltz, who could be good with the kind of good in-house urging TV has shown it can’t provide, operated as another don’t-believe-your-lying-eyes panderer who ignored both the inexcusable and what we couldn’t possibly miss.
In still other words: For crying out loud, John, it’s the World Series, yet players still couldn’t be bothered to run to first base! Smoltz became another who ignores indefensibly bad baseball to talk changeups and strike zones. The Cubs repeatedly burned more fuel swapping wild high-fives than running to first. Insane!
As the “Fall Classic” now competes for viewers with Jimmy Kimmel, Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon, MLB’s “we embrace kids” promos were as big a con as the NCAA’s student-athlete image spots. The only kids east of the Mississippi awake when the Cubs won their first World Series since 1908 were in maternity wards.
Based on what TV directors selected for us to see throughout MLB’s postseason, fans pray more at baseball games than in church.
FOX’s postseason winner was studio host and postgame reporter Kevin Burkhardt, who asked good questions, did his best to keep it moving from a crowded set and did both without any Chris Berman-like it’s-about-me gimmickry. But if you preferred in-game reports on percentages of curve balls, inning to inning, Tom Verducci was your man!
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