Joe Buck and Tim McCarver, MLB on FOX’s Emmy Award-winning broadcast team who call their record 16th World Series together, were joined by FOX Sports President and Executive Producer Eric Shanks and Executive Producer John Entz to preview the 2013 World Series matchup and FOX Sports’ coverage this afternoon.
McCarver, a true broadcasting legend, sits behind the microphone for his record 24th Fall Classic, his 16th and final with longtime partner Buck. World Series Game 1 begins in Boston on Wednesday, Oct. 23, at 7:30 PM ET on FOX.
Buck on Jim Leyland’s legacy following his resignation as the Tigers manager announced earlier today: “Jim Leyland will go out as a very successful manager but also a guy who always had the ability to manage star players, and that’s a big deal in today’s game. Certain managers rub the superstars the wrong way and they can’t get along. Jim has a great touch with that. He had that with Barry Bonds in Pittsburgh and superstar athletes he’s had in Detroit. In this day and age, guys who can handle those players and get them to play and answer the bell every day, they deserve a lot of credit because not everyone can do that.”
McCarver on how the Red Sox front office turned the team around so drastically from a season ago: “The 26th man for the Red Sox is General Manager Ben Cherington. Through July of last year the Red Sox were having that horrible year, but then in mid-August Ben Cherington struck and made that deal with the Dodgers. They got almost nothing in return, but what they did was shed so much salary, and that allowed them to spend that money on free agents. The Red Sox made very shrewd moves during the off-season with guys like Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino, David Ross – guys that have meant a world to the Red Sox this year. If that money wasn’t freed up, the Red Sox would’ve really been in trouble going into this year. They turned around a team that won only 69 games last year to 28 games better this year with 97 wins.”
Buck on how losing the DH in St. Louis will be a challenge for the Red Sox: “The Red Sox are built classically like a great American League team, and that means they have the best DH in the history of DH-ing, and a guy who, while he’s not hit for a lot of numbers this postseason, still has that flair for late-inning magic. You balance Papi [David Ortiz] against Napoli, who’s seemingly getting hot, and one of those guys is going to have to sit for three games. The beauty for the Red Sox is the American League won in the All-Star Game, and if it goes seven, they get more games in the American League park than in the National League park. The irony of it all is the Cardinals have no bench whatsoever. That was blatantly obvious in the NLCS, and yet now because you can use a DH, they’re getting Allen Craig back, who was their top run producer and has been for two years when he’s been healthy. It’s a big deal and something they’re used to because of interleague play. Ortiz isn’t going to have a huge issue if he has to go play first base, but that means Napoli sits and that’s a big presence that’s not in that lineup.”
McCarver compares the 2013 Red Sox/Cardinals World Series to their 2004 matchup: “This World Series is going to be totally different than 2004. No team in baseball would’ve beat the Boston Red Sox in 2004 once they came back and won the Yankees series like they did (being down 3-0 in the ALCS) and having to win four games in a row. It’s different because the Cardinals can match the Red Sox hitters with young pitchers in the bullpen, and the list of terrific players are on both sides – guys who are respected by their peers. How can you respect anybody more than Yadier Molina or Dustin Pedroia? Both are the blood and guts of their respective teams.”
McCarver on Cardinals pitching staff including rookie pitcher and NLCS MVP Michael Wacha: “He had only nine starts all year and that was during the regular season, and his last start he was one out away from a no hitter. They all seem to be signature young hard throwers. Kevin Siegrist, the left hander, nobody has heard about him. Trevor Rosenthal, they have heard more about him perhaps than any, except Namath, the right hander. They all throw differently and that’s one of the reason’s as a group they are so successful…I can’t think of a time when a group of pitchers has affected an organization and the game like these young guys have. They are so impressive.”
Buck on how the Cardinals front office managed the pitching staff to where they are now: “You look at all the young pitching and Wacha and the way he was handled by the organization. They avoided the temptation early in the year when injuries hit their rotation. They lost Jaime Garcia, Chris Carpenter wasn’t around like they thought he would be, Westbrook got hurt, it would have been really easy to slot both Carlos Martinez and Michael Wacha into the rotation and the Cardinals didn’t do it. To me that comes from the general manager, John Mozeliak. It was brilliantly handled by Mike Matheny who really has developed in a short time into one of the better tacticians of the game, with how he manages his bullpen. He deserves a lot of the credit, and he seemingly gets none around St. Louis. This series, to me, is so exciting. These are two teams that don’t quit and two teams who play the game fundamentally well.”
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