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Tim McCarver won't ruin the St. Louis Cardinals' broadcasts—he might even make them better

The Cardinals are picking their spots pretty well with Tim McCarver.

First he'll need to find the right jersey.
First he'll need to find the right jersey.
Hunter Martin

Here's the problem with you and Tim McCarver: He has spent your whole baseball-watching life assuming you know absolutely nothing about baseball. When you didn't know anything about baseball, he explained it to you in extraordinarily broad network-TV strokes—here is Derek Jeter, he is a future Hall of Famer with the will to win. When you knew a little something about baseball he started to repeat himself. And in the last couple of years he has infuriated you, because his story hasn't changed, and worse still he's continued to treat you like a child or the kind of person who is pissed off that his favorite show is pre-empted by the NLCS.

This is one of a million ways baseball is handicapped as football-style appointment TV: If a series goes to Game 7 Tim McCarver's routine has already run out, and he's got to come out with the same material next year. He has to because a national, broadcast-TV baseball product has to be pointed at people who kind of know who Derek Jeter is.

Tim McCarver is joining the St. Louis Cardinals' broadcaster rotation, and if that put you out on a ledge somewhere this is the important part: Tim McCarver is not going to talk to you like you've never watched baseball before. Repetition isn't inherently a problem in baseball broadcasting; we want to hear Mike Shannon sound like Mike Shannon, and we want to hear Vin Scully tell us weird stories about .240 hitters. The problem with Tim McCarver is that he has repeatedly addressed us like we are not only new to baseball—not only moments away from just queueing up House reruns on Netflix if things don't go full soap opera—but also both unwilling and unable to disagree with what are some pretty sour proclamations about the broad State of Baseball.

I enjoy Rick Horton and after an intense course of meditation and under the right humidity/back porch/cricket noises/vacation conditions I can enjoy Al Hrabosky, so I might not be the one to talk you off this ledge. Tim McCarver is not Vin Scully, and a number of people who also aren't Vin Scully have managed to make Tim McCarver's gig bearable.

But Tim McCarver played with Stan Musial and Bob Gibson and Ken Boyer and Curt Flood and Ken Reitz and Bob Forsch, for that matter, if you're looking for a link to those '70s teams that time forgot. He's going to talk over one out of every five games you watch, and if the baseball gods are just gods he will engage in loud and barely intelligible banter with Mike Shannon a few times. He is going to talk to you like you're a Cardinals fan.

If you were going to find a role where Tim McCarver at 71 would be pleasant and maybe even delightful, this is the one.