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Tim McCarver compares Yankee front office to Communists and Nazis for not sufficiently worshipping Joe Torre

Posted By Christopher Rowe On Jul 20 2010 @ 1:13 am In MLB | No Comments

I’ll admit I have not seen a FOX broadcast of a Major League Baseball regular season game in years. I did not see Saturday’s FOX game live but I’m sad that I didn’t, because it might have been the death knell for long-suffering broadcaster Tim McCarver. I first encountered McCarver as a Mets broadcaster but also knew him as a Phillies catcher years before. The problem being that McCarver has gone from being an opinionated player to an opinionated broadcaster…and somewhere along the line, this loon lost his ever-loving mind, went round the bend and sold his sanity down the Hudson River!!!

Tim McCarver’s insane comments captured by Ross at NY Stadium Insider) came out on national television, comparing the Yankee front office to Nazi Germany and the old Soviet Union for not having Joe Torre remembered in Yankee Stadium. McCarver’s rant about Torre not being mentioned in the Stadium isn’t even accurate, by the way – for one thing, Torre’s picture is on the 2000 Yankee championship banner in the field level.

McCarver, who along with Joe Buck insisted in a previous broadcast that Joe Torre was the biggest reason the YES Network was so successful (as if the reason fans turned in to watch those games was to see the manager, and not the players!) gave a one-sided account of Torre’s tenure with the Yankees. The broadcaster accused the front office of “corporate childishness” and said it was “the one thing they have bungled.” He also had this to say about the Yankee front office’s treatment of Torre:

“You remember some of those despotic leaders in World War II, primarily in Russia and Germany, where they used to take those pictures that they had … taken of former generals who were no longer alive, they had shot ‘em. They would airbrush the pictures, and airbrushed the generals out of the pictures. In a sense, that’s what the Yankees have done with Joe Torre. They have airbrushed his legacy. I mean, there’s no sign of Joe Torre at the stadium. And, that’s ridiculous. I don’t understand it.”

We don’t understand it either! What’s ridiculous is that McCarver would make such ignorant, outrageous comments, that simultaneously prop up Joe Torre as a victim and smear the Yankees front office, and that have no basis in fact. To compare Torre to a victim of Nazis and Soviet Communists is both offensive and absurd. These comments were in such incredibly bad taste, I half-expected McCarver to compare Torre’s “The Yankee Years” to “The Diary of Anne Frank” and “The Gulag Archipelago.”

McCarver has history with Torre, but besides both of them having acrimonious ends to their tenure in New York, their recent history has been divergent. Both used to be very good at their jobs, but McCarver became complacent and arrogant as his fame and fortune grew.  McCarver felt entitled to do whatever he wanted because of who he is, and thought he could just say anything he liked. Torre has always been a more modest man, openly offering honesty and sincerity while the media tried to paint him in a different light. Torre’s book notwithstanding, he has always been forthright and even when he “called things like he sees them” he still offered it as simply his opinion.

Now McCarver thinks that comparing Torre – who became a rich man and a future Hall of Famer thanks to his time as a Yankee (despite mediocre years managing the Mets, Cardinals and Atlanta Braves) – to Nazi and Soviet victims is just peachy. I think McCarver is off his rocker and will say so to anyone who disagrees.
Let’s review – Joe left Yankeeland because of the “insult” of getting a one-year, $5 million contract offer with an additional $3 million in incentives. He signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers for less money than the Yankees offered him. Then he wrote “The Yankee Years” and trashed George Steinbrenner and the Yankee front office. He moved on, and so did the Yankees. But according to McCarver, the team ought to be obsessing about poor Joe every day. Torre was left out of that Yankee Stadium closing tribute, and he should have been mentioned. McCarver didn’t even bring that up – instead he focused on stuff that isn’t even true. Torre was loved in the Bronx when at the helm for 12 years and when he left the fans revered him. I was there at the stadium and I was there in New York for those years. Steinbrenner loved Torre because the team won. Fans loved him because the team won. That’s what matters in Yankee Country!

How should the Yankees sufficiently honor Torre right now? Retire his number? Give him a plaque in Monument Park? Does McCarver suggest that either thing will happen when 1) he’s still an active manager for another team, and 2) he has yet to apologize for biting the hand that fed him for twelve years?

Casey Stengel had three more rings than Joe Torre. He didn’t get his Yankee number retired until 1970, ten years after he was fired, and five years after he retired from the Mets. He didn’t get a plaque in Monument Park until 1976, the year after he died.

If Torre didn’t write “The Yankee Years,” I think the front office would have retired his number after he himself retired from managing.  Now, I don’t see that happening any time soon. But that’s Joe’s own fault, not the Yankees.

I’ve thought McCarver has been out of his mind and out of his league for a good solid ten years. At one time McCarver was a thoughtful baseball analyst who wanted to teach the game to new viewers and remind us of the fundamentals. These days McCarver says these insane things regarding Nazis and Soviet Communists… what the hell does that have to do with the game of baseball? Do you want to be a political analysis? Go ahead but don’t do it on a baseball broadcast.

If FOX or anyone wants to make a Saturday afternoon baseball broadcast a part of the national landscape, they have to blow it up and reinvent it. Having McCarver work the broadcast is a travesty. He seems to like to hear the sound of his own voice more than the actual game and then he makes asinine statements like he did this week. There are dozens of broadcasters better than McCarver and all of them respect the game first and their own place in history second! McCarver is in danger of suffering the fate of broadcasters like Howard Cosell (During a Monday Night Football telecast on September 5, 1983, Cosell said of Washington Redskins [1] wide receiver Alvin Garrett [2], “That little monkey gets loose, doesn’t he?” The Rev. Joseph Lowery [3], then-president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference [4], denounced Cosell’s comment as racist and demanded a public apology, but Cosell refused, citing his past support for black athletes and stating that “little monkey” was an affectionate term he had used in the past for white athletes, as well as for his own grandson. Cosell left the Monday Night Football booth following the 1983 season, citing his increasing lack of interest in pro football), Jimmy “the Greek” Snyder (“The black is the better athlete,” The Greek said. “And he practices to be the better athlete, and he’s bred to be the better athlete because this goes way back to the slave period. The slave owner would breed this big black with this big black woman so he could have a big black kid. That’s where it all started.” ) or Bert Campenaris (Campaneris claimed that African-Americans didn’t have the mental abilities to run baseball teams!).

Point of note. No one watches the FOX broadcast because of McCarver. Primary and secondary reasons are McCarver. Buck is okay but I would just as soon see/hear Berman or Miller or Tom McCarthy paired with whoever comes along. Maybe it is time to take the contract away from FOX because they have failed miserably. Do what is best for baseball. Let FOX have the NFL. Give MLB to ESPN or TBS and let them do it right. Heck, let MLB Network have a shot at it.

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URLs in this post:

[1] Washington Redskins: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Washington_Redskins

[2] Alvin Garrett: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alvin_Garrett

[3] Joseph Lowery: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joseph_Lowery

[4] Southern Christian Leadership Conference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Southern_Christian_Leadership_Conference

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