03 March 2014

Harold Reynolds & Tom Verducci to replace Tim McCarver

It has been rumored over the past few weeks but now Fox Sports has made it official, the replacements for Tim McCarver as the lead MLB on Fox analysts will be Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci, who will debut with Joe Buck on April 5th as they will call Giants-Dodgers on Fox Sports 1. Both Reynolds and Verducci, who were and will continue to work for MLB Network, have been a part of Fox's coverage over the past couple of years with Reynolds working on the pregame show (formerly produced by MLBN) and Verducci working games last year and the year before. They will work with Buck on some regular season games, the All-Star Game, the NLCS, and the World Series.

It's a big day for Fox as McCarver had been their only lead analyst to this point. Here's my take.

MLB on Fox Schedule
MLB on FS1 Schedule

Personally, I think that Buck-Reynolds-Verducci can be a solid broadcast team. I'm not certain of that because I have not seen them work together before, obviously, but considering I like both Reynolds and Verducci, I think there is potential for a quality broadcast crew.

And yes, I did say I like Reynolds and I do. Yes, I understand his position at MLB Network, specifically on MLB Now with the great Brian Kenny, as the anti-advanced statistics guy and as somebody who has been critical of baseball folks that have made it their livelihood to oppose sabermetrics, it is one thing I do have criticism of Reynolds for and the one caveat I have on him. Even then, I do think he is a solid analyst and will work out well on the top Fox crew.

I do find it interesting how Reynolds's career has now circled around completely after being infamously fired from ESPN in 2006. Since then he has worked for MLB.com, TBS, SNY and then to one of the original MLB Network guys. I also find it interesting that if Fox was considering putting him in the broadcast booth why they have not put him in the booth at all while he has been associated with the network.

Bringing on Verducci to fill out the booth is, I think, an excellent move as when he has been in the broadcast booth for Fox games, he has been very good. He has always been one of the best baseball writers out there for Sports Illustrated and he has also adapted to TV very well in both the studio in the booth. I figure some will not like that he is not a former player or coach, but that's a silly argument and we all know it.

Fox is also rounding out the remainder of their baseball broadcast team with Fox producing their own studio coverage for the first time since 2011. Fox's studio coverage will be hosted by Kevin Burkhardt, with Ryan Field filling in when Burkhardt has SNY duties (he remains their Mets sideline reporter), along with analysts including Gabe Kapler, who has been excellent on Fox Sports Live by the way, Eric Karros, Frank Thomas and C.J. Nitkowski. FS1 will also air a nightly highlights show called MLB Whiparound that will be hosted by Chris Myers and Ryan Field with the same analysts at 10 Eastern (save for Wednesdays when it will mostly air at midnight). Kenny Albert and Thom Brennaman, among others, will work games and it also looks like Fox is hiring John Smoltz to work as an analyst, which is an excellent move even as I think he should be on the lead crew instead of Reynolds.

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