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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Deitsch: Terry Francona shines for Fox

My goodness, a Fox analyst who isn’t detestable?

Terry Francona woke up on Tuesday morning to something rare in baseball broadcasting circles: Glowing reviews from critics and viewers. TERRY FRANCONA HAS STAR TV POTENTIAL, proclaimed Newsday. Suggested New York Times sports media reporter Richard Sandomir: “Idea: keep Francona in booth when [Tim] McCarver returns for Game 3. Rare to have a mgr and a catcher in booth. “Yahoo! baseball writer Jeff Passan injected history. “Is Terry Francona Wally Pipping Tim McCarver?” The sentiment was the same from most viewers on social media sites. I asked Twitter readers to send me thoughts on Francona—47 of 50 respondents gave him positive reviews. ...

Forget about the mechanics and how smooth Francona was or was not coming in and out of breaks: He was insightful, and genuinely funny, both valuable commodities in broadcasting. On Tigers outfielder Delmon Young, Francona said, “He must be hurt. I’ve never seen him take a strike one. He’s usually swinging in the on-deck circle.” Francona laughed at his own cliches, needled the seven-year-old son of his former player, Victor Martinez, and was unafraid to question strategy of both managers. Francona said the game was faster in the booth than he imagined, and never realized the preparation that goes into a broadcast. “But I’m not trying to delude myself,” he said. “If they had just handed me a microphone, I’d have flopped. I’d have sunk. But the game was fun. I love the game of baseball and I had to remind myself I was working. They were two good games, and two good, long games. I thought I felt more comfortable yesterday, which is an obvious statement because I had a day under my belt.”

Greg Franklin Posted: October 11, 2011 at 09:55 PM | 12 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, media, red sox, reviews, television

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   1. Shock Posted: October 11, 2011 at 11:38 PM (#3959746)
Is Terry Francona Wally Pipping Tim McCarver?”

Huh? Maybe he's Lou Gehriging him though...One can hope (and I haven't even heard Francona yet.)
   2. Robert in Manhattan Beach Posted: October 11, 2011 at 11:46 PM (#3959756)
You have to give him credit, he's done a tremendous job of not being Tim McCarver. We are one guy not being Joe Buck away from my dream booth.

Seriously though, he's been all right. All right, of course, being a big step in the right direction for FOX.
   3. Matt Clement of Alexandria Posted: October 11, 2011 at 11:59 PM (#3959768)
"All right" is also very impressive for someone who's never been in a broadcast booth before. I'm hoping we get more of his sarcastic humor - Tito's obviously trying to be a good guy, which is reasonable, but he can actually be very funny.
   4. pthomas Posted: October 12, 2011 at 12:12 AM (#3959787)
I'm so thrilled with watching managers pick up the bullpen phone I'm just breathless.......

Do they have a camera set up just for that wonderful, thrilling piece of television?
   5. Walks Clog Up the Bases Posted: October 12, 2011 at 02:30 AM (#3959998)
"All right" is also very impressive for someone who's never been in a broadcast booth before.

Indeed. A big contrast to Lou Piniella, who seemed like a guy ripe with some commentary potential and who proved to be utterly abysmal.
   6. Fat Al Posted: October 12, 2011 at 03:57 AM (#3960080)
I said this somewhere else, but I've really enjoyed what I've heard of Francona. Since I love to complain about announcers, it seems appropriate that I give praise where praise is due. If I know Fox, we'll never hear him again.
   7. BaseballDudeNYC Posted: October 12, 2011 at 01:57 PM (#3960258)
I think most people would say "all right", including myself. He was clearly nervous at times, but witty and insightful in some subtleties in the game. I found it funny that after Feliz thru a 100MPH heater, he claimed "that was in kilometers it was so fast!". 100KPH = 60MPH.

During the first rain delay in Game 1, Buck asked him about how difficult it was to manage in Philly, then Boston, and where he can find it more challenging. He said "Beirut". I'm not aware of any plan for MLB to expand to the Middle East, but moreover, it's really sad that people see Beirut as such a tough place. In 2009, NY Times named Beirut as the #1 place in the world to vacation! ( I visited last year, and I does have great nightlife and is right by the Mediterranean. :)
   8. TVerik, who wonders what the hell is "Anskeey" Posted: October 12, 2011 at 02:07 PM (#3960269)
Years ago, when someone mentioned Youkilis as the "Greek God of Walks", Francona said, "I've seen him in the shower. He's not the Greek God of anything."
   9. TDF, situational idiot Posted: October 12, 2011 at 02:20 PM (#3960285)
I found it funny that after Feliz thru a 100MPH heater, he claimed "that was in kilometers it was so fast!". 100KPH = 60MPH.

I thought the line was more along the "They must be measuring in KPH", because there's no way someone can throw as hard as Feliz in MPH.

I thought he was better than "all right", and certainly much better than McCarver. Plus, he doesn't have McCarver's annoying voice.
   10. PreservedFish Posted: October 12, 2011 at 02:39 PM (#3960302)
I think he's been pretty good.

In truth I am annoyed by the idea that you can just throw an ex-pro in the booth and not worry about it. It's the type of laziness that leads to Mark Grace grunting his reactions. Or AJ Pierogi making the same gesture one thousand times per pre-game show.

But in the specific case of McCarver/Buck, it's a breath of fresh air to have someone that is both unpolished and totally enthusiastic. But many of Francona's best moments have been due to his inexperience and youthful wonder at the spot he's landed in - if he did this for a living, some of the things that mark him as a contrast to McCarver/Buck are likely to disappear. How many times do you have to read a Fox promo before it sounds totally natural?
   11. SandyRiver Posted: October 12, 2011 at 04:40 PM (#3960458)
In truth I am annoyed by the idea that you can just throw an ex-pro in the booth and not worry about it.

Maybe it's only Francona's graciousness showing, but he seemed to go out of his way to laud Fox, and Buck, for NOT just throwing him into the booth. In this article, anyway, he comes across as admirably humble.
   12. aberg Posted: October 12, 2011 at 04:53 PM (#3960474)
Give it some time. Fox does a great job of polishing gems into coal, and if the producers get their notes into Francona, I'm sure he'll be a humorless, cliche spouting drone in a couple of years.

I hate to say it, but McCarver used to be ok. Listening to him on my 91 WS tapes is shockingly inoffensive

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