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Q & A

TIM McCARVER: Analyst of the Stars

July 08, 1990|Steven Herbert

Tim McCarver will serve as the analyst for CBSU coverage of baseball's All-Star Game Tuesday at 5 p.m. McCarver, 48, caught for four major league teams over a career that spanned from 1959 to 1980. When CBS outbid ABC and NBC for the right to telecast baseball this season, McCarver joined CBS after spending the previous six seasons at ABC. McCarver also has served as announcer for the New York Mets on super station WWOR since 1984.

McCarver discussed the All-Star Game and baseball in general with Steven Herbert.

How does baseball's All-Star Game compare to all-star games in other sports?

It's certainly the most popular and fun event of all the all-star games. How much interest is there in the Pro Bowl after the NFL season? The NBA has made great strides with its All-Star Game, but nothing really comparable to baseball's All-Star Game. This year, (the game is) being played at Wrigley Field-for a baseball fan that's nirvana.

The game is at Chicago's Wrigley Field for the first time since 1962, and only the third time ever since the inception of the All-Star Game in 1933. How will that make the game different?

Wrigley Field is a marvelous ballpark. I love the park. The wind is going to be a factor. You'll have a lot of strong hitters. I suspect it will be a very high scoring game, if the wind is blowing out. If it's blowing in, then it will be a low scoring game because the pitchers will dominate.

Is it still strange to you to have a night game at Wrigley?

No. As far as IUm concerned, the newness went out after the first night game. It's as normal as it should be. That's just a personal preference. There are some that don't like night baseball, but we're not dealing with one of the great controversies facing humanity here.

Games are more of an event when you have them at night. I enjoyed playing at night. For a player's standpoint, I was better rested and saw the ball better. I loved playing at night.

You played in the 1966 and 1967 All-Star games. What are your memories of them?

My main memory is in 1966 when I scored the winning run. It was driven in by (then-Dodger shortstop) Maury Wills and we won 2-1 in 10 innings.

But before the game, a more indelible impression was implanted in my mind. I was only 24 years old. I was walking into the trainer's room and saw Sandy Koufax.

There is an ointment that players use to loosen their muscles or warm them in cold weather called Capsulin. It's red and that denotes it's heat. If you don't mix it with something, and get it to 60-40 or 50-50 it could blister the skin. Koufax was using it full strength that day from his left wrist all the way up his arm down his back. My thoughts were boy, he must be hurting. Sure enough, he retired at the end of the year.

How is baseball different now then when you played?

The players are better. I don't think the game is played better. There is a big distinction that should be made there.

If the players are better, why isn't the game played better?

Fundamentals. The major leagues are more of a training ground now for players. They don't spend enough time in the minor leagues. That's not an indictment of the minor league system, but more of an indictment of the length of stay in the minor leagues.

How does the big money the players get now affect the game?

No. 1, they deserve the money because they're getting paid the money. You deserve whatever you get paid. I don't really care what the players get paid.

So much is written about it and there's so much animosity which I don't understand. Why are people so bitter toward ball players getting paid all the money? It doesn't make sense to me. Because they are, and because they are publicized, players are trying to do too much.

They are trying to justify their pay because the press, public and hideous talk shows in every town are implanting these thoughts in the players' minds, and consequently they're trying too hard.

What are some of your thoughts on the 1990 Angels, Dodgers and baseball in general?

If you looked at the Angels before the season started, you had to understand that they would have a tough time scoring runs. The Dodgers have had all those injuries. Tommy Lasorda has done a great job holding them as close as he has.

Cincinnati is not really a surprise because they've had the personnel. They've had so many distractions in the past, particularly the Pete Rose distraction last year.

Oakland is a very good club, but the Chicago White Sox are the most surprising club in baseball. For them to be as close as they are to Oakland is a remarkable feat. The St. Louis Cardinals have surprised me that they've been very lethargic for the first half. The Montreal Expos lose six pitchers in less than a year, and they're in the race. They've done a remarkable job.

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