I had not heard about Tim McCarver’s riff on global warming causing an increased number of homeruns. There’s a reason for that. As much as I love baseball, I try to avoid watching games covered by the dynamic duo of McCarver and Joe Buck. Indeed, when the Red Sox have been in the post-season I turn the sound down and listen to Joe Castiglione on WEEI instead.
This isn’t to say that weather doesn’t play a role in how many homeruns get hit or don’t get hit. The wind can all the difference between a three run homerun and a third out of the inning. Indeed, the air in Denver is so thin that over the past few seasons baseballs are placed in a humidor to reduce the number of homeruns that were hit at Coors Field.
But in recent years, homeruns have been declining. In 2009, 5,042 homeruns were hit in MLB. That figure fell to 4,613 in 2010 and fell again to 4,552 last season. So from 2009 to 2011, homeruns have declined by more than 10%.
So I think Larry Thornberry is being overly generous when he says, “He usually doesn’t prattle too badly on air.” Indeed, his prattlings are known as McCarverisms. Here are but a sample:
“That pitch wasn’t down and in, that pitch was down and up.”
“Watch Darren Daulton use his mitt like a glove.”
“Yankee pitchers have had great success this year against Cabrera when they get him out.”
The thing about McCarver that stands out for me was something he said during the pre-game show of the 2003 All-Star Game at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago. He said that in order to have success at the All-Star Game you needed to have experience. Well, the hero of the 2003 All-Star Game was first time Texas Rangers third baseman Hank Blalock, a first time All-Star, who hit a two run homerun off Los Angeles Dodgers closer Eric Gagne in the bottom of the 8th to give the American League a 7-6 victory. It was Gagne’s only blown save that season and he would go on to win the 2003 NL Cy Young Award. As for Blalock, it was his first full season in the bigs. So much for needing experience to succeed in the All-Star Game.