Worst opening, part II
Who's producing the opening show for Fox, Ken Burns? Bad enough that we had to sit through that syrupy "baseball unites us'' drivel with voice-overs from John McCain and Barack Obama before Game 1, we had to sit through it again before Game 2. Now we're starting to dread that Fox is going to do this before every game. Even worse, they downgraded from Michael Douglas helping to narrate to Kiefer Sutherland. If this thing goes seven games, we might end up with the guy who played Uncle Joey on Full House.
Best lineup introductions
Bucs coach Jon Gruden, below, taking a break from what surely will be a genius game plan for the Cowboys, switched visors and did a sweet job introducing the Rays lineup, especially calling an audible when he realized he had no prayer of pronouncing Akinori Iwamura's name. He simply said, "Leading off … Aki.''
Fox baseball insider Ken Rosenthal, who doesn't get nearly enough air time, had one of the highlights of the telecast with his report on Rays outfielder Rocco Baldelli, who suffers from a disorder that leaves him fatigued. Rosenthal saved his best quote for the end: "He told me he has learned to hit while his legs are shaking.'' Powerful stuff.
Usually those between-innings interviews with the manager or one of the coaches barely reveal that a baseball game is being played. The interview with Rays pitching coach Jim Hickey was as insightful as they come as he advocated the benefits of a good changeup.
Fox announcer Tim McCarver and Joe Buck made a huge deal over whether Rocco Baldelli checked his swing (umpires said he did) in the second inning with McCarver adding, "That's a horrible call right there. … Clearly that was swing.''
I don't know about "clearly.'' A replay from the first-base side looking straight at Baldelli would've made it clear yet Fox, inexplicably, never showed a replay from that angle. That aside, another nice night for Fox, both in the booth and in the production truck.