About halfway through Patti LaBelle's marathon rendition of the Star Spangled Banner, I thought Game 4 was going to start at 10 o'clock. What happened to the days when people performed the song somewhere even close to how it's supposed to be done?
Hey, did you see Fox football analyst Terry Bradshaw sporting a blue "TB'' Rays hat on football postgame show?
"He likes it because his initials are on the hat,'' Fox's Curt Menefee said.
Make all you want out of umpire Tim Welke's blown call at third base in the first inning when Evan Longoria clearly tagged out Jimmy Rollins, and Fox announcer Joe Buck did by saying Welke "missed'' the call and that "this umpiring crew is having a rough Series.'' But partner Tim McCarver was dead-on when he said the Rays would've been out of the inning completely if pitcher Andy Sonnanstine had turned the double play instead of going for Rollins at third.
The whole play and its aftermath was Fox's finest moment of the Series so far. It showed a stunningly clear replay of Welke's missed call (the same type of replay it showed in Game 3 to see that the Rays' Carl Crawford was incorrectly called safe at first). Buck did not hesitate to criticize the umpires. And McCarver brought in a different angle of analysis.
As Fox's Joe Buck humorously pointed out, Rays second baseman Akinori Iwamura was charged with two errors within minutes of reporter Ken Rosenthal talking up Iwamura's defense from being a six-time Gold Glove winner in Japan to playing well at third last season to playing well at second base this season.
Less crowd, more filling
In the past, Fox was known for falling in love with crowd shots, a cheap but effective way to build drama. Fox, however, is doing less of that this postseason. Maybe someone at Fox realized it was doing too much of it. Or maybe there has been little reason to do it because there really haven't been that many tense moments in this Series or, for that matter, the NLCS, which was also on Fox. Whatever the reason, fewer crowd shots have made for less irritating and more entertaining broadcasts.