It is a new season for the FOX Saturday Game of the Week. They once again air a full 26 games of regular season action each Saturday. Eight of those weeks will air in prime-time starting May 19th, and they will of course broadcast the All Star Game, the American League Championship Series and the 2012 World Series.
A brilliant move by Fox was to work closely with the MLB Network, turning over their pregame, in game highlights and postgame over to the crew at MLB. The host is Matt Vasgersian, who will be joined by a rotation of MLB Network’s studio analysts, including Harold Reynolds, Mitch Williams, Eric Byrnes and Kevin Millar.
Throughout his 32 years in broadcasting, McCarver has served as a national analyst for ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox. He also has served as the local color analyst for the Phillies, Mets and Yankees in his career.
From 1983 to 1988, McCarver served as an analyst for the Mets' telecasts on WOR-TV, so he was there for Davey Johnson's first five years in New York. Talking to him this week via conference call, McCarver was more than happy to discuss his old friend and the Washington Nationals.
Williams: What impressed you most about Johnson when he managed the Mets?
McCarver: "Davey was fun to be around. He knew just how to handle both the old players, the stars and the young kids. He was great at identifying talent, and he fought Mets management to get both Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry moved to the majors quickly."
Is Davey Johnson a "Gambler" as a manager?
Williams: What do you think of the job he is doing in Washington?
McCarver: "Let's start with Stephen Strasburg and the way he gave him the ball and said you are my Opening Day pitcher. He gave the kid the confidence to show him that last year's injury was in the past [and] we are ready to move on. Then the hard work he has put in with Ian Desmond and Danny Espinosa, he has helped them on both their defense as well as their hitting. My final example is his ability to help guys when they are down like Jayson Werth. He showed Jayson that despite the bad season he was having that Davey was never going to give up him."
Williams: Can the Nationals make the playoffs?
McCarver:"Without question they can. I said that Davey was a good teacher and great at managing people in general. But he is also a gambler. I know he really wanted Bryce Harper on the Opening Day roster. But he will have to wait for that. If the Nationals' pitching is as good as advertised, then look out because Davey will come up with all kinds of ways to get runs and keep the team in every game. He might be the oldest manager in baseball, but he is still one of the smartest and the perfect man to guide the Nationals to the postseason."