The MLB on Fox broadcast booth has added a couple of longtime veterans for the 2014 season. On Monday, the network announced that Harold Reynolds and Tom Verducci have been selected to replace Hall of Fame broadcaster Tim McCarver, who retired following the 2013 season.
The duo of McCarver and Joe Buck has been a staple of Fox's big-time October baseball coverage in recent years during the playoffs and World Series, but this is a nice change of pace for the broadcasters. Fox Executive Vice President John Entz issued a statement:
Replacing an icon is never easy, and there is no doubt Tim McCarver revolutionized televised baseball analysis. We’re convinced that in teaming Joe with Harold and Tom, we’ve built a crew with an all new dynamic that is as fresh, informative, opinionated and very entertaining. Each is extremely talented and brings a unique voice and role, and we look forward seeing this team’s chemistry develop throughout the season.
But those aren't the only changes in store for Fox, as detailed by Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated:
McCarver rubbed some fans the wrong way the end of his tenure with his deliberate broadcast style and Reynolds, 53, and Verducci, also 53, will undoubtedly bring some younger energy to the booth. Given their informed and measured takes on MLB Network, it seems like the new duo should mesh well with a veteran like Buck.
Deitsch shared when the trio will make its debut:
He also gave his take on Reynolds and Verducci, his colleague and longtime friend and mentor.
Like everything Verducci does, he will be exceptionally prepared, smart and thoughtful in the booth. But given I've worked with him for over a decade, you are much better off with the evaluations of other media writers and baseball observers. [...]
Where Reynolds is excellent is in breaking down plays and explaining the decision-making 'whys' by players and managers, so look for Fox's MLB producers to put him situations to excel on that subject. The booth, if nothing else, is a much better spot for Reynolds than the studio because it doesn't call for bold at every turn. He's also got a terrific baseball game-caller in Joe Buck who will initially be the signature voice on the broadcast. This will not be a bad booth but it could have been better.
Reynolds put together a solid 12-year MLB career, spending 10 seasons with the Seattle Mariners, earning three Gold Gloves and two All-Star bids along the way. Since retiring in 1994, Reynolds has made a name for himself as a laid-back broadcaster for ESPN and MLB Network who has a great rapport with players, coaches and execs involved in the game.
Verducci, meanwhile, has established himself as a respected veteran in the business of baseball sports journalism over years and is as well-connected as anybody. He's been writing for Sports Illustrated for more than 20 years now and has also cultivated a solid TV personality contributing for MLB Network.
In all, the shift to a three-man booth with two informed and personable analysts like Reynolds and Verducci seems like a smart move for Fox. With spring training in full swing and Opening Day fast approaching, it won't be long before these three get the opportunity to shine together.