Next Tuesday, history will be made at AT&T Park. With
the eyes of the world trained on Major League Baseball’s best and bulkiest, a
long-standing record will finally be shattered – and it won’t be the slightest
bit controversial, much less involve the embattled hometown hero patrolling
left field for the National League.
Tim McCarver, a two-time N.L. All-Star catcher, will call
his 16th All-Star game, the most by any broadcaster in baseball history.
Joining him in Fox’s booth will be longtime partner and four-time Emmy winner
Joe Buck, on hand for his ninth All-Star contest. And in left field?
“Barry Bonds,” says McCarver, “has, more than any other
player, taken on the position of the hero and anti-hero in the sport. Frankly,
I find it a bit of a surprise that he was voted in. It’s only right, because
the game is in San Francisco, but I thought the sentiment against him would be
so overwhelming that he wouldn’t be among the top three in the fan voting.”
“We try to give every player a story,” adds Buck. “What
angle do you want to cover on Bonds? There are 15 different angles. We don’t
have enough time to do his story justice, and that’s something we’ll be
wrestling with right up until his first at-bat.
“So what do you do? You make up stuff. You just flat-out
lie and hope that people are so overwhelmed by the material that they’re not
going to know the difference.” (Don’t get excited; the man’s only joking.)
“Seriously,” he says, “you can’t focus on one guy. You can touch on him,
mention where he is in the home-run chase. And clearly people want to see him.
The fact that he got voted in tells you all you need to know about how the
Although McCarver acknowledges that Bonds will be featured
more prominently than if the game were taking place outside the Bay Area, he
insists the game’s premier slugger won’t dominate the discussion. Besides
providing standard in-game analysis, he and Buck intend to explore the stadium
and its surrounding neighborhoods, taking advantage of FOX’s plan to position
more than 20 cameras and 75 microphones around AT&T Park.
“San Francisco and PNC [in Pittsburgh] are the two parks
where the worse your seat is, the better the view,” says Buck. “The players
have no idea how beautiful that stadium is because they’re on the ground floor.
The setting is just breathtaking, and that’s something Tim and I will
definitely talk about.”
The festivities will begin with batting practice,
available to fans for the first time via Webcast, followed by the arrival of
the players, who will be escorted from Pier 32 to the park. Prior to the game,
during which coaches, players and umpires will be miked, there will be an
All-Star tribute to Giants legend Willie Mays.
“One of the most special experiences we’ve had was in
Boston, with Ted Williams on the field for the All-Star game,” says President
of FOX Sports Ed Goren. “I have e very expectation that honoring Willie Mays
will take on the same feel, which is only appropriate for a game in San