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 NL 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,” McCarver says, “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,” Buck adds. “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 public feels."
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 [Park in Pittsburgh] are the two parks where the worse your seat is, the better the view,” Buck says. “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 feature batting practice, available to fans for the first time via Webcast, as well as 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 Fox Sports President Ed Goren. “I have every expectation that honoring Willie Mays will take on the same feel, which is only appropriate for a game in San Francisco.”
WHEN: Tuesday, 5:42 p.m.
WHERE: AT&T Park
WHO: National League vs. American League
TV: KTVU (Ch. 2)
SERIES: NL leads 41-24-2
Will Buck and McCarver treat Bonds fairly?
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