The upcoming baseball season will include analyst Tim McCarver’s return to the St. Louis Cardinals, the arrival of former catcher Ivan “Pudge” Rodriguez on “Rangers Live” pregame and postgame shows and the continued absence of the Houston Astros.
Although McCarver retired from the Fox national broadcasts last year after 18 seasons, the former Cardinals catcher plans to broadcast 30 Cardinals games on Fox Sports Midwest.
McCarver began his playing career with the Cardinals in 1959 as a 17-year-old and played 12 seasons in St. Louis. “It’s fabulous, a complete merry-go-round, it’s wonderful,” he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Coming back to St. Louis after starting there some 55 years ago is obviously special.”
Cardinals radio broadcaster Mike Shannon, 74, plans to drop about 50 road games from his workload. FSM analysts Al Hrabosky and Rick Horton are to replace Shannon on a rotating basis on the radio, opening up space for McCarver on the TV side.
Rodriguez, a member of the Texas Rangers Baseball Hall of Fame, will work on several pregame and postgame shows on Fox Sports Southwest, joining former Rangers second baseman Mark McLemore and hosts John Rhadigan and Dana Larson on the “Rangers Live” broadcast team.
The Astros, parent team of the Triple-A Oklahoma City RedHawks, once again will lack national exposure on Comcast SportsNet Houston, which is now embroiled in bankruptcy hearings. The 18-month-old channel reaches only about 40 percent of Houston households and has yet to convince national providers such as DirecTV and Dish Networks to carry it.
Here’s a look at major-league team broadcasts that will be carried in Oklahoma City, excluding ESPN telecasts:
St. Louis Cardinals
The Cardinals will have at least 153 telecasts available from Fox, including 143 on Fox Sports Midwest, which will be available on Fox Sports Oklahoma Plus, seven on Fox Sports 1 and three on Fox. Dan McLaughlin will be the primary play-by-play announcer, working with Hrabosky, Horton and McCarver. “Cardinals Live” will include Pat Parris, Jim Hayes and former Cardinals players Jim Edmonds, Jason Isringhausen and Andy Benes.
The Rangers will have at least 137 telecasts, including 129 on Fox Sports Oklahoma, five on Fox Sports 1 and three on Fox. Steve Busby returns for his second full season as play-by-play announcer, and former Rangers player and general manager Tom Grieve is back for his 20th season as analyst for most games. McLemore will work as the analyst with Busby for about 25 home and road games. Emily Jones will return in 2014 in an expanded role as a reporter for most home telecasts and a few road broadcasts, and Jim Knox again will be a reporter for home games. Dallas station KTXA once again will air a package of 25 Friday night games, most of which will air on The Cox Channel (channels 3 and 703) in Oklahoma City.
Kansas City Royals
About 50 Royals telecasts will be available, including 44 from Fox Sports Kansas City that will be available on FSOK Plus, four on Fox Sports 1 and two on Fox. Ryan Lefebvre and Steve Physioc will split play-by-play duties, working with analyst Rex Hudler. Reporter Joel Goldberg also will host the pregame and postgame shows with Jeff Montgomery.
WGN will air 71 Cubs telecasts along with “Lead-Off Man” pregame and “10th Inning” postgame shows for select games. Len Kasper returns for his 10th season as the Cubs’ TV voice, working with former pitcher Jim Deshaies, who is back for his second season.
Chicago White Sox
WGN also will broadcast 30 White Sox games. Play-by-play announcer Ken “Hawk” Harrelson and former White Sox pitcher Steve Stone are back for their sixth season together.