October 22, 2009
I'm still not sure I actually believe it and even if this report is 100 percent accurate then I think there's a good chance the world will end before next Wednesday's Game 1.
After 13 years of uninspired and monotonous coverage, Fox has hired Ozzie Guillen to be a pre- and post-game analyst during the World Series between the Phillies and
the Yankees TBA.
That sound you just heard were Fox executives cutting a blank check for the FCC.
Or maybe it was baseball bloggers thinking of new hashtags for the Guillen tweets they'll send.
Whatever the case, hiring the freespeaking White Sox manager is a master stroke that is totally out of character for a network that has traditionally hitched its October broadcasts to the bland and unappealing duo of Joe Buck and Tim McCarver.
Though Guillen won't be able to inject any life into the booth during the game — at least don't think he'll be able — the hiring is a great way to attract viewers and give baseball a can't-miss talking head in the mold of Charles Barkley on TNT.
Sure, there are a couple of questions. Will Guillen be given the free reins to speak his mind? Will America's knuckledraggers be able to get past his thick Venezuelan accent?
Both remain to be seen, though matching him up with Mark Grace on the set should be a recipe for must-see TV. Love him or hate him, Guillen harbors plenty of strong opinions and is the type of three-dimensional, larger-than-life character that used to highlight baseball's World Series coverage. Think along the lines of Howard Cosell, Joe Garagiola and Bob Uecker. Think of how much more fun they made the event seem. Then compare it to the usual slumber that Buck and McCarver need to be woken from.
Here's another point to consider: Guillen will file reports for Fox Sports Espanol and his presence will bring a diversity to the Fox staff that has been sorely lacking. In an age where World Series ratings drop lower and lower, Fox needed to make an effort to be more accessible to everyone — not just stodgy old white guys. This ranks as a good $#@%@! first move, albeit a surprising and uncharacteristic one for a network that usually redefines unimaginative.
Now who wants to start a pool for that first headline-making remark?