Welcome to the Show: CBS plans major-league coverage of game


CBS has an All-Star Game rookie in charge of Tuesday night's telecast, but the network has plenty of experience at the microphones.

Analyst Tim McCarver was selected to two All-Star teams, and fellow analyst Jim Kaat was on three. Each is working his fourth consecutive All-Star telecast for CBS, and McCarver did two ABC versions before switching networks.

If producer Bob Dekas has any questions, he just has to speak into their headsets.

The rookie and the veterans do seem to share the same view of the game itself.

"I think we're used to the All-Star Game as a showcase more than acompetition," Dekas said.

"It wouldn't be right for me to say that the players don't care if they win or lose, but they care more about their individual play," McCarver said.

"I don't think anyone gets all hopped up that the American League won, the National League won," Dekas said.

Regardless of interest in the outcome, CBS isn't skimping on coverage of the game. The network will bring in a World Series-like complement of cameras. CBS is using 13 to cover the game, Dekas said. (Six are used for regular-season telecasts.) The network also plans to take advantage of the remote camera atop the B&O; warehouse that provides panoramic views on Home Team Sports games.

The pre-game set will be under the Camden Yards grandstand behind home plate. Kaat will be positioned in the tunnels leading from the dugouts, interviewing players as they leave the game.

And what would an All-Star Game be without a camera stationed in a blimp?

CBS' telecast begins at 8 p.m., and the first pitch is expected at 8:37. But that doesn't necessarily leave lots of time for a pre-game show. Don't forget the player introductions, each one taking approximately as long as those recitations of each state's virtues before delegations cast their votes at political conventions.

In the 15 minutes or so the network will have for a pre-game presentation, CBS plans to present a feature on the San $H Francisco Giants' Barry Bonds, including following him from the end of the Giants' game today in Philadelphia to his arrival in Baltimore. Also look for outtakes from Bonds and the New York Mets' Bobby Bonilla in the movie "Rookie of the Year."

During the game, Dekas said, CBS might insert vignettes about the players, perhaps short interviews with parents and youth coaches.

Dekas clearly is a fan of Camden Yards and likely will show it off to the national audience.

"Camden Yards is such a wonderful ballpark," he said. "We're planning on having some cameras outside the park -- from downtown, the field gives an eerie, 'Field of Dreams' look."

Inside that dreamy field, Dekas wants to put microphones on All-Star managers Cito Gaston of the American League and Bobby Cox of the National League. The audio wouldn't be live, but CBS still is waiting for permission from Major League Baseball.

"Whenever you can, you want to take the viewer to places he normally can't go," Dekas said.

McCarver and Kaat have been to those places. In fact, the two were on opposing teams in the 1966 game at Busch Stadium. Kaat, then pitching for the Minnesota Twins, remembered facing Hall of Famers Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente, and St. Louis Cardinals catcher McCarver scored the winning run in the game.

McCarver recalls how excited he was to become an All-Star, and doesn't like hearing current players downplay the experience.

"I've always been somewhat upset with that smug attitude that they'd rather have three days off," he said. "But that's the attitude of coolness that's prevalent today."

Underneath whatever attitude players project, though, Kaat said, they know what an honor it is to be in the All-Star Game.

"If you have a desire to play baseball and be in the big leagues, you want to play in the game," Kaat said.

rTC And that desire burns enough in some players that it's possible Tuesday's game could include a repeat of the Pete Rose-Ray Fosse crash at home. The Philadelphia Phillies' John Kruk and Darren Daulton, to name two, would lower their shoulders to score, McCarver said. And then there's Bonds.

"Barry Bonds, he's so good, he could hurt you without leaving a mark," McCarver said.

But does the All-Star Game prove anything?

"There's no indication from the game who's got the better league," Kaat said. "The only indication is who has the better power pitchers."

So, everyone should be relaxed.

"It's a situation where they know they're the star players," Kaat said. "Even if a guy has a bad game in the All-Star Game, it's no indication that he's a bad player."

And, with a Field of Dreams to play on, a warehouse to shoot for and a blimp to look up to, how bad a night could it be, after all?

Copyright © 2021, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad