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The End Of McCarver?

Hold your breath if you're one of those folks who can't stand Tim McCarver -- like the guy who runs this website -- you may be in luck.

FOX's latest deal to televise baseball, including the postseason, expires after this season and according to this Bob Raissman column in the NY Daily News, MLB executives are definitely looking elsewhere.

The column goes on to say that MLB has many choices, including signing a two-network deal -- the way things were in the 1970's and 1980's, when ABC and NBC both had rights to various packages and alternated coverage of the World Series. Or they could go with NBC exclusively; that network seems much more aggressive in acquiring sports rights, particularly their snagging of the NFL Sunday night package that starts next fall.

Another player could be ESPN, who already carries several regular season games a week, and some division series games; they could put the playoffs on both their cable channels and the World Series on co-owned ABC, which would assuage those who would fear that a pro sports league's championship games would go to cable, something that hasn't happened and isn't likely to.

What is likely is this: MLB is going to want more money. In today's fractured advertising landscape, it seems to me that all the TV networks (and don't discount Fox, as they do have the right to match another network's "final" offer) will be trying to lowball.

And whatever money is finally agreed upon in any future deal has a lot to do with whether team payrolls are going to continue to skyrocket as they have over the last decade.

But in any case, if baseball leaves Fox, it's likely Tim McCarver's days on the national scene (and maybe it's about time anyway -- he turns 65 this year) are numbered. If NBC gets the package, there's no doubt in my mind that Bob Costas, who loves the game and is a terrific baseball announcer, would again become their lead play-by-play man.

And hey, Steve Stone's looking for a gig, right? What better place than to be the lead analyst for MLB's network TV games and postseason?

As they say in the biz -- stay tuned.