Let's stipulate that nearly every color analyst who has ever slipped on a network blazer fits into one of two boxes. He — we're mostly talking about men here — is a Regular Guy. Or he is a Professor. These labels aren't destiny: Regular Guys can be whip-smart, and Professors can be morons. But the color man is one or the other. John Madden was the ultimate Regular Guy. And Tim McCarver is — was — the classic Professor.
McCarver said Wednesday he'll leave the Fox booth at year's end, after calling his 29th(!) consecutive major league postseason. McCarver's career is a case study in how far you can hustle a mantle of erudition, decisive opinions, and emotional distance. It got McCarver into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but it leaves him, despite his ubiquity at the World Series, despite a career stretching from Jack Buck to Joe, nearly unloved.