Sunday July 14, 2013

It's been quite a July in sports media, and the month is barely half over.

We had one famous broadcaster switch networks and another get ready to do his final All-Star Game.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Bill Raftery was leaving ESPN after 30 years to join the soon-to-air Fox Sports 1 network.

Raftery, who has been Mr. Big East since the league was founded, will be doing the new Big East games with Gus Johnson.

This Big East involves the Catholic universities that bailed on what is now the American Athletic Conference.

It's a good move for Fox, and there is no doubt that Raftery and Johnson will entertain us. But the ESPN crew of Raftery, Jay Bilas and Sean McDonough were the best the network had in terms of a college basketball broadcasting team.

Three people in a booth for basketball usually doesn't work. These three made it work, and made Monday night Big East games must see television.

I remember when Raftery was coaching at Seton Hall in the late 1970s. He was part of the best crew of college basketball coaches the New York metropolitan area ever saw.

In addition to Raftery, Louie Carnesecca coached at St. John's, P.J. Carlesimo was at Wagner, the late Jim Valvano coached Iona and Mike Krzyzewski coached at Army. Five tremendous college coaches and all within a one-hour drive -- in traffic.

I've never seen a better group that close together, ever.


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Tim McCarver is hanging up the headset after this season, so when Fox televises the All-Star Game from Citi Field on Tuesday night, it'll be the last one for the venerable analyst.

During a conference call with sports media writers, McCarver was asked about his top All-Star memories.

As a player, he immediately went to the 1966 National League team that had Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente and Hank Aaron batting 1-2-3. Sandy Koufax started the game, his final All-Star contest.

He also recalled the game the next year.

"Tony Perez won the 15-inning game in 1967 and Tom Seaver finished it," McCarver said. "I faced Tom Seaver for about 13 years after that game, and I don't think I ever saw him throw any harder.

"He was young, strong as a bull and my hand hurt for about two weeks after that."

I'm not the biggest Tim McCarver on Fox fan. I much prefer my Tim McCarver from his days with the Mets. He, Ralph Kiner and Bob Murphy entertained and enlightened.

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On the local media scene, one Pittsfield radio station is dipping its toe into the national sports talk scene.

WBRK-AM in Pittsfield is now carrying the Jim Rome and Doug Gottlieb sports talk shows on weekday afternoons.

Rome and Dan Patrick are the gold standards of national sports talk. Forget the callers, both hosts get better guests than anyone else. And be honest: A caller from New York isn't much different than a caller from Oklahoma City.

I've been a Rome fan for a number of years, and when his show left Fox Sports 980 in Albany for the not-as-good Jay Mohr, there was a void in my sports radio listening.

Not anymore.

To reach Howard Herman:
hherman@berkshireeagle.com,
or (413) 496-6253.
On Twitter: @howardherman.