Tuesday, TBS held a media conference call with the crew that will call one League Division Series and the National League Championship Series. Milwaukee Brewers TV voice Brian Anderson, Ron Darling of the New York Mets crew along with TBS’ studio analysts David Wells and Cal Ripken, Jr. were on hand to talk with the media to preview the upcoming MLB Postseason.
Turner Sports also sent one of its executives to talk baseball coverage as well. We have highlights of the Tuesday media conference call.
The Turner Sports press release is listed below for you to read in its unadulterated glory.
TBS steps up to the plate on September 30 to begin televising the 2011 MLB Postseason. The network will provide exclusive coverage of all four MLB League Division Series (ALDS & NLDS) and the National League Championship Series (NLCS).
Participants: Brian Anderson, TBS MLB play-by-play announcer; Cal Ripken, Jr., TBS MLB studio analyst; David Wells, TBS MLB studio analyst; Ron Darling, TBS MLB game analyst; Jeff Behnke, Turner Sports executive producer
Ripken on the Philadelphia Phillies slump: “It is really interesting because when you try to analyze the situations on club, it is really the makeup of your club and if they can turn the switch on or off. Generally speaking, I don’t put a lot of emphasis on losing before you start [the playoffs.] I do think health is a big issue. I will say though I have a little concern for the regular players. You need to get your reps up and keep your hitting going. You want to get one or two at bats before you start the playoffs. I also have a strong feeling about the pitchers. It is a long season and the innings can wear and tear on them but I, personally, don’t think the pitchers will have a problem.”
Darling on the Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff: “If you are assuming that Philadelphia (Phillies) is No. 1 as far as pitching staff is concerned, I think Milwaukee Brewers are No. 2. I say that for many reasons. They have guys that can match up, they have something historically that gives them a strange advantage. They had a starting pitcher for them that was undefeated at home in (Zack) Greinke. All the starting pitchers on both squads are tremendous athletes. They can field their position; they know how to get the bunt down and some of them (Brewers) are legitimate threats to Philadelphia to change the game by themselves. Those things involved are all amazing talents.They give the edge to Philadelphia because they have had some guys (Cliff Lee, Roy Halladay) that have tremendous and historical success in the Postseason. If anyone is going to match up with them game-for- game, I think it is the Milwaukee Brewers staff.”
Wells on Arizona Diamondbacks pitching staff: “Arizona has come into their own. It just depends on their matchups, how they pitch because anything can happen. I’ve always been a big believer that anything can happen in Postseason. Guys can have a terrible year- (which I did have one of those) – and come into the playoffs and shine. We all know (Justin) Verlander and what he has done this season is incredible. You look at (Zack) Greinke with 10-0 at home, it is incredible. But if he is on the road, will it be something different? So far what it has proven this year is that he is better at home.”
Wells on the Philadelphia Phillies: “You see what Cliff Lee did last year, are these guys going to be able to continue to do that this year? If Philadelphia’s bats don’t wake up than they are not going to win. It is simple as that. I don’t care how good their pitching is. You can’t win, if you don’t score.”
Ripken on the Milwaukee Brewers pitching staff: “First you go with the Philadelphia Phillies, they have all the number ones and they get all the credit. They’ve pitched and earned it and they deserve it. I like the depth of the Milwaukee staff. I like the hitting prowess of the Arizona (Diamondbacks) pitchers. Those guys swing the bat pretty good. Especially Daniel Hudson, he’s like a regular player and a hitter.”
Ripken on Milwaukee Brewers leftfielder Ryan Braun for MVP: “I do make a distinction between player of the year and MVP. Ryan Braun is a clutch hitter. He has been out there. Ryan is a good all-around player. He does have that component of the stolen base. He is scoring runs and driving in runs and I love his clutch hitting. He seems to be the guy that they need most to come through. That’s why I pick Ryan Braun for MVP.”
Wells on pitching in a zone: “When you are in a perfect game situation it is a lot different. You are feeling the tension and hearing the distractions from the fans, and you get caught up in it sometimes. All you try to do is have tunnel vision and just look at the glove and hit your spots. It is tough to do and the stars have to be lined up. You need eight other guys behind you to really make that perfect. That is something that (Detroit pitcher) Justin Verlander has. He has that stuff every time out. (Phillies pitcher) Roy Halladay is another guy. They are probably the only two guys that have the capability of no hitters in every game.”
Darling on Kirk Gibson and his style as a player and manager and being considered an underdog: “He should say that he played on a team [1988 LA Dodgers] where anything is possible and everyone is going to discount their team. He will definitely use that to his advantage. He’s an amazing guy, an unbelievable competitor. Here’s a guy with a football mentality that has adapted it to the baseball game. Don’t be surprised…at the end and you have two teams that make you push your cap back on your brow and say, ‘Boy, I never saw this coming.’”
Ripken on Gibson: “I loved to compete against him, loved the way he played the game. And I would agree with Darling that there is a little bit of a football flashback especially when he came around second base. But when I watch from afar, it’s really interesting. He holds people accountable for playing the game right. And when you look at the whole staff – Alan Trammel, Baylor, and Nagy, Young and Matt Williams – these are good baseball guys who knew how to play the game right and they insist on playing the game right. Kirk Gibson’s personality is perfect for that and he has energized the team in small things like secondary leads, and action pitches and those sorts of things. It’s going to be fun to watch them play and watch them complete in the playoffs.”
Wells on Gibson: “His on the field performance as a manager – dissecting his team his thoughts on the game, what moves he is going to make with the matchups – is how he takes in the game. He’s got a little bit of Sparky Anderson in him, which is one of his mentors, and he will tell you to this day what Sparky brought to the table and what he learned from him flows over to his own philosophies as a manager. He just wants his team to recognize the talent they have.”
Anderson on more wildcard games: “I am all for the extra wildcard round just for the TV drama. The play in games 163 are some of the most compelling TV.”
Darling on the makeup of the Diamondbacks: “When you look at Arizona team, they have players that no one knows about. Justin Upton, of course you know. He is a player that has not lived up to his potential because he is extremely young, rushed to the big leagues and needed someone for guidance. The guy I really like that flies under the radar is the left fielder, Parra. He can easily be the Gold Glove in left field. His defense is impeccable and he catches everything out there. The Arizona team is a team all baseball fans who love the game are going to fall in like with when they watch the postseason.”
Wells on the Yankee Bullpen: “What they have there is pretty good. David Robertson has been a tremendous help for Mo [Mariano Rivera]. David Robertson has been great. He has been their guy when you need a strikeout. He has been a great reliever.”
Ripken on Tampa Bay’s emergence: “What has happened in Tampa is amazing. They got great pitching and great pitching is what keeps you in the ballgame. They are the most optimistic, positive, relaxed team and a lot of that has to do with the leadership of Joe Madden.”
Darling on Tampa Bay: “Tampa Bay was the shrinking violet to the Yankees and Red Sox. Those days are over. They just compete every night. What they are trying to pull off here, it gives you goosebumps. You just love watching it.”
That is all.