Jim pointed out the other day that Ed Goren, the President of Fox Sports, wrote to the L.A. Times in support of Tim McCarver. Among other things, he said that McCarver is “the best first-guesser in the business.”

Now, much as I like to complain about McCarver, I’m sure there were times in this World Series when he displayed his reportedly impressive first-guessing ability. But the one example that Goren chooses to cite lays bare the reasons that Fox’s baseball coverage is so utterly terrible.

Here’s Goren’s example: “Who else would have suggested that Tony La Russa remove right fielder Chris Duncan for defensive purposes in Game 5 before he botched a fly ball into a double?”

Hmm. Who else? Let’s see:

1) Steve Stone

2) Me

3) Any Cardinals fan who had seen Duncan play at any time in person on on television, or who had heard a Cardinals game on the radio in which he played. Those people would know that Duncan is by trade a lousy first baseman, but that, given that there’s no place for non-MVP first basemen in St. Louis this decade, he’s learning to play the outfield. And he’s not very good at it.

4) Any fan of one of the teams the Cardinals played against this season after Duncan was called up and began playing regularly.

5) And, oh, yeah: Anyone who had watched Game 5 of the 2006 World Series up to the point when McCarver suggested replacing Duncan . . . and who had therefore seen Duncan’s earlier error, an embarrassing botched pop fly.

That Goren didn’t realize himself that it might be worth removing Duncan is bad enough.

That he also didn’t realize that many, many, many of the people watching might have figured out on their own that removing Duncan might be a good idea is bad enough.

But that he realizes neither of those obvious facts, and then, therefore, thinks that Tim McCarver is a genius because he points out what we’ve all realized tells you all you need to know about why Fox’s coverage of baseball is so bad.

They do not care about, like, enjoy, or understand the game. Nor do they care about or understand those of us who do.

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