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Bob Costas and Ron Darling let Terry Francona off the hook in Game 5 of ALDS – Boston Herald


At the particular first-inning moment, Ron Darling flashed a verbal beware sign.

After Guardians starting pitcher Aaron Civale walked Gleyber Torres on four pitches, the TBS analyst said: “Before he (Civale) gets control of that cutter, he will have to get control of his emotions.”

That never happened. The Yankees would score three runs. The Guardians never got close to coming back. Now the Yankees will move on to Houston following their 5-1 win Tuesday at the Stadium and play the Astros in what New York’s baseball media will treat as Armageddon.

After the Bombers jumped out early on Cleveland, Darling and his partner Bob (Rapping Roberto) Costas, paid homage to Terry Francona by letting the Cleveland manager off the hook. It wasn’t until the fifth inning when the duo addressed the proverbial elephant in the room. Costas said something about how second guesses are usually better than first guesses before wondering “why didn’t he (Francona) go with a (straight) bullpen game (rather than starting Civale)?”

A good question.

Darling ducked it. Instead, he said: “And if they (Cleveland) don’t comeback, he (Francona) will have to address that (why he started Civale).” Correct. Yet, the TBS duo could’ve have explored the topic and maybe — heaven forbid — directly taken issue with the popular Francona, and his Hall of Fame resume.

This isn’t the only time during the slog of a game, when Costas and Darling let Francona skate. In the 4th inning, Andres Gimenez hit a sharp grounder behind first. Anthony Rizzo fielded the ball and raced to the bag. The Yankees’ first baseman slid, glove-first, tagging the base. Gimenez was called out. Yet, crystal clear replays by TBS’ crew showed that the head-first sliding Gimenez beat Rizzo to the bag.

Yet, Francona did not challenge the call. Darling: “Think about how each out is precious to the Guardians. They did not challenge the play.” Sorry, that’s simply not direct, or expansive, enough. Is the “they” Darling referring to Francona? The Guardians’ video crew? Who is responsible for not challenging a play that would have been overturned? It would have also been a good time for Darling, or Costas, to explain what the chain of command on a team’s replay decision.

And, with Costas using the old “sand through the hour glass line,” his Guardians Pity Party began in the 7th inning. “No matter the outcome here, you have to tip your hat to the Guardians” Costas said . . . ”With relatively limited resources they generally contend . . . Even when you exceeded expectations, and you are competitive, and this close you want to keep on going.”

This provided a soft-landing for Francona but did little for those seeking answers, from either Costas or Darling, about Francona’s culpability in Cleveland’s stinging elimination loss.

Then again, it helps when the baseball media, which Costas/Darling belong to, have already anointed you Saint Terry.


After the final out was recorded by the Yankees, and their trip to the ALCS was sealed, that blast of wind in Manhattan came out of MLB headquarters. It was a sigh of relief.

A Guardians win would have had them playing Houston in the ALCS. Already, the NLCS features middling markets — San Diego/Philadelphia. With the Yankees making it to the LCS, MLB and TBS have the countries largest media market, which includes millions of fair-weather thrill seekers who will jump on the Bombers Bandwagon and help juice TBS’ ALCS ratings.


It’s been interesting scoping out the interactions of Costas, a Hall of Fame broadcaster, and Darling who is a regular in SNY’s booth.

Like when Guardians pitching coach Carl Willis went to the mound to visit with Civale. “He’s telling him its 60-feet, six inches, just like when you were a kid,” Darling said.

Costas (sarcastically): “Yeah, sure, just like when you were a kid. At Yankee Stadium with a trip to the LCS on the line.”


Darling came up big, breaking down the “difference” between Gerrit Cole and Nestor Cortes, saying: “Gerrit Cole arrived to the Yankees in a private Jet. Nestor Cortes arrived in coach — middle seat.”. . . Costas will move to TBS’ baseball studio for the ALCS working with Curtis Granderson, Jimmy Rollins and Pedro Martinez. . . . Darling will work with Brian Anderson and Jeff Francoeur. . . . Word is Walt (Clyde) Frazier wants a closer look at the psychedelic jacket Rollins was wearing Tuesday in the studio. . . . Costas got a little too excited when TBS closed in on a Yankee fan “rocking” a Chuckie doll, Naylor style. . . . Mike (Sports Pope) Francesa ripping Costas’ ALDS Guardians-Yankees stylings, is like the guy painting the Velvet Elvis in front of Graceland shredding Picasso.



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