|TK in 1987, when the manager|
was younger than some
of his players.
In that sense, just about anybody would do in the booth. ABB -- Anybody But Bert -- would make the broadcasts fresh and different. Whether that's what Fox Sports North, the Twins (who have the final say over the broadcast crew) or the audience want is another matter.
For myself, I want to learn something more about the game, and at risk of bragging, at this stage that's a high bar to set. I can't remember the last truly novel insight to the game I gleaned from Blyleven.
Kelly and his stopwatch (for timing the pitcher's delivery, a means of determining if the base runner can steal) is a dose of real-time scouting in the booth. His thoughts Friday on Gavin Floyd's inconsistent use of the slide step — that Floyd would be better off if he made it his standard stretch delivery — was both common-sensical and delivered with an acknowledgement of the potential trade-off. Kelly's enthusiasm for both Rene Tosoni and Ben Revere belied his reputation as a hard man for young players to please.
There are times when Kelly doesn't go far enough, when he softens or blurs his point, I assume to avoid criticizing somebody. Example: On Thursday, Ron Gardenhire had Jason Repko pinch-hit for Tosoni, and Dick "Richard" Bremer asked Kelly if it might not be wiser to keep Repko available, since the Twins had the lead. Kelly's response focused on the immediate opportunity to add runs against a left-handed pitcher, and didn't mention that the change would also strengthen the outfield defense. (To be fair, Repko went out on the first pitch to end the inning, so Kelly may not have had time to get to the defensive gain from the switch.)
Bremer is clearly amused by Kelly's sarcastic digs at one of Blyleven's favorite chestnuts, that "best athlete on the field" line. I don't know that he's so amused by Kelly calling him "Richard" all the time. (I had theorized that TK simply doesn't want to say "Dick" on the air, especially when he initially identified 1970s White Sox slugger Dick Allen as "Richard Allen," but then a bit later Kelly called the old player "Dick.")
TK in the booth is clearly not going to be a long-term thing. I'm pretty sure he prefers his scouting/teaching/evaluating role. But I do wonder if the positive reaction to his stint in the booth might lead the organization to ponder the possibility of replacing Blyleven.