Gregory J. Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

John Smoltz apparently has no idea who Matt Barnes is, because he kept calling him 'Heath Hembree'

Alex Reimer
October 24, 2018 - 10:40 am

John Smoltz would be wise to consult a media guide before Game 2 of the World Series begins Wednesday night. Perhaps it would allow him to actually the know the pitchers coming out of the Red Sox bullpen.

The Hall of Fame hurler and Fox color man incorrectly identified Matt Barnes on at least two occasions in Game 1, getting him confused with fellow right-hander reliever Heath Hembree, who did not appear in the game. Making matters worse, Smoltz also wrongly said Barnes was featuring a slider, rather than his sweeping 12-6 curveball. Even the laymen at home could figure out the difference. 

Overall, Smoltz is a curmudgeon-like presence in the booth, often complaining about excessive celebrations and attempting to discredit players for their accomplishments. When Matt Kemp homered off Chris Sale, for example, Smoltz said the designated hitter was just lucky to capitalize off of one of Sale’s mistakes. 

In other words, Smoltz is the anti-Eck. And on top of it all, Smoltz rarely stops talking. His banal observations and complaints take up most of the oxygen in the booth. 

Joe Buck is one of the best play-by-play men going, in my view, because he recognizes the importance of letting the crowd set the picture. But he can be prone to smugness, which is exacerbated by Smoltz’s presence. 

Game 1 was a thrilling affair. If only the World Series’ lead color analyst found it just as exciting as the fans watching at home, or at least knew the players involved.