A familiar face for NFL fans says he was on the verge of adding baseball broadcasts to his duties -- until Joe Torre intervened.
Fox NFL officiating analyst Mike Pereira said during a recent appearance on a radio show that he once accepted a similar role for the network's coverage of MLB games before it ultimately fell through at the behest of Torre, then the head of on-field operations in the league's offices.
“Not too long after I started, maybe three or four years after I started, the sport that was missing this role was baseball," Pereira told the Bay Area radio show Papa & Lund. "So Fox, when they signed their new deal with baseball, they asked me if I wanted to do baseball.
“They asked if I wanted to do it and go to umpire school to learn the rules. I decided, 'OK, I'll do it. I’ll go to the baseball school. I'll come up and learn the rules so that I can do this role.' And I actually talked to some umpires and a couple of people in the umpire department in New York and Major League Baseball."
But Torre, the former Cardinals, Yankees and Dodgers manager, apparently bristled at the the idea of having Pereira, a former football referee, analyzing and breaking down baseball replays.
"But Joe Torre put the nix on it," he said. "He nixed me. He said we don’t want a guy being our rules specialist who’s never umpired.”
The league did approach several retired umpires, Pereira said, but ultimately never filled the role.
Indeed, replay mercifully does not factor as prominently in baseball as it does in football. When it does, the outcome tends to be more cut-and-dry than in football, where interpreting the rules can be complicated.
And with natural breaks occurring every half-inning -- and often more frequently than that late in games for pitching changes -- baseball certainly doesn't need to create artificial breaks for the purpose of airing commercials.
Some said the game had bypassed Torre in the latter stages of his career. But his instincts appear to have been spot-on in this case.
h/t Awful Announcing