Smoltz giving up mound for booth?

March, 16, 2010
3/16/10
2:07
PM ET
Does this press release mean that John Smoltz is officially retiring?

    TBS, exclusive home of the 2010 Major League Baseball League Division Series (LDS) and American League Championship Series (ALCS), announced today broadcast teams for the network’s 2010 regular season Sunday MLB on TBS schedule. A rotation of play-by-play announcers will call the action, including Emmy winner Ernie Johnson, Dick Stockton and Brian Anderson. The network’s play-by-play announcers will be paired with Cy Young Award winner John Smoltz, who is joining the Turner Sports family this season ...

    --snip--

    Smoltz, who captured the Cy Young Award in 1996, will serve as a TBS analyst for the regular season, as well as the network’s coverage of the MLB Playoffs. Additionally, Smoltz will serve as an analyst for Braves games this season on Peachtree TV, alongside Johnson and 18-year Turner veteran Joe Simpson. Smoltz is no stranger to Turner Sports. The former eight-time All-Star was an in-studio guest analyst during the 2007 MLB Postseason on TBS and served as an analyst during the network’s coverage of the 2008 LDS. Previously, he served as an analyst for games on Peachtree TV while rehabbing an injury during the 2008 season.

    “Joining Turner Sports’ Major League Baseball coverage is a great opportunity for me to stay immersed in the game that I love and I’m really looking forward to this experience. Having worked with TBS and Peachtree TV before, I am thrilled about the start of the 2010 season,” said Smoltz.

Five pitches.

Qualitatively, the only real difference between John Smoltz in 2009 (3-8, 6.35 ERA) and the John Smoltz who's heading to the Hall of Fame (213-155, 3.33) was five pitches that turned into five home runs.

Last year, Smoltz struck out 8.4 and walked 2.1 hitters per nine innings, both figures slightly better than his career marks. He did allow 1.3 home runs per nine innings, which is roughly twice his career rate (0.7) ... but that's just five home runs. If Smoltz had allowed six homers rather than 11, he'd have hit his career rate exactly. Which is, by the way, almost exactly what he did in both 2007 and 2008.

Those five "extra" home runs aren't meaningless, and last year Smoltz wasn't throwing as hard as he had in the previous few seasons. But people are going to look at his 6.35 ERA last season and assume he had to retire, and I just don't think that's true. I think he can still pitch, and I hope he's got something in his new contract that allows him to delay his TV career if somebody really wants him to pitch.

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