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tv   Charlie Rose  PBS  June 3, 2013 12:00pm-1:01pm PDT

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>> rose: welcome to the program. we begin this evening with jeffrey goldberg, one of the most respected journalists following the middle east and talk about syria, iran, israel, and palestine. >> i believe that america, a, is a force for good and, b, has a lot of power in the world but i -- we'd be foolish not to look at our inability to shape the future of iraq and not draw some lessons from that. and so i am not convinced at all that we have the ability to shape an outcome in syria that would be beneficial to the best interests of syria but beneficial to our national security or to the security of our allies in the region so i would not -- and, by the way, i think that the president of the united states having seen what happened to his predecessor when he tried to shape the future of an arab country, i think he's
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pretty hesitant to do that. >> rose: we conclude with tim mccarver, the great st. louis cardinal catcher who went on to even greater name the broadcast booth as a baseball analyst. >> bob gibson, we talked about bob and the irascible, lovely, wonderful bob gibson. >> rose: one of warren buffett's great friends. >> one of warren buffett's great friends. in fact, it was warren buffett who asked bob about 15 years ago. he said "before you threw a pitch, did mccarver put down the signs?" and gibson said "warren, mckofsh only suggested pitches." >> rose: (laughs) >> in typical gibsonian fashion. i'm the one who made the decision. >> rose: i decide what i will pitch. >> rose: yeah, i'm the one that makes that decision. jeffrey goldberg and tim mccarver when we continue.
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captioning sponsored by rose communications from our studios in new york city, this is charlie rose.
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>> rose: jeffrey goldberg is here. he is a staff writer at the "atlantic" magazine and a columnist in at bloomberg view. his focus is the middle east and israel. the region is particularly volatile at this moment, as all of you know. president bashar al-assad claims to have received a shipment of russian anti-aircraft weapons. israel has previously said the weapons will threaten their security and could use force. meanwhile, secretary of state john kerry has returned from a trip that included jerusalem and ramallah. the trip was his intent to restart the peace process there. i'm pleased to have jeffrey goldberg at this table once more. welcome. great to have you here. >> thank you. >> rose: let's start with syria. >> yeah. i was just talking to a senior administration official about this, and this is the true problem from hell. syria really is the true problem from hell because you have -- at this point -- maybe this wasn't true a year and a half ago. but at this point right now you have the most powerful
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opposition group is essentially al qaeda. >> rose: right. >> we don't like bashar al-assad. the president is -- i think genuinely bothered morally by this problem but, you know, in this situation there's something that's actually worse than bashar al-assad which is the possibility that you -- we will see a safe haven created for an al qaeda affiliate. not in the remote regions of afghanistan-- which is bad enough, as we know from 9/11-- but very close to israel and jordan and the mediterranean. so, you know, they are flummox bid this one. >> rose: would be that be a possibility today if there had been intervention earlier? >> my understanding is that the president feels no. there are a lot of people like john mccain and people like john mccain that say absolutely yes. if we had stepped in two years ago and tried to shape the
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opposition into something other than what it's become then there's a stronger likelihood that al qaeda could have been kept at bay. but, you know, what's done is done and we're here at this situation right now. there's another point which is that, you know, the opposition when it was forming a year and a half ago, two years ago, this was were civilians. i mean, real civilians who had day jobs and were picking up rifles in anger. >> rose: as it was in egypt at the beginning. >> as was in egypt. but remember the nusra front, the various al qaeda groups, these guys who have been spenting a last several years fighting america in iraq. these are guying flying in from yemen, coming in from pakistan. so they might have become dominant anyway even if we had gone in and tried to -- >> rose: before they came? >> before they came they were ready to fight. they were ready to fight. >> rose: and how strong are they today within all the forces fighting to overthrow assad? >> the al qaeda affiliates? >> rose: al nusra. >> they're the most effective
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fighters. >> rose: what does that mean, the most effective fighters? >> they kill the highest number of assad soldiers. they are the only force that can compete against -- remember, this has become internationalized already. people say "we're worried this is becoming internationalized." it's internationalized. you've got as many as 7,000 hezbollah fighters, iranian trained hezbollah fighters from lebanon fighting on the side of bashar al-assad already. ful these are the most experienced -- among the most experienced fighters in the middle east, terrorists, militant, however you want to describe them. >> rose: so hezbollah against al nusra? >> you've got the makings of a -- it's become a shi'a/sunni war. i mean, people -- people keep talking about, oh, we're heading into a period when we're going to have a shi'a/sunni war in five or six different places. we already have it. >> rose: on the shi'a side you have iran and hezbollah-- both shi'a-- supporting the syrians. on the other hand you have qatar and saudi arabia -- >> and united arab emirates,
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jordan, turkey, all the sunni countries, some of which we like some of which we don't like so much supporting the opposition and a lot of the weapons that some of these places are sending in are making it through the al qaeda guys. >> rose: suppose assad -- first of all, tell me what the situation is on the ground because there seems to be -- well, assad -- syrian forces, the government, seems to be doing a little bit better according to what you hear. is that accurate? >> it seems like it's accurate. >> rose: it's moving towards a shift in terms of where the trending was? >> you know the odd thing about it is, the odd and horrible thing about it is that we're pretty sure-- we meaning the united states, certainly europeans, the arabs, the israelis-- pretty sure that bashar al-assad has tested the use of chemical weapons. he's crossed that -- >> rose: our intelligence says he's tested them in the
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likelihood he might want to use them in a larger means? >> i think he's testing them to test our tolerances. to test the world's tolerance for his use. >> rose: if he can get away with a little he can get away with more. >> he's going to keep pushing it. the real danger comes when he miscalculates. there could conceivably be an act using chemical weapons that is so despicable -- i mean, it's all despicable but so despicable that it forces obama's and in a way that his hand has not yet been forced. >> rose: even though he created a red line and then has gotten in trouble with that because, as you have written, that was not a smart thing to do. >> no more talk of red lines i think is the lesson out of that if you're not going to enforce it. the interesting thing, and this is the diabolic part of that is that even after use of chemical weapons-- and there is broad agreement that he did use them in small-scale ways they've
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grown stronger. iran is all in, hazard is all in. these guys are not only holding territory but taking territory back. they're pressuring even the hardest core of the sunni opposition. and so you're looking at -- you remember as well as i do a year ago, six months ago, 15 months ago it was the assad death watch. any day now. you know, every time there was a bombing in damascus, oh, this is it, they're going to be on a plane. >> rose: if they didn't get him somebody would get him? >> we're not there yet and not only are we not there yet, i think there are a lot of good people, sober-minded people in washington and elsewhere who are asking the question at this point, if bashar were to disappear tomorrow we might have a worse situation than we have on the ground today. >> rose: does the peace conference, does the united states and john kerry and the foreign minister of russia have any possibility of bringing the parties together >> i try not to be overly pessimistic but i can't see a possible way this is going to work. i mean, first of all you have the opposition saying it doesn't
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want to go at all for some practical reasons. not reasons that they enumerate, but they don't want to go to negotiations in a position of weakness and they're in a position of weakness right now. i can't imagine iran and hezbollah allowing bashar al-assad to make what they would consider the unseamly compromises with the radical sunni opposition, or opposition they see as radical sunni opposition. i can't see a way around this. i think everybody is -- >> rose: so some big power sponsored conference which lots of smart political people that you know suggest is the best way out of this thing. >> the u.s. and russia together have the best shot together. really together. and the best shot of bringing this to some sort of -- >> rose: so that's a good idea? >> it's a wonderful idea. except -- except that -- >> rose: you can't bring the parties together. >> well, except that russia is playing the opposite role at the moment.
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russia is sending these -- has promised to send at least these really game-changing missile systems. >> rose: so you doubt they've arrived. >> i have no proof that they have arrived. so i would -- and bashar al-assad is a well-known liar so when he publicly unwrap it is boxes and shows us that he's got these missile systems then i'll believe -- remember something about the missile systems. even if they've just arrived doesn't mean there are people there who know how to use them. there's an another interesting -- another terrible wrinkle of this is you're going to have russians, perhaps, at the very least doing the training of the syrians who will be using these missile systems and at most even manning them which is an interesting -- to internationalize the problem even further, israel has said that no, we are not going to live with these sort of missiles in the hands of the assad regime not only because we want them in their hands but we don't want anybody else to get them.
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>> rose: therefore do you assume the israelis, if, in fact, those anti-aircraft missiles arrive and that the israelis will be true to that and knock them out? >> here's the russian wrinkle. you're can't, if you're israel, attack these weapons systems if they are in the presence of russian military advisors. israel cannot bomb sites in syria and kill russian military officials. i mean, that, you want to talk about internationalizing a conflict? it's one thing for israel to bomb assad loyalist regiments and convoys. it's another thing to attack a site where you think or suspect that there might be russians. there are several hundred russian soldiers and officers in syria already doing training, doing other things. so you want to make this really bad? you have a strike in which russians are killed. >> rose: if russians are there,
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they're unlikely to strike. >> the israelis have a lot of technical means to do things to stop syria from being able to use these missiles but i find it hard to believe that they would put russians in danger. >> rose: what's the implication of hezbollah being there and fighting and losing their soldiers? >> well, the implication is enormous because the mask has been ripped off. for years, decades, people like me have been saying stop thinking of hezbollah as some sort of lebanese domestic political party a militant wing. understand it as -- as an external wing of the iranian revolutionary guard core. this is a wholly owned subsidiary of the iranians that has beens to be based in lebanon. >> rose: even though they participate in the government and give the appearance of being -- >> they're very talented. they can do two things at once.
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they run soup kitchens also. doesn't mean they're not terrorists, it's just they're terrorists with soup kitchens. and they want to play in lebanese politics. but the mask has been -- they've ripped their own mask on by saying, you know, twler with assad, we are standing shoulder to shoulder with assad and and it's interesting because hezbollah has been telling the world for 20 years "we're about. g we're about resistance to the zionist entity." or to put it more bluntly "we're not killing jews. we're not above killing arabs but we see that is a lie. we now understand that's a lie. >> rose: assume that the forces against assad win and win within a year. is it anything that the united states can do and western allies can do to stop the worst elements that have the most military skills from taking power in syria and offering a refuge to terrorists? >> look, i'm -- as you know, i'm
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dispositionly interventionist. >> rose: yes, i know. >> i believe that america, a, is a force for good and, b, has a lot of power in the world. but we'd be foolish not to look at our inability to shape the future of iraq and not draw some lessons from that and so i am not convinced at all that we have the ability to shape an outcome in syria that would be beneficial to the best interest of syria but beneficial to our national security or to the security of our allies in the region. so i would not -- and, by the way, i think that the president of the united states, having seen what happened to his predecessor when he tried to shape the future of an arab country, i think he's pretty hesitant to do that. the danger here-- and this is one of the debates going on in washington right now-- is do you take half measures, you try to get a little bit more in, or
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that futile and maybe even counterproductive? >> rose: and a slippery slope. >> and a slippery slope. or if you're goingto something go all in. and the answer to that one, of course, is that there is not only -- there's no domestic lobby in america right now for another middle east adventure. it's not even a neutral question with the exception of john mccain, lindsay graham and a few other people on the hill. there are more people who are actively opposed to further engagement or further adventurism, if you want to editorialize, in the middle east than ever before. >> rose: but there's nothing you can do somehow proprovide weapons to good guys so that they would have an even chance if assad is defeated. >> the thing to remember about a no-fly zone-- and this is, again as a person who are believes generally in intervention, i'm surprised to hear myself say this-- but a no-fly zone is serious business. i mean, it means engaging the syrian air force. it means essentially becoming the rulers of a swath of
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territory of another country. because that's what you're doing. you're denying that country's army the ability to maneuver and operate in that zone. no-fly zone is a way of going all in. we're not there. >> rose: what do you say to the argument that we ought to go all in because it will help us to -- because if you get assad out you weaken iran. and you have leverage against iran and perhaps iran would take a different tact or different behavior about nuclear weapons. >> also the subject of vigorous debate and i, again, to my surprise, find myself sympathetic to what i understand the president's position to be which is that, again, as i understand it, which is that it's very a very bad idea to go to war against one country to prove to another country that they're willing to go to war. you know, war is an open-ended
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and dangerous thing to get involved with. i think it's probably true. i mean, that there are iranians who can misinterpret and iranian officials are very good at misinterpreting american intentions. who look at barack obama's declaration of a red line and say "oh, see? he's a -- he's a paper tiger." what i would sty that is that i've always believed that iran is a special case for barack obama. if he's making a list of the -- the sort of the list of horribles in the middle east, you have to deal with egypt. the peace process, syria iran's nuclear program. iran's nuclear program by far is the number one most threatening and the thing he's probably holding his power before. >> rose: i want to talk about him and what you see as his foreign policy mind and where he sees the world today. >> the negative on that is that he gives the impression on occasion that he believes it's up to america to decide when
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this war is over. is we didn't start the war. >> rose: war against terrorism? war against al qaeda? war against al qaeda and all of its affiliates? what war? >> he believes there's an end date to the war on al qaeda core. he believes with justification that al qaeda core-- are fairly well decimated and so he -- he feels he can put an end stamp on that one. not until we get out of afghanistan and beyond that, but that is a war against a group and we can decimate that group. he doesn't see the al qaeda affiliates in the same exact light by my point i guess is a larger one. i'll use afghanistan as an example. he that has -- to me it's little verbal tic or speech writing tic. he talks about the end of the war in afghanistan. the war in afghanistan is going to end in 2014. he doesn't say what is s moring
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a vat that the war in afghanistan is going end in 2014. the war in afghanistan is going to go on and we might, four or five years from now, being talking about the sudden sprouting in afghanistan of al qaeda safe havens. hard to imagine this going very well after we leave. so in other words when barack obama says, you know, this war, like all wars, has to come to an end. it's not solely up to us. that said, i think -- you know i think it's a healthy thing to dial back the rhetoric. after 9/11 and, again, with all -- you have to be sympathetic to george w. bush and his administration. we now have 12 years where we can think about our reactions to what happened and analyze it and obama can approach these issues with a cooler head. that said, the rhetoric that that came out of that period
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turns out not to have been helpful and i they the president believes is that we can manage and contain the threat of islamist terrorism, that this country strong enough to manage it and deal with in the a mature way and another quick point-- and this is my clear impression sds is that he was heartened by the reaction of typical americans, the average american, to the boston attacks. in other words, there was no clamor to try this surviving suspect in a military tribunal. people said the courts are fine. there was no, ma'am large-scale or even small-scale retaliation against muslims. >> rose: but, i mean, this is -- interesting to add to this discussion if you look at boston and other places, ray kelly made a speech in dallas and he basically said he's worried by the rise of terrorism because it's different and doesn't have a central source. >> right. >> rose: and that's a scary thing. and therefore it's not necessarily linked and you can't -- it's a bit different from a
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non-state war. as long as russia was the enemy, or the soviet union, you knew who the enemy was, knew how to have a kind of destruction attitude towards them. you can't do that. >> no. no. >> rose: especially if it's al qaeda affiliates. >> not even al qaeda affiliates but the loan wolf. we have no satellite capability that can watch the tsarnaev niece cambridge. there's no satellites in cambridge. we don't know who they are until it's too late. which goes to something that was missing from the speech, i think which is the -- what role, if any, the u.s. government and its agencies can play in interrupting the radicalization process or the self-radicalization process. and i don't know it wasn't in the speech. maybe because there's no good answer. >> rose: there used to be an argument made that we have to fight in the world of ideas and that's important and are we engaging them in the world of ideas. >> you know, this is another gar ya where we need humility and
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this is a war america can't fight. there's a war inside islam. that's the war between radicals and moderates and i don't know if there's anything we can do to strengthen the moderates in that battle. >> rose: i think you understand president obama's mind as well as most especially in terms of the middle east and the issues we've been talking about. is humility a sense of the limits of american power a part of the way he looks at the world today? >> yes. and sometimes i worry that there's too much humility. again, you know, the whole last 12 years has been about finding that balance. you know, the pund lum swings and either we're at a period where we'll remake the entire world and rid it of evil or we're in a period where we seem almost helpless to support rebels in one particular rather small dysfunctional middle east country. but i think erring on the side of humility in this case isn't
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the worst thing because we have learned some lessons about our limitations. we have learned that just because we believe that arabs should do xh, y, and z in order to be free and happy doesn't mean that those group of arabs we're talking to want what we are telling them they want. and so i think there are a number of -- first of all, it's very important to remember that, you know, in -- you can make a list of terrible things in the middle east but the president has a whole list of other hard problems that he has to deal with. not only that, but even just in the foreign policy realm he has positive things he wants to achieve. >> rose: does he enjoy foreign policy? it's frequently said of presidents they come to the white house mainly sometimes elected by domestic issues, the state of the economy and all that. then they get -- they fall in love with foreign policy. has this president fallen in love with foreign policy because of the stalemate in washington? >> right.
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i -- i understand exactly the point. first of all, he's a cool character so he doesn't express huge enthusiasm or emotions about many things. i think he feels -- i've watched him fairly closely. >> rose: you've talked to him. >> and talked to him on occasion. a rare occasion. but nonetheless opportunity to listen to him carefully. >> rose: well, this is no secret. >> no, it's fine. it's fine. but -- >> rose: (laughs) >> i think that he, a, has mastered in it a way that he hadn't mastered in the a couple years. in other words -- >> rose: well, bill clinton mastered in the a couple years. >> i think he's pretty good analytically. >> rose: does he remind you of anybody? the way he approaches these issues and these problems? he obviously makes mistakes that
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you point out. the red line was a mistake, obviously, unless you're prepared to act if there was -- and if he points a red line, you have to make damn sure there's no ambiguity about the red line. >> you know who he reminds me of just a little bit, and i'm going go out on a limb here and maybe make no sense, but james baker. he reminds me a little bit. >> rose: really. >> just -- you know, i had the opportunity to listen to him on a couple of occasions. just analytically walking through a problem. walking through a problem with a real -- with very much a realistic attitude about what can be achieved and what can't be achieved. >> rose: john kerry. john kerry is a man who would obviously like to make history. >> yeah. he'd like to make history but i'm going to try to be -- i'm going to try to spin that a slightly different way in his favor. i mean, yeah, the joke is-- and i've made the joke-- that obama already has his nobel peace prize so kerry -- and you don't
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get the nobel peace prize for settling a small problem. the nobel peace prize comes with the big enchilada and that's the israeli/arab -- >> rose: but nobody knew more than barack obama that he didn't do serve what he'd done. >> put that i side, he nevertheless has one. and other people that john kerry knows, al gore. so, yeah, of course, why would ant secretary of state want to win the nobel prize? >> but he's been a student -- he was chair of the foreign relations committee. he gets his big neplt he wanted very much second only to being president and he's showing early on that i realized i have a small amount of time here, i'm on the road, i'm going to doyf what i can. i'm not interested in simply passing the time looking -- >> he seems almost mess mess cyan nick this approach. >> rose: exactly. >> by the way, a space was created for him by hillary clinton who's very much not interested in pursuing middle east peace. i'm not saying she was wrong not to pursue it, that she saw no
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opportunities and she had a very close advisor who spent a lot of his presidency trying to achieve the impossible or what became impossible. >> but he's that same person that's fascinated by the middle east. >> oh, he's -- >> rose: he's obsessed by the personalities. >> and making sure that hillary doesn't waste her time. so the space was created and the white house controls a lot of different aspects of foreign policy but the white house is very happy to say to john kerry, fine, but you go talk to the -- you know, a friend of mine says that -- from "ha'aretz" says that the obama visit to israel a couple months ago was a farewell tour. >> rose: (laughs) >> not hello. and it was, like, yeah, i'm leaving now, i'm going to send my friend from massachusetts to talk to you people. >> rose: haze more time than i do. >> not only that, but he actually believes-- unlike i do-- that you guys are ready to do this. >> rose: so what can kerry
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believe and what can he do? >> he does believe. you don't do this unless you believe. and you listen to him he seems very sincere about it. you know, and i think he is pushing and prodding and coddling and arguing but with parties that i just don't believe are ready for what -- he's still bringing ideas that are 15, 20, 25 years old to this problem. the palestinian authority, the netanyahu government, you're not talking to people who are ready for this. that's my opinion. i don't see -- >> rose: why not? >> well, netanyahu has a coalition. >> rose: it's a very dangerous place. you could argue that somehow peace with the palestinians would serve his interests rather than -- >> rose: netanyahu, we're talking about? >> yes, we are. would serve his interest and his state's interest not to have this issue there all the time. >> a, getting there is very hard. getting there -- you guarantee one thing when you try -- when
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you get close to a viable peace process. you guarantee an increase in violence. you don't guarantee peace at the end of the day. tomorrow will have violence so that's frightening. the other obvious point for netanyahu is, you know, look, he has -- i'm sorry to say, the right analysis of the arab spring, the arab awakening, whatever you want to call it. >> rose: confidence? >> he came and sent his emissarys in early 2011 in washington and said "you know what's going to happen, right? the muslim brotherhood will take over in egypt, the fundamentalists in syria. nobody wanted to hear it because we were all until that, oh, look it's a "we shall overcome" moment in the middle east. >> rose: he knew the revolution would be co-opted. >> he knew that would be co-opted. the google guy was gone within weeks and in his place is what we have. so he's looking at the middle east, the potential unraveling of the entire map and, remember, you know, this is -- i forgot
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who said it but it's very smart. there was agreement after world war i, the british and french got together, they made lines on a map and they said "we're going to call this iraq, that's jordan." that's coming undone. so if you're the israeli prime minister right now-- i'm going to try to put myself in his shoes-- you're going to say "now is a great moment for me to crede territory into a region that is coming apart at its seams. where even my closest and most stable ally and friend in the region-- jordan" looks to be under pressure. where syria is melting away. iraq is going ci zi. egypt is under the control of the muslim brotherhood. i cannot go to the israeli people who have recent experiences with disappointment during peace processes. i mean -- and most notably the acute disappointment of giving back gaza to the palestinian authority only to have it taken over by hamas. so he's not -- i don't think -- even if he didn't have his
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coalition problems, which is to say he has parties in his coalition that are adamantly pro-settler and would leave the coalition if he tried anything. >> lipid? >> surprisingly lipid has moved himself closer to some of the settlers than you would have thought given the height. >> rose: is that political stuff or is it -- >> he's had a hard job. he's the finance minister now. but i think dispositionly he's not a left winger. he's sort of a classic centrist. but he's not making -- look, the number-one issue in israel right now on the political front, the coalition front, is drafting the ultra orthodox into the army. it's a domestic issue. >> rose: just announced. >> it's why he's in power in the first place. so netanyahu has the problem with the coalition. he has -- he's analyzed the situation in the middle east not incorrectly to say that everything's blowing up and i don't know i who i'm going to make peace with. a lot of israeli right wingers say-- and they have this partial truth to this-- that imagine if the golan heights had gone back
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to syria during the syrian/israeli peace track. when you cede territory to unstable governments that might be violently overthrown and replaced by their exact opposite it's different than making a treaty with canada, you know? it's -- it becomes a difficult thing. maybe if the syrian/israeli peace track would have worked out everything else would have been different. i don't know. but -- so from the netanyahu side there's not -- i don't see opportunity for kerry. >> rose: with respect to the iran has he ceded his -- has he given his vote to barack obama? >> this is the key question. that's the best question of all. we don't know because we don't know the answer to the following question. we'll know that answer when we know this answer: is it too late for israel from a technical standpoint to set back through military force the iranian nuclear program for three to five years or more? we don't really know that.
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i hear conflicting things. there's some generals who say, sure, we still maintain the capability. there's others who say, you know what? we are -- we've gone past the point where we would do anything effective and the only force in the world that could do something effective militarily is the united states. so once we know the answer to that we'll know for sure the answer to your question, which i think is sort of a key almost existential question which is has netanyahu subcontracted out the security and future of the jewish state a president he doesn't actually really trust? >> rose: not only that, it violates his tenet of what people-- netanyahu and his father and lots of other people-- you never give away the -- you never give to somebody else's hands the defense and national security of the state of israel. >> it's not just netanyahu. i mean, this is -- >> rose: yeah, that's a fundamental principle. >> that's zionism in a nutshell.
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zionism in a nutshell is the jewish desire to become in charge of the jewish fate rather than letting somebody else be in charge of that. so it will be a -- particularly with netanyahu. netanyahu feel this is very deeply and so it would be a particular irony or joke on him in a way if under his watch israel basically ceased to be in this one very, very important aspect a sovereign country. >> rose: thank you for coming. >> thank you. >> rose: jeffrey goldberg writes for bloomberg view and also for the "atlantic" magazine. has done fascinating profiles of among others, king abdullah of jordan, recently. one of the most respected voices writing in journalism about the conversation that we have just talked about. back in a moment. stay with us. >> rose: tim mccarver is here. he has been part of major league
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baseball for-- get this-- 54 years. in 1959 at the tender age of 17 he debuted as a chechnyaer with the st. louis cardinals. he retired as a player in 1980 and has become one of the game's most respected broadcasters. after calling 28 straight post-seasons and a record 23 world series, he announced in march this season will be his last in the broadcast booth and commissioner bud selig said of mccarver "as an analyst he thought like a manager in the dugout and redefines what sports fans expected from the broadcast booth." i'm pleased to have tim mccarver back at this table. wow. >> how are you, charlie? >> rose: i'm doing great. welcome to this. >> i was thinking what's happened over the last 55 years when i signed with the cardinals in june of 1959. inform the late '50s sputnik orbited the earth and here we
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are 55 years later and a robot is getting samples from mars. >> rose: isn't that great? >> and sending it back. meanwhile, in baseball the 1960s when i broke in, perhaps the greatest decade in the game's history for pitching. so good, as a matter of fact, that in 1969 they lowered the mound. and here -- this year, after the steroid era, after players' strikes and chaos off and on for a 50-year period, it's back to pitching because this year pitchers are more effective, strikeouts are up, runs are down. so it's fascinating how baseball's gotten back after 55 years to what it was when i signed up. >> rose: now is the change in baseball in terms of the -- back to the dominance of pitchers, is that because the absence of steroids or something else?
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>> well, that's a very good question and the -- the answer's probably a combination of a couple of things. i think the approach of hitters now, they take the first pitch a lot more. i don't understand that because the idea of the first pitch is perhaps the most important pitch in an at-bat and will determine whether a hitter gets on base or not. gets a hit or not. because if he can get ahead in the count if the first pitch is a ball and he can predict what's coming the chances of him hitting a ball hard greatly increases. so the change in the thinking of the hitters now is odd. you hear in clubhouses that, well, all we need to do is get this guy's pitch count up and they'll have to depend on the bullpen. now, the idea is to get on base and to score runs. that's how you win games. not get a guy's pitch count up.
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>> rose: speaking of that, that was part of the theory of "moneyball." >> yes. >> rose: get a guy on base. >> yes, but on base percentage is very, very important. on base percentage is very important if the guy can run. if the guy can't run he clogs up the bases. that's been -- >> rose: what did you think of the book and the movie ""money ball." >> i thought movie was very entertaining. but they left out three of the most vital weapons that oakland had back in the early' 2000s, tim hudson, barry zito, and mark mulder, their three pitchers. that's why they won in those years. not "money ball." >> rose: (laughs) not some new nearly. >> no. >> rose: just good pitching. >> i mean, there's something to getting on base and fighting your way on base via a walk and pitch selection and stuff like that. but the reason they won primarily because of pitching,
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not that the there were -- >> rose: you never wanted to manage. >> had i had an opportunity to manage when i retired after 1979 season i would have gone into managing. but i had a two-year deal to broadcast with philadelphia phillies in '80 and '81. so the bird in the hand theory, i had two years and some security. had i been offered a job to manage than i would have. >> rose: you really know the game. you've heard this a thousand times, there's two kinds of guys in the booth: every man. exhibit a, john madden. the professor. exhibit a, tim mccarver. >> thank you. well, i mean, john madden had a
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head start in the television business because he was such a great coach. he handled all the elements of what football is all about. i think i had a head start in baseball because i was a catcher. i handled the pitching staff, i could see what a third baseman was going to do. the responsibilities of the infield cheating toward the bag in a double-play situation. i can still remember curt flood, our center fielder of the decade of the '60s, great player, took the first step toward free agency, by the way. >> rose: and with great courage. >> with great courage. i mean, gave up a contract worth $110,000 a year in those days, which was a ton of money in 1969. but i can still remember him moving the silhouette of the pitcher and flood moving in anticipation of how a certain
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pitcher was going to work a hitter. it was almost balletic and i can still think about that and curt was a very, very intelligent man and knew hitters very well and knew hitters' tendencies very well. so i think with all of those things that gave me a head start in the booth and, of course, you've got to do the work involveed in it. >> rose: you loved it. >> i did. still do. >> rose: still do? >> still do. >> rose: will you do any of it now? you're taking yourself out of the booth in terms of the regular scheduled season. >> the fox gig which includes the all-star game, the world series. i've had enough. >> rose: you mean there's nothing new? >> oh, there's plenty new. >> rose: in terms of baseball. in terms of sitting in a booth and adding to the fans' enjoyment of the game. nothing new for tim? >> not in this particular -- under these contractual obligations. meaning -- this was the last
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year my contract and it was the right thing to do. i thought about it for a couple years and i talked to real good friend of mine, eric shanks, with fox and i said this is not what i want to continue doing anymore. i mean, this will be my 24th world series coming up. 24th all-star game, a quarter of a century. in fact, i had dinner with al michael it is other night and al and jim palmer and i did -- >> rose: oh, gosh. >> our first world series together. >> rose: jim palmer from the orioles. >> jim palmer from the orioles who's a terrific friend and a great guy. and game two in 1985 i took over for howard cosell. howard came out with a book, he was fired ten days before the series and before game two we were doing our work in the booth in kansas city and al looked at me and he said "well, this begs the question, is it tougher to
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play in a world series or announce one?" and i said "what? announcing one by far is tougher!" and it is. because you have to have everything together. >> rose: you have to know all the moving parts. >> exactly. and when you're a player you can get rid of things with activity. >> rose: now, do you like the show you do, the tim mccarver show in terms of you sit down and have a conversation with people. not unlike what we do here but it's better. >> (laughs) no chance of that. >> rose: but you know what i mean. do you like that? >> i like it a lot and we are thinking about trying to continue that next year. i would like to do that. >> rose: are you an ambitious guy? >> i was at one time when i was younger. (laughs) >> rose: i don't think you lose ambition, do you? >> i don't know. i think you fulfill ambition and maybe fulfilling it is -- >> rose: it's not a finite thing. >> no. no, that's right.
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i've never been asked that question. i was at one time. i've wanted to do well and i wanted to be the best. r be the best but -- but not particularly on this stage anymore. and that's why i decided to say i'm not going to do it anymore. >> rose: did you know jackie robinson? >> i met him in 1969. i didn't know him but i -- you know with the cardinals, it's interesting that you asked that because with the cardinals in 1961-- this is 14 years after jackie robinson-- florida was still segregated during spring training and bill white, our first baseman who was -- talk about courage with curt flood. and that was -- that's what set that cardinal team apart. it was such an intelligent group
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of people. and bill white at the the brewery -- anheuser-busch bush owned the ball club in 1961 and bill said, look, we can play with these white players and yet we can't stay with them. at that time they couldn't say in the same hotel. so the brewery, 25% of their sales went to african americans so they were very, very sensitive about that particular issue. so they bought a motel. the out rigger inn and we stayed -- we were the first name 1961 to stay -- where the white and the black players stayed. >> rose: the reason i asked that in part is we talked about the change in baseball. baseball-- and we celebrate jackie robinson because of this movie "42." we also recognize that they're not as many percentage wise african american players in
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baseball. and bible recognizes it as an issue for them. >> it is an issue. and i'm not sure what they're going to do. i think 20 years ago-- and the numbers could be off-- but there were about 18.5% of major league baseball players that were african american players. today it's less than 8%. it's disturbing. i was elected to the ford frck wing in the hall of game and the last thing i said was "i'm going to try to do something for the inner city in memphis, tennessee." >> rose: where you were born. >> where i was born. because these young african american kids do not have a chance. they don't have the equipment. hay don't have the field. they don't have the things -- the facilities, fields on which to play.
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and material to play the game: bats, balls, gloves, things like that. they need help. >> rose: true about other sports too. >> that's true but you can put up a basketball court ten feet anywhere. now play baseball you need a field. you need real estate. >> rose: is it still your favorite game? >> oh, yes,. oh, yes. >> rose: is it still america's game? >> football ratings are way up here. baseball ratings are here. is it still -- >> rose: there's something uniquely american about baseball. >> yes. >> rose: or is it some romantic sense that we all -- >> i think it's both. but i think the international appeals to baseball is jacked up to where it's never really been in japan, taiwan, latin america. oh, my gosh. >> rose: you see hit in the little leagues, too.
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>> oh, sure. oh, sure. miguel cabrera comes from venezuela, from caracas and he's one of the more terrifying hitters i've ever seen and he is a god down there. >> rose: what's a terrifying hitter for you? >> a guy who can wait for the ball to travel before he decides to make a move. and that's why he's such a phenomenal two-strike hitter and can use all the -- >> rose: waits for ball to travel before he makes his move? >> right. sgep the strike zone. a lot of players see the ball differently. they don't commit as late as he does. and part of that is the reason that a lot of hitters get themselves out. but cabrera has this eye -- hand/eye apparatus that allows him to allow the ball to travel farther. five feet, maybe, or six feet and that's why he hits a lot of
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two-strike balls down the right field line because the ball is deep and he is -- that's what makes him terrifying. >> rose: that was what ted williams had, too. >> yes. yes. that's right. >> rose: hand/eye coordination but he could see the ball. >> yes, see the ball come deep into the hitting area. >> rose: catching is like the most interesting position, isn't it? for you. >> yes. yes. >> rose: you see the whole game. >> uh-huh. well, you're -- your peripheral vision takes you from line to line and you're also in the process -- >> rose: and you're part of every play. >> that's exactly right. you initiate the action. nothing can -- bob gibson, we talked about bob and the irascible, lovely, wonderful bob gibson. >> rose: one of warren buffett's great friends. >> rose: >> one of warren buffett's great friends. in fact, it was warren buffett who asked bob about 15 years ago he said "before you threw a
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pitch, did mccarver put down the signs?" and gibson said "warren, mckofsh only suggested pitches." >> rose: (laughs) >> in typical gibsonian fashion. i'm the one who made the decision. >> rose: i decide what i will pitch. >> i'm the one that makes that decision. >> rose: (laughs) mccarver made suggestions. (laughs) >> in fact, i had just done a book and i sent warren buffett a book and i said "warren, in spite of of our mutual friend bob gibson, here's to the power of suggestion. >> rose: (laughs) >> he sent me a very nice letter by the way. >> rose: let me talk about what people have said from you and what you have said. joe buck: i've learned more from tim than anybody else, including my father. the great -- >> jack buck. >> rose: well, there was a relationship between the two of
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you and he had the great, great good fortune to sit next to you all those years. >> i worked with his father in 1990 and 1991 and then in '96 fox got the baseball contract and joe was the youngest, is the youngest still to ever have done a world series. and i'll miss joe more than anybody when next year rolls around. >> i know you've forgoten this but one year -- i think it was in boston and you came up -- >> i remember it very well. the night of the fight. clemens and paid paid in 2003. >> rose: man! that was right there in the memory book. >> i remember when the fight was taking place i looked at you on the other side of the camera in the television booth and the thought passed through my mind "i wonder what charlie's thinking about all this?" >> i was looking at it with an eye like how do you explain it?
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what's going on? what's happening here. >> it was a fascinating ten years ago. >> here's something else that's interesting about you. what do you want to do? i want to take cooking classes. >> i do. >> you know what they say? women love men who cook. >> (laughs) well, maybe that's part of it, too. (laughs) >> i want to travel it-to-italy. women love men who go to italy. >> i could take cooking classes. >> i want to learn more about wine. i have a place in napa now and i want to read. reading may get old after a while but i have time to do all those things. life is great. >> life is great. >> and there's so much to do for people who are filled with curiosity so you're never bored and you can't wait to carve aa little time here and there to do things that you have enormous curiosity. >> well, as your life is increasing and responsibility --
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>> rose: (laughs) well, somebody has to make up for you. >> somebody's got to cut back somewhere. >> and i'm moving forward. >> you are! you're remarkable. >> rose: see my idea is never look back, they may be gaining on you. or something like that. think the future, don't think the past. >> well, i'll be 72 years old in october and it's time to cut back and do things i've always thought about doing. >> now what about painting? the former president is painting now have you ever thought about that? >> not interested. winston churchill. >> rose: absolutely. >> i mean it -- if you -- who do you want to know. who do you want to spend time? >> number one guy on the list is the aforementioned winston churchill. >> rose: really. >> i would have loved to have met him. that wicked wit of his. >> rose: and love in line. history and courage.
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>> how a man could be that witty and yet know that much about military precision like he did to overwhelmingly become as important a man during world war ii as anybody. >> rose: said history will be kind to him because he will write that history. >> yes, that's right. yes. >> rose: it's so great to have you here. much success. >> thank you, charlie, it's a pleasure. >> rose: i today the audience, i'll repeat to you. any time you want to sit in this chair, we would love to have you. >> that's very flattering. i may take you up on that. >> rose: i would like that. my sense is your curiosity goes way beyond baseball and sports. >> it does. thank you. >> rose: tim mccarver, thank you for joining us. see you next time.
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captioning sponsored by rose communications captioned by media access group at wgbh access.wgbh.org next on "great performances"...
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they invented the sound and style of broadway with some of the greatest shows of all time. i'm trying to think if there was anybody not jewish. from its beginnings, broadway musical theater has always been fertile ground for a wide variety of jewish-american artists. why were so many of them jewish? the answers are in the songs, the shows, and "broadway musicals: a jewish legacy." "great performances" is brought to you by... major funding for this program was provided by...

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