Thursday, September 27, 2007

Odds & Ends

First Subject: Last week word spread that Our Washington Nationals and MASN would not retain Bob Carpenter as their lead Play-By-Play TV Announcer. No, I was not surprised. What has become clear under The Lerners and Team President Stan Kasten is the WANTING to put THEIR OWN STAMP on The Franchise. Carpenter was not a hire of Mr. Kasten. Don Sutton was. Its unlikely Bob Carpenter would have been retained for 2007--if not for Major League Baseball giving Carpenter a two year contract in 2006. Its what new management always does--bring in someone they are more comfortable with.

No one can be shocked when A Franchise is Building from Scratch. Every aspect is scrutinized--Even The Radio & TV Personalities.

Fortunately, Charlie Slowes has provided excitement for thousands of Nats Radio Fans since 2005 (He is also immensely popular). And his partner, Dave Jageler, has improved on the quality since joining "Mr. Bang!! Zoom!!" in the broadcast booth a year later. Really, Charlie and Dave are a pleasure to listen to each and every day Our Washington Nationals play a baseball game. Nothing is finer than listening to Washington Nationals Baseball on The Radio. Fans are comfortable with these two. We got it going--luckily so.

Fortune and Compatibility that Sutton and Carpenter do not possess as a team--a situation that must be addressed. And, it has nothing to do with Bob Carpenter personally. I have never met him. Bob Carpenter didn't really seem to understand the game. The MASN Broadcast was, many times, about HIM--not necessarily about Our Team--or the plays at hand. Its important for The Play-By-Play Broadcaster to not only describe the action--but the give me a sense of the excitement, or the dismay. Bob Carpenter always seemed to be talking down to me. I was just his pawn. Baseball fans are sharper than Mr. Carpenter realizes. Never do I like being treated in such a way.

Tell me something I may not know--DESCRIBE to me the action in a THRILLING WAY!! Don't rehash the generic lines. I want to watch the game, be entertained. Never, do I wish to be just a bystander. The Game is not about you. Its about the play on the field.

Hard Work, which Don Sutton has given me with delight. Not one single away game for Our Washington Nationals has gone by where Mr. Sutton did not say something that had me thinking. Never has a broadcast passed, where Don Sutton did not have me saying: I Did Not Know That!!" And, as far a The African Queen is concerned--Don Sutton was a REVELATION. She learned more baseball from Don's Down Home Views, in one baseball season, than ANYONE over the past three years of Our Washington Nationals Baseball. Its because of Don Sutton--she started watching the games more intensely. She could understand him. He wasn't talking down to her. How wonderful has that been for ME!! Probably, for you.

Its an important aspect of a Young Franchise looking to build a Fan Base.

No, I don't know who will replace Bob Carpenter--maybe Don Sutton himself will become The Lead Announcer. I would not be surprised. Its too bad Pete Van Wieren is not available from The Braves. He and Don were perfect partners for 17 years in Atlanta. Van Wieren one of baseball's best kept secrets. But, whatever happens--the result will be another mark put on Our Franchise by Ownership--doing it THEIR WAY--Not Someone Elses Way!!

Second Subject:
My good friend Troy--who has sat to the right of Sohna for the past three years in Section 320, mentioned the following to me during the last game played at RFK Stadium. "Why did you not write about the tipping of The Cap last night?"

Yes, how could I forget. For some time now--its been an ongoing conversation, in Section 320, that when a pitcher for Our Washington Nationals actually throws a fine game--and is relieved by Our Manager Manny Acta--said pitcher does not doff his cap to the crowd. Rarely, if ever, has it occurred at RFK Stadium. And, I don't want to hear from the negative folks who constantly berate the fact that NO ONE DESERVES such an ovation. That's a bunch of crap. Because--there have been a handful of times where Our Pitchers well deserved the acclamations. But, they denied Our Fans the pleasure of a response.

At least until this past Saturday Night, when Section 320 went Nuts over Tim Redding--not only doffing his cap--but waving to the crowd. Our Number 17 had pitched a fine game--going deep into the 7th inning--allowing just one run. With respect--the entire third base side of the stands at RFK stood in appreciation. Tim Redding, not only took off his cap in thanks--but waved it to the crowd. Julie, Troy, Sohna and I--couldn't believe it. For the first time, in some time--A Player for Our Washington Nationals acknowledged their Fans!!

How in the world did I forget to write about it? It was a seminal moment at The Old Ballyard. An Event we want to see more often in 2008 from The Players for Our Washington Nationals. Its not alot to ask for a tip to the crowd--for appreciating your GOOD WORK. Not one of us has been more behind you. Not one of us deserves to be slighted. Please, players for Our Washington Nationals, show your appreciation more. Its not much to ask.

Third Subject:
So, where are you going to park next year? Six months from now--will it all pan out? Will Metro be the convenient way to New Nationals Park? Tailgating is out. There are no Open Spaces near South Capitol Street. You can say all you want about the dilapidated state of RFK Stadium--but you can't deny it was the most convenient place to get to--and PARK. Most Importantly enjoyable, while sharing time with your friends. Lot 8 should be placed in Our Washington Nationals Hall of Fame. Thousands of Fans are going to miss it. Lot 8 was one happening place. Nothing quite like it.

Finally--who would you like to see as The Fifth Racing President? Although not officially confirmed--more than a few have mentioned to me that GW, Abe, Tom and Lovable Teddy will have a new Partner come 2008. Who should it be??

Just Random Odds & Ends on the final Off Day of The 2007 Season.

By the way--You coming to Citizens Bank Park for The Season Finale on Sunday?


Anonymous said...


For the first time, I find myself in disagreement with you. I like Bob Carpenter a lot. I understand the reasons that you gave for why you don't care for him as the team's TV play-by-play announcer, but I enjoy his personality and have genuinely enjoyed his broadcasts. I guess we can't agree on everything! :-)

Jim H said...


SBF knows I'm in agreement with you on this one. I've enjoyed Carpenter all along. But, yep...agree to disagree on this one.

SBF...I'm not excited about adding a president to the race. They'd no longer be the Rushmores. I like it as it is.

I wouldn't mind if other personalities may periodic appearances, but I imagine making the costumes for limited play may not be economical.

Count my vote as one for standing pat, unless there is some kind of rotation.

Anonymous said...

See you in Philly! - Jeff, Colleen & Curly

Bang the Drum Natly said...

NIce post SBF, as per usual (yawn ;)

Regarding the announcers:
I wish all the best to Bob Carpenter, but I am in full agreement with you as to his needing to go, most importantly due to your previously posted point about his calling the play before the play. He's done that WAY too many times ("Now there's a double play" before the ball has even left Belliard's glove, for instance), but I have to disagree with the thought that Sutton be the play-by-play announcer. I'm sure he'd be great at it, but honestly, I love him right where he is - as an augmentation-caster, to fill in the gaps on the game within the game, i.e. the perfect color commentary. For a play-by-play example, I've been a fan of Jim Hunter calling the O's (I know, you've felt that he's too dry), but I dig that he calls the game right, and he brings the emotion to the game, whether the play is for or against the O's (I will always remember one time they won on a walk-off home run (back when they were doing such things ;), and his calling of it literally blew out my earphones, he was so enthusiastic), and his straightforward calling of the game was augmented by the commentary of Jim Palmer and Buck Martinez to fill in those gaps. Personally, I think If there was someone like him to do the play-by-play of the game, it'd make Sutton's star shine even brighter. Just my 2 cents. As for Slowes and Jageler, they are radio platinum, and full-on make my walks home from work a treat-and-a-half.

As for the Racing Rushmores, I second with Jim H. Keep it as is. But as an aside - returning from N.C. last Sunday to hear about not only Teddy's not winning at RFK's final game, but also that he wasn't even running the race, I can only say fire immediately whomever it was in the Nats promotions dept. who thought that was a good idea. I was happy to hear that THAT got the biggest boos during the game.

Also as an aside, I hope that next year our Nats get a little more credit, as on Baseball Tonight, they were talking all about the Mets' collapse this past week, with absolutely NO MENTION of the fact that the Nats played some serious "in your face" baseball during their sweep. Maybe, just maybe, they will, after we do the same against the Phils this weekend. I will not be able to go to the Finale on Sunday, but I will be listening intently. Enjoy it, all who are going, and bring your earplugs, 'cause those Philly fans - well, we already know what spews from their mouths at any given ballgame. And it ain't pretty.

Cheers, and happy baseball!!!

Edward J. Cunningham said...

"As for the Racing Rushmores, I second with Jim H. Keep it as is. But as an aside - returning from N.C. last Sunday to hear about not only Teddy's not winning at RFK's final game, but also that he wasn't even running the race, I can only say fire immediately whomever it was in the Nats promotions dept. who thought that was a good idea. I was happy to hear that THAT got the biggest boos during the game."

Why? As soon as Teddy wins, one of the biggest appeals of this race will go. The important thing is not that Teddy wins but that he steals the show and he did that spectacularly on Sunday. I actually predicted this would happen---Teddy would run to the new ballpark which would keep his "streak" intact but also call attention to the Nats' new home.

kristen23 said...

I respectfully but wholeheartedly disagree with you. Bob taught me a lot about the game. I've enjoyed his personality, humor and genuine interest in our team and its development.

On the other hand, if anyone ever talked down to me during a broadcast, it was Bob's partner, Mr. Sutton.

I'll be listening to Dave and Charlie next year instead.

Steph2853 said...

I'd have to disagree as well. I learned the game from Bob. His laid back style and personality really brought the games to life for me. I am really going to miss him next year. On a personal note, it’s tough to see the good guy have to go...
Maybe we will see you in Philly!

Anonymous said...

Of course, our fine ladies with heart here share an employer with Bob... at least, until Bob's contract is out.

It only makes sense that they defend him.

Steph2853 said...

SBF, I apologize for leaving this here, but I just wanted to respond to the last comment...

Seriously way to respect privacy "Anonymous." What's your deal? If you have an issue with us please feel free to email us at For us as Nats fans, work is separate from baseball and our blog. We'd like to keep it that way. Before you make comments that aren't true, you should make sure your research is correct. Not sure where all the hostility is coming from.

SenatorNat said...

"If I were a Carpender, and you were a (fine) lady..." I think he is proficient, yet generic and dry. Kasten wants a bit of fire on behalf of the team. I got the sense that Carpender's heart was with the Cardinals - was he their play-by-play guy at some point along the way?

Acta profile very good in today's Post: admits he is getting adjusted to Bowden in the piece ("it's different') while Bow-Bow touts him for Manager of the Year. I think that there are three very strong egos engaged with the Nats - each very talented from Prez to GM to field skipper. May be the perfect combination for long-term success. May not...

Hope this commentary isn't too controversial for this Blog. Go Nats - Pound Phillies!!!

Trust in Sutton. All Good.

Anonymous said...

Bob was play by play guy for St. Louis for 10 years and is a native of St. Louis. My biggest problem with Bob Carpenter was his love for the Cardinals and especially Scott Rolen. I will not miss hearing Bob Carpenter explain how there is no better third baseman than Scott Rolen. It happened every time Don would start praising Ryan Zimmerman and especially anytime Zimmerman made an error. It killed me every time he made a "Scott Rolen wouldn't have made that error" comparison.

I don't think that a play-by-play guy needs to be a fan of the team he's calling, but he can't make it obvious that he's a fan of another team altogether. For Bob to succeed somewhere else he needs to branch out a little and learn some facts about a team other than the Cardinals.

Finally, SBF, I 100% agree with you regarding Don Sutton. I can't tell you how many times I was watching a game on TV and thought to myself, "wow, I would have never though of that" or "wow, so that is why they do that". I think he is perfect as a color commentary guy and I hope he stays for a long time. Not to mention you have no problem spotting him in the booth with that hair of his!

Regardless, it sure does feel great to actually have a team to debate about....

Joe Riley said...

I have to agree with Jim Williams of the Examiner: Bob Carpenter is a class act and will be missed.


With all due respect, SBF, not all of us played baseball and not all of us are as baseball knowledgeable as yourself and some of the MASN viewership.

I feel that Bob's broadcast is very "inclusive", that is, he's trying not to talk over the heads of the majority of viewers. I'm sure that some viewers who are hyper-knowledgeable about baseball feel that he is talking "down", but that's to include the more casual viewer, the less-than-expert fan. Remember, Stan Kasten feels that this is important, to bring more people in, not make them feel that, since they don't know the game as well, that they don't count and aren't welcome.

Also, and I think that this is an important point, for two seasons, Bob Carpenter has had to put a positive face on a losing club. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I'd be willing to bet that it's a whole lot easier to broadcast well about a team that is playing over .500 ball.

Bob's mid-western voice and manner comes across very well on T.V. and I believe that he is a terrific announcer. We are lucky to have him. Go watch one of those "Nats Classic" games from the 2005 season and listen to Mel Proctor and it truly makes Bob shine by contrast.

Just because the guy might not be your ideal broadcaster doesn't necessarily make him a bad one.

I lament the fact that we are going to have some new person who doesn't know our players, hasn't followed the development of the club, and is starting from scratch with these guys.

Whoever it is, I hope that us MASN viewers don't wind up regretting this decision by management even more in seven months.

Anonymous said...

Steph --

I just want the three of you to disclose on your blog that you work for MASN's PR firm. It's only fair to your readers.

Screech's Best Friend said...

Joe Riley: Whether Don Sutton sits down to broadcast a baseball game for Atlanta, Washington or a team from Omaha--you can bet that he will consistently be prepared and knowledgeable in his work. Something, that I have never found in Bob Carpenter. If The African Queen (Who NEVER GREW UP IN THE GOOD OLD USA) can learn The Great Game from A Hall Of Famer like Don Sutton--you should be able too also.

Whether a team is .500 or not does not the broadcast make. Listen to Charlie & Dave; Listen to Vin Scully. Until retiring--Ernie Harwell. When he was alive--Harry Carey. They are & were ENTERTAINMENT. Broadcasters that get listeners and viewers attention--whether or not the team they followed was any good. Something Bob Carpenter can not do. You have to look at the BIG PICTURE. This is another attempt to BRAND THE NATIONALS. Not, just to get by with an OK Product. The Entire Organization is being remade--Our Washington Nationals are looking to make a name for themselves in all areas--not just on the field. Its all a part of building a quality franchise.

Sure--Sohna and I like Don Sutton--but our enjoyment of his work came well before either of us ever met him.

Everyone has a valued opinion--that's fine. I can disagree with others opinions of this subject and live with it--as long as their judgements have merit.

Because its all about baseball in DC---which makes life good--no matter what the debate.

paul said...

I understand all the griping about Carpenter. But it is the team that hasn't worked. Regardless of Sutton's knowledge, after working a long day I usually tune in and want to hear two guys enjoying themselves and not making me think too hard. Carpenter and Paciorek achieved this much better than Carpenter and Sutton. The combination of Pete (take me to your leader) VanWieren and Sutton would make me feel like I'm getting instructions for a medical procedure.

Five presidents? Give me a break. All alnog I though that was someone's idea of a bad joke.

The micromanaging of this is what bothers me. This is what killed the Orioles, too.

Regarding parking, as I wrote back in my first post in March, I really feel for you Virginians. You're best option, as I see it, is to take the Metro to Capitol South and walk. You could still tailgate at RFK and get a shuttle bus the team will be forced to provide, but that makes for a long day.

Edward J. Cunningham said...

Hopefully within a year or two, the whole parking mess will be worked out. Just three things...

I will be sympathetic to Nats fans inconvenienced if they arrive by Metro and the renovations to the Navy Yard Metro station are not complete by Opening Day next year. I will be one of those fans.

I will be equally sympathetic to Nats fans who are used to driving to RFK who will be inconvenienced by the parking situation. SBF and the African Queen are among those fans.

However, I will NOT be sympathetic to fans who are already used to going to Nats game by Metro, but because they come from Virginia will actually have to transfer trains. A quick look at the Metro map reveals that some of these fans may NEVER have transferred Metro stations in their life, unless there was an emergency.

Speaking as someone who has rode the Red Line from Silver Spring, Forest Glen, and now Rockville transferring is no big deal. Get used to it!

Edward J. Cunningham said...

I really will not miss Bob Carpenter that much if he leaves, although it will be a shame if the Nats store no longer sells his scorebooks anymore. However, Don Sutton has grown on me. I feel I learn more about the game every time I listen to him---he isn't just telling stories about what it was like when he was with the Braves. Sutton helps me understand the game better. I also like the fact that Sutton takes a neutral to the game---the opponents are not necessarily villains and he knows his job is not here to be a cheerleader.

Might a make a suggestion for Carpenter's replacement---Frank Herzog? I know many Nat fans are angry with him for saying on the air that he did not care if the Senators ever returned because he was an Oriole fan. Herzog did a respectable job as a play-by-play man in the Nats booth one day, and I am stunned at how he was let go by both the Redskins, and then demoted (and eventually fired) by Channel 9. Anybody know a good reason not to hire Herzog?

An Briosca Mor said...

"Anybody know a good reason not to hire Herzog?"

Because sooner or later he'd get fired, and his replacement would end up being Larry Michael.

Also, "Home run, Washington Nationals" just doesn't really do it for me as a signature call. Although it is better than "See. You., never mind."

Anonymous said...

First love him or hate him Carpenter is just the latest victum of the "MLB purge" inside the Nats. Now they cannot blame anything on the MLB ownership (except the crazy Oriole MASN contract). As the players are told all the time "it's the business".
Bob will land on his feet somewhere and do a fine job for that team. He's a pro.
PS I think Bob has been nothing but a professional announcer ever since it was announce he was fired.
That shows how classy he is.

Second, I believe Gary Thorn is looking for a job. He's worked for MASN with the Orioles and has a good national resume. Has his name come up as a replacement for Carpenter?