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No news on coaches

So I was just told by GM Jim Bowden that there will be no news on the coaches today. I'll look into this more over the course of the afternoon. But here's my read on the situation:

Randy St. Claire -- No brainer to be back. Was wishing guys well in the clubhouse yesterday and saying, "See you in February." And Bowden convinced him to come down to instructional league this week in Viera, which he wouldn't have done had he not been on his way back. St. Claire has never had a multi-year contract in his life. This might be the time to give him a two-year deal.

Pat Corrales -- He has a two-year deal, I believe (could be more, but I doubt it), so he's back as the bench coach. The sage of the staff.

Lenny Harris -- I was thinking all summer that his future as hitting coach was in doubt until, on Saturday, Manny Acta said, "We're willing to let him grow into the role." My gut: Acta would like to get someone he's more comfortable with in there, but Harris is Bowden's guy, so they'll compromise and keep him for now.

Jerry Morrales -- How do you judge a first base coach? Hard to, really. But because Morrales was Acta's hire, and he came out of retirement to do the job, I think it's possible this is where a change comes.

Tim Tolman -- The third base coach felt some heat at various points in the summer, which I don't think is terribly surprising for anyone who does the job. Get a guy thrown out, and people will get on you. But this guy's contributions are more than just coaching third. He is one of Acta's most trusted confidantes, a baseball man who has done all sorts of things -- scouted, coordinated a farm system and managed in the minors. This year, he coordinated a very confusing spring training, what with all the pitchers running around. I received indications yesterday that he will be back. But if Bowden wasn't crazy about his job at third base, it's possible he could move over to first and they could slide someone else in at third.

Ricardo Aponte -- The bullpen coach is another trusted Acta supporter. Again, this is a position in which it's hard to gauge success. I suppose, in theory, there's a chance for a change here, too.

Keep in mind that in 2005, Bowden allowed Frank Robinson to hire his staff. He kept Tom McCraw as hitting coach, hired old pal Don Buford for first base, promoted Dave Huppert from (then-affiliate) Class AAA Edmonton to third base coach, hired Jack Voigt to be a coach in the press box -- watching from above -- kept St. Claire, bench coach Eddie Rodriguez and bullpen coach Bob Natal. The following year, when Bowden didn't feel the staff had enough energy and work ethic, he made wholesale changes -- hiring Mitchell Page as hitting coach, Davey Lopes at first, Tony Beasley at third, John Wetteland in the bullpen while keeping Rodriguez and St. Claire. So the GM is definitely having input here.

I'm writing a Nationals notebook for the $.35 edition tomorrow, so there should be some of the news in there.

Also, forgot to add: Manny Acta will be on "Washington Post Live" at 5 p.m. today. He's in studio, which will be good, a nice wrap to the season.

By Barry Svrluga  |  October 1, 2007; 2:55 PM ET
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Best News Since the 5th Inning - That Stan Kasten is considering keeping Bob Carpenter, who makes me look forward to next year's t.v. broadcasts! And I'm not the only one. From previous chats and posts:

Some touching words just now by Bob Carpenter about his past and possible future career in Washington. Said he talked with Stan on Friday and that maybe his leaving Washington isn't as certain as he thought it was. Interesting.

I, for one, really like Bob and hope he stays on.

Posted by: JennX | September 30, 2007 03:10 PM

"Section 409, Alexandria, Va.: Tom, thanks for the wonderful column Thursday on RFK. Any word on why Bob Carpenter is not coming back to do the Nats TV broadcasts? I think he does a great job.
Tom Boswell: Thanks.
I was at the game last night with my son, but I wasn't working, just bought tickets and wandered around the park as a fan. So I didn't look into Carpenter's situation. If I had to rank all the Nats radio/TV people, I'd have had him either No. 1 or No. 2. So I don't what the deal is."

Washington Post, Sept. 21, 2007

Marc Fisher: "In the bad news department, the Nats have apparently decided to sack TV play by play man Bob Carpenter, which is a terrible shame, because he's a total pro and one of the best in the league. The decision to get rid of Carpenter but keep color commentator Don Sutton is especially strange--Sutton is very good, but Carpenter was the real star of that pair in the TV booth."
Post Metro Columnist , Sept. 20, 2007, noon

"Headed to Shea tonight for one last in-person look at the '07 Nats. Can you fill us in more on the Carpenter decision? As a fan and viewer, I found it odd and rather wrongheaded, since I believe he's knowledgeable and, perhaps more importantly, has a very distinctive play by play delivery, which I think helps in establishing a unique identity for both himself and the team, something a recently transplanted team can use. Can you fill in the blanks, as well as your own thoughts on this?"
Posted by: BMG, Sec 413 | September 24, 2007 08:41 AM

"Really sad to see Carpenter go. Please, please bring in a calm, restive voice. No urgent over hyped style announcers. It's a pastoral game. See you later ...."
Posted by: NatBisquit | September 24, 2007 12:15 PM

And from our two sages, Wigi said that Bob called "a sweet game" which Hendo said "is close to perfect." Like me, Wigi listens to almost all of the other play-by-play broadcasters and considers Bob to be among the best.

Thanks for coming to the rescue, JennX, Wigi, Hendo, Section 409, NatBisquit, BMG, Messrs. Boswell and Fischer, and anyone I left out!

Thanks for listening, Stan!

Posted by: flynnie | October 1, 2007 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Best at Foretelling the Future: Dave Sheinen

From Previous Dave Sheinen Chats
Rockville, Md.: Who wins the NL East?
Dave Sheinin: My guess? Phillies.
August 14, 2007
I tend to agree with you about the Brewers. I've thought all along this was one year too soon for them.
August 2, 2007
Washington, D.C.: Do the Cubs have a shot this year?
Dave Sheinin: If you mean a shot at the division title -- absolutely, yes. I think they'll win it. If you mean a World Series title -- I laugh at the question. Of course not! They're the Cubs!
August 2, 2007
I picked the Red Sox to win the East before the season, and I fully expect them to hold off the Yankees. The Red Sox are 7 1/2 games up this morning. And (not to go jinxing anyone, but) they're simply too good and too deep to blow that big a lead.
July 24, 2007

Posted by: flynnie | October 1, 2007 3:31 PM | Report abuse

So, I don't want to draw away from the awards and coaching talks, which are pretty cool discussion topics, but I wanted to check out this historic Mets collapse. Odd, isn't it? The Nationals were selected to steal the New York Mets record for worst season in history and they didn't, but another team in the NL East did set a record of futility - the Mets again!

Sheinin uses the September 12 game as a turning point in his article today, so here are the teams of the NL East and the records since then (including 9/12) that all played a roll in this New York disaster (heard someone say the Jets were lucky to be losing the same day as the Mets folded).

Mets: 6-12 (.333) - 210 points LOWER than their season average (.543)
Phillies: 13-5 (.722) - 173 points higher than their season average (.549)
Fish: 9-8 (.529) - 91 points higher than their season average (.438)
Braves: 10-7 (.588) - 69 points higher than their season average (.579)
Nats: 8-9 (.471) - 20 points higher than their season average (.451)

So the Phillies, the Marlins, and the Braves were all on hot-streaks, while the Mets were in a cold snap. But the Nationals? They played business-as-usual, with 14 of their 17 games since September 12 against the Phillies and the Mets.

Is this good? Is it bad? Is it meaningless?

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 1, 2007 3:35 PM | Report abuse

So... returned from Philly late last night, and here's my brief synopsis:

Yards brewery on Saturday afternoons is the place to be. Hard to find, but well worth it if you consider yourself a bit of a beer connoisseur, or, hell, if you like beer period.

CB Park was really nice. Beautiful park. Even the people weren't as bad as I thought they'd be. Of course, I only went to the game on Sunday, and they were pretty happy that day. Go figure.

The rest of the city can get swallowed up by the earth never to be seen or heard from again as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: Matt | October 1, 2007 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Great anlysis, 506! They were one out away from the World Series last year, and in 1st place for 161 games this year. How did the Padres and Rockies play since Sept. 12? Did the Rockies win every game but one? They froze the Mets out of the wild card. Even if you were to ignore division titles, and just put the 4 teams with the best records in the playoffs, it would be Diamondbacks, Rockies, Padres and Phillies. As opposed to the Diamondbacks, Rockies, and Padres, the Mets were relying on old arms which just gave out. There were some lovely calls to WFAN last night saying that real fans still love the Mets, can't blame Omar or Willie, and, with some tweaking, look forward to the World Series next year. But I bet Omar is kicking himself for not trading Lastings Milledge and Jose Reyes for some cobination of John Rauch, Luis Ayala and Saul Rivera.

Posted by: flynnie | October 1, 2007 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Generally it may be hard to gauge the success of a bullpen coach, but if I recall correctly, Wetteland last year (or half of it) was an exception to that.

Tom Trebelhorn is now available, if they need a 3rd-base coach or a roving instructor.

Posted by: Cosmo | October 1, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Matt, You missed the two hippos on display across the river in Camden, New Joisey. Hear they are ornery, assertive, and the perfect prep for Phillies fans.

Posted by: flynnie | October 1, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

So flynnie: in all your reposting, hard to imagine how you missed this one:

"I had to read about it in The Times. Bob Carpenter, whom I have grown to love as the play-by-play broadcaster for the Nationals, has been fired. A good and decent man at the height of his powers with kids to put through college doesn't know where his next paycheck is coming from. The Lerners, Stan Kasten, and Don Sutton could have stopped this with a word. And it wasn't newsworthy enough to get Barry's attention. Bob has been called "close to perfect" as "calling a sweet game" with knowledge and humor by others in this Journal. Please take the time to wish him well here, and to tell The Nats Hierarchy that this is a mistake.

Posted by: flynnie | September 20, 2007 07:32 AM"

Oh, that's right -- turns out the Barry had that one right, and the WaTimes just kinda made it up as they went along. Hmmmmm, who woulda thunk it.

Posted by: joebleux | October 1, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

And the "Don't Quit Your Day Job" award for the worst late season prediction by an NJ Blogger goes to... ME (MKevin) for this "brilliant" piece of OpEd prognostication:


So while the Nats have every reason to feel good now, it's going to take a herculean effort to maintain their position in the standings over the last two weeks. This morning they hold a comfortable 4 game lead over the Marlins but need to keep it up to avoid it slipping to 3 or 2 by the end of the series. The end of the season is a bear. They're only a bad 4 game stretch away from last place overall. I hate being pessimistic especially when we're all talking about Manny's candidacy for MOtY and talking about how pleasantly surprised we are with this team's play, but with series remaining against ATL, NY, Phi, NY, Phi, a late season swoon and ending the year with a sour taste in our mouths seems far too plausible for me still.

Posted by: MKevin | September 11, 2007 08:41 AM

Posted by: MKevin | October 1, 2007 4:00 PM | Report abuse

To see the hippos on the way to CBP -
What job in baseball is most like that of the poor person who has to get in the water for the "hippo show"? Third base coach? Play-by-play announcer?

Posted by: flynnie | October 1, 2007 4:02 PM | Report abuse

The Nats do business as usual because, under Manny's steady hand on the tiller, they are not a team given to drama.

This is a good thing in a market that is not yet steeped in baseball. Were drama to creep in, you'd be apt to end up with Ted Williams' 1970 Senators, which is not what you want.

On the less-rosy side, in a market that is not yet steeped in baseball, the Nats often get elbowed aside by the Redskins and others. Others talk about that better than I do, or more anyhow, but that situation will change, if gradually. (For the long-term health of the team, that grade does need to be relatively sharp, which is why effective marketing is so vital.)

Posted by: Hendo | October 1, 2007 4:04 PM | Report abuse

For the record, it was not I who characterized Bob Carpenter as "close to perfect." All I did was obliquely suggest that his delivery is livelier than Sage Steele's, an irrelevant comparison which says little and now lacks what little context it had at the time.

Probably the best analysis of Carpenter was given by NatBisquit back on May 24:

"Carpenter is a pretty easy listen. His voice is not strained and does not sound like he has had years of forced baritone like Gary Thorne or some of the FOX football brodcasters. He does a better than average job for a television play-by-play man and is a good partner in the booth. I know some feel that he is to much of a homer, and he does not seem to be willing to criticize much even when it is clear that a mistake has been made. I have MLB Extra Innings and listen to much worse on many other teams. He's no Vin Scully but he is solid upper middle of the pack as far as broadcasters go."

Posted by: Hendo | October 1, 2007 4:17 PM | Report abuse

What the heck does "live-ball era" mean??

"Tom Glavine won No. 300 -- and became just the fourth left-handed pitcher to do that in the live-ball era."

Posted by: NatsNut (Question) | October 1, 2007 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Beware... Wiki content...

"The live-ball era, also referred to as the lively ball era, is the period in Major League Baseball beginning in 1920, following the dead-ball era. During that year offensive statistics rose dramatically in what would be mistakenly attributed to the introduction of a new "lively" ball. The construction of the balls remained consistent, but rule changes gave more advantages to the batter.

In the year following the Black Sox scandal, the new Commissioner of Baseball, Kenesaw Mountain Landis, instituted several new rules. Previous to that time, the same ball would be used throughout the game and foul balls would be thrown back on the field and reused. This gave the fielders many opportunities to give their pitcher an advantage by scuffing the ball. Starting in 1920 new balls were replaced at the first sign of wear, resulting in a ball that was much brighter and easier for a hitter to see. The other major rule change was the elimination of the spitball.

In 1920, the game changed from typically low-scoring to high-scoring games, with a newfound reliance on the home run. During that year Babe Ruth hit 54 home runs, smashing his old record of 29, and also set a record for slugging percentage that would last until being broken by Barry Bonds in 2001. George Sisler would also set his long-standing record of 257 hits in a single season, which would not be eclipsed until 2004 by the Seattle Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki."

Posted by: MKevin | October 1, 2007 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I stand by the post, JoeBleux. Barry's story was equivocal and buried in the last two lines of a Notebook article about something else. It deserved better, more definitive treatment so that we who have come to prize Bob Carpenter could react. The story got that treatment from Mark Zuckerman of The Times and Jim Williams of The Examiner. Someone at The Post must have agreed with me that Barry had shorted the story because Eli Saslow gave it a half column with its own headline by the time Saturday rolled around, after The Post had been scooped by The Post and The Examiner. But enough about me, Joe. Do you like Bob Carpenter? Are you glad we might maybe get to listen to him for future seasons?

Posted by: flynnie | October 1, 2007 4:22 PM | Report abuse

I guess I could have wikipedia-ed it myself. Thanks MKevin.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 1, 2007 4:32 PM | Report abuse

Bob Carpenter is horrible and I am extremely disappointed that the organization may go back on its word to get rid of him. He is not a fan of the team, in my opinion. I do not understand how anyone who claims to like the Washington Nationals can like listening to Bob Carpenter rooting against them 160 times a year. I think Carpenter should go back to St. Louis and call the team he really likes.

I do not find Carpenter to be an 'easy listen' -- I find him infuriating. I don't like hearing Ryan Zimmerman compared unfavorably constantly to Scott Rolen -- 'HE never makes a bad throw!' I don't like Nats successes couched in criticisms. I don't like Bob Carpenter's calling of the game. I would like a TV announcer like Charlie Slowes -- a guy who calls a game fairly, who points out a mistake, but clearly is a fan of the team and wants it to win.

Posted by: Ray | October 1, 2007 4:34 PM | Report abuse


This is the same Bob Carpenter who said YET ANOTHER Joel Hanrahan walk might not be a bad thing because at least it set up a righty/righty matchup with Moises Alou?

Carpenter shades practically everything in the best possible light for the Nats. I don't know if that's homerism, but it sure is patronizing.

Posted by: What on earth are you talking about | October 1, 2007 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Should have quoted this:

"He is not a fan of the team, in my opinion. I do not understand how anyone who claims to like the Washington Nationals can like listening to Bob Carpenter rooting against them 160 times a year."

Posted by: What on earth are you talking about | October 1, 2007 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Thanks, Barry, for the coaching info and the WaPo Live heads up.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 1, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I don't have a reason to think that Lenny Harris did a poor job... and there is some anecdotal evidence to the contrary (See WMP, single to right field)... but the team batting stats are pretty poor, and the splits don't offer evidence that a change of scenery will make a difference... And given what St. Claire has done with the pitching, it seems coaching does matter...

So, why wouldn't you trade up in this situation?

Posted by: Wigi | October 1, 2007 4:45 PM | Report abuse

And, as I pointed out during yesterday's game, Bob Carpenter compared a throw by Austin Kearns to Roberto Clemente (Sutton agreed). Clearly a derogatory, anti-Nat comment if I've ever heard one.

Posted by: JennX | October 1, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

I was also pleasantly surprised to hear Carpenter say after Sunday's game he may be back next season. He definitely deserves to come back - no question about it.

Knows baseball, good delivery, works well with Sutton, and supports the team. I used to think he was too much of a homer and was astounded to read comments here that he trashes the Nats.

Does he say an occasional dumb thing? No doubt. But you talk LIVE on television three hours per nite for 162 nites and tell me you wouldn't say a few things you'd like to take back.

The team needs continuity in the radio and TV booths to help establish and market the team. I hope Carpenter returns!! He's earned it!!

Posted by: Vandy | October 1, 2007 4:50 PM | Report abuse

Hendo, you've said a lot more good things about Bob Carpenter than you take credit for here, but perhaps the braying of Ray and What on Earth has drowned out the well-deserved praises. I, too, will answer their mean-spirited posts with a quote from a prior thread:

Ray-- I've heard this argument before but think that it is pretty unfounded. Carpenter is very obviously cheering for the Nats in every game I watch (and I watch close to 100% of the games I don't attend in person). Acknowledging good plays or strengths of other teams does not mean you don't still hope they lose. The funny thing is that the 2nd common refrain from Carpenter critics is that he's too much of a homer. How exactly do you reconcile those two, apparently equally felt, perspectives?

Posted by: JennX | September 30, 2007 03:48 PM

Posted by: flynnie | October 1, 2007 5:00 PM | Report abuse

I'll say it before anyone else can-- I'm Bob Carpenter's mom.

Posted by: JennX | October 1, 2007 5:03 PM | Report abuse

And most of those who don't care for Carpenter can turn down the TV sound and get the call from Charlie and Dave.

Now how one would accomplish this in Alaska, or Singapore or Dar es Salaam, I'm not exactly sure (don't know that dual RealPlayer feeds can be separated, etc.). I always Charlie-and-Dave it anyway, when I'm away from home, and let it go at that.

Posted by: Hendo | October 1, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

RE: Carpenter

(Speculation follows...)

I bet they have some market research that shows that there is some high negatives in the marketplace on Carpenter... which is why they might want to get rid of him. However, there are so many other problems with the MASN broadcasts that I would be reluctant to dump it all in his lap.

I am spoiled because I watch the Nats on MLB.TV, so I always click in the same place to see them... But not having a consistent channel to find the Nats (sometines MASN, sometimes MASN2, sometimes MY20) is just poor marketing... Unless you own a bunch of seconds, and want them sold with the first rate product... in which case, confusing your customers about where to find the A game is a good idea (conspiracy theory!!!).

Posted by: Wigi | October 1, 2007 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Hurtful speculation, Wigi, hurtful. The kind without a shred of evidence that becomes a rumor that becomes "it has been reported." Bob has given us two years of excellence and he deserves better. I know that Stan Kasten's decision to dump Tom Paciorek for Don Sutton had nothing to do with market research and everything to do with personal preference. I am grateful that Stan is listening to those of us who enjoy Bob, and I am glad that Tom Boswell and Marc Fischer are among us. I wish more of you who share this gratitude would say so.

Posted by: flynnie | October 1, 2007 5:19 PM | Report abuse

flynnie: so you'd rather read coverage that's loud and wrong (the Times: Carpenter fired!) than something that's toned down and correct (Barry: Nats will look at other options in off-season)?

I'm kind of indifferent about Carpenter. He's a baseball geek, and I like that, but there are some mannerisms of his that get on my nerves ("How far is THAT going?" -- it's going to the warning track, Bob, same as the last ten times you've made that call).

Having said that, I have to also say: Ray, you are nuts. Bob is clearly on the "homer" side of the spectrum.

Posted by: joebleux | October 1, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Re Carpenter--count me among those who consider him rather annoying. Bob, what exactly is a "good take"? I still don't know, but if I have to hear that phrase, or "jam job" hundreds more times next season, I will disappointed. Meanwhile, after 2 years, Bob has really not demonstrated any interest in learning the DC area and its baseball history. It would be nice for our broadcasts to start to have some local flavor at some point.

Posted by: Coverage is lacking | October 1, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps the Carpenter drama is because he was hired by MLB.

I say keep him, unless you find someone much better.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 1, 2007 5:25 PM | Report abuse

Sheinen's not so great predictions (from his spring season preview):

NL East
1. Mets
2. Phillies
3. Braves
4. Marlins
5. Nationals

Posted by: 4th! | October 1, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

"And most of those who don't care for Carpenter can turn down the TV sound and get the call from Charlie and Dave."

But the problem when you try to do this is that there is more delay on the TV broadcast than there is on the radio broadcast, so you end up hearing the call of the play several seconds before you see it. Kind of ironic, that, actually - since one of the knocks on Carpenter is his tendency to call the play to completion on the crack of the bat, rather than waiting til it develops to make the call. There's a difference between saying "And there's a double play" and "There's a possible DP grounder". I don't think Carpenter gets that, and it's annoying. If he's not careful, his signature call might sometime end up being "See. You., never mind."

Posted by: Section 419 | October 1, 2007 5:31 PM | Report abuse

419-- Funny you say that. That exact thing happened a couple nights ago. I forget which game or who was at bat (a National), but Bob completed "SEE. YOU. LATER." only to have to say... "Errrmmm. Guess the wind blew that one back in," or something like that. :)

Posted by: JennX | October 1, 2007 5:39 PM | Report abuse

"Bob has given us two years of excellence"

It's perfectly fine to like Bob Carpenter, to wish he's retained, and to think he's getting a raw deal if in fact he's not retained.

But Carpenter doesn't provide excellence. He just doesn't. He's a serviceable play-by-play guy, in his words a journeyman, and while he may be a nice guy, he doesn't call an excellent game.

There's just no way. He makes way too many errors of both fact and in-game comprehension for that to be the case.

Now, whether he's a good fit for the Nats in the MASN TV booth, is another issue. And reasonable minds can disagree on that.

Posted by: Henry Mateo Fan Club | October 1, 2007 5:52 PM | Report abuse

How about Jose Martinez? I didn't see him at Philly on Sunday? Will he be back with the Nats?

Posted by: Nats Fan | October 1, 2007 5:54 PM | Report abuse

Well, I guess this whole drama says much about reporting from The WaTimes...

Carpenter's OK, nothing spectacular, but Play by Play on TV ain't Play by Play on radio. Color has a different role in each medium, also. TV requires the PbyP guy to "allow" the viewer to decide. Radio must describe every aspect of what happened.

The answer is: If you don't have someone who is a better choice (specifically: Michael Patrick Frankhauser) tied to the spot, Carpenter is now two years familiar with the team, obviously enjoys the community, and (if my dates are correct) has carried a major league team from an all purpose, round, sixties bowl to a new-style baseball only park. This might actually be a useful piece of background.

Posted by: Catcher50 | October 1, 2007 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I think we need to have a rookie of the year, and I like J Max for coming in in September, with a grand slam home run as his first hit.

I was giving a lot of thought to suggesting John Lannan for rookie of the year - not too many pitchers go through only one game, get themselves thrown out, manager thrown out for the only time all year defending him, AND inspiring a "John Lannan must die" website for breaking Chase Utley's hand. However, I think we should give him the Comic Relief award.

Separately, I want to thank all the poets - Hendo for the double dactyls, SC Nats Fan for the free form, Haiku Man and others for the haikus - unexpected, but very welcome.

Also, thanks much, Barry, to you and all the staff that makes NJ so interesting.

Posted by: Traveler | October 1, 2007 7:10 PM | Report abuse


I *Like* Carpenter. And... I listen to about 60 to 70 percent of the announcers across MLB (All of them in the National League), and Carpenter is better than almost all of them. Here's the thing... I prefaced it by saying it was speculation... I didn't report it as fact. If others take my speculation as fact, it is because they're being intellectually lazy... and I certainly didn't mean it as a slam on Carpenter. In fact, my point was to say that even if there was research to that effect, it would be hard to separate a test audience's dislike for Carpenter with a dislike for MASN... It would be totally unfair to dump MASN's ratings problems on Carpenter.

Personally, I think they should bring him back. We could do a lot worse...

Posted by: Wigi | October 1, 2007 8:03 PM | Report abuse

>> I am grateful that Stan is listening to those of us who enjoy Bob <<

Me, too. Carpy is a pro and I've gotten used to listening to him 100+ nights a year. He knows the team better than Sutton. And recently, I've noticed that Carpy points out things Sutton plain misses.

Like Shawn Hill is keeping his pitches too high, and that could spell trouble. Which is what happened.

Or offering the explanation that balls might be jumping out of Shea because the new ballpark structure in the parking lot could be blocking a normal incoming wind.

Carpy is definitely worth keeping.

Posted by: Ashburn | October 1, 2007 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Just wanted to throw out a name on the free agent market for next year:

Tom Glavine

COuld be an interesting pickup. Has the Atlanta/Kasten background. Would be a proven veteran that could come in and teach the younger guys how to pitch. I doubt he would seriously consider coming to D.C. but it might be worth it to take a shot on him. I would think his impact off the field would be greater than on the field.

Posted by: NRCreager | October 1, 2007 8:44 PM | Report abuse

Put me down as a Carpy fan, I think he and Sutton make a good team. Anyone who has people thinking he's great and he's terrible at the same time is about right.

Keep Carpenter.

Posted by: Johnny Baconbitz | October 1, 2007 8:53 PM | Report abuse

Barry, thanks for an amazing season. Your sense of humor, your journalistic integrity, your obvious devotion to providing exceptional coverage made following the Nationals a joy this season. I hope sometime before you leave for China I can get you to sign my copy of your book!

I also hope that someday, in the not too distant future, we're cheering MVP for Ryan Zimmerman as he comes up to bat in a crucial game determining playoff contention--and that we do it in a manner more reminiscent of the Rockies than of the Phillies.

Posted by: Atlanta | October 1, 2007 9:13 PM | Report abuse

NRCreager: you mean Tom Glavine to be assistant pitching coach, right?

Cuz I know you didn't mean the Tom Glavine to *play* here. The Tom Glavine who gave up two hits, a walk and two homers in the first inning he played the Nats, lasting only 5 innings?

Or the Tom Glavine who, against the Marlins Sunday, pitched two walks (first one the leadoff), 4 singles, a double, a hit-by-pitch, and a throwing error, then was lifted with still only one out--IN THE FIRST INNING???

I'm sure you meant to bring him in as assistant pitching coach.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 1, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Glavine's instruction on bunting could easily get us a couple of wins a year.

I say, pick him up (at the right price).

Posted by: Hendo | October 1, 2007 9:25 PM | Report abuse


RE: Glavine -

I think the chances of that happening again are pretty slim... but regardless... he's Tom Glavine... he's gonna be hugely expensive... I'd rather have Livo (who is also a free agent this year)...

Last time I saw Livo pitch (in person) it was a day game at RFK... and it was hot... and he was getting killed... but regardless... he's so much fun to watch...

Posted by: Wigi | October 1, 2007 9:29 PM | Report abuse

I was being a little facetious, but seriously, what do you think happened that he tanked so bad? He doesn't seem the type to play with an injury.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 1, 2007 9:37 PM | Report abuse

RE: Glavine -

I don't think he's injured... I watched the entire performance... his stuff wasn't sharp. A lot of it was off the plate, but they went out and got it anyway. Believe it or not... I think it was nerves. It just had that "feel" to it.

Posted by: Wigi | October 1, 2007 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Seriously? Tom Glavine, nerves? Interesting.

Posted by: NatsNut | October 1, 2007 9:59 PM | Report abuse

And I'm not being facetious either.

If we could pick Glavine up for a decent price, use him on the mound as appropriate, and then ease him over into a position among the pitching coaches (no worries, Randy), he would be a gem of a find.

Posted by: Hendo | October 1, 2007 10:00 PM | Report abuse

jame-ee car-roll clap clap clap clap clap

Posted by: Anonymous | October 1, 2007 10:05 PM | Report abuse

Ja-mey Car-roll

Posted by: clap clap clap clap clap | October 1, 2007 10:15 PM | Report abuse

Now, let's see if I can make my point without flaming anyone...

I really don't get all the hoopla about tv/radio announcers. Even the ones who are considered "the best", do they really contribute anything to the game? There's certain guys I can't stand listening to (Bill Walton, John Madden, Joe Morgan), but even if one of them are on TV, it's not like I turn it off because of them. I tuned it to watch the game, not listen to the announcers.

I guess my point/question is, if you think Bob Carpenter is one of the best TV guys in baseball (and I'm not saying he's not), well, what are you basing that off of? Who are you comparing him to? Who is one of the worst TV guys? Most of all, why does anyone even care? Unless they're REALLY bad (hello, Don Baylor), what difference does it make? I tuned in every night to watch the Nationals, and whether it's Bob Carpenter, Johnny Holliday, Joe Morgan, or Gilbert Gottfried, I'm going to do the exact same thing next year.

Posted by: Matt | October 1, 2007 10:24 PM | Report abuse

I see I was quoted a couple of times in support of Carpenter so I risk repeating myself, but I'm still a Carpenter fan. I'll be very happy if they bring him back. But here are a few things they could do to improve the broadcasts. 1) More cameras and better camera angles. 2) More replays. 3) I don't hate Debbie Taylor, but letting her do more substantive news would be nice. (I absolutely hate the sappy questions that begin "How great is it to [fill in the blank]" Please quit telling the players what to say; 4) High Def; 5) Stop squishing the screen so they can run stupid and irrelevant sports tickers across the bottom. Too much, too long, too annoying; 6) Give them better and fewer and more varied promos to read (this got marginally better toward the end of the year); and 7) rotate a spare baseball analyst into the booth every once and a while. Not to talk human interest - just to add a fresh perspective.

And, don't forget, keep Carpenter.

Posted by: NatBisquit | October 1, 2007 11:01 PM | Report abuse

I really, really liked Mel Proctor and if we could get him back, I would get rid of Carpenter in a heartbeat. However, if there is no chance of that, keep Carpenter because we could do worse. The known evil instead of the unknown evil.

"I think he will, the problem is if he doesn't. He has no options to send him to Columbus, right?"

No, JP has no options left. The idea of having him play winter ball is not only to get him in shape for Spring Training, but so the Nats can decide whether ot not to resign him. Needless to say, I think they would be very foolish to non-tender him.

Posted by: jpsfanandproudofit | October 1, 2007 11:37 PM | Report abuse

Mmmm, Matt, I agree with you except for Gottfried.

"Aaand now, Zimmerman steps into the baaater's box."

On the other hand, it would make the "Aflac" trivia question graphic go a little quicker.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 1, 2007 11:43 PM | Report abuse


What I am basing my comments on is the fact that I watch virtually every Nats game on MLB TV... and they take the home video feed... so I have seen/heard every set of announcers in the National League this year, plus the occasional American League announcers that you catch in interleague play, or if I watch an American League game. My biggest complaint is when they make factual errors, which many do. Some of them are just grating (the Phillies announcer, to name one)... but that is different than fabrication.

Having worked in broadcasting, the thing that catches me first is the delivery, and of course that is devoid if substance... but the substance matters, too. Anyway, from a delivery standpoint... Carpenter is pretty average... but he at least goes out of his way to be factually correct, and that is huge. He still hasn't caught up with the DC vibe yet, but that will come with time (if he's given the opportunity).

As I said before, the MASN broadcasts have problems that go way beyond the announcers... so if they have ratings problems, they should fix the other things first... consistency in announcers is a big deal for a lot of people (hence the extended discussion about it).

Speaking of announcers... has anyone seen Ron Darling on camera this season? Kinda creepy, in a spray-on tan kind of way.

Posted by: Wigi | October 1, 2007 11:47 PM | Report abuse

"Don't bring in Jorge Julio, Clint," I said. But does anyone listen? No.

Posted by: cevans | October 2, 2007 12:02 AM | Report abuse

So who does he bring in? Our old friend, Ramon Ortiz! Who shuts it down. Let that be a lesson.

Posted by: cevans | October 2, 2007 12:06 AM | Report abuse

This play-in game so to speak is laden with former nats and those who have history with the nats. So far there have been appearances by Jamey Carroll, Termel Sledge, Ramon Ortiz now.

And lest we forget, it was Jorge Julio that just gave up the go-ahead homer in this play-in game. The same Jorge Julio who was traded from the marlins to the rockies, the day after he gave up the walk-off grand slam to Zimmerman. The game in which Barry claimed as his game of the year.

How much do you love baseball!

Posted by: natsinthevalley | October 2, 2007 12:06 AM | Report abuse

jamey carroll with the GW sac-fly.

Posted by: natsinthevalley | October 2, 2007 12:21 AM | Report abuse

And JAIMEE CARROLL wins the game!
Prediction: Ex-Nats will become the Anti-Ex-Cubs.

Posted by: cevans | October 2, 2007 12:21 AM | Report abuse

good old jamey. what a game.

Posted by: gretchen | October 2, 2007 12:22 AM | Report abuse

That would be the same Jorge Julio who pitched up the road a piece.

Posted by: cevans | October 2, 2007 12:23 AM | Report abuse

But back to the coaches -- wouldn't Bowden pushing Acta for MOTY imply they trust Manny's judgement on whom they should keep?

Posted by: that's JAMEY | October 2, 2007 12:25 AM | Report abuse

Not bad, Jamie, not bad at all.

Posted by: NTR Frank Robinson | October 2, 2007 12:58 AM | Report abuse

Wanna bet Julio won't be on the playoff roster?

Wow, wotta game.

At first, wasn't sure if Holliday touched the plate, although the dirt path of his slide shows his hand going right beside the plate, and possibly over it. I'm wondering if that's what the ump was using as a reference.

Posted by: Juan-John | October 2, 2007 1:02 AM | Report abuse

I'd like to respond to the coaching situation. I'm surprised that Barry made the same mistake, two years in a row. He keeps talking about the first base coach and third base coach as if their only job is to assist the baserunners. Now maybe the Nationals do things differently than every other club in baseball but I have my doubts. Usually, one of these coaches is also responsible for working with the infielders and the other the outfielders. Davey Lopes was the outfield coach last year, in addition to being the first base coach. I'm willing to bet money that the same situation existed this year, both the first and third base coaches had responsbilities beyond the coaching box.

Posted by: grf15 | October 2, 2007 6:27 AM | Report abuse

Jamey Carroll, clap clap - clap clap clap! As Ramon Ortiz might say: unbelievable.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 2, 2007 7:02 AM | Report abuse

"Usually, one of these coaches is also responsible for working with the infielders and the other the outfielders. Davey Lopes was the outfield coach last year, in addition to being the first base coach. I'm willing to bet money that the same situation existed this year, both the first and third base coaches had responsbilities beyond the coaching box. "

As Barry reported several times during the year (such as when Zimm had his spate of throwing errors) the infield coach on Manny Acta's staff this year was...Manny Acta. No doubt, though, that both Tolman and Morales had other roles and responsibilities above and beyond standing in the base coach's box during the games, although I don't recall ever seeing all that laid out anywhere. Perhaps one of them was the outfield coach. Pat Corrales seems to have functioned as the catching coach this year, since it was often reported that he was spending a lot of time working with Flores. Tolman did have one other obvious role beyond coaching third, since it was usually him rather than Manny who brought the lineup card out before the games, at least in RFK anyway. Don't know if that carried through on the road or not.

Posted by: Section 419 | October 2, 2007 7:46 AM | Report abuse

I watch nearly every game, and count me a Carpenter fan. He should be retained. Professional, generally accurate (there was that one SEE YOU....oops, but nobody's perfect) and from my perspective a fan of the team. Which one can be and still have an occasional less than flattering observation. Baseball is a game of tradition, which it is very hard to have if we change voices every season!

Hope you are listening, Stan.

Posted by: NatsFly | October 2, 2007 8:34 AM | Report abuse

So keep Carpenter. No voice is going to please everyone, but I like his tone, cadence, and inflection. If he gets some calls wrong, it's more because of enthusiasm than carelessness.

In a profession that admits the likes of Ron Darling, Hawk Harrelson, Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan, Bob Carpenter's work stacks up pretty well.

For variety, have Mike Bacsik slide into the booth alongside him.

Posted by: Hendo | October 2, 2007 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Well said. Although technically Darling, McCarver and Morgan are color guys but the point is valid.


In a profession that admits the likes of Ron Darling, Hawk Harrelson, Tim McCarver and Joe Morgan, Bob Carpenter's work stacks up pretty well.

Posted by: Hendo | October 2, 2007 09:23 AM

Posted by: MKevin | October 2, 2007 9:30 AM | Report abuse

I had the MLB Extra Innings package with DirecTV this year and listened to a large sample of announcers. I would certainly rate Carpenter and Sutton together as in the top 25%. Their chemistry was not good early in the year but by the end of the season, I really found them a pleasure to listen to. I enjoy Carpenter's delivery and appreciate the interaction he and Sutton have had with the players during the year - they offer many interesting insights during their telecast.

Slowes and Jaegler are great on the radio - they almost make me forget how much I miss having Jon Miller on the East Coast.

Perhaps, if the Nats ever get to the point of truly controlling their broadcast rights, they could try another old Braves tradition, having the radio and TV announcers trade off from time to time.

Posted by: myow | October 2, 2007 9:35 AM | Report abuse

Don't forget Carpenter's other big talent... smoothing over Sutton's weird and perhaps offensive comments.

Posted by: Section 506 (Before moving) | October 2, 2007 9:45 AM | Report abuse

Speaking of coaches, John Lowe in this past Sunday's Detroit Free Press delivered this bouquet to Our Manny:

"My favorite surprise of this season came on the night of June 19 at RFK Stadium in Washington.

"The host Nationals were losing to the Tigers, 15-1, in the bottom of the ninth. And yet the Nationals players were crowded together on the top step of the dugout, leaning forward on the railing to be as close to the action as possible. Such a posture is the universal baseball sign of enthusiasm and intensity. You usually don't see it when a team is losing by 14 runs.

"With that relentless spirit, the Nationals exceeded expectations more than any other major league team this season."

Lowe doubtless caught hell from Freep-watchers and the Tiger-fan loyalty police, but my hat's off to him.

Posted by: Hendo | October 2, 2007 9:46 AM | Report abuse

New post (and good morning to all your bright, shining faces).

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 2, 2007 9:59 AM | Report abuse

Also doffing my virtual cap to Lowe. Thanks for sharing that, Hendo.

Posted by: natsfan1a | October 2, 2007 10:00 AM | Report abuse

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