Bob Carpenter back in the fold
So as expected, MASN just announced that Bob Carpenter will return as play-by-play man on the Nationals' TV broadcasts.
The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network made the announcement, but let's be clear: The Nationals have final say on this. This marks the first time in the Nationals' brief history that the same TV crew will be together for consecutive years, as Carpenter will re-join Don Sutton (Hall of Famer, doncha know) and sideline reporter Debbi Taylor.
Just left a message for Carpenter, so I'm sure I'll have a little more later. For now, a canned quote from the release.
"It's an exciting time, with a new stadium, a team that's getting better every year, and with the greatest fans in baseball. In only its first full year, MASN is doing a cutting-edge production that has one of the best talent teams in all of baseball.
"I want to express my gratitude to all of the Nationals fans who spoke out on my behalf. Without their support, I'm not sure this would have happened."
That reference is to the fact that Nationals President Stan Kasten told Carpenter late in the year that if he found something else, he should jump on it. The Nationals wanted to look at at least one other candidate - turned out to be Dan Shulman of ESPN, who was under contract - and were prepared to part ways with Carpenter, whose contract was up. Though Carpenter is far from universally adored, fans definitely contacted the Nationals and MASN about the matter, and that may have swayed their opinion. This is a one-year deal, though, so the chance for a change lingers next offseason.
Let's review the Nats TV lineups, shall we?
2005: Mel Proctor and Ron Darling. Proctor hasn't had a regular gig since this, but Darling moved to New York and has done well on the Mets' network
2006: Bob Carpenter and Tom Paciorek. They really got along well personally, and Paciorek described it as the best gig he'd ever had. But ownership changed - from MLB to the Lerners - and Paciorek was not asked back. He also has not returned to a regular gig. Carpenter was under a two-year contract.
2007: Carpenter and Sutton, with Taylor as the first sideline reporter. Sutton received high marks from most people I talked to for his obvious knowledge of pitching. The broadcast was a bit more serious than with Paciorek and Carpenter, who hammed it up together.
Will update this entry when I get Bob on the phone. And still no finalized deals for radio guys Charlie Slowes and Dave Jageler.
Zimmerman update: The Nationals said the surgery on Zimmerman's left wrist late yesterday was "successful." Performed by hand specialist Richard Barth at Sibley Hospital. His hook of the hamate bone was removed "without difficulty."
Zimmerman told me the day before that he expected to be home -- back in Arlington -- by 9 p.m. He was going to head back to Virginia Beach, where he's hosting his charity golf tournament, today. The Nationals say he'll be in a splint for about a week, then have the sutures removed when the splint comes off. Again, full recovery expected in four to six weeks.
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