Nats Win! TV Announcers Lose!
It was nice to see the Nats break out of their losing streak last night. Jason Bergmann pitched pretty well, saving himself a trip to the minors. There was some nice clutch hitting and major league level fielding. And Cardiac Chad Cordero worked his magic, and provided the drama, in the ninth inning as he got his first save.
I've watched several games on MASN by now, enough to have some thoughts on the broadcast. Bob Carpenter and Don Sutton do absolutely nothing for me. They are boring and humorless and they never shut up. I've had the MLB Extra Innings package for the past five seasons or so, so I've heard all kinds of announcers. Some of them actually have personalities. These two do not. Some of them are funny. I'm not talking Dave Chappelle funny, and I'm sure not asking for Bob Uecker, but there are some announcers out there (Jerry Remy, even Daron Sutton) who are able to enhance the enjoyment of watching the game with some humor. These guys are dry, dry, dry.
Some examples of the wit of Bob Carpenter: During one of the slumping Brian Schneider's at bats last night, Carpenter noted that Schneider was "due." He was so "due," that if this was a library, he'd owe us some money. Ha. He also suggested, during a ridiculous conversation about how dark it was in the catcher's, uh, crotch area, making it difficult for the pitcher to pick up signs, that maybe they should add some runway lights. Good one, Bob.
Sutton, who I was shocked to see still sporting that Mark Moseley-esque perm, takes himself altogether too seriously, it's like he's giving a lesson on Baseball 101. One of the things I liked about Ron Darling two years ago was that he was able to express his insight and opinions, as a former high level player, in a low-key and interesting manner. Don Sutton seems to think he invented baseball. He's so smart that he has the ability to foresee where players will hit balls, as last night he implored us all to watch Brian McCann drive a ball to right to advance a runner. McCann hit a hot shot to Ryan Zimmerman, which, Sutton said, was a result of great pitching by Bergmann. Alrighty. I guess it didn't have anything to do with that big hole on the left side of the infield.
Also, they just never shut up. Via Extra Innings, I get to listen to Vin Scully sometimes. He has the great ability to let the game speak for itself. I know these early games haven't been saying much, but these guys seem to have had way to much coffee. There's a feature where you can send them a question through the MASN website. Look for "Tadcranky from Arlington asks 'Can you guys shut up for 30 seconds?'" I listened to the end of last night's game on the radio last night, and the radio guys (who are great) talk less than Carpenter and Sutton.
I've seen bits and pieces of the pre- and post-game shows with Ray Knight and Johnny Holliday up until last night, when I saw all of the post-game show. Ray Knight seems to not know what to do with his hands. Johnny Holliday, with all due respect, seems to not be at his best. Last night he stumbled over whether John Smoltz (who it sounded like he was calling Schmoltz a couple of times) was the losing pitcher of record. Once he determined that he was, he made a big thing about how the Nationals had handed him his first loss of the season. Uh, Johnny, it's April 12. Smoltz is now 1-1. Settle down.
The weirdest thing about the post-game show is when they go to what seems to be called Ray's Roundtable, which involves Knight going to the other side of the set. Then we get a camera angle from behind Knight, where we see mostly his back, and we see a wee Johnny Holliday across the set. Then they talk to each other, just like they did before when they were standing next to each other. I pray that one day Johnny will cup his hands around his mouth and yell "Red Rover, Red Rover, send Ray Knight over."
I know it's early and everything, and at least we can actually watch the games. But, as with everything else Nats-related these days, there's a lot of room for improvement.