As TV voice of the Washington Nationals, Tulsan Bob Carpenter has one of the coolest jobs in baseball broadcasting. It's even more exciting this season as the once lowly Nationals have compiled the best record in baseball.
“I drive past the Lincoln Memorial and the Capitol on my way to work everyday,” Carpenter said in a phone interview. “At night from our booth, we can see the Capitol all lit up. That's kind of a unique thing … It's definitely an interesting place for a boy from the Midwest to be. Probably the last place I expected to be working, but it's been very interesting.”
Carpenter said regular visitors to Nationals Park include political columnist George Will and ESPN commentator Tony Kornheiser, a former Washington Post columnist. In recent weeks, he said first lady Michelle Obama and Vice President Joe Biden have attended games. President Barack Obama made it to the ballpark for the 2010 season opener and appeared in the broadcast booth.
Will even uses the baseball score book (bcscorebook.com) that Carpenter developed, which is used by numerous minor league and MLB announcers. “George is great baseball guy,” Carpenter said. “He's a very knowledgeable guy. I have had a chance to do some q-and-as with him in front of our fans.”
A former St. Louis Cardinals and ESPN announcer, Carpenter, 59, has broadcast Nationals games for seven seasons and covered Major League Baseball for 29 years. But he said he is surprised as anyone with the team's record 77-46 record (through Wednesday). The National's previous best win total was 80 games last year.
“We were encouraged by the way they finished last season, winning 15 out of 20 in September. I don't think anything convinced use we would have the best record in baseball toward the end of August.”
Carpenter said the National League's best pitching staff, second-best defense and timely hitting as carried the team under veteran manager Davey Johnson, 69. Twenty-six years ago, he managed the New York Mets to the world championship.
“The whole pitching staff has been No. 1 in ERA in the league the entire year,” he said. “For the first month of the so, they were under 2 on the ERA, which is absolutely ridiculous. It's not just the starters. It's a good bullpen.