Cumberland Times-News

Mike Burke - Sports

June 7, 2012

Tune in to tune out, then turn in

The only real difficult time of the season to enjoy baseball, other than the interleague portion of the MLB schedule that resumes tonight, are interleague games between the Orioles and the Nationals when Orioles fans are forced to listen to Nationals broadcasters Bob Carpenter and Frank-Paul (a.k.a. F.P.) Santangelo as part of MASN’s integrated booth.

Fortunately, the Orioles don’t get the Nats again for another two weeks, so until then O’s fans won’t be subjected to Carpy (who does kind of remind you of Lt. Carpenter on “McHale’s Navy”) and Frank-Paul (what, the guy used to be Pope?), easily the most boring baseball announcers since Dan Daniels used to call Senators games back in the ’60s and, without question, the biggest homers to step in a booth since the Nationals asked Rob Dibble to step out of it.

Gracious, what have Nationals fans done to deserve the cards they’ve been dealt since the likes of Mel Proctor and Don Sutton (who never worked together, by the way) took turns leaving the booth? Now those guys were good, but perhaps MASN/Orioles owner Peter Angelos sensed that and decided D.C. fans must be punished for leaving his market to form their own.

(Now Mr. A. would never be so vindictive as to do that, would he? John Lowenstein ... Jon Miller ... Naaah! Talk about your bad trades — Milt Pappas for Frank Robinson and Jon Miller for Michael Reghi. At least the O’s made out pretty well on one of them.)

The Nationals have a heck of a team, managed by the great Davey Johnson (talk about your right-back-at-ya’s), but for nonpartisan fans, it’s just so difficult to watch a Nats game with the sound up because you are at once sedated by the blandness of it all (like listening to two Potsie Webers), then forced to wake up in a sweat from the shrieking that takes place when Z-Man blasts a homer.

When things go right for the Nats, there’s so much swooning going on you’d think A.) Elvis had just entered the booth (or as it pertains to Bryce Harper, Bobby Sherman), or B.) Mr. A. decided on the ultimate payback on Nats fans and hired Chip Carey.

Then when things aren’t going so well? Oh, Doctor! The tone becomes rather curt, or simply insignificant. For instance, Thursday afternoon, with the Nats trailing the Mets 2-0 entering the seventh, Carpenter essentially said that since the Nats had already won the three-game set, ain’t no thing. Maybe it will be if the Nats miss the postseason by a game. Then things can get real abrupt when the Nats lose on the final at-bat of a game, not unlike when Ferris Bueller comes out of his bedroom after the final credits roll and tells you, “The movie’s over. Go home.”

(By the way, read somewhere that when 49-year-old pitcher Jamie Moyer, who the Orioles recently signed to a minor-league contract, made his major league debut for the Cubs on June 16, 1986, against Steve Carlton and the Phillies, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” had just come out in theaters. Eeesh!)

Frankly, Carpenter, who is anything but unprofessional, has to know what he’s talking about or he wouldn’t have been a big-league broadcaster all these years. But it’s impossible to discover what he knows when the snooze button is on. Same goes for Santangelo. He played seven years in the big leagues and was a real good utility guy, so he does have an interesting perspective and he makes very good points. It would just be easier to find that can of cash you buried in the backyard 20 years ago, because when the Nats are on the air you have to work too hard to simply listen.

The same can be said for Mike Bordick, who is in his first season of doing color on Orioles games. You know he knows what he’s talking about, but the blandness of his voice and his delivery often gets overmatched by the richness of Gary Thorne’s voice and delivery. Unfortunately, in the Nats’ booth, there is no contrast. Just a tranquil afternoon out on the boat. Which makes it the perfect time to listen to the game on the radio anyway.

Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at

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