First in War, First in Peace, Last in the Hearts of Flagship Radio Station Programming Directors

Your Washington Nationals are the best team in baseball. They have the best record in the major leagues. They are playing thrilling baseball to ever-growing crowds. They have brought a pennant race to DC for the first time since Franklin Roosevelt was President.

So, how does their Flagship radio station promote them? Well…

Which prompted Charlie Slowes, the voice of the Nationals, to remind the Flagship:

It’s enough to make Jim Vance furious. In fact, this sort of thing did make Jim Vance furious a few weeks back, but apparently, nobody at WJFK was listening.

The Nationals are playing playoff-quality baseball, while the Flagship is talkin’ ’bout practice. Not a game. Practice.

Now, I’m a huge Redskins fan, and I’ll probably have a television tuned in to see what the Redskins are working on. But you better believe I’m going to have the radio turned on and turned up so I can hear Charlie and Dave call a real, live Nats game.

Heck, if anything this sort of phenomenon is a huge opportunity for WJFK. They should be reminding DC sports fans that, while their eyes may be on the Redskins, WJFK can keep their minds and their ears on the Nationals’ phenomenal 2012 season.

But instead, they’re talkin’ ’bout practice. Not a Nats game. Practice.

Tuning In

Over the off-season, ;Fangraphs polled their readership about the MLB TV broadcast teams. Readers were asked to rank broadcasters on a scale of 1 to 5 (5 being best) for their charisma, the quality of their analysis, and their impression of the broadcast overall. They’ve been releasing the results this week, and the Nats’ MASN TV crew of Bob Carpenter and F.P. Santangelo ranked 23rd out of 31 broadcast teams. Frankly, that’s a lot better than I thought they would rank.

I would be a bad Nats fan if I did not also point out with glee that Bob & F.P. rank above both the Braves (27) and Phillies (26) broadcast teams. Atlanta and Philadelphia fans may have watched their teams win more ballgames than Nats fans did–but their broadcasters sure didn’t make it any more enjoyable for them.

F.P., in particular, is singled out for praise in the comments as a thoughtful color commentator. Speaking for myself, I’ve actually grown to like F.P. It’s tough for me not to like a guy who is still–still–so obviously excited to be paid to watch baseball games. Sure, he may sound a bit Scrappy-doo at times. But watching a few MASN Classics “assisted” by the grunting and grumbling of Rob Dibble made me realize just how bad the Carpenter/Dibble team was.

Of course, Fangraphs didn’t rate the radio broadcast teams. I can’t wait until Charlie Slowes and Dave Jaegler get back from the Great Silence and fill the airwaves around Washington with the sounds of Nats baseball again. As the D.C. Sports Bog put it recently:

Slowes, if you think about it, is one of the very few public figures associated with the Nationals remaining from their first season in Washington. The team has changed its ownership, front office and manager, hired new television broadcasters, introduced new mascots, and turned over its roster entirely, but Slowes has remained.

Dave Jaegler, of course, joined Charlie in the booth in 2006–Ryan Zimmerman’s first full season with the ballclub. Given that the Nats just signed Zimmerman to a long-term contract extension, isn’t it time the Nationals gave Charlie & Dave the same contract extension, too? It would seem strange to me to hear of the Z-man’s latest exploits from any other voices.

The return of regular broadcast baseball will finally will mean that their so-called Flagship radio broadcaster (to whom I will not link) will be compelled to broadcast some baseball-related coverage, instead of endless discussions of the NFL Draft Scouting Combine.