Bob Carpenter, the Nationals' play-by-play announcer, will soon call his 18th Nationals season. Carpenter, who joined the MASN booth in 2006, has been associated with the team much longer than any active player, and in that time he has endeared himself to the fanbase with his positivity, attention to detail and encyclopedic knowledge of the game. He'll call the upcoming season for the Nationals as they look to find growth, if not a great deal of wins.
Since Ryan Zimmerman's retirement and the departure of fan-favorite stars like Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and Juan Soto, familiar faces in the Nationals franchise have been few and far between. Many of the names that adorn the back of fans' replica jerseys now play for other teams, and it doesn't look as though the longest-tenured National, Stephen Strasburg, will be returning to the mound any time soon. They have left behind a ball club full of fresh talents that, although exciting and promising, have yet to prove themselves.
Today, the face of the Nationals franchise is not a player at all. While we wait on the next Ryan Zimmerman, that honor must be bestowed upon Bob Carpenter. As Washington's beloved play-by-play announcer, Carpenter breathes life into the television broadcast day in and day out. His iconic "See you later!" home run call is known all throughout baseball, but Nationals fans know that Bob Carpenter's commentary is a reason to stick with the team even when home runs become sparse.
Bob Carpenter, or Scorebook Bob as he is affectionately known, boasts more than four decades of broadcasting experience. But what is it that earned his career its longevity? For one, he goes out of his way to pay an exceptionally close attention to detail every game he calls. Carpenter is the developer of the Bob Carpenter Baseball Scorebook, his unique scorebook which he often shares with fans during live broadcasts.
Carpenter scores games the way he calls games: leaving nothing to be desired. Fans might remember a game towards the end of the 2021 season where Carpenter demonstrated how to keep a scorebook throughout the broadcast so that fans could learn to score along. Today, a broadcaster could certainly get away with relying only on the booth's monitors for stats and other details about the game. The fact that Carpenter insists upon going the extra mile really makes a difference for fans watching Nationals baseball from their living rooms as he provides the necessary statistical context for every at-bat.
Now that a growing number of regular season games are broadcast on any of the menagerie of streaming services, it is always a relief to return to Carpenter's focused and attentive broadcasting after an Apple or YouTube TV game. The broadcasters on those games often become more and more distracted from the games as they progress, but even in a blowout fans can count on Carpenter to keep it about the game. After all, Nationals baseball right now is about development and watching the beginnings of what we hope will be come a winning dynasty, something he has not lost sight of.
On top of his exemplary performance with play-by-play, Carpenter is also known to engage with fans via Twitter. Fans who Tweet at him during a game might be lucky enough to get a like or even a response from him during a commercial break. It is very cool to have a commentator who is tuned in to the fanbase in a positive way, when some broadcasters can seem out of touch with how their audience is thinking and feeling.
Through thick and thin, Bob Carpenter has shown us that he's a fan as well as an announcer. During the days leading up to the 2022 trade deadline, he expressed along with fans a desire to see Juan Soto remain with the team. After Soto was dealt to San Diego, Carpenter didn't check out or come across as discouraged, he gave fans a reason to keep their heads up and keep watching.
He'll look to do the same this upcoming season as the Nationals put out a young lineup that has a lot of growing to do before it can return this franchise to its former glory. I'm excited to tune in on opening day to hear Scorebook Bob call some Nationals baseball.
Check out Bob Carpenter's latest interview over on Half Street High Heat.