When we last left our hero (ahem), he was explaining how the Baghdad Bobs that are the Nats announcers had helped convert his mildly positive view of the Nats to a fairly negative one. The story continues:
b. According to F.P. Santangelo, the Nats can only lose if the umpires cheat.
This particular criticism applies equally to Bob Carpenter, the play by play guy. Even the Nats radio guys get in on this particular act. It is simply this, Santangelo’s First Law of Baseball: ANY NATS LOSS OCCURS ONLY AS A DIRECT RESULT OF A BLOWN OR IMPROPER CALL BY THE UMPIRES IN THE GAME.
I have never seen or heard such whining by announcers in my entire sports life. Heck, I’ve never heard such whining by ADULTS in my entire life. And the availability of replays or Pitchtrack does nothing to quell the accusations of bad umping. After F.P. rails about a strike call against a Nats batter, and PitchTrack shows that it got all plate, F.P. will say, and this is a direct quote: “I don’t care what PitchTrack says, that’s not a strike!”
Or his partner Carpenter will shout in disbelief “Where was that?!” if a Nats pitcher didn’t get a strike call on a 3-2 pitch, and then PitchTrack will show that the pitch was 4-6 inches off the plate. Care to reconsider, Bob? Crickets. The battle against the video, the One-Eye that Don’t Lie, never ceases. If a ball/strike call goes against the Nats, and the PitchTrack confirms the call was correct, no matter: F.P., or Bob, or both, will say, “That’s been a strike all night” (when Nats are pitching) or “That’s been a ball all night” (when Nats are batting). Even if the disputed call had nothing to do with the eventual play, F.P. will still tell you that the game hinged on that one (correct, but disputed by F.P.) call.
Example: Nats are in the field, and the second pitch of an at-bat is borderline and called a ball. Five pitches later, the pitcher serves up a gopher ball. F.P. or Bob will then point to the borderline second pitch and laboriously explain that since they didn’t get that call five pitches ago, the pitcher’s only option was to throw the slow fastball waist-high down the middle that the batter crushed.
Similarly, the Nats’ opponents do not succeed in their efforts through talent or craft. It is only due to the umpires’ bias against the Nationals or in favor of the opponent. Thus, according to these clowns, Aaron Harang is the most successful pitcher in the league, not in throwing low strikes on the outside corner, but “in getting the call on the low outside corner.” Another verbatim quote. It’s not that he’s throws strikes, it’s merely that the umpires CALL them strikes, see? Harang’s not actually getting the Nats out — it’s those cheating umps, who are either being fooled, or are biased in his favor.
The accusations that the umpires are stupid, blind, or dishonest occur every game, and usually every inning. I honestly do not understand why MLB doesn’t tell these guys to cut it out or face discipline. They’re team employees, openly and repeatedly accusing the umpires of incompetence or cheating. Every. Single. Game. I would think MLB would be less than happy about that.
It is childish, not to mention bad sportsmanship, to blame your opponent’s success on the officiating. And with F.P., there is no other possible explanation. Indeed, the First Corollary to Santangelo’s First Law of Baseball is: WITH COMPETENT AND FAIR UMPIRING, THE NATS WOULD NEVER LOSE.
c. The clichés.
Oh Lord. He can’t hold a candle to McCarver, but who could?
“There goes the no-hitter.” (When batter gets a hit, usually in the first inning – he says it every game.)
“Are you kidding me?”
“He offered.” (swung)
“How cool is that?”
“Keep the line moving.”
“That’s playing the game the right way.”
Of all of these, the last is my favorite, because it’s usually (always?) accompanied by some reminiscing about how they did it back in F.P.’s playing days. And because, in truth, F.P. has no idea about “playing the game the right way.” He’s a known juicer/HGH abuser, as the Mitchell Report will attest. (As a .245 lifetime hitter, who slugged .351 – maybe you shoulda talked to Radomski about upping the dosage, F.P.). So, unless you’re maybe giving advice about the best injection sites, just put a sock in it, Francis.