MASN's Bob Carpenter is the play-by-play voice of the Washington Nationals. Carpenter is also not impressed with the local fan base. On Tuesday, he went on 106.7 The Fan to discuss his thoughts.
“Well, I think there are times when we’re sitting up in the booth saying, ‘Everybody get up, get up,’ most notably during the Strasburg game on Sunday. In the seventh inning he struck out the first two guys, and then when Laynce Nix came up to bat, everybody was just sitting on their hands. With one strike a few people started clapping; two strikes some more people started clapping. And maybe by the time that at-bat ended a couple hundred people were standing. There should have been 30,000 people standing.”
AA Translation: The fans have no idea what's going on, so why are they here?
Carpenter goes on to say:
“And then Strasburg in the eighth inning got the double-play ball on Ryan Howard, and then he’s facing Jimmy Rollins, who Nationals fans should be thirsting to see make an out,” Carpenter went on. “And again, just a couple hundred people standing. If we were in San Francisco or St. Louis or Boston, the really really great baseball places, where people really get what happens – not just in the eighth and ninth inning, but in the earlier innings – the entire ballpark would have been standing up with two outs to cheer Strasburg through seven, and then to cheer him through eight."
AA Translation: Washington D.C. is not a great baseball place. Or at least isn't as good as at least ten other cities. I will point out he didn't mention the Cubs, a fanbase so hardcore that they still outsell the White Sox when they're dead last in MLB standings.
“And that’s what I’d like to see more of, is our fans be a little more aware of certain situations and the fact that Hey, this is our guy, he’s on the mound, he’s about to go seven, he’s about to go eight for the second time. Those are special moments, and I would like to see a little more response. And we have some fans who are still learning this game. I mean, this franchise is in its ninth year, and we still have a lot of new people coming to the ballpark who haven’t been there that much before. So I’m sure the hard-core fans who have been with the Nats since ’05, they’re the ones on their feet and they understand certain situations."
AA Translation: Get it together, people.
Carpenter is not the first or last play-by-play guy to complain about a fanbase. Maybe Nats fans lack enthusiasm so as not to get the life sucked out of them at the end of the season. The franchise is one of only two MLB teams to never play in a World Series, and the only team in the NL. Maybe it is just self-preservation.
The Nationals are currently second in the NL East (27-25) and have, according to Carpenter, the fifth highest attendance in the National League (behind the Dodgers, Giants, Cardinals and Phillies).
Maybe fans will notch it up a bit on the enthusiasm meter, but if they don't, well…at least they're not (insert team you hate here) fans, right?