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SUTTON LIKELY NEW 'MAN BEHIND THE MIC'

[December 22nd] -- It looks like it's going to be Don Sutton.

Reports out of Atlanta are suggesting that a deal to pair Sutton with play-by-play man Bob Carpenter is all but done, with only the number of years yet to be determined.

Now, I've been reading the Nationals message boards and from what I can tell, Sutton wasn't ... um .. how do I say it .... their first choice. Indispersed between the "Steve Stone is much better" comments were an inordinate amount of "bad hair" jokes.

Look, I had no qualms about Tom Paciorek remaining in the broadcast booth. I lived in Seattle when he had is only good years in the major leagues. He was a kidder then, he was a kidder in the booth last year. The schtick got a little old at times, but overall I appreciated his work.

Don Sutton is the antithesis of Paciorek. If the two were singers, Paciorek would be Leo Sayer and Sutton Dean Martin (if you're not old, I don't expect you to get the analogy). Sutton has a dulcet demeanor that relaxes some while putting others to sleep. He was the perfect foil for Skip Caray's nasalosity (if that wasn't a word, it is now). Having been a Braves' fan during that primordial period between the Senators and Nationals, I have heard Sutton broadcast nearly a thousand games, and I like him. I think he'll be a good foil for Bob Carpenter.

Do I have some issues with the guy? Sure, but they came after the Braves stopped being my team. I'll never forget that first game that the Braves played at RFK. Both Sutton and Pete Van Wieren gently turned their noses up at both RFK and the Nationals. Sutton was used to winning, and working out of a top-notch ballpark. The Nationals, and their stadium, offered neither. His arrogance and disdain were obvious.

I have a couple of questions regarding this move. Why did he choose the Nationals? Regardless of his detractors, Sutton is a brand-name broadcaster, someone who brings notoriety with him. I'm sure that other teams tried to sign him once TBS jettisoned Braves Baseball. Second, until last year, Sutton never had to broadcast a loser, allowing him that flowing demeanor that made him seem convincing while peddling berber for "Carpets of Dalton." Will he be able to accept being part of a loser, at least for a few years?

[Note: Basil @ Federal Baseball is, as usual, smarter than me. Here in part a comment he left: "Slight nitpick, though I think it might have bearing here: Sutton has done TV work for a loser, the 1989-90 Atlanta Braves ..." Thanks Basil for being my editor. The check's in the mail for your servies :) And Happy Holidays to you too, my friend. You are the best.

The Nationals, or MASN, or whoever it was, made a wise choice from many wise choices. Steve Stone would have done just as well. I think the team saw a little too much of John Wetteland in Paciorek, and were going for a more professional environment.

And that's fair.

Nick Johnson & The Yankees: You know, I'm still not convinced that Nick Johnson is going to be the Nationals' first baseman in 2007. The Yankees are concerned enough about their situation at first base that they have been talking to free-agent second baseman Mark Loretta about his willingness to move to first.

I'm sorry, but I don't see the fabled New York Yankees taking the field on opening day with Mark Loretta at first. I could see a deal that might bring Braves' first baseman Adam LaRoche to New York (though there is no indication of that at this point), and I could certainly see a deal that could return former Yankee Johnson to New York. Bill Ladsen often gives us hints in his "mailbag" column as to the team's future. In repsonse to my question, he said, "I think it's time to play such young players as [Kory] Casto and Larry Broadway."

Larry Broadway? Where did that come from? Throughout this off-season, no one has even hinted at the possibility that Larry Broadway was going to be given any realistic shot at making the team. I have to wonder, then, if Broadway's name isn't being floated to Nationals' fans as their possible first baseman for 2007.

And if Johnson is going somewhere, wouldn't it make sense for Johnson to be heading for New York?

Just thinking out loud.


Comments:
Slight nitpick, though I think it might have bearing here: Sutton has done TV work for a loser, the 1989-90 Atlanta Braves, and Stan Kasten was responsible for hiring him (even though I'd doubt Kasten was in any way more than a mere selecting officer, rather than recommending officer). So Sutton's been in this spot before and, as you note, he was kicked to the curb, so we don't know how many options he had.

And exactly why can't we make fun of The Perm?! ;-)

Happy holidays, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Farid. I enjoy reading your blog.
 
I suspect Bob Carpenter will be toast after this season. He was saved by his two year contract. I am sure Kasten has tucked away that Carpenter was quite vocal and critical of the Nats firing Paciorek.
 
"It's Cleye-o, with an 'i' "
That's how Don Sutton referred to his South Alabama birthplace when I misprounounced it while interviewing him in 1983.
But as anyone in my wife's hometown of Pensacola, Fla. can tell you, Sutton grew up in Molino, north of town.
What's wonderful about this man is that he's never forgotten where he comes from. And when he talks about baseball and pitching, he makes his points without talking to hear himself talk, say like Tim McCarver, who never tells you ANYTHING you didn't know after age 12.
Sutton is a professional who would have been just fine even if he were working with Mel Allen or Red Barber. Any team, anywhere, would be downright lucky to have him.
Thomas J. Monigan
Yankee by Birth
Southern by the Grace of God
 
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