Perhaps I’m making something out of nothing, but the way MASN handled its broadcasters this weekend for the Washington Nationals games sure seems odd.
The games are normally done by Bob Carpenter on play-by-play and F.P. Santangelo doing color commentary. A little over a week ago, it was announced Carpenter would take a few days off and that Dan Kolko would step in and be Carpenter’s replacement doing play-by-play. Santangelo would continue in his role doing commentary, and the two did the two-game series with Toronto.
Friday, however, when a new series started with the Florida Marlins, it was Kolko on play-by-play and former Nationals outfielder Justin Maxwell doing commentary. That struck me as immediately odd because usually when a play-by-play guy takes a break, you want and need the commentary guy there to give some continuity to the booth. Putting two new guys together is almost unheard of. Many times they move the color guy over to play-by-play and bring in a former player to do commentary temporarily.
There’s also the matter of Maxwell’s performance. He has a reputation of being a very nice guy, extremely knowledgeable about the game, and capable of good insight. But his voice level and lack of inflection were such issues, many online complained they couldn’t hear him. This is typical of someone who hasn’t done a broadcast before, as usually a network will have someone do a practice game, then go over the tape with the new broadcaster to point out such basic things as volume, intensity and inflection.
It felt like MASN had grabbed him at the last second and then threw him out there – opposite a guy who had only been doing play-by-play less than a week – and hoped for the best.
The very next day, Maxwell was gone and local radio veteran Grant Paulsen was the color commentary person who did the games Saturday and Sunday. Grant’s radio voice was an immediate improvement, but in looking at his Twitter, it appeared this was not something that had been planned for a long time. Even in his comments during the broadcast, you could almost read between the lines that he was saying he felt really lucky to get the call like this at the last minute.
Meanwhile, there were no references to what FP was up to, a stark contrast to comments made about Carpenter and him relaxing at home with family. Carpenter even tweeted Sunday about Max Scherzer’s complete game, while the last time FP tweeted anything was April 28.
You can argue that maybe MASN was experimenting with different broadcasting combinations, but usually a network would promote something like that well in advance. It seemed a little like in their performances, that Maxwell and Paulsen found out they were doing commentary about five minutes before you or I did.
So I don’t know. I like FP, and he and Carpenter form a nice chemistry that has become as much a part of the fabric of the Nationals as Ryan Zimmerman and Jayson Werth have been over the years. You can speculate a thousand things that could have happened, but to do so is neither right nor fair.
I just find it odd. And hope FP is OK.