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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

This ball is history: A Guest Post by Bob Carpenter

Midnight Tuesday/Wednesday after Barry Bonds' record-setting HR ...

We witnessed history in SF tonight, but the night became perfect for me when the Nats came back and won the game, so everyone went home happy. The team bus was pretty full from the ballpark back to the hotel and the mood was lively. Tim Tolman asked me what my HR call was, and he was concerned I would give an opposing player a "See ... you .. later!" call. I told him no way would I give Bonds, or any opponent, my signature call.

As Nook Logan caught the last out, I said on MASN, "The Giants got their home run, but the Nats got their win." As an announcer, I always hope for the right words to say at the right time, and I hope tonight was OK. The atmosphere at AT&T Park was electric, and it reminded me of the night in '98 when Mark McGwire hit record-setting #62 against Steve Trachsel and the Cubs. I wasn't working that night, having called numbers 60 and 61 the day before. But Busch Stadium exploded when Mark hit #62 and it was the same as Bonds launched #756 off Mike Bacsik.

I saw Mike in the clubhouse after the game and he was all smiles, pleased to be part of history. He was actually being interviewed live by Debbie Taylor when Felipe Lopez hit the double that got him off the hook and put the Nats ahead in the 8th. I told Mike that I didn't want him to give up the big HR, but once he did, the Nats couldn't have picked a better spokesman to represent the club. I told Mike that America would be in love with him by this time tomorrow; he smiled that smile of his. He's a great guy and it's been a pleasure to get to know him this season.

As far as the game and the home run, here was my call: "Three-two pitch to Bonds ... there it goes! This ball is history!" and then I shut up and let our pictures tell the story. It's the beauty of TV; you can make a quick call and then let the pictures take over. Don Sutton and I sat quietly as we watched the stadium erupt in noise, fireworks and streamers, quite a sight. The video on the scoreboard from Hank Aaron was powerful, and I followed up with the comment that, for many baseball fans, Aaron would always be the home run king.

I got to see Aaron play when I was a kid, and I thought along with Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente, they were the 3 most exciting players I ever saw. Stan Musial was great in my native St. Louis, but those 3 were electrifying.

I hope Nats fans enjoyed my home run call, but I hope they enjoyed us winning the game more. That made the night perfect for me; we got to see history but we won the game, my Oklahoma buddy Chris Schroder got his first major league win, and we tied the Marlins for 4th place. I wish all of you Nats fans could have been there with us!

Bob Carpenter
Nationals TV Announcer
August 8, 2007


Blogger Skedeebs said...

I'm sorry I couldn't hear the call-my 4:20 alarm makes West Coast games tough. I did wake up at one point, just in time to take the lead. I trusted Rauch and Cordero not to disappoint.

We really need to put the Marlins a game behind us, so we can truly be out of last place. The comments on the team by the national sportswriters are starting to be more respectful, and they talk about Manny as a Manager of the Year candidate. He won't have a chance if we don't escape the cellar for good.

5:06 AM  
Blogger riseupcleveland said...

I wish I was there too Bob, or he had waited until the end of the month, so he would do it in RFK. Thanks for posting about it. It's great to read your first-hand account and it brings the atmosphere more to life for those of us that could only watch it on TV.

5:43 AM  
Blogger Steph2853 said...

I am on vacation in Seattle and got home just in time to see Bonds hit it! I also got to watch our guys come from behind to win the game, that was most special to me I think. They were able to put all emotion from that special moment for one player aside, and come together as a team to win...what a great night for baseball!

8:14 AM  
Blogger Jason said...

Barry Bonds is a fraud, phony, cheater, liar, adulterer, ignorant, selfish, arrogant, pompus (I think you are starting to get the point) ball player. He stands for everything that is wrong with pro sports. Just because you are blessed with amazing skills (which Bonds is; which begs the question Barry, why juice?)doesn't mean you get to treat people with contempt and disrespect. The only good thing that has come from Bonds chase to 756 is that it sheds light on how great of a man Henry "Hank" Aaron is/was. He helped pave the way for african-american ball players like Barry Bonds. All Barry has done has disgrace the memories of Jackie Robinson, Josh Gibson (who probably hit about 1000 Hr's but this country was too ignorant at the time to allow him to play in MLB), Satchel Paige, and others. Thank god for A-Rod (who will shatter your record god willing), because Barry your bust doesn't belong in the Hall, not among those hallowed names mentioned above. Instead I hope you, Sammy, Rafael, Sheffield, McGwire create your own steroids hall of fame. You cheated the game, you disrespected yourself, but really all you did was make an entire nation hate you. To me, when I teach my kids baseball, Henry Aaron will be the homerun king not Barry Bonds. I will teach them about Hammerin' Hank not you Barry.

Bob, you called the play the right way, but unfortunately it was a moment that will go down in history as being artificially produced. I hope you are still around to call A-Rod's 757th...

11:55 AM  
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12:42 PM  
Blogger The Burn Unit said...


I thought your call was great. It fit the moment so well. I'm one of many Bonds skeptics but had to watch to say I witnessed it. I wasn't sure how I would respond but I cheered and then took the moment in with full understanding that this was not as special of some of the other great sports moments I've seen over the years. As soon as I heard it, I quickly pressed rewind on my dvr box to hear how you both captured the moment. I completely agree with how you guys, let the pictures tell the story. You nailed the part that many will view Aaron as still the home run king. Kudos to Bascik and the Nationals how they handled the situation with so much class. You, Don and the Nationals are top notch. It was great to see the Nationals pull out the win.

Thanks for making it memorable.

10:03 AM  

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