Sutton hired as Nationals color analyst

Monday morning, I wrote a piece about Washington considering options for the broadcast booth.  While the story was obviously fake, I thought the Carrot Top option would be great.

Monday afternoon, the Nationals and the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network officially named someone whose curly hair was and is as noticeable as the orange-follicled comedian to join Bob Carpenter in the broadcast booth.

Continuing the tradition of bringing former Braves into the fold, Don Sutton was hired Monday to be the Nationals’ color analyst. The move is hardly a surprise as Sutton was considered the favorite for a couple months.

Sutton served as the Braves color analyst since 1989 and had a front row seat to the 14 straight division titles, five pennants and one World Series title.

Of course, Sutton and Nationals team president Stan Kasten go way back to the days when the Braves stunk.  Not surprisingly, Sutton sees similarities between the two teams.

I think there are a lot of similar circumstances — the franchise in a rebuilding mode and people at the top who want to do it right, and a manager that is easy to get excited about," Sutton told mlb.com. "I told one of my friends in Washington the other day, ‘I’ve seen this movie played somewhere else and it has a happy ending.’"

While the Nationals 2007 season could play out as a scary movie, Sutton will have a birds-eye of the action as the script unfolds starting March 3 as the Nationals hosts the Baltimore Orioles in Viera, Fla.

“The Nationals already have a leg up on defense," Sutton said. "But at the top of the Braves Minor League system back then, they had some pretty talented arms waiting to explode on the scene. That’s probably the unanswered question right now [about the Nationals] when you try to parallel those two franchises."

The mlb.com article reports that Sutton will have a busy workload in addition to his analyst duties, which includes 150 regular-season games. Among his duties will be working on the Nationals magazine show, making guest appearances on local radio shows as well as public appearances on behalf of the Nationals and the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.

One of the highlights of the article mentioned Sutton possibly giving advice to some member of the Nationals’ pitching staff. Priceless.  Um, just a shot in the dark here, I have a feeling that should be a regular happening especially since the color analyst is a 300-game winner and Hall of Fame pitcher.

Sutton replaces former major league outfielder Tom Paciorek, whose contract was not renewed after last season.

Editorial:  Most broadcasters/color analysts have flaws/traits that drive some of us nuts.  Sutton might have a couple. I’ll find out soon enough. Honestly, I think he’s a knowledgable person to have in the booth, someone who knows the workings of the pitcher-catcher relationship.  The Nationals preference seemed to be hiring a former pitcher or catcher and they hired according to their plan.

One month until Nationals pitchers and catchers report.

One month until some sportscaster somewhere in the United States will make the following comment:

“The official start of spring is five weeks away but the unofficial start of the spring got underway today with the first day of spring training as pitchers and catchers for nine Major League Baseball squads reported to camps in Florida and Arizona.”

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