Hey, I Know That Voice . . .

By: Eliot Stein

True Nationals fans can recite the heights, weights, and slugging percentages of their favorite players. But how much do they know about the guys in the broadcast booth? Here’s a guide to some big talkers and their lives away from the mike.

Who: Rob Dibble.     

What: The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network’s color commentator for the Nationals.

Beyond the mike: A relief pitcher, Dibble was a member of Cincinnati’s Nasty Boys bullpen, which won the 1990 World Series. As a player, he told Baseball Digest that his hobbies included target shooting and “riding around Cincinnati in police cars with my friends.” These days, when not practicing tang su do—a form of karate—he plays rock drums and has sat in on sound checks for Megadeth and Metallica.

Who: Johnny Holliday.     

What: “The Voice of the Terps,” Holliday has covered the University of Maryland Terrapins basketball and football teams since 1979 and cohosts Nats Xtra, the Nationals’ pre- and post-game show.

Beyond the mike: After becoming one of the country’s most popular Top 40 disc jockeys in the 1960s, the radio icon went on to cover nine Olympics and has starred in more than 30 stage productions—including Me and My Girl at the Harlequin Dinner Theatre, for which he was nominated for a Helen Hayes Award in 1991. A former Washingtonian of the Year, Holliday was inducted into the Radio-Television Broadcasters Hall of Fame in 2003.

Who: Charlie Slowes.    

What: A Washington Bullets announcer for 11 seasons, Slowes is now the Nationals’ radio play-by-play commentator.

Beyond the mike: Known for theatrics, Slowes often peppers his on-air commentary with his trademark “Bang, zoooom go the fireworks!,” meaning someone has just hit a home run, and “A curly W is in the books!,” which translates as “The Nationals have just won the game.” Before his histrionics made him popular with Nats fans, Slowes danced and lip-synched in the Bullets’ famous “You the Man” promotional rap video from the 1990s.

Who: Ray Knight.   

What: Nicknamed Silver Fox by Holliday, Knight is the other host of Nats Xtra.

Beyond the mike: After being named 1986 World Series MVP with the Mets, Knight became the Cincinnati Reds’ manager in 1996. In 1997, he once forgot how many outs there were with his team up to bat, called a poorly timed bunt that ended the inning, and fined himself $250 for his mistake. He was fired midway through the season. Knight briefly worked as a caddie for his then-wife, LPGA golfer Nancy Lopez, and he owns a 1,000-acre quail-hunting lodge in Georgia.

Who: Bob Carpenter.      

What: MASN’s play-by-play announcer for the Nationals.

Beyond the mike: With 30 years of broadcasting experience at the USA Network, ESPN, and MASN, Carpenter has developed what he calls the “most comprehensive scorebook in baseball” and sells it to other radio and TV announcers—including Charlie Slowes. A self-taught guitarist, Carpenter plays in his church’s band on Sundays and occasionally leads the Nats in sing-alongs when they’re on the road.

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