09/02/12 1:23 PM ET
Q&A: Slowes discusses Nationals' success in '12
By Bill Ladson / MLB.com
Slowes, 51, is known for his tell-it-like-it-is style and his trademark phrase, "A curly 'W' is in the books."
MLB.com caught up with Slowes recently to talk about the Nationals and the possibility of him one day winning a broadcaster's award given annually at the Baseball Hall of Fame.
MLB.com: This is your first winning season as a broadcaster. How does it feel covering the 2012 Nationals?
Charlie Slowes: It's not like I'm playing, but it feels pretty good just to be associated with the excitement. We knew this team was going to be better than any Nationals team that has taken the field. We knew that going in this year, but nobody could have seen [the great record] with all the injuries they had to play through. Fortunately, most of them were position players and they have the depth to replace them. The guys that came in, played well. It has given them a deep team. You always hear the expression: Hitting comes and goes, but if you have your pitching and defense, you can win and that is certainly true.
MLB.com: Are you surprised by how the offense has performed since May 1? The previous five years, it was a weakness.
Slowes: [Manager] Davey Johnson said this team would hit. It amazing. You have so many guys step in like Steve Lombardozzi, who would be an everyday player in the outfielder and second base much of the year. ... The Nationals were able to survive long periods of key guys out. They all have come back and contributed. Jayson Werth missed three months, came back and is playing better than he has any time in his two years with the Nationals. He has been terrific in the leadoff spot. Now, that is helping Bryce Harper, who is seeing a lot of pitches [to hit]. Harper had really slumped from the All-Star break until really the last week and a half. Now his bat has come back.
The defense has been great all year. We haven't seen a Nationals team play that kind of defense. In 2005, the team had a high fielding percentage, but didn't have the range nor talent. This team certainly has one of the best infields in baseball and they have speed and arms in the outfield. The guys they have filled in behind the plate behind the plate with Wilson Ramos out, they were able to get through it.
You look at it and you see the No. 1 pitching staff in baseball -- lowest ERA, fewest home runs allowed. That gives you a real chance to win.
MLB.com: What makes Johnson the best manager in Nationals history?
Slowes: There isn't anything he hasn't experienced. He has managed winners wherever he has been. At this point of his career and being away from [the Major Leagues] for 10 years, [he comes back] now and he is still able to handle the veteran player, the young player. He works with every type of guy, every type of personality. He builds people up and lets them know when they need to pick up their game. But he is always in their corner. He is a master at dealing with personalities. He is the best I've seen at dealing with a bullpen. ... All the chips, all the dominoes have fallen into place. They have been able to maintain their winning record with few bumps on the road.
MLB.com: How far do you think the Nationals can go this year?
Slowes: I would have to think this team has a chance of winning it all. You get to the postseason, you never know how you are going to perform. You never know what you are going to run into. They are more than likely going to deal without Stephen Strasburg. The rest of the pitching staff are surely capable of beating anybody. But they will be facing tough opponents. If they get to the World Series and you are facing the Yankees or the Rangers, you really have to pitch to beat those teams. I think the Nationals can hit against anybody. They have a chance to win it all.
MLB.com: Tell me what it is like to work with broadcast partner Dave Jageler this year. This is your first winning season together. In the past, you guys prepared for losing. Now you are prepared for winning.
Slowes: When you get to this part of the year, you look at the calendar, you can see daylight. You can see the end of the marathon, really make your plans for the offseason, for October. This is the first time, we can't make plans for anything. Hopefully, we will keep working come October. I'm looking forward to the excitement of that.
Dave and I always had fun working together from Day 1. And we tried to have fun when the game [on the field] wasn't fun, the crowds were small and the atmosphere wasn't great. I've always said, when we get to the point when this team wins, we are going to have the blast. We approach it the same way when the team wasn't winning. The fact that we are covering winning baseball is icing on the cake.
MLB.com: Is it a blast now?
Slowes: It's so much fun. We look forward to coming to the park every day. It's a great clubhouse. There are no malcontents. There is no one showing up late, there are no discipline issues. These guys come to play with a business attitude. They take care of their business. These guys have fun. Everybody is likeable. It's so different in the clubhouse than in the past. When you are not winning, there is always something else going on. Somebody is unhappy about playing time. There is none of that now. Everybody sees what's happening here.
MLB.com: If the Nationals continue to win for years to come, do you think it's a possibility for you to win the Ford C. Frick Award, given annually by the National Baseball Hall of Fame to broadcasters who make "major contributions to baseball"?
Slowes: For me?
Slowes: I don't even think about that. I'm too young for that. That would be something to think about near the end of your career. It would certainly be a great honor, acknowledgment of your peers and fans, who are involved in voting.
MLB.com: You and Dave are popular with the fans. What makes you click with them?
Slowes: I think they realize that we have fun on the air. They realize that we love what we are doing and we really have fun together. We like each other and we come to our broadcast every day to inform and have a good time. We try to make people think we are on a fun ride and they are along for the ride with us.
Bill Ladson is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, All Nats All the time He also can be found on Twitter @WashingNats. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.