You know him today as the long-time television play-by-play voice of Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals.
But before becoming one of the baseball’s most admired and durable broadcasters, Bob Carpenter cut his professional teeth in the burgeoning (but ultimately fleeting) American pro soccer scene of the late 1970s and early 1980s as the lead “man-behind-the-mic” for such iconic teams as the NASL's Tulsa Roughnecks and the MISL's St. Louis Steamers – as well as some less-than-memorable ones, like 1983’s ill-fated US Soccer/NASL hybrid, Team America.
His springboard into TV sports broadcasting’s “big leagues” – including 15 years of nationally televised baseball with ESPN, plus lead announcing duties for the Texas Rangers, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, and his hometown St. Louis Cardinals – is rich in anecdotes, and we (naturally!) drag the versatile Carpenter back to some of the more “forgotten” stops made along the way, including:
A serendipitous segue from minor league baseball to “big time” pro soccer in Tulsa;
The Roughnecks’ gritty road to the 1983 NASL title as the league’s smallest-market team;
Leveraging national exposure from the NASL into soccer-centric gigs with the fledgling USA & ESPN cable networks;
The “invisible hand” of Anheuser-Busch’s soccer-mad executive Denny Long & his Bud Sports production division;
Returning home to call Steamers MISL indoor games at the often-packed St. Louis Arena (aka Checkerdome); AND
Masquerading as the “local” voice of the Washington, DC-based Team America – the de facto US National Team that played as an NASL franchise.