ST. LOUIS — Shortly before calling the first pitch in Nationals playoff history, Charlie Slowes described Sunday to his listeners as “a day that Nationals fans and players and owners have dreamt about.”
He left someone out: himself.
“My wife called me [Saturday] on the way to the ballpark and all of a sudden she got real quiet and I said, ‘Are you there? Hello? Hello?’ And she was crying,” Slowes said before the game. “I said, ‘Are you all right? Why are you crying?’ She said, ‘I’m just happy for you.’”
Slowes met his wife, Tina, in St. Louis in 1984 shortly after moving here to work for KMOX. They married four years later and she listened to her husband chronicle mostly miserable baseball teams for 14 years before this season.
The Nationals’ radio voice since Day 1 in 2005, Slowes previously was the inaugural voice of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays from 1998-2004. If you’re scoring at home, that’s exactly zero seasons that ended in a winning record before 2012. But sitting down behind that microphone alongside partner Dave Jageler on Sunday was worth the wait.
“This is why you do it. You hope you get a shot,” Slowes said. “I’ve done some really bad years where the won-lost record’s not good. Dave and I, we had to learn to be entertaining when the team wasn’t good so people would want to listen.
“They weren’t listening to us for the wins and losses; they were listening to us to learn about the team and follow it and hope the team gets better. We developed a pretty good following in the lean years, so now we’ll enjoy this together.”