Dave Jageler has manned the Nationals' radio booth with Charlie Slowes since 2006, and his broadcasting experience since graduating from Syracuse in 1994 has taken him all up and down the East Coast. Recently, Jageler sat down with MLB.com to give his thoughts on his career, his time in Washington, the 2008 Nationals and the broadcasters he admired growing up.
MLB.com: You've been a broadcaster for several different teams in a variety of sports over your career. What got you interested broadcasting?
Dave Jageler: I always was passionate about sports as a kid growing up, so I kind of felt like I wanted to be in it somehow, and I knew that avenue wasn't going to be playing. I had an interest in broadcasting dating back to probably junior high school.
I remember, even when I was playing baseball at the high-school level, when I was playing out in left field, I was broadcasting the game in my head. Manny Acta talks about how when he was third-base coach, he was managing both teams. I was broadcasting the game I was playing in, which made it interesting when the ball was hit to me, I kind of had to interrupt the broadcast. I kind of knew early on that this is what I wanted to do.
MLB: Did you have any real broadcasting idols growing up that you tried to emulate then or perhaps do now?
Jageler: On a national level, I enjoyed listening to Vin Scully doing the Game of the Week and doing the postseason. My influence would probably be the local broadcasters I listened to growing up calling the Red Sox.
I find myself emulating Ken Coleman, who was a longtime Red Sox radio announcer. Certain phrases I use, I remember him using and hearing those growing up. I enjoyed listening to Joe Castiglione, his partner, and on the television side, Sean McDonough, who I had the pleasure of working with earlier in my career. There were terrific broadcasters calling Red Sox baseball, and I'd like to think that listening to those guys maybe by osmosis helped me have the skillset that I do today.
MLB: You've broadcast a lot of baseball and basketball during your career. What do you see as the difference between the two? Do different sports require adjustments for broadcasters?
Jageler: The approach is totally different. I find if I do some basketball in the offseason that I kind of have to get back in the flow of that sport, which is constant motion. There's very little downtime.
When I go back to baseball, having to take a deep breath and just slow down a bit, because in baseball, as a broadcaster, if you're talking too quickly, and just trying to ram in information, you're going to beat down the listeners. It's a totally different, far more relaxed pace in baseball than basketball, so it really is two different ways to broadcast.
MLB: You've worked in the booth with Slowes since you arrived in 2006, and you have great chemistry together. What makes your in-booth relationship work so well?
Jageler: I think our chemistry was rolling from the very first Spring Training we worked together. It took maybe a game or two, and I thought we hit it off well. We can finish each other's sentences, I know what he's thinking, he knows what I'm thinking.
|"I'd like someday, there's a whole generation of Nationals fans 20 years from now saying 'Hey, I listened to Charlie and Dave when I was a kid, and now I'm listening to them as an adult and my kids are listening to Charlie and Dave.'"|
|-- Dave Jageler, on establishing a longtime connection with fans|
I think we each want to bring our personality into the broadcast. If you're a baseball fan, you listen to the radio for a long time over the course of the year. You spend a lot of time with us, it's a very intimate medium.
MLB: You talked a little bit about Manny Acta earlier. What are your impressions of Acta in his second year in charge of the Nationals?
Jageler: I think Manny has the respect of all the players in that clubhouse, and that's the key. You see with other situations in baseball, if the manager doesn't get the respect, it's easier to remove the one guy at the top than the other 25 players.
This is professional sports. We've seen in the past in baseball, teams not play hard for a manager, and that's when it's time to go. I think Manny has the respect in the clubhouse and that's key.
As the team gets stronger at the Major League level, I think Manny's going to get the respect as one of the best managers at the Major League level.
MLB: Obviously, injuries have caused plenty of roster turnover, but what are your impressions of the Nationals so far this season?
Jageler: I think the starting pitching has been a real strength of the team, and they're getting quality starts from the guys taking the ball, so that's keeping the team in the game, but obviously the offense has been the issue.
There have been some fun moments early on this season, from Opening Night to some other good wins that they've had, a good series in New York. We're having fun with it, even though the record isn't what we'd like it to be right now.
MLB: You've said many times you would like to stay with the Nationals for many years to come. Have you ever thought that there are children out there who might grow up listening to Dave Jageler and trying to imitate him in a booth some day?
Jageler: That's one of the reasons that I'd like to stay here for a long time, because I think that's what the true test of a broadcaster is, is the true test of time.
I'd like someday, there's a whole generation of Nationals fans 20 years from now saying 'Hey, I listened to Charlie and Dave when I was a kid, and now I'm listening to them as an adult and my kids are listening to Charlie and Dave.'
That's when you've made it as a broadcaster, when you build that kind of connection with the fans. That's something I take very seriously.
Zachary Osterman is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.