Play-by-play man Dan Shulman can't wait to see the Nationals and Bryce Harper. He recently spoke about that and the new crew now that former Red Sox manager Terry Francona has joined him and analyst Orel Hershiser in the booth.
Can the Nationals be a contender this year?
Shulman » "I don't think there is any question that they can. You have a Phillies team that has a number of injuries, leaving the door open for challengers. So you have the Nationals with the best pitching staff in the National League thus far in first place in the division without Michael Morse, Ryan Zimmerman and Drew Storen. Look, I think they have a legitimate chance to contend for the division title and a wild-card playoff spot. But they are going to have to begin to hit because you can't expect their pitching to be this good all season long. As for Bryce Harper, it will be fun to see what kind of impact he can make on this team at such a young age."
How has Terry Francona done as an analyst thus far?
Shulman » "He has been a great addition to the team. He and Orel really do an outstanding job of breaking down every aspect of the game. Since Terry is less than a year out of baseball, he knows these teams and players so well that he can give real insight into what they are likely to do in just about any situation."
What's the best team you have seen this year?
Shulman » "I am really impressed with Texas. They have not missed a beat from last year. They are the most complete team in baseball right now, and they don't have any real weakness. I also like Tampa Bay. They have great pitching, and manager Joe Maddon just keeps pushing all the right buttons. Overall -- and this is early -- but the top three of four teams are in the American League."
Examiner columnist Jim Williams is a seven-time Emmy Award-winning TV producer, director and writer. Check out his blog, Watch this!, on washingtonexaminer.com.