Nats GM doubles down on criticism of ‘uniformed’ Braves announcer
Washington Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo doubled down on his criticism of Atlanta Braves announcer Joe Simpson during a Wednesday radio appearance.
Jones insinuated during a broadcast on Tuesday that Nationals phenom Juan Soto, a 19-year-old of the Dominican Republic, is lying about his age. Simpson made the comments during the first game of a doubleheader between the Nats and Braves.
“He is…If he’s 19, he has certainly got his man growth. He is…big and strong,” Simpson said.
Rizzo confronted Simpson between games over the comments, which seemingly inspired the announcer to walk back his comments in Tuesday’s second game.
“If you were with us in Game 1, you might have heard me make a comment off the top of my head about if he’s 19,” Simpson said during the broadcast. “Well, he is. He’s bonafide 19. And he is a full-grown man. He is strong. And he is one heck of a player. You might as well just write his name in on the Rookie of the Year award right now.”
Simpson’s comments, which were made without any seeming merit, were widely rebuked, including by Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan.
Rizzo unloaded on Simpson during an appearance on 106.7 The Fan’s Sports Junkies with some choice words.
“There was not much to it. It was just an uninformed and unfortunate comment by Joe,” Rizzo said, via NBC Sports Washington. “He’s been in the game too long. He’s a player, been an announcer for a long, long time. Uniformed, not in touch and he made a mistake.”
“Like we handle most of the problems in Nationals land, we went up to the booth and we had a man-to-man discussion about it. And he apologized for it and I’d much rather be talking about the 19-year old that’s tearing up the league and one of the best players, not only on the Nationals team, but in the whole league.”
Soto is slashing at a .315/.432/.567 clip with 14 home runs and 39 RBI. As Rizzo noted, the fantastic season Soto is enjoying should be heralded, not disparaged with unsubstantiated innuendo.