Braves voice Simpson apologizes to Nationals

Longtime Atlanta announcer implied Washington rookie Soto older than 19

August 8th, 2018

WASHINGTON -- Braves announcer Joe Simpson found himself issuing another apology after he irritated the Nationals by questioning the validity of Juan Soto's age during the broadcast of the first game of Tuesday's doubleheader at Nationals Park.

As Soto batted during the seventh inning, Simpson said, "He is … If he is 19, he's certainly got his man growth. He is big and strong."

Simpson's comments drew the ire of Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, who expressed his displeasure and concerns with Simpson between games of the doubleheader.

Rizzo could not be reached for comment.

"I talked to Rizzo between games and he was upset," Simpson said. "But I told him I would square it and I did."

After Soto hit an opposite-field home run during the first inning of Game 2, Simpson said, "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 is 19.' Well, he is. He's a bona fide 19, and he is a full-grown man. He is strong, and he is one heck of a player, and you might well just write his name in on the Rookie of the Year Award right now."

Simpson also drew the ire of the Dodgers on July 28, when he said their fans should be embarrassed by the batting-practice attire their players wore. He made his comments as was shown taking BP wearing a K Cancer T-shirt with his uniform pants rolled above his knees.

Simpson addressed the issue with Utley the next day and issued a public apology on July 30.

Simpson, a former Major Leaguer (1975-83), has broadcast Braves games since '92.