Jim Kaat Q&A: "Washington Deserves a Winner"

James Williams@WordmandcAnalyst IIIApril 17, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 26: Former pitcher Jim Kaat speaks at the memorial service for Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew on May 26, 2011 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Harmon Killebrew passed away on May 17, 2011 after a battle with esophageal cancer. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

Washington has a long and deep tradition in Major League Baseball, and MLB Network analyst Jim Kaat was part of that history—playing in Washington at the start of his career in 1959-1960.

In a phone interview with Kaat he discussed his time in Washington and the loyalty of the fans.

What was it like playing in Washington early in your career?

Kaat "I was only 20 years old when the Senators brought me up back in 1959, but living in Washington was something very special. The fans were very loyal, and they loved the Senators. The city had plenty of great history, and I really enjoyed my time there in Washington. Of course, we moved to Minnesota in 1961, but I made many trips back throughout my career, and I really think that the city of Washington really deserves a winning team and I think that they will have one very soon."

What's your relationship with Nationals manager Davey Johnson?

Kaat "I have known Davey for a very long time, and we were teammates with the Phillies. He has a great baseball mind. There are very few people who understand the game better than he does. He is also a great teacher and with such a young team he is the perfect manager for the Nationals as they look to be ready to take that next step in becoming a perennial contender."

Can the Nats make the playoffs?

Kaat "I think a lot of it depends on the condition of Drew Storen. They don't know when they'll get him back, but I think there's reason for optimism there because of a couple of reasons: The division promises to be a little more balanced with the Phillies not having the offensive production that they thought they would have and the Marlins being much improved. The Braves are still a factor. So, with all that in the mix, it kind of evens things out and if [Ryan] Zimmerman and [Stephen] Strasburg can have big years for them, certainly I think it's not false hope to say that the Nationals certainly have a shot at contending in that division."

Kaat is once again paired with Bob Costas as the lead broadcast crew for the MLB Network telecasts.