Potential. That’s the word that may eventually haunt Lastings Milledge most. Not now. No, he is still only 24 years old, and has the time and, er, potential to silence his naysayers.

Potential has two definitions in sports: one, for a prospect, rookie or young professional like Milledge, potential is a hopeful, optimistic word. The second definition is reserved for mostly former first-round draft picks, ballplayers well into their thirties, lingering on a bench in Peoria, Syracuse or Las Vegas, hoping for one last opportunity. The latter is an ugly word, often shadowed by a question mark.

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Circuit City announced they are pulling the plug. More than 35,000 employees will be out of work. It’s the latest slap in the face to a fragile U.S. economy.

And what’s this have to do with the baseball Hot Stove? A lot.

There is a seismic shift taking place in the baseball industry. Budgets are constricting, teams are thinking twice about free agents, and the free agents: they are defiant, turning down offers and holding out. The player-agent strategy is: Be patient and a more lucrative offer will come … eventually.

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Bob Carpenter is making his final trip to Shea Stadium this weekend.

Unlike fanatical Mets fans who have created so many memories there, Carpenter says he won’t miss it. His lasting memory will be “getting in a cab and leaving the ballpark,” he says with a laugh.

Carpenter, the play-by-play voice of the Washington Nationals, Carpenter is a two-time St. Louis-area Emmy Award winner for his coverage of the Cardinals, and has been nominated for six Emmy Awards.

He joins us this weekend on Voices to discuss the Mets, Nationals and his scorecard.

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