Results tagged ‘ Chris Wheeler ’
Comcast SportsNet fired Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews as part of its recently negotiated 25-year contract with the Phillies. He spoke with reporters yesterday about that, his future with the Phillies and more.
Q: So, Wheels, they say baseball is a game of adjustments …
A: Well, that’s good. I guess it is. Nothing’s really changed that much right now because I’m doing the same thing I’ve always done. Which as (Frank) Coppenbarger says is nothing. I put the golf tournament together, which is tomorrow. I walk around and I talk to the manager and the players and the coaches. I talk to you guys. Just talk baseball. So the change will be Wednesday when we do the first telecast and I’m not on it. Then I don’t know what it will feel like, to be honest with you. It will be a little different.
Q: The Phillies haven’t announced your new title yet.
A: One of the things they want me to do is go around the ballpark and play the role of Chris Wheeler. Just show up at stuff. Anybody who has something in the organization that they may want me to do, like play golf with a sponsor – that will be a hardship – go into a suite, maybe talk to one of the sponsors dinners, offseason speaking engagements, which I’ve always done a ton of. I guess that’s it. They say I’m going to have a new role. Everybody ask me what it’s going to be. It’s undefined. Because right now nothing’s going to change down here. I’m going to be back doing the PA, which I did for 30-some years.
Q: Is it going to be strange, the three to four hours the game is actually going on?
A: You know what’s going to be really strange is when I don’t see a game. The last time I didn’t go on the road was 1976. I’ve been on every road trip from ’77 on. Which basically means that I’ve pretty much seen every game. Because even when we got better as a team and we wouldn’t do a Fox game or an ESPN game or something, I would still watch the game. I can’t help it. I love baseball. I love watching the games. So I think that’s what’s really going to feel different. What will really feel different is when I wake up and I don’t know if a base hit was a line drive or a blooper anymore. Because I didn’t see it. I’m 68 years old now. I’ll fall asleep during West Coast games. I won’t be up watching. I’ll be like a lot of people. So I’ll be up reading your stuff in the morning and watching the videos and all that to find out what happened. So that will be a little different.
Two of Comcast’s top choices said no or aren’t interested: Brad Lidge and Dan Plesac. Either would be fantastic, in my opinion. Both are incredibly smart and likeable. Lidge has been impressive on SiriusXM. Plesac is fantastic on MLB Network. But both have reasons for not joining Tom McCarthy in the booth. Lidge told the Daily News the timing isn’t right. And Plesac has a truly excellent gig at MLB Network.
Names I have heard a lot include Doug Glanville, who works with ESPN; Buck Martinez, who broadcasts with the Blue Jays; Kevin Stocker, who has received high marks for his work with the Pac-12 and CBS Sports networks; and Mickey Morandini, who is a coach with Triple-A Lehigh Valley. Jamie Moyer‘s name has been mentioned, although I’m not certain of the interest either way. Ricky Bottalico and Ben Davis already work with Comcast, so they could be in the mix.
Who else is out there? Who do you want?
Bad news: Phillies pitching prospects Adam Morgan and Shane Watson are going to miss most of 2014 following shoulder surgeries.
Big changes continue with the Phillies on TV.
Last week they signed a 25-year contract with Comcast SportsNet worth a reported $2.5 billion. Then today the team announced broadcasters Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews will not return to the TV booth. Multiple sources said Comcast requested the changes during contract negotiations, which Wheeler essentially confirmed in a statement.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to be a part of the Phillies broadcast team for 37 years,” Wheeler said. “I certainly respect the decision that was made and I look forward to my new role in the Phillies organization.”
Both Wheeler, 68, and Matthews, 63, will remain in the organization in some capacity, although what specific roles are unclear.
Tom McCarthy, who does play-by-play on TV, has four years remaining on his contract. He will return to the TV booth. Gregg Murphy will return as TV’s field reporter. Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen will return and remain in the radio booth.
“That’s where I want to be,” Franzke said. “I like doing what I’m doing.”
Sources said Comcast is looking for one color commentator to replace Wheeler and Matthews. In the past, broadcasters have been Phillies employees, but the new broadcaster will be a Comcast employee.
Comcast also has final say over who it hires, but the Phillies and Comcast just entered a 25-year business partnership, so the Phillies will be consulted on the short list. If they strongly object to a candidate the network will listen.
Random thoughts from Houston …
- Jimmy Rollins said he meant no disrespect to the Phillies when he said the Yankees never would have traded Cliff Lee like the Phillies did. He said he meant it to compliment the Yankees, and say it would have big had the Phillies beaten them in the World Series because they are the only team that can spend with impunity. Either way, it’s much ado about nothing. Ruben Amaro Jr. had no comment when asked about it yesterday, but kiddingly gave Rollins a hard time in the clubhouse before the game.
- Raul Ibanez hit a ball hard in the first inning, a double to score to runs. Could be a good sign. Ibanez has been struggling.
- Shane Victorino entered tonight’s game hitting just .154 (2 for 13) with two RBIs. So he took some time going through the team’s bat bags before BP, looking for a teammate’s bat he could use in the game. Matt Stairs said last season that Victorino is a habitual bat borrower, so it’s not too unusual to see him doing that. But it shows players will try anything to get out of a funk.
- Happy Birthday to Chris Wheeler … except it isn’t his birthday. But Phillies broadcasters are behaving like it is, giving him a cake and a card and everything. Wheeler accidentally wrote in his book that his birthday is April 9. It’s actually August 9. As somebody who writes thousands upon thousands upon thousands of words a year, I feel his pain.
- Had the worst allergy attack of my life in DC. You know it’s bad when players come up to you and think you’re dying. Thankfully, the pollen count isn’t crippling me in Houston.
- The Astros play “Deep In the Heart of Texas” during the seventh-inning stretch. Always reminds me of the scene in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure.
Tonight’s Phillies game against the Nationals at Nationals Park has been postponed because of rain.
The makeup date will be announced in the coming days.
Phillies right-hander Joe Blanton will pitch tomorrow night in the series finale against the Nationals, meaning left-hander Cole Hamels, who had been scheduled to pitch tomorrow, will pitch Friday night against the San Diego Padres at Citizens Bank Park. Right-hander Shairon Martis will pitch for the Nationals.
Phillies catcher Lou Marson had been scheduled to catch tonight. It would have been his first start of the season and second of his career.
People have been asking how the broadcast schedule will work without Kalas. Here is what it looks like at the moment: Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen will be broadcasting all nine innings on the radio. Tom McCarthy will be doing play-by-play for all nine innings on TV. Chris Wheeler will provide color commentary for innings 1-3 and 6-9, and Gary Matthews will provide color commentary for innings 4-6.