Saturday, January 11, 2014

Farewell Wheels

2013 Phillies Team Issue 2
I recently returned from an out-of-town work trip to Nashville, so my post on the dismissal of long-time broadcaster Chris Wheeler and former player, turned broadcaster Gary "Sarge" Matthews is a little late.  While I've never been a huge fan of Wheeler, I do think the way he was shown the door was a little cold.

By all accounts, the decision was made by Comcast as a result of the mega-deal just entered into between the media giant and the Phillies.  Comcast felt that change was needed (and it probably was) and their new stake in the team's media revenue gave it the clout to make the call.  In the pre-Comcast contract era, if the Phillies felt a change was needed in the broadcast booth, Wheeler would have been given the option to broadcast a final, farewell season and then gracefully ride into the sunset.  He wasn't given that option, and it's kind of a shame.

Growing up, the adult voices I heard the most were my parents, my grandparents, a few adult family friends and then Harry, Whitey, Andy Musser and Wheels.  There were some extra guys in there at times (Kent Tekulve, Jim Barniak and Todd Kalas to name a few) but the steady foursome of Harry, Whitey, Andy Musser and Wheels provided the soundtrack to my Millville and Sea Isle summer nights.  The former three have since entered the great broadcast booth in the sky, and now Wheeler has had his microphone taken away.

Potential replacements for Wheeler are rumored to be Ricky Bottalico, Brad Lidge or Doug Glanville.  Sarge won't be replaced and all of this won't affect the way I enjoy the games at home at all.  Thankfully, the radio team of Scott Franzke, Larry Andersen and Jim Jackson will remain together and I'll continue to mute the TV and listen to that trio call the game.

So farewell to Chris Wheeler.  He knew and respected the game and his departure marks yet another milestone on my personal journey to "Man am I getting old."


The Prowling Cat said...

You mean Mariners fans aren't the only ones that turn the TV volume to mute, and watch the game while listening to the radio broadcast? Our TV guys are the worst. We could only be so lucky that they would replace them. Hearing you as a Phillies fan doing the radio,, and TV things gives us hope.

Jim said...

It takes a little time at the beginning of each game to sync up the audio to the video, but it's definitely worth it!