Archives For chris wheeler

Voila_Capture 2014-02-24_03-35-42_PMChris Wheeler met with reporters today to talk about life after being shafted by the Comcast overlords. Ryan Lawrence has a transcript– one part stood out:

Q: You’ve always had a lot of respect for the organization. How did they break the news to you?

First of all, (team president) Dave Montgomery told me on September 21 that I wasn’t going to be back to do the games. I did the last nine games knowing I was a lame duck. And that was a little difficult. It was difficult leaving that Sunday, the second game that I did. That Saturday night, it rained with the Mets. He told me before that game. So leaving the booth that Sunday, I caught myself looking around as I walked to the bus. We went to Miami and Atlanta, so I did the games down there. (Tom McCarthy had to go home for personal reasons) and I wound up doing play-by-play for two or three games. Just me and Sarge, two lame ducks sitting there.

So that was a little bit difficult. But David and I started together in 1971. He said to me it was a very difficult thing for him to have to tell me but there were extenuating circumstances. You all know. It was Comcast’s decision. And he wanted me to know as soon as possible because he felt he owed me that because of our relationship for so many years and because I deserved that.

Since that time, I could not have been treated better. I had to wait. We had to sit on it for four months. They really thought the deal would come down a lot sooner than it did. It’s a big deal. So it took a long time for the deal to come down. When it did, you guys all found out about it. We had had some preliminary things. Did I want to stay in the organization? How we wanted to handle it, all that sort of stuff. And the door was wide open. We want you here. We think you have skills that other people don’t have. We’d like to use your skills. And my first reaction was, ‘Sure. What am I going to do without baseball.’ Will I be sitting here three or four years from now? I don’t know. I’ll be in my 70s.

Wheeler was with the team for almost 40 years and had to broadcast the last nine games knowing that he was fired without being able to mention it? Sounds familiar.

I don’t want to fall into the trap of shredding the Phillies for everything they do, but it’s hard not to shake your head at this. How do they not let Wheeler address the audience before signing off one last time?  Obviously David Montgomery did what he felt was right – telling Wheels before the season was over – and I understand that the deal with Comcast wasn’t completed yet and couldn’t be mentioned, but there’s a way to let your longtime company man give a final signoff without hinting at a new TV deal. Do you think they would’ve let Harry or Whitey go out that way had they not passed before their careers were over? No way. Wheels deserved better. He deserved a chance to do what Tim McCarver did after the World Series.

Lawrence thinks I’m overreacting, and maybe I am. But I don’t even like Wheels (more like a passionate dislike) and I still feel like there was a better way to handle this. An all-too-familiar pattern is forming with regard to how the Phillies go about their business– Charlie manages final game knowing he’s done, Wheels and Sarge broadcast final games knowing they’re done, and a college kid is ratted out to the NCAA. These are all business decisions, sure, but there’s a way to go about these things while allowing others to preserve some shred of dignity. Would it have been so difficult for the Phillies’ cognitively challenged PR team to concoct a story as to why Wheels was leaving the booth without hinting at a new TV deal? I’d think so. And so what if people speculate. Obviously an agreement was already reached and they were just waiting on the paperwork to be finalized. Something just feels gross about this.

First time in a while I wanted to hear Wheels talk. He addressed his firing while speaking to Jon Marks and Sean Brace on 97.5 today:

“They did what they felt they wanted to do and that they had to do. I have no idea how their search process went on and I wish Jamie and Matt Stairs the best. They’re two guys I know very, very well. Do I want to still be doing the games? Yeah. Will it hurt? Sure. But, you know what, I’m gonna be 69-years old this year and everybody says it’s about time to go enjoy yourself and have a summer off. I, of course, don’t look at it that way and maybe I will in time but right now it still hurts.”

“It’s kind of weird getting fired by Comcast SportsNet like that, the way they didn’t want us anymore. It’s something that I had to deal with. Once I got past the point and turned the page I figured, ‘Well, hey, I had a great run.’ I had a lot of fun, a lot of people like me, people didn’t like ya but you can only say it one time and you do it your own way for as many years as I did and I just loved being in there.”

I do feel bad for him that the Comcast overlords were the ones who made the decision. That’s shitty any way you slice it.

Audio here.

Voila_Capture944Holy shit. Rob Maaddi of the AP is reporting that Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews are out. No further details were given. This story will update. But for now, THIS:

UPDATE 1: Phillies beat writer Matt Gelb had to cut his chat on Philly.com, somewhat hilariously:

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UPDATE 2: Many may assume this opens up some room for Scott Franzke or Larry Anders on TV. But on our podcast last week, we discussed the broadcasting team with Kevin Cooney. He explained the Franzke absolutely prefers radio.

UPDATE 3: I don’t know how to react. I wasn’t even this emotional when we got bin Laden.

UPDATE 4: WOW. Maaddi reports that it came from the network as part of the new deal:

Longtime Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Chris Wheeler is out after nearly four decades in the booth and Gary Matthews isn’t returning as color analyst, several people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press on Wednesday.

The team recently signed a new television contract with NBCUniversal and Comcast SportsNet that’s reportedly worth $2.5 billion over 25 years.

The decision to replace Wheeler and Matthews came from the network, according to multiple sources. The Phillies said Wheeler and Matthews will continue to work with the organization in other roles.

No surprise that they’re sticking around.

UPDATE 5: Phils confirm it.

UPDATE 6: On our podcast last week, we talked with Phillies beat writer Kevin Cooney about the broadcast team. Many might assume that this will open up spots for Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen on TV. But Cooney says Franzke prefers radio and likely doesn’t want to do TV.

UPDATE 7: From the Phillies:

UPDATE 8: Phils are already spinning this, saying Wheels is stepping down. Right. Matt Gelb reports that CSN has gained some editorial control as part of the new 25-year, $2.5 billion TV deal and played a role in this decision. Money might not be able to buy you happiness, but it’ll buy you more peaceful summer nights. [I'm talking about Wheels here. I liked Sarge.]

This deal really seems to have gone in Comcast’s favor. The Phillies got less guaranteed money than expected and lost some editorial control over the broadcast.

UPDATE 9: Never forget:

UPDATE 10: Let’s speculate on replacements (in the comments). Kruk, Mitch, Schilling (all with other networks), CHARLIE MANUEL? 

UPDATE 11: Cooney also reporting that is was CSN’s decision.

UPDATE 12: T-Mac is under contract, but, to me, the fact that he stays here tells you how much he’s liked by front office and CSN. He was a close second to Wheeler in terms of fan dislike.

UPDATE 13: Todd Zolecki says Franzke and LA stay on radio booth. No surprise there.

UPDATE 14: Here’s the full statement the Phillies sent to the media:

”As the longest-tenured member of the Phillies broadcasting team, Chris Wheeler will return to his club roots after stepping down from his role as a Phillies broadcaster,” the statement read. “With 37 years of broadcasting experience, combined with his front office background where he began his Phillies career, ‘Wheels’ will take on a new role allowing the organization to continue to benefit from his knowledge, experience and dedication to the game. Additionally, Gary Matthews will continue to work with the Phillies bringing his exceptional background as a major league ballplayer, broadcaster and commentator to new roles at the Phillies.”

#hastilythrowntogether

UPDATE 15: Chris Wheeler almost immediately refutes the stepping down thing, in a statement:

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to be a part of the Phillies broadcast team for 37 years,” Chris Wheeler said in a statement. “I certainly respect the decision that was made and I look forward to my new role in the Phillies organization.”

I’m surprised he made it two sentences without mentioning the no-doubles defense.

UPDATE 16: Two years ago, Ricky Bottalico made it known that he was upset that Gregg Murphy and his second G got added to the broadcast over him. Possible replacement? More Angry Bottalico Games?!

UPDATE 17: Wheel’s finest moment:

UPDATE 18: Phil Sheridan going hard:

UPDATE 19: Tim Panaccio, who didn’t get the memo that his employer got Wheels taken off air:

UPDATE 20: Wheeler was around for a long time, and he does know his stuff. He’s also, by all accounts, an incredibly nice man. I’ll admit that, at times, he made the broadcast more enjoyable or truly explained something to you that you didn’t know before. But, overall, his incessant prattling about nonsensical things and his need to tell you why he was always right would nearly ruin some games. I don’t like picking on good people (really), but when you spend countless hours watching someone, you can’t sequester your opinion on them. Same goes for T-Mac.

UPDATE 21: Franzke just told Rob Ellis and Anthony Gargano on WIP that he loves radio and really likes doing it with LA. He says he has no desire to do TV.

UPDATE 22: Matt Gelb reports that the new color guy will be a CSN employee, not a Phillies employee, like all other broadcasters.

Maaddi lists Bottalico as a potential replacement:

Among those thought be potential replacements are former Phillies closer Brad Lidge, who was 48-for48 in save situations during the 2008 World Series championship season, Chris Coste, a backup catcher on that team, and former All-Star closer Ricky Bottalico, who currently serves as a postgame analyst.

We’re hearing that Ricky Bo is the frontrunner. Though Lidge would be an interesting choice.

Screen Shot 2013-08-24 at 8.59.44 AMHey the Phils won again last night. In walk-off fashion. Again. It’s the new-manager-is-here-so-we-have-a-shot-of-adrenaline-and-probably-need-to-try-hard-before-us-not-being-very-good-kicks-in thing. They’ll come back down to Earth soon. But this is fun for now, though it would’ve been better if Chris Wheeler wasn’t on play-by-play. For the first time in my life, I wanted more T-Mac.

And perhaps someone should tell Marcus Hayes that this is why people like Chase Utley and that, yes, a walk can be as good as a hit:

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Video after the jump. Continue Reading…

Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 7.57.20 AMWell shit. And here I thought that Young Chris Wheeler would’ve looked like a member of Menudo. Instead, he was Ron Howard’s ugly brother in Apollo 13. Was he… Assistant Director of Publicity and Public Relations or assistant to the Director of Publicity and Public Relations? He seems like the kind of guy who would care about such a distinction.

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Anyway, the pictures comes from an eBay listing of a guy trying to sell Vintage CHRIS WHEELER 1970s Photo PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES NO TOUPEE BALD HAIR RARE for $19.95:

ARE YOU A TRUE PHILLIES FAN? ARE YOU ALSO SICK AND TIRED OF BEING TALKED DOWN TO GAME AFTER GAME WITH THE CONDESCENDING TONE & SUBSTANCE SPEWED OUT BY “WHEELS” ON A NIGHTLY BASIS?

HIT THE BALL TO THE RIGHT SIDE TO MOVE THE RUNNER OVER? CHECK. NO DOUBLES DEFENSE? CHECK. MUCH BETTER CHANCE TO SCORE WHEN THE LEAD-OFF RUNNER WALKS? CHECK.

IF YOU ARE ONE OF THE OVERWHELMING MAJORITY WHO LONGS FOR THE DAYS WHEN OUR TEAM HAD A TRUE COLOR COMMENTATOR IN “WHITEY” WHO WAS CANDID WITH HIS ANALYSIS AND HONEST WITH HIS OPINIONS, OR PINE FOR L.A. & FRANSKE TO FINALLY TAKE OVER FOR MUCH OF THE CANDOR AND CHEMISTRY OF HARRY & WHITEY. AS OPPOSED TO THIS POOR EXCUSE OF A BROADCASTER THAT IS NOTHING MORE THAN A TEAM APOLOGIST AND LAPDOG FOR MONTY, THEN I FEEL YOUR PAIN.

PERHAPS THE ONLY THING MORE PAINFUL THAN THE SLUMPS ENDURED BY OUR ‘PHIGHTINS OVER THE PAST 2 SEASONS IS HAVING TO ENDURE THE TEAM’S FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR PF PUBLIC RELATIONS FOR ANOTHER YEAR.

WELL, HERE IS A PHOTO FROM “WHEELS” WHILE STILL IN THE PUBLIC RELATIONS DEPARTMENT…..AND THE LAST YEAR BEFORE HE STARTED TORTURING US ALL WITH HIS NEW TOUPEE & NEW GIG IN BROADCASTING

Wow. I feel like that guy is going to rage kill Wheeler one day.

Rizzo over at Barstool dug up the posting, which has since ended (with no sale), and correctly pointed out why this was pretty much the dumbest thing ever:

First of all, funny picture, but I’m going to have to pass on this for a couple reasons. Like the first thing is that I just downloaded the picture. So now I have it. And so does everyone else reading this. So why would I spend 19.95 when I could just, you know, print it out?

Here’s the crazy thing about this picture: Wheeler may be the only person alive who looks better with a toupee. He’s downright scary here, and should you heed Rizzo’s advice and print out the photo, I wouldn’t hang it anywhere near small children.

Schneider tag
Above is a screen shot of the play of the game when Brian Schneider tagged out Juan Uribe to keep the Phils up by 1.  That may have been the most exciting play of the day, but I get excited during slightly more ridiculous moments, like this delightful sequence that gave us not only a Shut Up Wheels moment, but also the winning run of the game!

Chris Wheeler has no sense of spatial awareness. Check the video after the jump.

Continue Reading…

G065_Chris_Wheeler.sizedUPDATE:  We have some pull!  The first day we launch our "Shut Up Wheels" feature, Chris Wheeler is demoted to radio, and Sarge is doing the game on TV!  Kidding, the real reason is because Scott Franzke's wife is expecting and Wheel's is filling in on radio.  Either way, good stuff.

The other day, we had our first post in our "Shut Up Wheels" section, where we call out Wheels for grating comments.  Well, our fans weighed in on Facebook with their sentiments of Wheeler, and not surprisingly, they weren't positive. 

We presented to you completely unedited opinions on Chris Wheeler (we removed names to protect privacy).

Read after the jump.

Continue Reading…

Wheels
Our first "Shut Up Wheels" moment of the year!  A delightfully awkward exchange between Wheeler and Tom McCarthy, discussing the temperature in the booth and the sweater placed around Wheeler's shoulders by the crew.

Wheeler:

It is a meat locker in here tonight.

I bet it's like that every night, Wheels.

It's the main line look, and I'm certainly not a Main Line guy.

Umm, Wheeler went to Devon Prep.

Then, after Tom McCarthy expressed his concern for Wheeler's shoulders, Wheeler commented about carrying the crew on his shoulders:

It's a serious load to carry. 

It makes me uncomfortable when Wheeler talks about carrying a load.