Morning Wood: Short, Shriveled, and Always to the Left

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At this point, talking about the Phils’ offense is like dividing zero by anything… you just get nothing. There’s nothing to even talk about. Sure the Phillies hung a five-spot on the board in the ninth, after another eight shutout innings, but those runs came off a guy who may be bagging groceries in a week. It’s nothing to be proud of.

So, in the absence of runs – or any baseball situation that would require baserunners and scoring chances – we’re going to talk about something different today– T-Mac and Wheels.

Tom McCarthy took over full-time play-by-play duties in the spring of 2009, after the death of Harry Kalas. Since then, the Phillies have enjoyed what is likely their most successful three-year regular season run in history. 93 wins in 2009 and a division title. 97 in 2010 and a division title. 102 in 2011 and a division title

Yes, hombres, it was easy to put up with that annoying duo (and Sarge– I like Sarge). Our biggest complaint was how much the play-by-play guy screamed every time a Phillie mashed a ball over the wall, something that I think any fan base would deal with quite happily. We even resorted to making fun of T-Mac’s 2010 division clinching call, which was over the top, melodramatic, and shat on a great moment in Phillies history. But again– gift horse, mouth.

Now that the Phillies are mediocre (at least they are through the first 17 games of this season)… well, our tag-team duo is annoying at best, offensive at worst.

You see, the real genius of Harry wasn’t that he called a great game and heightened important moments, it was that he somehow kept us interested and made the game enjoyable when the Phillies were awful. Really, he oversaw a relatively lousy nearly 40-year stretch of Phillies baseball, yet he made each and every moment memorable, or at least tolerable.

Not T-Mac.

Instead of sensing the temperature of his audience (which right now is lukewarm, at best), T-Mac and his limited vocabulary manage to insult us by trying to get water out of a completely dry well. No one wants to hear sunshine and roses about Chase Utley right now. He’s hurt, barely taking BP (more on that in a second), and living in Arizona, perhaps because government scientists are using him to experiment new prosthetic leg technology. Yet there’s McCarthy, ready, willing and able to trumpet the company line and tell us how positive and upbeat Chase seemed. Of course he seemed positive and upbeat– he’s making $15 million this year and has been chilling in Arizona for the last three weeks. I’d be positive and upbeat too. You know what else he was? Tan. He was tan… because he’s chilling in Arizona, doing some futuristic stretches or something.

That’s nothing against Utley, and I am certainly trying to look at the positives when it comes to his long-term health, but listening to T-Mac trumpet the company line – on anything – is insulting to most knowledgable Phillies fans. 

We put up with a lackluster broadcast crew while the Phillies were pounding the National League. But now? Now that it might be a loooong season…. well, folks are going to tune out.

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Look at those last two: One is from a guy whose avatar was taken at the Phillies media room podium– he’s not watching. The other? A guy who switched over to the most obscure NHL playoff series of the year. I can promise you that wouldn’t have happened in 2009, 2010 or 2011.

Sure, much this comes from the offense. And winning solves all ailments. But, in the absence of runs right now, the broadcast crew is doing nothing to hold an audience.

I don’t have a boss– I do this for a living. So, usually, I can stay up as late as I damn well please to watch west coast game.  Last night? Bed at 10:30. I couldn’t take it anymore. Couldn’t watch the team, couldn’t listen to T-Mac. Like a kid in the 1950s, I laid in a warm cocoon of blankets listening to Scott Franzke and Larry Anderson (on an iPad), both of whom should be on TV (though I've heard that neither really desire that opportunity– they like radio).

And despite that 9-0 score (or whatever it was at the time), this was somehow enjoyable: Franzke and LA talking about seeing Pat Burrell as a scout:

See, that actually made me forget – at least for a moment – that the Phillies were getting hammered at the time.

Here's Burrell:

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– Chase Utley returned. Sort of. Here’s what he told the media: []

"It went well today," Utley said. "I was able to hit on the field, which was nice for a change. It's been a while since I've done that. No pain whatsoever, which in my opinion is a positive sign."

"I'd like to be back right now," Utley said. "I have to listen to my body and right now it's telling me to continue to move forward with the things I'm doing. I don't want to put a certain date on it because I don't want to force something that's not ready to happen. When my knee is ready to go, I'll be out there."


So he’s staying in Arizona, rehabbing and stretching. Not playing baseball. You can gloss that over as much as you want, but Chase still hasn’t started his spring training… and it’s April 24.

– There was a Let’s Go Flyers chant, in Arizona, during the fourth inning.

– Finally, a random musing: How does New York Life pay for that Safe and Secure spot? Is it on a per-use basis? A flat fee? Commission to T-Mac and Wheels?! If they’re paying a flat fee, they can’t possibly be happy with the lack of extra-base hits for the Phillies.

Carry on.


32 Responses

  1. Im a huge Phils fan and I cant even get into baseball right now. There are 162 games. Im not missing anything. Full on hockey mode. Even the out of town NHL playoff series are intriguing.

  2. “OPPO BOPPO” *gun to head*
    I would honestly rather listen to Jim Jackson call the game over T MAC and Wheels

  3. People love to trash Wheels.
    The guy knows more about baseball than anyone thats ever been in a Phils booth, including Harry and Whitey.
    He’ll never get any respect.

  4. T-Mac only annoys me. But Wheeler? Wheeler makes me want to punch him in his sack. The way he calls a game is like a cheese grater being dragged across my Cerebral cortex. I hate Wheels. :>(
    Anyone hear him picking on Maybin? It was actually disgusting to hear the vitriol every single Maybin AB. Did Maybin have his way with Wheelers daughter and post the pics on facebook? Because the way he acted, was with hatred.

  5. For those hoping this is rock bottom, I’m reminded of the Bob Dylan lyric–just when you thought you lost everything, you find out you can always lose a little more.

  6. Stevie Radio… Sure, Wheels might know the game but he’s arrogant, pompous and extremely dated. I don’t hate on him because it’s trendy. I hate on him because I hate listening to him. T-Mac isn’t that bad. Yea, I wish we had someone better but he was all of a sudden tossed in the fire when Harry passed. That’s a lot of pressure, especially from a tough fan base. Again though, Wheels needs to go. I can’t ever imagine the Phillies doing so though.

  7. This can’t be happening…are we really that bad? I am trying to promise myself not to sweat the Phillies until the Flyers are done, but other 8 innings with 0 runs…This can’t be life

    and on a side note, how can anyone defend wheels
    NO LOVE,

  9. I guess it’s part of the job, but T-Mac always comes off as disingenuous to me. Like he’s always trying “sell” you something. Come buy tickets. Hunter Pence is Phillie of the Week! (as he goes 0 for 4) I’m sure it was similar when Harry was the announcer, but maybe he was just better at subtlety. Also with Harry you could feel the pain in his voice when the team was doing poorly. T-Mac comes off like the clueless Ron Burgundy of announcers compared to Harry in that regard. When Harry was around I loved the fact that we had a legend and not one of the corny play by play guys that most other teams had. Now we have the corny play by play guy (forever, I assume).

  10. It’s weird too, b/c I’ve heard T-Mac’s various NFL games Radio broadcasts and they are not bad at all.
    It takes a special kind of announcer to do a game as boring as baseball & keep listeners from chucking remotes at the TV.
    No one should defend Wheels, ever.
    Sarge is the man, give him more innings on TV!

  11. This whole line up roulette thing cholly keeps pulling is really starting to piss me off.
    And why is there no news from the nose. I feel like if the dr appointment went well he would’ve tweeted or some shit about being close and on track.
    I bet giroux can play first.

  12. Someone on a comment board (I think it was this site) said that T-Mac was an over-grown man child. That makes me laugh every time I see him. He sucks. People rip Jim Jackson for being a homer but at least Jackson has some feeling in his voice. When the Flyers are playing bad, he is down, and vice versa. If I have to keep hearing T-Mac all “happy go lucky” when the Phillies are retired in order for the 4th straight inning I am going to puke.
    Wheeler is just flat out annoying. Go ahead Wheels… explain to me again why they want to bunt to move a guy into scoring position… cause this is the first ever baseball game I have watched. Just shut up… my god.
    Franzke and LA remind me of Harry and Whitey. They know when to talk, what to talk about, and how to call a game.
    Finally, “and that Jimmy Rollins pop up is Safe and Secure… in the shortstop’s glove… with New York Life” That’s what its coming to.

  13. I guess I know as much about baseball as Wheels then because he simply has never taught me anything new about the game. Maybe that is why I don’t like him I guess. He’s a know-it-all, he should only broadcast games for casual fans or for fans tuning into their first baseball game ever. I don’t need him to explain why they threw to this base or bunt in this situation or that one. He’s captain obvious for me and after 162 games I basically just want to rip his head off. And T-Mac blows but what are you gonna do. Homer Sexual hit it on the head with him sound disingenuous, that is exactly how I feel.

  14. serious question.. i really dont know the answer
    Is wheels the only “color” guy in the league that has NOT played in the majors ?

  15. Wheeler is complete dumpsters. T-Mac is a nice guy, but grates quickly.
    Let’s Go Flyers. If all goes well, we can ride the Flyers train until June, at which time we might have an offense on the field worth talking about.

  16. Why are Franzke and LA not doing TV broadcasts yet? Is whoever’s in charge of that department really that dumb?

  17. @ todd… i have been wondering the same thing for too long!!! i love scotty Franz. He is way underutilized.
    and the problem with wheels is he is dated and contributes nothing substantial to the conversation. Runner on first for the phils with no outs, batter strikes out, gem of wisdom from Wheels “well you just gotta make contact there, the last thing you want to do is strike out with a man on”…. REALLY??? silly me i thought this was the first time in MLB history when we were WISHING for a strike out…. and i swear to christ, if i hear him talk about one more pointless thing i will slam my head thru the wall! every series in Cincy “well look how light it is out here at 815pm, thats cause the city is so close to the central time zone…. and right across the river is KY.” Shut the fuck up! And as bad as T Mac is, i cant help but laugh sometimes when Sarge or Wheels says something totally idiotic, i just picture T Mac staring blankly at them off camera with his best WTF?!?! face

  18. Ugh…I’ve disliked t-Mac from the beginning. Everything he says just feels disingenuous and melodramatic. Half the time he either seems like a bad actor and the other half he seems like he’s talking to a child.
    And wheeler? Yes, he knows his stuff but he comes off as pompous and is about as charismatic and interesting as a 90 year old librarian. He talks about 1930s baseball stats as if they happened yesterday and takes the whole nostalgia aspect of the game to a point that makes me want to throw my tv out the window…
    And he’s a fuckin know it all lol…Christ on a stick, everytime there’s a play that’s slightly out of the ordinary, we have to listen to him tell us exactly what the player was thinking, why he was thinking it, how he was thinking it, what he had for breakfast that enabled him to think that way and what brand of chewing tobacco gave him just the right buzz to do what he did. LA and Franzke are so much better. It’s a shame they don’t wanna do tv.

  19. @Adam from claymont…Its funny, because Sarge is just as bad as Wheels in the “captain obvious department,” but people generally love him. He was a player, he doesn’t act like a know it all douche, and hes got a goofy and loveable personality. Wheels just seems like that kid trying to fit into the group by over compensating and trying to impress everyone with his vast knowledge of the 1912 world series.

  20. I loathed T-Smack and Squeels when the going was good. I couldn’t stand T-Smack when he did the fluff stadium interviews when Harry was with us. And now they are bordering on intolerable with the state of the team. From T-Smack’s Herman Musterish guffaws and inattention to the game to Squeels and his endless commenting on whatever is shown the screen (oh look, there’s a bird on a guy wire) IT IS DEADLY. I have tried in vain to synch the radio feed with FiOS. I did it one time by DVRing a game and fiddling with the playback, but it didn’t last. Sarge I have no comment. And the addition of Greg Murphy is a waste of time, money and resources. Why he is on the away broadcasts is beyond me.

  21. The comment about T-Mac being disingenuous is completely accurate. I didn’t like him when he was the man on the street/in the crowd because he reminds of a guy who sidles up to conversations and then giggles at the appropriate time.
    However, is inability to use any other adjective but “towering” for any fly ball is inexcusable. Go listen to Doc Emerick’s array of verbs for hockey calls and then compare it to T-Mac’s uniadjective usage.

  22. I’m not going to say I’m sorry, but these three guys bore me and uhhhhhh….put me to sleep!!!!

  23. Franzke and LA on TV, please! Been saying that for awhile. On another note, I am annoyed with Chase. I am starting to think he just doesn’t want to play an entire season. Just wondering if his contract was up this year, would he be more motivated to start the season?? seriously why didn’t he do all this shit during the f’in four months he had off?? Though I don’t think his bat at this point would make a difference with this line-up.

  24. Hate the announcers, that’s fine. But to turn off a game early because they’re not playing well? They put up a helluva 9th inning that you missed. We’ll come around. Take the two best players off any team in baseball and you’re going to struggle. They’ll find a way to get their act together. For now, you have to support!

  25. Not only do the two main guys suck, but the best part is when they try to show David Murphy out in the stands or whatever the hell, and the camera is bobbing up and down like it’s on a ship at sea! Seriously, WTF???????? It’s literally unwatchable!

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