In news that broke at 4:30 p.m. on Black Friday – a news cycle black hole – CSN reported that their own employee won’t be returning next season. Here’s what Moyer and CSN had to say in a statement CSN released to itself:
“At the end of the Phillies’ season, I gave the situation a great deal of thought, with my family in mind. I enjoyed my year behind the mic tremendously, and the opportunity to work with Tom, Matt, Mike and Gregg is one I will cherish.”
“However, as we are now based on the West Coast, the geography presents unique challenges to the matter at hand. I thus reached a decision that, for the moment, it’s very difficult to balance a bicoastal professional life with family life at home.”
“I thank Comcast SportsNet, the Phillies and, of course, the fans for letting me share my insights into the team this past season and wish the team success in the coming years.”
“[We thank Moyer] for sharing his baseball expertise with our fans this season. We wish him and his family nothing but the best.”
Few things here:
1) I never got the sense last season that Moyer was that into it. Being a baseball broadcaster is more of a lifestyle than a job. It’s hard to put a finger on, but I always felt like Moyer was filling in for someone rather than a true part of the “broadcast team.” You at least got the sense with Wheels and Sarge that they were in it for the long haul– traveling around with the team for 162 games per year. Moyer and Stairs just jetted in for specific series as part of their strange and sometimes awkward schedule. What’s more is that it felt like they didn’t watch the games they weren’t broadcasting. Say what you want about Wheels, but he didn’t miss a pitch, and he talked (ad nauseam) about watching opponents on MLB.tv. All that is to say: Moyer leaving isn’t a huge surprise. He never gave off the vibe that this was something he’d be doing in 20 years.
2) This is just conjecture, but I wouldn’t be shocked if Moyer wasn’t asked to return. He cites his family being on the West Coast as a reason why he’s not coming back (which is totally fair and commendable), but they’ve been out west all along. Surely he knew what he was signing up for when he took the job. Millionaires, especially baseball lifers, hop on and off planes like it’s nothing. Just check Moyer’s or his wife’s Twitter and you’ll see that’s the case. Being away from family is nothing new to Jamie. I doubt someone who’s been a part of a Major League team since 1986 just decides one day that they can’t live that lifestyle anymore. And Moyer’s grossed over $83 million during his career, so it’s not like he had to take the broadcasting job in the first place. He took it, presumably, because he wanted to remain a part of the game. I wouldn’t be shocked if he wound up taking a coaching gig sometime between now and the spring.
3) A self-published article at 4:30 p.m. on Black Friday about an employee leaving so he can spend more time with his family? That’s straight out of Olivia Pope’s playbook for giving someone a soft landing when you let them go.
Again, those last two points are just my opinion, because, to me, the timing and messaging is lot more convenient than, say, admitting that your network made a bad hire when it decided to strong-arm its way into controlling the broadcast. Neither Moyer nor Stairs were well-received, but at times Moyer could put you to sleep (if the Phillies hadn’t done so already). They both got better as the year went on, but their chemistry with T-Mac never approached what he had with Wheels or Sarge.
CSN’s advertorial also mentioned that Stairs, Mike Schmidt, Gregg Murphy and Tom McCarthy will all return for 2015. No word on who, if anyone, will replace Moyer.