Tom McCarthy has agreed to a new five-year deal to remain the ‘Fightins play-by-play man, according to philsbaseball.com. McCarthy’s deal ran out after 2012, but he confirmed while giving Phils Baseball an exclusive interview, that he is returning in 2013.
“I actually heard that from a lot of people. I never even realized my contract had been public notice or that people had wondered. I even got an email from someone asking if I was coming back this year and I said, “Yeah, why?” They said they heard my contract was up and I said, “It was?” But yes, I signed a new contract last winter for a five year extension. It starts this year, so I’m here for at least another five years after this.”
This isn’t a move that disgusts me, but it certainly doesn’t please me, or Phillies Nation.
I started watching the Phillies in 1999, and from the Robert Person era to a World Title in 2008, one thing remained constant-Great announcing. Harry Kalas truly was one of the greatest announcers in sports history. After his passing in April 2009, the torch was passed to Tom McCarthy who had done play-by-play work for the team on two different stints. There was no doubt for some people, “T-Mac” would never live up to being Harry Kalas and they decided to never give his style a shot. Shame on those people, because that just isn’t fair to compare anyone to a predecessor of that magnitude.
I had enjoyed when McCarthy was doing middle innings work and thought that he seemed like a solid replacement for Kalas. But, as he went from calling a few innings a game to the entire game we got a taste of the awkwardness of Tom McCarthy, and the entire Phillies TV announcing crew. McCarthy will call a solid game, give a good home-run call and that is what made me believe that he would be a solid full game announcer. But baseball more than any sport features downtime in between plays, and quickly the in-between pitch commentary made me shake my head. It literally is like Tom McCarthy, Gary “Sarge” Matthews, and Chris Wheeler forget they are broadcasting to Phillies Nation and not just talking to themselves. It was almost like Harry Kalas made up for some of that when he called the games with “Wheels”, and “Sarge”.
One thing that Harry Kalas did extremely well was calling the game so that people of all ages understood and got great joy out of the game. As a 17 year-old I may be a little more cynical and critical of adults than the average Philly fan, but there are times where I just sit back and listen to Tom McCarthy and whoever is calling the game with him at that time, and feel like I am listening to a conversation between older relatives at Christmas. It is like T-Mac and the whole crew spend time thinking of jokes pre-game, so they can crack themselves up during the game as the rest of us just sit in front of our TV’s thinking, “At least it isn’t Joe Buck and Tim McCarver calling the game.”
Again, Tom McCarthy does a good job calling the game itself, it is just that he and the hole Phillies TV crew get too cute in between pitches. If that is cleaned up, which could very well happen if the Phillies get some new color guys, then in five years I may be singing a different tune.