The Phillies got no-hit yesterday, Ruben Amaro needs to be fired, this team is unwatchable, etc. etc. etc.. I feel like I’m beating a dead horse by continuing to critique a Phillies team whose roster hasn’t changed much in the last five years, except for the fact that everyone has aged and is now overpaid.
So instead of continuing to do that, I’m going to give you five Memorial Day thoughts on the Phillies’ new announcing crew, which has certainly improved just by subtracting Chris Wheeler and Gary “Sarge” Matthews. But have the additions of former Phillies’ World Series heroes Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs had a positive impact on otherwise unwatchable games?
1. Tom McCarthy is still an annoying cornball
When I say cornball, I’m not using it in the sense that former ESPN analyst Rob Parker did, but just that he is so lame. I used to think that McCarthy was just corny because he was working with Chris Wheeler and Gary ”Sarge” Matthews, but nothing has changed this year. Every little thing to McCarthy is extremely hilarious and I can’t go five minutes without hearing his cackle replaying in my head.
The said part about McCarthy, besides the fact that he was put in the unenviable position of replacing Harry Kalas, is that he does some things pretty well. He has a pretty good homerun call, and his knowledge of the game isn’t lacking. But he doesn’t come off as a lifelong baseball fan calling the game; he comes off as a nerd, who sports fans can’t relate to.
2. Matt Stairs is a firmly believing Canadian, who doesn’t know when to talk
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not writing off Stairs as an announcer yet. It hasn’t even been two months, and you don’t just show up on day one of being an announcer, and because you have a great knowledge of the game, you magically are a great announcer. I get that. But man, Stairs has some glaring flaws thus far.
First off, he constantly repeats the phrase, “Are you a firm believer”, when asking Tom McCarthy and Jamie Moyer questions. From someone who listens to a ton of sports radio, and has done some myself, repeating the same phrase is a major no-no.
More glaring than that has been that you can go two or three pitches without a word when it is just Stairs and McCarthy in the booth, because Stairs seems to have trouble speaking when he isn’t spoken to. While McCarthy needs to pick him up on that , the chemistry between the two has been a mess. The only time that the two seem to be on the same page is when McCarthy starts discussing something Canadian with Stairs, who seems to be more comfortable providing comic relief than analysis.
For all the negatives, I’m not ready to give up on Stairs. He has displayed very good pitch recognition, and I enjoy hearing him discuss the art that is hitting. He needs to clean up the rest, though.
3. Jamie Moyer is pretty good, but not the most exciting announcer
I haven’t been able to get a great read on Moyer as an announcer thus far, so my thoughts on him are brief. Due to the fact that he hasn’t called as many games as Stairs, all that I’ve really been able to tell is that Moyer can discuss pitching very well and has much better chemistry with McCarthy, but he doesn’t blow you away as an announcer because he brings a more laid-back approach.
Moyer certainly serves his purpose as an announcer, and I enjoy his perspective because I consider myself a student of the game. The Phillies’ broadcasts are just lacking that hard-hitting perspective to compliment him.
4. Greg Murphy remains the best part of the Phillies’ broadcast team
Greg Murphy puts in work for the Phillies. Not only does he provide useful nuggets during the games, but he gives us a brief respite from Tom McCarthy. Perhaps the most impressive part of what Murphy does is that he remains composed and well spoken despite the fact that he is normally speaking around or in front of a group of people who are trying to scream over him and get on TV. Take it from someone who once broadcasted at Eagles’ training camp, that is extremely difficult.
5. Listening to Franzke and L.A. on the radio is so much better than TV broadcasts
Something about listening to baseball on the radio gives you this old-style Summer day feeling, that makes you think the world is a very simple place. Scott Franzke and Larry Anderson make me love listening to the game of baseball again.
The two have great exchanges in between pitches, make jokes that are actually funny, and it just feels like they are living and dying by every pitch. I don’t get that feeling watching games on TV.
If someone told me that we could bring Franzke, L.A. and Jim Jackson to television, I’d ask where to sign up.