July 17, 2012

Baseball Broadcaster Impressions: Philadelphia Phillies

Continuing the Baseball Broadcaster Impressions Project today with a look at the Philadelphia Phillies announcing crews.

TV Announcers: Tom McCarthy, Chris Wheeler, and Gary 'Sarge' Matthews (4th through 6th innings)

It's hard to find less enthusiastic/interesting broadcasters than the Phillies main broadcasting team of Tom McCarthy and Chris Wheeler. Every time now I've watched a Phillies game with these two I've felt like taking a nap instead of watching the Phillies.

McCarthy to me is the real culprit here. Wheeler is never going to become a enthusiastic broadcaster so it's up to McCarthy to put some if any life into the broadcast. And he fails. Well except when the Phillies do something good and his voice screeches. Except for those moments though McCarthy is duller than a butter knife and this brings down the entire broadcast.

I'll give points to Chris Wheeler for trying. He's never going to have a big personality like Mike Krukow, but at least he tries to bring up sabermetrics in broadcasts. Seriously. I've heard Chris Wheeler mention FIP on a broadcast before, sure it was a awkward mention, which is a hell of a lot more than you can say about most broadcasters including Krukow. If only Wheeler was more enthusiastic though during broadcasts, he would be a much better broadcaster.

During the Sarge innings the enthusiasm level in the Phillies broadcast booth raises considerably. The analysis  goes right out of the window sure, but you at least don't feel like falling asleep. And that's all I can really say about Sarge during the innings he works, he brings up the enthusiasm level. That being said a puppy can bring up the enthusiasm level after Wheeler leaves the booth.

Radio Announcers: Scott Franzke, Larry Andersen, and Jim Jackson for a few innings during home games

The Phillies thankfully have a great radio crew of offset the grease fire known as their TV broadcasters. What makes Franzke and Andersen such fun broadcasters is the chemistry both of them have together and even when Jim Jackson shows up the radio booth still has a great chemistry.

The credit there really goes to Andersen. Larry Andersen isn't the greatest analyst in the world, but his sense of humor and self-deprecating style makes the Phillies booth one of the best in the business. And really there isn't a huge need for "analysis" in a radio booth. Which is perfect for Andersen to show off his personality.

Franzke isn't that bad himself and can be downright funny. Andersen once asked Franzke a baseball question and Franzke said, "I'm just here to eat hot dogs." Those kind of exchanges is what makes the Phillies radio booth great.

And the Phillies don't lose that chemistry when Jim Jackson shows up for a couple of innings during home games. Jackson, who is known for being the TV voice of the Philadelphia Flyers, brings a more folksy charm to the booth when he's calling games that's very enduring.

Overall the Phillies radio crew is one of the best in the business and a huge upgrade over their TV announcers.


  1. I want to say Wheeler is the only lead analyst in MLB who isn't an ex-player.