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Thursday, March 23, 2006

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I have no problem with broadcasters simply announcing the game without all the personal, often contrived, banter. As for being critical and honest, it is welcomed as long as the one making the remarks knows what the hell he's talking about. As soon as a Joe Morgan, Tim McCarver, John Miller, etc.. start 'editorializing' about their cause de jure, I switch off. That kind of conversation is best saved for shows like Baseball Tonight and not play-by-play.

As for the Phillies team, let Wheeler broadcast the Phillies games for S.E.T.I. If earth is subsequently contacted, it will be final proof that there is NO other intelligent life in the universe.

I believe that if the Phillies were interested in capturing the next generation of baseball fans, they would sponsor a live chat during each game, and allow internet surfers to comment themselves on players, plays, managerial moves, etc., while having all the resources of the internet at their disposal. This would also allow those of us who can't watch every game to get a much better idea of what's happening.

Of course I am not sure that there are enough Phillies fans who would do this, but then again, I'm not sure there are not. Certainly, with Webcasting, etc., watching and interacting during the game will become more and more popular.

When you think about it, baseball is the best poised of the major sports to be broadcast over the internet.

1)It's a numbers-driven game.
2) It's played at a slow enough pace to allow extensive comment between innings, batters, even pitches.
3) It can be expressed well digitally (as the gamecast does, showing who's on, who's up, who's pitching, inning, outs, etc.), which allows those who cannot listen to or watch the game to still follow the action.
4) There are many subplots running in any given game in addition to who wins or loses, such as hitting streaks, Ks, Fantasy players on the line, etc. This gives much fodder for comment.
5) While all this is happening, it is at it's heart still a very simple game. You throw the ball. You hit the ball. You catch the ball. Sometimes you win. Sometimes you lose. Sometimes, it rains (think about that one for a moment). This provides a continuity which anyone can understand, be they a huge stathead, or just Joe average fan, increasing it's appeal.

This post made me think of a video game I played a few years ago.. probably 3 or 4? It was a baseball game which was much like the NFL Blitz of baseball where you could run down to first base and punch the first basemen in the head in hopes of him dropping the ball. So anyway.. one of the funniest and most enjoyable/annoying aspects of the game where the faux announcers they used. It was great. In the middle of an inning Joe would start bantering with Tony about the time he ate a cheesesteak and got drunk and started hitting on Tony's sister.. etc. etc..

The bottom line with broadcasters in my opinion is if they are likeable guys in general and know a thing or two about the game, then that works for me.

On the positive side, I kind of like Franzke (I think that's what his name is). He reminds me more of Tom McCarthy, and not the blustery, yabbering bobble-head Scott Graham.

Except for the inclusion of Graham in the middle innings, isn't the TV rotation exactly the same as it's been?

Don't expect the Phillies will ever allow their broadcasters to be critical thinkers. In fact, I don't think any local broadcast crews are, the shoot-from-the-hip stuff is reserved for neutral, national announcers. Any localites who try to buck that trend usually find themselves out on their cans before too long.

And let me once again remind, as an unfortunate out-of-market MLB.TV viewer, how much worse it gets than what the Phillies' telecasts present.

I heard a Cubs game called by the Chicago broadcasters that included web discussions and questions. It works fine, as long as the broadcasters don't seem annoyed by it or confused about it (you don't want Harry and Wheels calling it the "InterWeb" or electronic mail). It also would require honest and frank discussions on the part of the broadcasters, which I'm sure the Phillies would never allow. Not as long as they sign the talent's paychecks.

Oh, and Scott Graham, as nice as he seems, comes off to me as a dinner-theater actor portraying a classic baseball broadcaster. It's like he's overthinking it, and it makes for uncomfortable radio listening. He needs to take a tip from Crash Davis and stop thinking so much.

And the rose goes in the front, big guy.

Yet wasn't it the Cubs who a couple of years back obliterated their on-air team of Chip Caray and Steve Stone because players and management felt they were too critical? Believe me, those web discussions are highly selective, much like the screening of a Scott Graham pre-game or rain-delay call-in show. No team would ever allow anything critical or controversial to be observed on company time.

So, after all the sturm und drang management did have a plan: throw enough combinations at the fans and they won't know what to do: mute the TV and listen to the radio; follow along on ESPN's game cast with the TV sound in the background. Does it really take five guys to broadcast parts of a baseball game? Or, is it really too much work to have two guys do an entire broadcast in one medium. Play-by-play by committee: how novel and unnecessary. Of course, it might be tolerable if more of the parts were greater than the whole, but they aren't!

I agree with Tom. Next year you'll have to dive every odd inning by pi to figure out who is broadcasting. Perhaps we can have them switch every other atbat next.

Hidden behind everyone dislike for Wheels (he does SUCK) is the realization that Larry Anderson is AMBIAN on the airwaves. Does anyone think it's time to go younger and more energenic? The guys suggesting web chats and more diverse grpahics have hit upon something. Not unlike their view for building a team, their views in presenting their product telegenically is archaic. Well, I guess it's time to email Scott Palmer again...btw I got a REAL response from him a few weeks later, so maybe he really does listent o feedback.

Younger and more energetic? Hm, sounds like Scott Graham. NO.

I'm not the world's biggest fan of Andersen, but of all the announcers, he seems to have the most actual candor which slips through with some frequency.

Wheeler has plenty of candor as well, yet admittedly none of it ever seems to be in a critical light where it concerns the Phillies.

So, the only difference from last year is we get Scott Graham instead of LA for innings 4 through 6. Agree with above comments on Graham. He somehow comes across as boring and annoying at the same time (very hard to do). I will switch to the radio for those innings. I will miss TMac.

i personally don't see why this is a big deal, or why everyone loves to hate on chris wheeler. i really hate annoying broadcasters and the phillies have a couple down to earth broadcasters. scott graham comes off as annoying because he has that voice that was made for radio. he's actually a very knowledgable guy as are the rest of the announcers. i will say this though, as much as i love kalas, he seems to be rather bored in recent years.

i want to care about this, but sadly im an out of towner with the DirecTv baseball package that is forced to listen to the other teams announcers for every single game of the year.

bad times my friends, bad times.

As a former MLB.tv watcher, I too can attest that the broadcasters of other teams are often much worse than what the Phillies do, and, none of them are critical about their teams either.


Having said that, I do think the broadcast has become stale. One more "that ball took a crazy hop" from Wheeler or any other cliche and I might...


Finally, I don't think Kalas is getting bored at all. If you listened at all to him in the late innings of games late in the season last year during the playoff hunt, he took losses to heart..."All the runs are unearned...but what does it matter?"

I know all about it, Pat. Comcast Philadelphia is I think the only outlet in baseball that doesn't make its telecasts available for satellite. Bastards. It really sucks.

I still miss Ashburn, By Saam and Bill Campbell.

LA has that weird, kent tekulve voice, but he does a nice job of breaking down pitcher's mechanics and performance and is critical from time to time. the phils definitely could stand to go younger, but, y'know, in broadcasting, there just aren't that many jobs. you need to pay your dues to get a gig like this. i wouldn't count on it happening anytime soon, expecially with this franchise.

Bill Campbell might be the most overrated Philly announcer of all time.

I miss the Whitey and Harry show. I like LA and Graham isn't too bad.

I swear that Wheeler must have something on somebody to keep that job because I can't stand him and his nauseating prattling on.

Meanwhile, in baseball news...quite a reversal of fortune for Cormier and Lopez today...

No team in the majors allows their announcers to be candid and no team ever will. Just the way it is.

Wheeler is annoying but there are alot of mediocre baseball announcers who endlessly use cliches. LA at least adds some interesting comments on pitching.

As for Kalas, I love his voice but I hope he gracefully retires in a year or two. His has really started to slip(especially late into games) and seems disinterested at times. It would be a shame if he has to be forced out by Phils management.


Wow, baseball season really is getting close, 22 comments and counting on a post about the most unimportant and uninteresting quasi-phillies related topic possible.

I really liked the daily 25 most important Phil's in Clearwater, lets bring that back.

Whats next, indept discussion of the retuning hotdog vendors? A debate over whether they should allow peanut throwing like they do a Yankees Stadium?

the natives are restless

You mean they rehired those hotdog vendors from last year?

"I really liked the daily 25 most important Phil's in Clearwater, lets bring that back"

Please dont...thats the kind of shit we can get ina newspaper. This is BEERLEAGUER DAMMIT!

This might be sacreligous, but I never was fond of the Phillies' announcers, even Kalas. I have to admit to liking Scott Graham, who, despite the yelling, I think paints a pretty good scene.

You have to go to New York (not Yankees, though) for good baseball on radio, in my opinion. For that reason, I love when the Phillies play the Mets so I can listen in on 660 and not have to deal with the entire sorry lot.

For what it's worth Brian, Fran Healy is a hundred times more obnoxious than a truckload of Phillies' announcers.

Man, I wish I could work up half the passion that others have over the announcers issue. All I know is that when I listen to other teams' broadcasts, I usually come back thinking the Phillies' guys aren't so bad. Except in comparison with Vin Scully, of course.

Eegads, if you're a White Sox or Mets fan, you gotta endure Hawk Harrelson or Fran Healy. Now that is truly suffering for your team.

Wheeler is horrible, pure and simple. I can't listen to anymore, period. He overanalyzes the most simple and mundane points. S Graham, though he has the enthusiam, is already wearing my nerves. It was Curt Gowdy who temporarily lamented that he didn't have a signature call and then realized he didn't need one. That point has obviously eluded Graham. If I hear "put this one in the win column" one more time, I will certainly hurl. As for LA, he doesn't bother me at all. He can stay.

To get back to something said awhile ago--there really needs to be better stats. They think they're doing a good job when they say "Oh, he's 6 for 23 with 2 outs and runners on first and third against left-handed pitchers at night," but really that means nothing, and it's almost as bad as all the other bullshit where they discuss how this guy seems to have "confidence" or will hit better because he believes in God or whatever. I appreciate hearing some biographical stuff, and anecdotes, and more about the game in general, but please...

Kalas has been mailing it in for the last couple years. He puts me to sleep. Wheeler is knowledgeable and explains the game very well. I can live with cliches; they all have them. LA used to be a lot funnier, I hope he returns to form. Graham is ok, but not my favorite, his voice grates after a while.

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