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Tuesday, February 11, 2014



The rebirth of the broadcast team and the rebirth of BL.

I will miss Wheeler's history, but Stairs and Moyer should give a fresh perspective and some new stories.

I think we all need to have a toast to Wheels every time someone mentions the no-doubles defense. But that should be less frequent than past years.

Reading that title makes me feel like I won some weird type of contest.

re: Tommy Hanson. Isn't a "strained right forearm" the inevitable precursor to that other Tommy; Tommy John?

I wish the Phillies would show actual evidence of a functional medical staff. If yes to that, Hanson could have been worth a flyer.

Well, no, Wheeler was an ex-ballplayer. He played in high school. It really came in handy when he would offer his expert insight into whatever was going on or being discussed at the current time.

I will believe in Bubba's rebirth of BL when and only when the "Jump to the newest comments" button makes its return.

Last three appearances:
April 20, 2013
April 19, 2013
October 3, 2012

Muuurgh -

I would welcome that as well.

We used to have enough lawyers on the site to put together a class action suit for carpal tunnel syndrome if the Comcast overlords don't show the same concern for our well being , as a lone entrepreneur routinely did when he ran the site.

Not so sure anymore.

@Muuurgh: I created a javascript bookmarklet to jump to latest using a simple regex replace (if anyone knows what that means). I doubt I could post it here, though.

In other news watching the segment on channel 6 with Ryan Howard. He looks like he is in the best shape of his his life. Wink!

PLM- Saw that too.
It was way more encouraging than the report yesterday from Rickie Ricardo that he was limping into training camp.
Time will tell.

Now if Stairs and Moyer can figure out a way to duct-tape McCarthy's mouth shut, we might have something.

I truly expected the Burnett header remaining aloft until he signed tonight or tomorrow.

listening to that barkann interview with stairs and moyer i'd have to disagree with the notion that jamie is a monotone. he has a pleasant voice and is very understandable. he'll do fine. it was hard to really analyze matt's voice since the feed was so bad. and the fact that he was revved-up and talking very fast. stairs did say that he would try not to talk too much. too bad the pair will only be together, diluting tmac, for 30 games.

Looking forward to Moyer and Stairs, but sounds like they will be doing split duty. Sad thing is, this news was more exciting than pretty much anything else that's happened this off season.

Moyer, Stairs and MAG are the new guys.

encouraged and interested to see what they'll do, but come on I don't think I'll be changing the radio from LA and Scott any time soon.

So it's hard to understand (or agree with, really) Amaro's baseball strategy this off season, but I sure don't understand his media strategy, either. I guess I get it that he doesn't want to lend any credibility to the Burnett rumors if in fact they are talking to him, but he's either negotiating with him through the media or for no good reason downplaying it, which doesn't seem smart from a PR standpoint given that fans know this seems to be the last logical move to significantly improve the team before the season starts.

i think, since sandberg's history is managing "kids" in the minors, that he'll be the anti-chollie regarding the use of young players.

Stairs is very honest and not at all PC. I think he will be the TV version of L.A.

the first thing rube talked about when asked to "sell philadelphia" on the new season was staff meetings being held now and getting input from the staff. sounds like he is basically refering to freeman. this is before he mentions the team.

i think so too, limoguy. he seems like a bit of a loose cannon. should be fun. i think we have heard everything wheels and sarge had to say. thankfully comcast agreed.

Mitch Williams was on 610 WIP this morning and had some great comments about Moyer/Stairs.

He was clearly pissed the Phils interviewed him and then never got back to him formally one way or another.

Added that the color analyst should point out things that 'are blatantly obvious and be prepared.' Sarge failed both criteria. Wheels got half way there at best.

Spoke highly of Moyer/Stairs and really said Moyer knows a lot about pitching. Wondered if Stairs would be able to add much about pitching. Thought it would be a tough adjustment for both though because it takes at least a year to get used to doing TV.

To be fair to broadcasters everywhere, it's a lot easier to take mediocre commentary when the team is doing so well that it's even fun to watch the "direct" feed on MLB.TV (with no graphics or broadcasters at all, but with crowd and game noise).

It does make me wonder how FP Santangelo has lasted so long for the Nats, though.

"Stairs is very honest and not at all PC. I think he will be the TV version of L.A."

This is what I hope for...

'aren't blatant obvious'

MG: I can imagine that Comcast was probably less than enthused at the idea of trying to outbid ESPN for Mitchypoo's services.

Also, he's got a somewhat negative reputation with members of the team staff (if nobody else) because of how he handled that whole situation 1-2 Spring Trainings ago vis-a-vis "advising" a pitcher in direct contravention to Dubee's request.

I'm happy for just about any input, but I really don't think any of Williams' pitches were good enough to want my guys to try to replicate.

Opening day pre-game show of my dreams:

T-Mac: Boy, this is going to be a great season, isn't it?

Stairs: Yeah, I'm really looking forward to it -- other than the fact that the Phillies suck something fierce.

T-Mac: (laughing nervously) Oh that's a bit harsh, isn't it, Matt? They've brought in Marlon Byrd, Wil Nieves, an experienced pitcher like Fausto, er, I mean Roberto Hernandez. These are exciting times.

Stairs: Well, other than the fact that Wil Nieves sucks something fierce & Roberto Hernandez completely blows.

T-Mac: What I really like about this team is all the veteran versatility that the front office has brought into the organization. Ronny Cedeno, Reid Brignac, Andres Blanco, Brian Bixler, Jim Negrych. There's a lot to like about this team.

Stairs: Versatility sucks something fierce. You know what positions I played during my career? 1st base, corner outfield and, most of all, DH. But I had an .832 career OPS. That's what the Phillies should be looking for in bench players.

T-Mac: You just used a new term there: OPS. Can you explain to the fans what that means?

Stairs: That's just where you combine the guy's on-base percentage and slugging percentage. It gives you a pretty good overall picture of a guy's offensive value. But tell that to Ruben Amaro, who doesn't believe in OPS. He sucks something fierce.

T-Mac: We need to take a commercial break. We'll be right back with the first pitch.

Hamels not ready for opening day? Sweet.

BAP: Meh. I'd rather have the commentary not inject any opinion into it. I get that you're being facetious and all, but I don't think I'd enjoy more than a game or two of Harry Doyle-esque broadcasting.

I can get my fill of negative humor by watching the results on-field (or popping onto BL).

T-Mac: Sorry, Matt, we have to break away to Murph in the stands. Take it away, Murph!

Murph: I'm here with Mary who is the proud owner of a Papillon name Roxy, enjoying another Bark-in-the-Park night...

I hope Cole wasn't playing racquetball with Shane Watson.

Philibuster - Yeah Williams alluded to the fact that he is well compensated and it would have taken a large-sized deal to get him to leave MLB.

My sense is that the Phils/Comcast were throwing out lowball numbers on a 1-year trial basis (prorated basically for a partial season) and it just wasn't that enticing of a financial proposition overall with a ton of uncertainty added to it.

Why it took so long for them to name Stairs/Moyer and they were linked to a ton of names.

3-man crew might seem like too much but the Mets but it works great. There are times I will turn over to them in a Mets/Phils broadcast the last few years.

Cohen is superior to TMac all around including his voice and Hernandez/Darling blew Wheels/Sarge out of the water.

Literally would turn off a game and just put on the audio/radio feed during the 4-6 innings the last 2 years. Sarge/TMac were as bad as their critics made them out to be and were way too often unlistenable.

Always good when the first story of camp is your ace not being ready to pitch opening day. So far Rube's "everything must go right" strategy is off to a great start.

Hamels has been dealing with tendinitis.

Season = OVER.

"Everything must go right" strategies rarely work, because it's not just the things you think are problems that have to go right. The things you don't even consider to be problems have to go right, too.

Everyone would say the team needs Howard and Utley to be healthy, Lee to hold off decline for another year, Rollins to be better, etc.

No thought to say "oh, and Cole Hamels has to stay healthy too." But of course that is every bit as true.

Does this make is MORE or LESS likely they'll sign Burnett?

"To be fair to broadcasters everywhere, it's a lot easier to take mediocre commentary when the team is doing so well..."

Buster, in 2011, on the way to 102 wins, I frequently hit the MUTE button on the TV broadcast.

TBag is THAT bad. He just is. Period.

Murphy says a TV guy tweeted Phils signed Burnett to 1-year, $16M deal.

Philli: I want announcers who are objective (i.e., not homers), but who are not afraid to give their opinions. If the ump blows a call, I want the announcer to say so. If the manager does something stupid, I want the announcer to tell me why it's stupid. With T-Mac, all of the Phillies players are great. Their front office is top notch. Their in-game tactics are always right. Their gimmicks and promotions are all brilliant. Their team mascot is the funniest entertainer ever. And if the Phillies' manager makes a tough or questionable decision, you'll never hear T-Mac so much as acknowledge that there was an alternative option; all his energy is immediately devoted to explaining why the manager's call was correct (i.e., "You have to guard the line there so you don't give up a double; it was just the Phillies' bad luck that the guy hit a game-tying single to where the 3rd baseman would normally have been").

I do actually agree with you, though, that there are many worse announcers out there. T-Mac has a pleasant enough cadence, doesn't make affirmative gaffes, and has a decent feel for the appropriate overall tone of a baseball game. It's just that he comes off as a shill for the organization.

awh: I don't love TMac, but you're either overselling the point dramatically, or you aren't comparing him to the fifteen-or-so worse TV announcers bankrolled by MLB teams.

His broadcasts don't have much of a personal touch, but that's a dying segment of TV announcers in any sport. The NFL has been on (flavorless) national broadcast teams for ages, and it's the most-watched sport in the country. National broadcasts of the other members of the "big 4" (especially during the playoffs) get pretty generic commentary as well.

TMac fits that bill very well. Generic, over-excited (the segment of TV-watchers that find baseball unexciting enough to watch without distractions is huge), and not prone to making an on-air faux-pas? That's exactly what most sports teams are looking for in a play-by-play guy for TV.

The days of the "charming personal touch" broadcasts being anywhere other than radio are largely behind us. For good or ill.

Just to clarify . . . by "decent feel for the appropriate overall tone," I mean: he doesn't actively annoy me in the way that F.P. Santangelo or the Marlins or Diamondbacks announcers do. But he would do well to learn that sometimes it's appropriate to shut up.

Murphy now has a story up saying he believes the report to be accurate. 1-year, $16M for Burnett.

BAP: I honestly don't think TMac puts much of his personal feelings into the things he says. It's not that he's a "shill," he just doesn't call out too many issues that can't be spun as positive (or maybe "improving") because that's a great way to lose one of the best jobs in the world.

Additionally, I think the segment of guys who can "artfully" highlight problems a team has, without also being the sort of person who makes affirmative gaffes on a semi-regular basis, is exceptionally low.

FCC regulations, and PR issues in general, pretty much demand that they go with the safe choice over risking someone who's more interesting but might also be "interesting."

BAP: I would think that, if McCarthy cut down on his overall talk by about 15%, he would probably end up being one of the top 10 play-by-play guys on TV.

That's a pretty low bar, in my estimation, and it'd probably be something like a 7-way tie rather than being noticeably better, but it does make some of our complaints ring a little hollow when other teams' fans have a lot worse to deal with.

Well, if the AJ deal is true, there goes the "directly tied to projected gate" argument?

Matt Gelb (@magelb)
Phillies reached an agreement on a one-year deal with A.J. Burnett, according to a source.

Todd Zolecki (@ToddZolecki)
Source said the Phillies have agreed to a one-year deal with A.J. Burnett.

Jim Salisbury (@JSalisburyCSN)
Phillies have a one year deal with Burnett, source confirms.

Well, that's a pleasant surprise.

A one-year deal, too. I didn't think RAJ knew of that option.

"The Arkansas native is friends with Cliff Lee, and the two pitchers share the same agent, Daren Braunecker."

MLB Network reporting the Burnett deal now. If it's truly a one year deal and nothing further, this may be a Rube breakthrough. His analyst should be proud. And by that, I mean the stat analyst guy they hired.

bravo rube!! well done, you sneaky dog.

Bicep tendinitis is kind of an odd injury for a baseball player. More common among weightlifters.

Phillibuster: Good post on TMac. He's essentially an off-the-shelf, nothing -special, K-Mart level broadcaster, of whom there are tons and tons in MLB, many far worse than he is.

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