As a new TV contract takes hold for the Phillies, a new broadcast team will be unveiled this season. The Phillies announced that both Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews will be taken out of the broadcast booth, but will remain with the organization.
The Phillies sent out this release:
”As the longest-tenured member of the Phillies broadcasting team, Chris Wheeler will return to his club roots after stepping down from his role as a Phillies broadcaster. With 37 years of broadcasting experience, combined with his front office background where he began his Phillies career, ‘Wheels’ will take on a new role allowing the organization to continue to benefit from his knowledge, experience and dedication to the game. Additionally, Gary Matthews will continue to work with the Phillies bringing his exceptional background as a major league ballplayer, broadcaster and commentator to new roles at the Phillies.”
Wheeler had this to say:
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to be a part of the Phillies broadcast team for 37 years. I certainly respect the decision that was made and I look forward to my new role in the Phillies organization.”
From the outside looking in, Wheeler caught quite a bit of crap from the average fan (especially on twitter), but was one of the most game-ready broadcasters I’ve ever come across. He was smart, clearly knew the game, and was prepared.
Sarge was a pseudo-fan fave, although it was clear the multi-man booth, with interchangeable parts, was not part of the future.
There has been no indication of who will take over, but Todd Zolecki of MLB.com says they’ll look for just one person to fill the vacancy. Some names of the cuff: Ricky Bottalico, Doug Glanville, Ben Davis, Dan Plesac, Jeff Brantley. Who would you go with?