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The Phillies get rid of Wheeler and Sarge in the broadcast booth

Jan 8, 2014, 12:53 PM EDT

This is a pretty big deal for our once prominent but now mysteriously dormant Philly Phan readership around these parts:


It wasn’t often that I listened to Wheeler and Sarge — if I was watching the Phillies it was usually because someone else I wanted to see was playing them, so I’d use the opposing team’s broadcast — but they weren’t my favorite broadcasters ever. That said: they were far from the worst. Very far from it. And there are a good number of pretty bad broadcasters out there.

Maybe Philly broadcasters get better. But it’s also possible they get worse. So, if you’re the sort of Phillies fan who is inspired to cheer this news, don’t assume everything is gonna be rosy later.

  1. gothapotamus90210 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:00 PM


    -All Phillies Fans

    • CJ - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:29 PM

      Agreed. If they’re on, I have to mute them. They’re so homerish and slated, it’s excruciating to listen to even as a Phils fan. Sure, they’re not near as bad as Hawk, but if that’s the best justification I can think of to keep them, well, that tells you all you need to know.

    • chaser44 - Jan 8, 2014 at 5:01 PM

      The problem with the phillies is they get loyal to these company guys who move up the ranks like RAJ, Wheeler, McCarthy etc. Guys that the public do not like, the fans do not like but are somehow family, company guys in the phillies org. Wheeler should have been gone years ago when he was secretly taping whitey and kalas making remarks and drinking in the booth. He tried to get rid of the legend harry kalas and should have been fired but was forced down our and kalas’ throats. They need to promote LA and franzkie. Thank god I never have to hear middle in again.

  2. AlmostForty - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:04 PM

    I wonder if this is related in some way to the dip in ratings. Of course the product on the field has more to do with ratings than the guys in the booth but I know dozens of people who prefer the radio guys and can’t stand Wheels.

    I’ll miss Sarge.

    • chinahand11 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:57 PM

      The “homer” broadcasters are tolerable and well-liked when the team is winning, and fairly irritating when the team loses. Yeah, underachieving team last year, dip in ratings, clean house time.

  3. JMClarkent - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:09 PM

    I disagree – Wheels was the worst.

    • gothapotamus90210 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:14 PM

      It’s such a joke when the “analyst” didn’t play past the high school Legion level. Not to mention, I hated him for play-by-play, too.

      • 18thstreet - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:44 PM

        Interesting. I mean, Theo Epstein probably didn’t play baseball past little league and he seems to know a thing or two about the sport. Lincoln was never in the army, and yet he was a successful Commander in Chief.

        Maybe playing baseball well and making trenchant observations about it are similarly unrelated.

  4. dluxxx - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:11 PM

    They can have the Twins broadcasters. Dick & Bert are terrible.

    • normcash - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:47 PM

      Oh, baloney! I’m a Tigers fan who loves our announcers, but Bremer and Blyleven are excellent…funny, knowledgeable and fair to the other teams…What a silly post!

      • dluxxx - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:50 PM

        Eh, you take em then. They’re terrible. I typically mute them.

      • sportsdrenched - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:24 PM

        I’m with ya. I’m a Royals fan and I like Dick & Bert.

  5. jpash42 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:12 PM

    As usual Craig you are wrong, and have absolutely no clue what you are talking about! Wheeler was horrible, maybe one of the worse. I have never met any Phillies fan that said they enjoyed him, and when he went to the Front office to bash the aging Harry Kalas he was forever shunned by this fan base!! Phillies fans are all rejoicing today!!!

    • gothapotamus90210 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:18 PM

      I think he only bashed Richie, which is why Harry hated him.

      • xmatt0926x - Jan 8, 2014 at 4:54 PM

        That was the rumor. Apparently at some point Wheels went to management and tried to get in on the coveted late game slot which Whitey Ashburn had with Kalas. I’m pretty sure I’ve read many times over the years that in general, Whitey and harry felt Wheels was a stooge for the front office who reported “off the record” stuff to the front office. Who knows.

  6. Bill Baer - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:14 PM

    I’m happy about this news, but am hesitant to have any optimism about their replacements.

    • gothapotamus90210 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:15 PM

      Any chance at moving LA and Franzke to TV?

      Bring back Scott Graham?

      • Bill Baer - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:23 PM

        Todd Zolecki tweeted they’re staying on the radio. (link)

      • jkies10 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:28 PM

        Zero chance. They signed McCarthy to a big extension last year.

    • gothapotamus90210 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:41 PM

      Throw tons of money at Kruk and Mitch

      • 18thstreet - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:46 PM

        Speaking of the fans of every other team: PLEASE TAKE THEM AWAY FROM THE NATIONAL BROADCASTS FOR US. If you like them, please keep them. Especially Kruk. But especially Mitch. And especially Kruk. But also especially Mitch.

      • Bob - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:49 PM

        No kidding. Have you ever actually listened to Kruk and Williams?

      • waltcoogan - Jan 8, 2014 at 5:28 PM

        Kruk ruins the ESPN broadcasts, rambling on incessantly and inarticulately about meaningless matters. He’s clutter, flotsam.

    • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:47 PM

      Joe Morgan and Tim McCarver, come on down!

    • xmatt0926x - Jan 8, 2014 at 4:59 PM

      Agreed. The Daily News mentions Brad Lidge and Chris Coste as possible replacements. I don’t like either idea. Neither one struck me as being anything but vanilla whenever they did interviews or made appearances on any Phillies related shows.

      I never understood them moving Larry Anderson to radio when they did it and I don’t understand their refusal to put him back on TV now.

  7. rbj1 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:15 PM

    And yet Hawk Harrelson still has a job.

    • normcash - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:48 PM

      Because most Sox fans love him, he’s far more interesting than the team and has great entertainment value.

  8. dontdeletemycomments - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:18 PM

    Great to hear….

    Did the Phillies fire the squirrel that sleeps on Wheels head during the games?

    • CJ - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:36 PM

      Nope, it’s being transferred to LA’s upper lip as we speak.

  9. mikedi33 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    The AP report says Comcast fired them as part of the new agreement but the Phils will offer both other jobs with the club.

    • gothapotamus90210 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:20 PM

      God Bless Comcast.

    • dinofrank60 - Jan 8, 2014 at 9:25 PM

      Yep, byproduct of the new TV deal. Before Comcast inked that deal, they wanted this to happen.

  10. jkies10 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:26 PM

    Craig you are so off base here its not even funny. If you never listen to the broadcast or only have a few times how can you accurately compare him to other analysts? I have been listening to Wheeler since I first started watching baseball as a 5 year old kid in 1986. He is the worst. His random laughing rants, the fact that he would rarely let the play by play guy speak. Or how about when Kalas was re-upping his contract in the late 90s and demanded Wheeler get fired because he despised him? The only reason Kalas stayed was because the Phils threw a ton of money at him so they wouldnt have to fire Wheeler. This is the best offseason Phils news I have heard in years! Adios Wheels!

  11. Francisco (FC) - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:36 PM

    I hope whoever is hired is better.

  12. Jonny 5 - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:45 PM

    I will miss Sarge. Wheeler on the other hand annoyed me every single game without a doubt.

    • 18thstreet - Jan 8, 2014 at 1:51 PM

      This is interesting to me. I’m not a Phillies fan, but their games are on MLB Network enough that I listened to that broadcast probably more often than any outside of my home market. I feel exactly the opposite, but I’ll trust your judgment.

      The question, for the next guys, is whether the job description requires that the announcers be total homers. I really dislike the Nationals’ guys on MASN, but I had hoped they’d be better announcers now that the team is good. They didn’t get any better. I think the orders come from above, so you just have to hope that the team allows the announcers the freedom to call the game as they see it. And, honestly, I think teams make a mistake to do otherwise. The thing that drives rating and drives attendance is winning. Heck, it usually lags a year behind reality. The teams cannot convince people that a bad team is good by buying rose-colored glasses for the announcers.

      • dluxxx - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:03 PM

        It seems like the radio announcers get a bit more play, but I’m only speaking from personal experience. Dan Gladden rips the Twins quite a bit when they do something stupid. I’d love to see him in the booth.

  13. skeleteeth - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:05 PM

    Have to:

  14. jeromez48 - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:17 PM

    Out of the whole bunch, the only one that’s any good is Scott Franzke. Tom McCarthy just doesn’t measure up. He just happened to be there when Harry passed. Larry Anderson’s drone is an insomniac’s dream as it will put anyone to sleep.

  15. DelawarePhilliesFan - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:19 PM


    I am somewhat in the minority, but I liked Wheeler. That said, I will not at all miss his over analysis, which was annoying.

    Sarge I am going to miss, but would concede there was a certain quality that seeme missing from him

  16. sportsdrenched - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:26 PM

    The Phillies should take Rex Hudler & Steve Physioc away from the Royals. Yes, this should happen.

  17. babyfarkmcgeezax - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    I still miss Harry Kalas. I’m a Pirates fan but grew up in Phillies territory, and Kalas was the voice of summer to me. Didn’t really mind Sarge and Wheeler. If anyone thinks they are homers, then they have not experienced a Buccos game called by Greg Brown. Truly unbearable homerism mixed with god-awful attempts at forced catch-phrases for every single Pittsburgh player, screamed at the top of his lungs, every single time a Pirates player does anything remotely successful in a game.

  18. eagles512 - Jan 8, 2014 at 2:38 PM

    Doesn’t matter til McCarthy is gone, the worst play by play guy I’ve ever heard.

  19. lpd1964 - Jan 8, 2014 at 3:02 PM

    Wheeler sucked-Mr. know it all, good riddance to the motor mouthed boob!!

  20. ochospantalones - Jan 8, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    Wheeler is awful. He is pretty much universally despised by Phillies fans. Sarge seems like a really nice guy, and I hope they find a role for him elsewhere, but he was a terrible analyst.

  21. phillynation1986 - Jan 8, 2014 at 3:16 PM

    Great, phillies show they know how to get rid of not so great broadcasters, but lack the ability to cut their ties with aging not so good anymore players. Love being a philadelphian.

  22. morrismr466 - Jan 8, 2014 at 3:48 PM

    Never saw either of the two but can’t be worse than Colorado’s Jeff Huson. It’s not possible to out-suck that guy

  23. hisgirlgotburrelled - Jan 8, 2014 at 4:04 PM

    It was non-stop talking with these guys. They’d fill the slower moments in the game with inside jokes and nonsensical banter. Sometimes you’d get Sarge chiming in with some comment and it really made you wonder if he was watching a different baseball game. I take nothing away from their baseball IQ at all. But their positive contributions were few and far between… I’m watching the game on TV, I don’t need someone explaining every single second of what I’m looking at.

    Next needs to be McCarthy. I don’t think he has a good radio voice. His HR calls are brutal. He’s no John Sterling, but still annoying.

  24. jlinatl - Jan 8, 2014 at 4:15 PM

    The chances of following Kalas and Ashburn was destined to end badly for almost anyone. Kruk is beloved in Philly. That would go a long way. But I didn’t care for Wheeler or Sarge on merit, or lack thereof.

  25. aphillieated - Jan 8, 2014 at 5:40 PM

    Thank you baby Jesus!

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