The Philadelphia Daily News’ Paul Hagen on growing tensions surrounding the Phillies broadcasting corps.
When Tom McCarthy left to join the Mets broadcast team in December, the Phils had some decisions to make. One was who would replace him. That was settled with the recent announcement that Scott Franzke will join the crew.
The team also had to figure out how he would be utilized. And that’s when things started to get interesting.
The tentative plan is to pair Hall of Famer Harry Kalas (above) and Chris Wheeler in the first three and last three innings on television, with Wheeler and Scott Graham working the middle three. Larry Andersen will move to radio exclusively.
All indications are that this arrangement didn’t make any of the holdovers particularly happy, although all apparently stand ready to carry out whatever duties they’re assigned.
The added twist is that Kalas turns 70 next month. He’s in the last year of his contract. And he figuratively shrugged recently when asked what his plans beyond 2006 might be.
“I haven’t really thought about it, no,” he said from his Delaware County home. “We’ll see how it goes. I still enjoy it, and as long as I enjoy it, I’ll probably want to continue.”
The key phrase appears to be “as long as I enjoy it.”
Because when asked whether the partners he ends up working with could impact his enjoyment and, by extension, his decision, he replied: “It might. I’m certainly going to miss working with L.A.”
A cynic could suggest that the Phillies are tying to nudge Kalas toward the exit by making the booth an uncomfortable place for him to work. That way, they don’t come off as the heavies.
After all, while he and Wheeler work together professionally enough on the air, it’s no secret that they have virtually no personal relationship.
3 thoughts on “Phillies’ Kalas To Pull His Own Plug?”
Hagens last sentence about Harry Kalas and Chris Wheeler having no personal relationship is understated. Harry cant stand Chris Wheeler and neither does 99.99% of Phillies fans. I hope this is all scuttlebutt or some kind of trial balloon press leak from the Phillies as there can not be a worse PR move imaginable than for the Phillies to force the most beloved member of their organization into retirement by subjecting him to “Wheels”. As it stands, Phillies fans are barely tolerant of the 3 TV innings that Wheeler currently jabbers and whines through, only in that once the 7th inning comes around, Harry comes back. 6 or 9 innings of Chris Wheeler is unacceptable, and the fact that the Main Line/UPenn cabal that owns and operates the Phillies seem to see this nearly unamimously disliked figure as their lead broadcaster in-waiting is just another example of their disconnect from their Phan base, if not from reality itself.
Click my link for the e-mail addresses of the Phils’ PR guys. We’re trying the grass-roots thing up here, because the above poster is dead-on correct.