Deflating Wheels

On Philly Future someone linked to a website pleading the Phillies to fire Chris Wheeler from the Phillies announcing team. Why? Because it’s been leaked that the Phillies are talking about putting Wheels on for all 9 innings of each game, and moving Larry Anderson to strictly radio annoucement.

Now, an argument can be made that in some ways, Chris Wheeler is a better “announcer” than Larry Anderson. He’s got an extensive memory of Phillies history and current events around the league.

But really, his ability to announce isn’t the part that is up for debate in the minds of most Phillies fans I know. The part for debate is whether he’s actually worth listening to. I can’t tell you how many years I’ve spent listening to games and hearing Wheeler complain about a decision the umpires made or a choice the manager made where Wheeler was just plain wrong, and anyone who was capable of seeing the replay on their television was capable of seeing it. Wheeler is too often a complainer and a homer and an idiot.

Larry Anderson, on the other hand, has never pretended to play the role of the full announcer – he’s an excellent color commentator, leaving the announcing of balls and strikes and such to Harry Kalas or Scott Graham. He’s frequently played the same role for nationally-televised games — never asked to be the announcer, but providing color to broadcasts for Fox Sports when the Phillies have played. He’s fun to listen to.

Phillies fans like Anderson. We’re not so hot on Wheeler. For that matter, rumor has it that those preferences follow for the staff in the booth. I’m strongly hoping the Phillies organization thinks hard about the decisions they make for staffing the booth this year — they won’t drive more people to the stadium by annoying the hell out of them at home.