Six weeks after unceremoniously canning Chris Wheeler and Gary "Sarge" Matthews from the Phillies' broadcast team, NBC/Comcast has ended its search for replacements by coming to terms with a pair of former Phillies who came to the organization in the twilights of their careers and were part of the 2008 World Series team -- pitcher Jamie Moyer and pinch-hitting specialist Matt Stairs -- to serve as co-color analysts. A source close to the negotiations confirmed the matter was settled Tuesday morning. Comcast confirmed the hires later in the say.
According to a story by CSNPhilly.com's John Finger there will be a three-man booth for about 30 games and the Moyer and Stairs will split the rest of the games as a two-man team with play-by-play man Tom McCarthy, which will allow each former player time to take breaks and spend time with their families.
With Moyer being more of a straight-laced professorial baseball man and Stairs a quippy, beer-can crushing free spirit, one could see their stints in the booth as a good cop/bad cop blend, with McCarthy being able to focus more on his job and less on the small talk.
It will be the first time in 37 years that Wheeler won't be part of a broadcast, and his departure marks the end of an era that featured Harry Kalas, Richie Ashburn and Andy Musser in the booth along with Wheeler from the 1970s into the new millennium. Kalas (2009) and Ashburn (1997) died while on the road with the team, while Musser was replaced in 2001 and passed away two years ago.
Considering the relative youth of this new group of broadcasters -- Moyer is 51, Stairs and McCarthy 45 -- it has an opportunity to become a staple for decades if the personalities mesh.
Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen remain as the radio broadcast team and, unlike the TV group, are employed by the Phillies. The organization's recent contract extension with NBC/Comcast has given the network the responsibility of choosing the talents on television.