For everyone who has grown tired of listening to Chris Wheeler’s questionable take on the game of baseball, I have some good news: Neither he nor Gary “Sarge” Matthews will be part of the television broadcast team for the 2014 season.
“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,” the Phillies said in a statement. “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.”
Now that they’ve agreed to give the Phillies a hefty sum of money, it didn’t take long for Comcast SportsNet to start enforcing their will. Reportedly, the decision to make the change was made by the network.
Wheeler had been a member of the broadcast team for 37 years. Despite his longevity, he was not especially well-liked by the majority of the fan base. They seemed to dislike his bad jokes and apparently inability to recognize that things like the internet and sabermetrics existed. Or perhaps people just got tired of seeing his hairpiece. The “Wheels” hatred began to really pick up a few years ago when the public began to hear details of his feud with beloved play-by-play man Harry Kalas.
As for Sarge…he was just kind of there. The most memorable moment of his broadcasting career might have been when he called the Mets “crybabies.”
If you were a fan of either man, don’t worry too much. They are both still employed by the Phillies and will serve in other roles in the organization. Perhaps Wheeler could serve as a special assistant to newly hired statistical analyst Scott Freedman. Conversations between the two men would likely prove fascinating.