Earlier in the off season, I tried to bait Rum Bunter‘s Tom Smith into reigniting an intense Phillies-Pirates rivalry to battle over the heart of Pennsylvania. He had no interest.
It’s a very long state, might I remind you. There’s a sign when you reach the middle that says “YOU ARE NOW ENTERING THE PENNSYLVANIA WILD,” and there’s a picture of a bear, and a deer, and like a duck or something. So don’t think for a second that Pennsylvania’s no prize.
Regardless! Today, the Phillies took another step across the Keystone State, completing another phase of their plan to choke the Pirates right off of their land.
Yes, we’re always stirring up conflict here in PA. When we’re not buying our beer, liquor, and groceries at three different stores or shooting rockets into the night. Which explains why Phillies games are getting picked back up by Harrisburg area radio station ESPN 1400, where Scott Franzke and Larry Andersen’s voices haven’t caressed nightly listeners since 2005.
The Phillies recognized how monumental an achievement this was in their quest to replace the state flag on top of the capital building with a Phillies flag, or perhaps the severed head of Mr. Met. That’s why Charlie Manuel, Chris Wheeler, and Franzke were all in attendance; to smooze those Harrisburgers right out of their capital pants. Not literally, of course. But you can’t rule it out with that party maniac Wheels hanging around the proceedings. I once saw him beat six frat brothers in a case race and then drag their pick up truck home with his teeth.
The desire to bring in the Phillies had come from another radio station in York (where Phillies fans only come in “adorable“), ESPN 1440, whispering in Harrisburg’s ear. “Start broadcasting Phillies games,” they’d say. “There’s not really an alternative,” they’d say. “Trust us, Greg Gross grew up here.”
Yes, the exciting news of our successful invasion is warm enough itself, but I’ll leave you with the manager of ESPN 1400, Ron Giovanniello, and his sultry, wild-eyed hyperbole of the proceedings:
"“… Rob Brooks, who’s the manager of broadcasting for the team, he and I got together … and it just all came together and we put an agreement together to carry the Phillies on ESPN 1400 in Harrisburg.”—Ron Giovanniello"