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Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Chris Wheeler: ‘I did the last nine games knowing I was a lame duck’

We’ve all had Wheels to take ourselves away…

Phillies team president David Montgomery found Wheeler before the game.

“[He] told me on Sept. 21 that I wasn’t going to be back to do the games,” Wheeler said. “I did the last nine games knowing I was a lame duck. And that was a little difficult . . . Leaving the booth that Sunday, I caught myself looking around as I walked to the bus.”

...Wheeler is back in Clearwater this spring, going about his business as if nothing has changed. Although he won’t appear on Comcast’s broadcasts, he will continue to be around the team in a still-to-be-determined role.

He will be a team ambassador, of sorts.

“One of the things they want me to do is go around the ballpark and play the role of Chris Wheeler,” he said. “Whatever the hell that is. Just show up at stuff. Anybody who has something in the organization that they may want me to do, like play golf with a sponsor, go into a suite, maybe talk at one of the sponsor’s dinners, offseason speaking engagements.”

...“It was a little overwhelming to be honest with you,” Wheeler said. “It took me a long time to sit down, answer all the calls, get back to everybody, answer all my emails, answer all my texts. [A Phillies media relations official] told me it was going to happen and I thought, ‘Come on, who gives a crap that I’m going to be gone?’ He said, ‘It’s going to be a bigger story than you think.’ And I swear to God I did not envision it turning into what it turned in to. The attention was unbelievable. It was very nice, very flattering and if my legacy can be to have been a decent human being and a professional, I’m good with that. Somebody who just loved the game.”

Repoz Posted: February 25, 2014 at 05:57 AM | 6 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: media, phillies

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   1. Jerry Lumpe Rutherford (Dan Lee) Posted: February 25, 2014 at 09:47 AM (#4661939)
I did the last nine games knowing I was a lame duck. And that was a little difficult . . . Leaving the booth that Sunday, I caught myself looking around as I walked to the bus.
*shrug*

Such is life in broadcasting. I spent the last six weeks of my career in TV news knowing my employer was about to be shuttered and I was out on my butt when the doors closed.

If you'd like to continue to get work, you show up and do the best you can. It's a small, insular industry, and it'll get around in a hurry if you're doing anything less than your best.

edit to add: Sounds like Wheeler handled it as well as he could have. And it's not that I don't feel bad for the guy, it's just that his story is not unusual.
   2. eddieot Posted: February 25, 2014 at 11:46 AM (#4662044)
Kudos to the Phils for breaking his fall and finding a spot for him in the organization. Good to see that not every aspect of the team is being mishandled. Just most.
   3. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: February 25, 2014 at 12:08 PM (#4662076)
At least this dude got told at the end of the season that he wasn't coming back. Andy Masur was told at the end of January that he was being replaced in the Padres radio booth.
   4. Jesse Barfield's Right Arm Posted: February 25, 2014 at 12:22 PM (#4662089)
Since we were on the Phillies, I really thought #3 was referring to Andy Musser from the Phils 80s and 80s SportsChannel team with Kent Tekulve, who I had thought passed away a few years ago (he did, R.I.P.).

Wheels will be missed - took a lot of time to get a basic grasp of the other team's strengths and weaknesses. Not brilliant or original, but a very workmanlike approach to preparing for games and no attempt to be a character. Moyer and Stairs seem to be a predictable brain and brawn combo, and I think Moyer will be pretty critical. Big problem is house shill McCarthy.

Will likely listen to Frantzke and LA for 80% of the time.
   5. BDC Posted: February 25, 2014 at 01:04 PM (#4662117)
Wow, the last link to the era in which I listened to baseball on the radio most obsessively. The other three are deceased (Kalas, Ashburn, Musser), so Wheels was the last living link, in fact. He got a lot of hazing from the elder three back in his youth, but became the elder statesman himself in time.
   6. GregD Posted: February 25, 2014 at 01:34 PM (#4662141)
I like this response:
“One of the things they want me to do is go around the ballpark and play the role of Chris Wheeler,” he said. “Whatever the hell that is.

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