You’re Wrong. Chris Wheeler Is a ‘True Boob’
On Thursday, Philly mag’s features editor Robert Huber wrote about why he actually likes widely despised Phillies’ color commentator Chris Wheeler, much to the displeasure of a number of commenters … and his father-in-law, David Stone. Now, Mr. Stone has sent Bob a letter, on what exactly it is about Ol’ Wheels that drives him bananas. Full text below.
Where do I begin?
I have (had) no problem with Wheels as a play-by-play guy. He knows baseball, has seen thousands of MLB games in his career. He knows the players, he knows the coaches, he knows and appreciates the history of the game.
But the thing that curses him as a color guy is that he is such a management guy. A true boob. He cannot disassociate himself from the owners. His pre-game radio show with Charlie Manuel is the classic example, where he grills the manager with penetrating hard-to-answer questions like, “It must be hard to be such a good manager, isn’t it, Charlie?”
I can overlook that, because he’s got to do that show 162 times with the same guy, so I give him a pass. It’s a PR event.
Where he kills me — kills me — is when he goes after a Phillies player in a way he would never ever go after someone in management. Wheels has no issue — and we’ve all heard him do this, hundreds of time — saying something like:
“Ryan (or Jimmy, or Jayson Werth) knows he made a bad throw. It was really a bad decision by Ryan to throw that ball.”
When he says that, he’s rarely wrong, or out of place, or not doing his job. That’s fine. What gets my proverbial goat is that he would never ever ever say, “Charlie Manuel really made a mistake by bringing in J.C. Romero into the game with the bases full, given how often Romero walks guys.” Or, “Ruben did a great job in getting the two Roys. Although you have to wonder if the guys the Phils got in the Lee trade will ever help the Phillies.”
He won’t say that, because that would be critical of someone who is not a player.
That’s my biggest gripe.
But he makes me grumble so much because I can predict what he’s going to say.
I know at least once a game — but more than likely three times a game — he’ll say “he’s looking for something middle-in” and “no doubles defense.” I know when someone tries and succeeds or tries and fails to steal third base, he will say, “If you do that, you have to make it.” I can do a virtual Milli Vanilli and lip-synch with him on that one.
And let’s not forget his constant … he KNOWS! “He knows he made a mistake.” Or: “He knows he should have caught that ball.” Or: “Right there, Shane is thinking, ‘I have to not only catch it with my back to home plate, I have to be in the position to turn to my left,’ because he knows how fast Reyes is, but he also knows that Reyes has a slight fever tonight, so he’s thinking, ‘I’ve got to be ready to throw to third.'” He’s a goddamn mind reader! Fucking Nostradamus.
Which goes to the silliest thing a color guy can do: imply that he played major league baseball. He advises the audience on what it’s like to see a slider drop, what a hamstring pull feels like when you’re busting down the line, the fear you have when you see a fastball directed at your head. How difficult it is to play in cold weather. What it feels like to run into a fence. He tells us this shit all the time, as if he played Major League Baseball. If he ran into a fence playing baseball, he did it at an entirely different level than he is telling us about now.
He didn’t play MLB. You didn’t play, Bob. Even I, incredibly, didn’t play (I chose the arts). Whitey played. McCarver played. L.A. played. Sarge, god love him, played.
This is the truth: Wheels is so annoying as a color guy, I actually look forward to Sarge showing up in the middle innings. And we all know Sarge is in over his head. Or over his hat.
I don’t want Chris Wheeler fired. I want him to just do play-by-play.
And I ain’t crazy about McCarthy either. Ever see the pre-game intros to the TV games he does? He announces with such over-the-top zeal, such top-40 disc jockey excitement (“WHAT A NIGHT! IT’S HOLY REDEEMER HOSPITAL HAT NIGHT AT CITIZENS BANK PARK! I’M SO EXCITED I’M GONNA SHIT IN MY PANTS RIGHT NOW!”) .
Salk yelled less when he cured polio.
I like the radio guys, though.
Glad I can help you with your pathetic attempt to defend him.
Your Loving Father-in-Law,