Lidge among top candidates for Phillies commentary gig
The Phillies will have a new voice in 2014, as the position of color commentator for television broadcasts opened up Wednesday after Comcast let go of long-time personalities Gary Matthews Sr. and Chris Wheeler.
Among those expected to be possible replacements are several former Phillies players, including Brad Lidge, Chris Coste and Ricky Botallico.
While Botallico currently works with Comcast Sportsnet’s pre and post-game shows, Lidge and Coste are popular and well-spoken recent Phillies. Lidge of course helped lead the Phillies to a World Series title in 2008 going 48-for-48 in save opportunities.
The decision to make the change comes not long after the Phillies and Comcast Sportsnet reached a $2.5 billion dollar deal to continue working together on Phillies telecasts.
Both commentators were Phillies employees, but the new hire will be made by Comcast. Whomever they select will join Tom McCarthy in the booth.
“It’s been an honor and a privilege to be a part of the Phillies broadcast team for 37 years,” Wheeler said in a statement released on the Phillies’ website. “I certainly respect the decision that was made and I look forward to my new role in the Phillies organization.”
Matthews Sr, 63, has been with the Phillies for 16 seasons and Wheeler, 68, has been with the team since 1971. Each will remain with the team in different roles, though the extent of their future involvement is not yet known.
“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,” A statement on the Phillies’ website said. “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.”
Scott Franzke and Larry Anderson will remain the radio team for the Phillies.