Quantcast


Spring Training Notes: MAG, Wheels, Broxton

Posted by Pat Gallen, Mon, February 24, 2014 09:50 PM | Comments: 21
Analysis, News, Opinion, Posts

 (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

(AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

-Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez will miss his first chance to prove to Phillies fans that he can actually throw a baseball. Citing an illness (already), MAG won’t pitch on Thursday in the Phillies/Blue Jays match up. It appears he’ll instead go on Saturday.

Kind of odd that he already has been pushed back because of an illness, but I guess the Phils aren’t taking any chances? Who knows. Regardless, the reviews have not been strong on MAG thus far.

——–

-Chris Wheeler says it’s been different. He’s not gearing up for another season behind the microphone, something he’d done for a long, long time.

“The last time I didn’t go on the road was 1976. I’ve been on every road trip from ’77 on, which basically means that I’ve pretty much seen every game.”

I feel for Wheels, whom I got to know over the last few years covering the team. We’d shoot the crap in the press box on most nights as he would sit directly behind me during Sarge’s innings.

What’s even more sad is that he knew before the end of last season that he wasn’t going to be back.

“I did the last nine games knowing I was a lame duck. And that was a little difficult. It was difficult leaving that Sunday, the second game that I did. That Saturday night, it rained with the Mets. He told me before that game. So leaving the booth that Sunday, I caught myself looking around as I walked to the bus. We went to Miami and Atlanta, so I did the games down there. (Tom McCarthy had to go home for personal reasons) and I wound up doing play-by-play for two or three games. Just me and Sarge, two lame ducks sitting there.So that was a little bit difficult.”

I for one will miss Wheels in the booth, although I am looking forward to the new guys taking over.

——–

-Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs spoke with the media for the first time today and Moyer had this to say.

“I’m not going to be Harry Kalas. But I’d like to be a good broadcaster like Harry Kalas was.”

That is a man that knows his place in Philadelphia. Also, Stairs dropped this baby, saying he’ll be going where Jonathan Broxton is as the two broadcasters split duties on the road trips.

“I go to Cincinnati because of Broxton.”

Looking forward to it, Matty.

 

Avatar of Pat Gallen

About Pat Gallen

Pat Gallen has written 1677 articles on Phillies Nation.

Pat is Editor-in-Chief of Phillies Nation. He also covers the Phils for 97.5 FM in Philly.

 
 
  • Posts: 0 Chuck A.

    Personally, I’m going to miss Wheels. Would have been nice to have had him remain as a fill-in announcer or something. Even on the radio. Looking forward to Stairs, though.

     
  • Posts: 5159 Lefty

    Avatar of Lefty

    I can’t remember, but didn’t they keep Wheeler in the organization in some capacity?

     
    • Posts: 0 Chuck A.

      Yeah, goodwill ambassador. You know…he’ll do charity golf tournaments, speaking engagements, stuff like that. I think I even read that he’s the public address announcer for all the spring training games in Clearwater. Wheels is a good guy. I talked to him a little bit a few years ago at spring training. Really personable, very nice to the fans. You can just tell that he’s genuine.

       
      • Posts: 5159 Lefty

        Avatar of Lefty

        I just realized that if I’d clicked the link above I would have known what he was doing- silly me. He always seemed like he’d be a good guy in person, glad to hear it. I have a vague memory of either Whitey, Harry or Andy introducing him as the new guy on his first day in the radio booth.

         
  • Posts: 0 Jim

    Those that are happy to see Wheels go should remember 2 things: (1) it is surely a horrible thing getting thrown out like trash after 40 years from a job you loved, and (2) Wheels was and is the biggest Phillies fan most of us have ever seen. All you need to do is look at that famous video of Harry Kalas calling the final out of the 2008 Workd Series, and you’ll see what I mean.

     
    • Posts: 0 Chuck A.

      Absolutely, Jim!

       
  • Avatar of The Original Chuck P

    MAG is such a wild card… I think it will take some time for him to build up the strength but I’m going to remain optimistic. I think initially teams were thinking that he would be a mid-rotation starter… largely because of all of the talent that’s been coming out of Cuba recently… I’d say that is still a possibility but he hasn’t pitched in two years and he had bone spurs in his elbow so it’s really critical to take it slow and temper expectations until he has had the opportunity to benefit from a healthy dose of major league training.

    I never liked Wheels’ style but you can’t help but feel bad for the guy in this situation. That doesn’t mean I wish he was still the man in the booth but I do think he deserved better… 40 years is a long time. I wouldn’t have minded Wheels in smaller doses… an in-game, on-the-field analyst sort of like Gregg Murphy but with a little more meat behind his comments.

     
    • Posts: 0 wbramh

      I agree on both points.

      On the subject of MAG, the one thing that scares me most is the degree to which observers are seeing absolutely nothing from this guy. The problem may very well be a matter of recovering from the extended layoff and injury. That would be a long, uphill battle for anyone. Still, for the consensus to be that negative just from watching him warm up gives me extra pause. Even Doc was able to show flashes of his old form despite debilitating injuries – and injuries incurred at at 35, not 25. And I still don’t understand why MAG’s injuries hadn’t totally heal during the 2-year lay-off or why he hadn’t gone through and beyond these light paces a year ago – even 6 months ago when the Phillies signed him. That’s the equivalent of two lost seasons right there. I joked in a previous comment that I hoped the Phillies didn’t accidentally sign the wrong Gonzalez. Now I’m starting to wonder whether they were punked.

       
      • Avatar of The Original Chuck P

        I hate speculating on why he’s not rehabilitated in this case because I don’t know enough about about Cuba and this kid’s makeup and what internal scouts are really seeing (perhaps the Phillies are slow-playing their hand… maybe he’s better than we think).

        If he is truly lacking zip or bite on his stufff, here are some things that I believe may have contributed to the lag in his progress…
        - perhaps he wasn’t getting the proper care and training and rehab he needed (maybe the Cuban healthcare system and training isn’t that great)
        - perhaps he was sort of blackballed from being properly cared for because he was caught trying to defect twice.
        - perhaps he doesn’t have the support system to do it on his own… being blackballed from Cuban baseball, he’d have to keep up with his training by himself, a daunting task (just ask Maurice Clarett).
        - perhaps he’s immature or was just looking for a payday
        - perhaps he never had “it” to begin with (maybe his numbers were more a function of luck)

         
    • Posts: 0 schmenkman

      Nobody has said that MAG isn’t healed, correct? That’s all speculation, I believe (not that it’s necessarily wrong, just making sure I haven’t missed anything).

       
      • Posts: 0 wbramh

        Correct, which makes the mystery even deeper and that creates speculation and yes again, speculation is not necessarily wrong. That’s what we all do here most of the time since we don’t live inside the heads of the players, managers and owners.

        As Chuck P. suggested, there are multiple reasons why MAG’s progress may have been dragged out – assuming, as you say, the injury was nagging in the first place since we don’t really know whether the problem with MAG is rust, injury, a combination of those two or something else, entirely.

        That said, the Phillies made an offer to Gonzalez all the way back to last Summer and signed him to a $12 million dollar contract in October. While $12 million over 3 years is not Tanaka money, it’s still quite an invest, especially for a salary-strapped team still carrying the dead weight of past financial mistakes. And while the Phillies franchise may be worth something approaching $1 billion these days, multi-million dollar investments are probably still protected and nurtured.

        So I naturally must ask (as a reporter might have done in the days of reporting), why Gonzalez appears to be at square one 5 months after his signing and at the very moment the team prepares for its first inter-squad games? And if this isn’t square one, what scout saw what must have been an even smaller hint of talent in MAG months earlier to encourage the team to sign him (to $50 million) last October? The situation is almost too insane to warrant speculation. It flat out doesn’t make sense to me.

        Shall we speculate or assume God works in mysterious ways?
        But to be a fly on management’s wall through this adventure. Sigh.

         
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        Is it your guess then that he’s not really “ill”, but was pushed back in order to avoid an embarrassing outing in early spring, when there might be more focus on it?

        My assumption until more is known is that it’s just the not pitching for two years, but I can understand the urge to speculate.

         
      • Posts: 0 schmenkman

        In any case, MAG is schedule to pitch Saturday against the Yankees.

         
      • Posts: 0 wbramh

        Schmenk: I could speculate but I won’t – and didn’t. Suggesting Gonzalez was scratched to avoid embarrassment would border on conspiracy theory material. Plus, it’s still flu season. Then again, if MAG suddenly fell ill after a closed door meeting with coaches, all of whom are feeling fine and every other hopeful within coughing range of MAG is fine …
        No I won’t go there. You can’t bait be. Uh, uh. Nope. I’ll take the Phillies at their solemn word.
        Or slalom word since it occasionally tends to curve downhill when it comes to medical issues.

        Again, I’m not speculating at all but asking the obvious questions. Why is Gonzalez so pathetically behind a full year after MLB teams came a courtin’ and a full 5 months after the Phillies signed him for $12 mil – and why did that offer drop so dramatically from $50 mil after the injury was revealed? Did they give him an MRI? Did they see something that bothered them $38 million worth? Did competing interest around the league prove to be minimal after those workouts or did the Phillies really scare off the competition with a bluff offer as some (not me) have, er, “speculated?” If Gonzalez is as far behind as every direct observer and coach currently claims, what did scouts see in him way back last Summer (precisely the end of June, 2013) when he was throwing bullpen sessions for MLB scouts? One would assume he was rustier back then, the time between his long, baseball-less odyssey from Cuba to Mexico and that much sooner after his “recovery” from a previous injury back in Cuba?

        There’s not a word of speculation in that previous paragraph; just unanswered questions.
        To my mind, the situation is so bizarre as to defy speculation.
        I’d have to speculate on why I can’t speculate.

         
  • Posts: 0 Dolores mccloskey

    When the org is done wth u you hv no say Charlie and wheels were shown no respect the shld hv been able to retire wth dignity whats a couple of years wnhen u spend ur life devoted to baseball and especially Wheels wth the phils

     
    • Posts: 0 Chuck A.

      Have we as a society gotten totally away from punctuation and not abbreviating every other word when writing something online???

       
      • Posts: 0 wbramh

        I c ur pt c a

         
  • Posts: 0 bacardipr

    Nothing against Wheels but sometimes its best to leave a job any job before you are forced to. Least that has been mantra for the most part. It was times to shake things up in the organization. This was known from the time Uncle C was let go.

     
  • Posts: 0 George

    Wasn’t it Comcast who fired Wheels, and not the Phils? Seems to me the team did him a decent turn by keeping him on THEIR actual staff. They could have just told him to get lost.

     
  • I am going to forward this article to my brother. I’m sure
    he’s going to like reading it.

     
  • I have been reading through your page for a long time, but
    up until now I decided to place at the very least
    a howdy there.

     
 
Leave a Comment

>> Create a new Phillies Nation account.
>> Already registered with Phillies Nation? Log in here.
>> Comment without logging in:






Please ensure your comments comply with our Comment Policy.