CLEARWATER, Fla. - Larry Bowa was brought back to the dugout and Charlie Manuel was given a key to the front office. Bobby Abreu had his No.53 jersey returned to him and Roy Halladay and Brad Lidge will also be back in uniform, as spring training instructors.
The Phillies winter reunion continued on Tuesday, a day before camp officially opens in Clearwater, when two members of the 2008 World Series championship team were added to broadcast team.
Former pitcher Jamie Moyer and home run hero Matt Stairs will join play-by-play man Tom McCarthy in the broadcast booth, Comcast SportsNet announced.
Moyer and Stairs replace Chris Wheeler and Gary “Sarge” Matthews, who were both fired from their jobs on the broadcast days after CSN and the Phillies agreed to a new, multi-billion dollar rights deal last month. According to Comcast, both Moyer and Stairs will work at least 100 of the 161 games on the network’s docket as analysts and will share the booth for at least 30 games.
In Moyer and Stairs, Comcast has hired two knowledgeable baseball men with a combined 44 years of major league experience. The fact that they are also names that resonate with a younger fan base that watched the 2008 team parade down Broad Street 5 1/2 years ago doesn’t hurt, either.
“We are thrilled to have World Series Champions Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs join our Phillies broadcast team,” Comcast SportsNet President Brian Monihan said in a press release. “These two former Phillies bring a unique perspective to the booth, and their expert analysis will add a new level of energy, insight and enjoyment to our Phillies broadcasts.”
The 51-year-old Moyer, who never announced his retirement from a playing career, is a Philadelphia-area native who dug out the pitching rubber after the Phillies won the World Series in October of 2008, a few weeks shy of his 46th birthday. Moyer was 56-40 with a 4.55 ERA in parts of five seasons with the Phillies; he won 269 games in a 25-year career that ended in the Colorado Rockies in 2012.
Moyer is a Souderton native that pitched for St. Joseph’s University before beginning his big league career with the Chicago Cubs in 1986. Moyer pitched against Steve Carlton and the Phillies in his major league debut.
Moyer previously worked as an analyst with ESPN in 2011, when he was recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Stairs, 45, didn’t spend as much time in a Phillies uniform, but he made an indelible imprint on the franchise with one swing in October of 2008. Stairs’ go-ahead, pinch-hit home run in Game 4 of the Nationals League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium paved the way for the Phillies path to the World Series.
Stairs, baseball’s all-time leader in pinch-hit home runs, joined the Phillies a month before the regular season ended in 2008 and was back with the team in 2009, when they won the NL pennant for a second straight year. He retired from a 19-year playing career after spending the 2011 season with Washington.
Stairs worked as a postgame analyst for NESN in Boston during the 2012 season.
Comcast SportsNet will air 140 games this season; 12 more games, including the home opener, will air on NBC10, while the Comcast Network will broadcast an additional nine games.
On Feb. 26, the first of 18 games televised by CSN or the Comcast Network will air at 1 p.m. when the Phillies play host to the Toronto Blue Jays in Clearwater. Both Moyer and Stairs will make their debuts with the network that afternoon.