Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Comcast hires Jamie Moyer, Matt Stairs for Phillies broadcasts

Forever remembered in Philadelphia for their contributions to the 2008 World Series championship, Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs will author a new chapter this season as Phillies broadcasters.

Comcast hires Jamie Moyer, Matt Stairs for Phillies broadcasts

Former Phillies Matt Stairs (left) and Jamie Moyer (right). (AP file photos)
Former Phillies Matt Stairs (left) and Jamie Moyer (right). (AP file photos)

Forever remembered in Philadelphia for their contributions to the 2008 World Series championship, Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs will author a new chapter this season as Phillies broadcasters.

The two popular former Phillies were hired Tuesday by Comcast SportsNet. They replaced venerable broadcasters Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews, who were dropped from the booth last month by Comcast.

Moyer and Stairs have little experience in TV work but instant cachet with fans. Comcast will mix-and-match its TV team throughout the season. Moyer and Stairs will each work at least 100 games, more than 30 of which will be together on a three-man team with play-by-play announcer Tom McCarthy. Gregg Murphy will return as an in-game reporter.

Comcast will broadcast 179 games, including 18 in in the spring, over Comcast SportsNet, NBC10 and The Comcast Network.

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Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs are the new members of the Phillies broadcast team. Is this the best choice?
Yes. As former Phillies, they know the team.
No. They don't have broadcast experience.
Let's wait and see.

"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 statement. "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."

Moyer and Stairs were hired as Comcast employees, while McCarthy remains a Phillies employee. The network gained more editorial control under the guise of its recent billion-dollar TV rights deal with the Phillies. Wheeler and Matthews remain Phillies employees; Wheeler will be the public address announcer at Bright House Field during spring training and Matthews a guest instructor for Ryne Sandberg.

Moyer, 51, pitched five seasons for the Phillies, his hometown team. The Souderton native started Game 3 of the 2008 World Series and 118 regular-season games for the Phillies. His career ERA was 4.25 in 25 seasons.

An elbow injury during the 2010 season that required Tommy John surgery did not end the 47-year-old lefthander's career. Instead, Moyer launched a comeback and appeared in 10 games with Colorado during the 2012 season. He is the oldest pitcher to ever win a major-league game at 49 years, 5 months and 28 days.

Moyer's father-in-law is Digger Phelps, the former college basketball coach turned popular ESPN commentator. Moyer briefly worked for ESPN's Baseball Tonight as an analyst during the 2011 season.

Stairs, who turns 46 at the end of February, cemented his legacy with one swing. His pinch-hit, two-run homer in Game 4 of the 2008 National League championship series provided a crucial victory en route to the championship.

The Canadian slugger bashed 265 home runs in 19 seasons for 12 teams and retired during the 2011 season. Stairs worked as a part-time Red Sox studio analyst for NESN in 2012. He also coached high-school hockey in Maine and his native New Brunswick.

Comcast considered a bevy of former Phillies, according to a source, like Mickey Morandini, Mitch Williams and Kevin Stocker. They were rebuffed by national network personalities like Dan Plesac and Doug Glanville. Former closer Brad Lidge declined to interview, too.

Phillies pitchers and catchers must report to Clearwater, Fla., on Wednesday for physical examinations. Their first formal workout is Thursday. Moyer and Stairs will make their broadcast debuts Feb. 26, when the Phillies commence their Grapefruit League schedule against Toronto at 1 p.m.

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