Wheeler Visits Old Roots

Philadelphia Phillies broadcaster Chris Wheeler visited his old roots on Wednesday as a guest speaker at the high school in which he graduated in 1963.

All student athletes attended the assembly to kick off the winter sports season. Wheeler was once in our place. He never thought he'd be the one doing the talking, but returned as a speaker noticing the newer auditorium seats in the old, run down school.

Like the athletic director, Wheeler went through all the basics. School and family come first and things to that degree.

Wheeler also talked about his job and the Phillies. He claimed he never had to work a day in his life, and doing something you love is key.

Wheeler flashed back to his high school days where he played shortstop on the varsity baseball team. He thought he they had a pretty good team, but knew they had a tough opponent coming up with very good player on that team. When the game came, the player they heard about hit the ball a mile. There was no fence, so the ball kept on going. The batter could of ran the bases eight times before the fielders caught up to it, Wheeler remembered.

It turned out that the player was more than just a pretty good player. He turned out to be a Hall Of Famer. His name, Reggie Jackson. After Wheels played that game, he knew he wasn't going to be a professional baseball player and realized how tough it is to become one.

The World Series meant so much to Wheeler. To him, like most people, it was a dream come true. After the 1980 World Series, he thought that the Phillies would be champions for several years in a row. That proved to be wrong and Wheels realized how hard it is to win.

Wheels was lucky enough to get a job for the team he rooted for as a kid. To him, the 2008 World Series blew away the 1980 World Series. The only difference was the after parties were a little better in '80 since he was younger, although the parties were still great in '08 as many of the players attended. The parade topped everything in Wheeler's mind. The sea of red blew him away. There is no place like winning in Philadelphia.

Wheels reflected the moment in which he created a new dance move, "The Wheeler" as the Phillies won the World Series. He tried to redo the "Wheeler" doing some sort of arm motion but he said he really didn't know what he did. His main thing was to shut up and let Harry Kalas make his famous call.

Wheels talked about the team, and answered many questions. He talked about what a close knit team they are, how the energy level in the clubhouse is always positive, and how much fun the players have.

Wheeler was not sure who exactly the Phillies are going after, but he did say that Jamie Moyer will likely be a Phillie in 2009. As for Pat Burrell, Wheels thinks his Phillies days are over. Wheels doesn't see Chris Coste in a Phillies uniform much longer either. He also thinks that the Phillies will go long term with Cole Hamels, and Ryan Howard is due for big bucks once again in arbitration.

Wheels felt that Howard should hae won the MVP, but was not disappointed Albert Pujols won since he put up tremendous numbers. He also talked about Pujols' comments in 2006 and the irony of it.

Wheeler's priority for the Phillies is more pitching. He was not sure about what the Phillies will do with Adam Eaton, but said they still have to pay him. There really isn't much to do with him. He said that Kyle Kendirck has to add a new pitch, which he will work on in Spring Training.

If asked if Utley got in trouble with his explicative, Wheeler said he probably shouldn't have said it, Utley simply got caught up in the moment and may not of realized he was on live television. The only trouble Utley may have gotten in was from his wife and parents. Wheels said Chase is the most honest person you'll ever meet. In the background photos, Wheels is pictured covering his head as Chase commented. Wheels admitted he laughed before he covered his head remembering his days in the Public Relations department where those comments are a worse nightmare for TV.

He was also asked if MLB will ever allow the team's broadcaster to broadcast playoff games. Wheels said it will likely never happen. He was happy to do radio this year because in '80 they couldn't even do that. His main concern was to have playoff starting times earlier so the younger kids can watch, but explained how people on the west coast want to watch it too.

I was able to ask him two questions. The two questions I asked were if Donald/Marson/Carrasco had a chance to be on the MLB club next season, and he answered that he didn't know much about Donald/Marson but Carrasco has the best shot.

I also asked if any Phillies will participate in the World Baseball Classic in March. He replied "you are really a fan!" and answered most likely Utley, since he played on 2006 team. Lidge played too, but I'm not sure Wheels was aware of it. This was before we found out about Utley's hip surgery.

Perhaps the highlight of the night when he called on somebody to answer a question. "You sir in the back, or is that a lady. I don't know, I can't really tell." Smooooth... A classic Wheels moment.
Although many students wanted to get out of the school, for me, it was a nice experience to get opinions and views from somebody who works within the Phillies organization.


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