Take a look around Citizens Bank Park and plenty of things will grab your attention. The Phillie Phanatic, Ashburn Alley, and Harry the K's, just to name a few. If you went to the ballpark last season, you likely noticed an additional feature in the stands. His name is Gregg Murphy.
Gregg Murphy officially joined the Phillies family last season when he became the Phillies field reporter, providing reports from the field, the dugout, the stands, and pretty much anywhere else in the park. If you ran into Murph on your way to your seat last season, you probably saw a familiar face considering he has lived his entire life in the Philadelphia area and has been with the Comcast Networks for 14 years.
Murphy was born in Meadowbrook, PA, raised in Mt. Laurel, NJ, and now makes his home in Mullica Hill, NJ. He attended Holy Cross High School in Delran, NJ, where he played CF and SS for 2 years before a broken hand ended his baseball career. He graduated from St. Joseph’s University with a degree in English. His broadcasting career began at QVC in 1993 as the host of a sports memorabilia show. In 1995, he hosted A Piece of the Game, a weekly sports memorabilia show that aired on Sports Channel.
His first "real" sports job came as a sports reporter and weekend anchor at WFMZ-TV in Allentown before becoming a host and reporter for The Inquirer High School Sports Show on FOX. In 1999 and for the next ten years he worked at CN8 as a host of Out of Bounds. Prior to his current role, he was a reporter and anchor at Comcast Sportsnet from 2009-2011.
Now that his first full season is over and he has a much deserved winter vacation, I had the chance to catch up with Murph to learn a little more about him, see how his first season treated him, and gather a few of his thoughts on the Phils.
Growing up as a Phillies fan, it must be a dream come true for you to become the Phillies field reporter. What has the experience been like?
It absolutely has been a dream job. I was a huge Phils fan and watched Harry, Whitey, Andy Musser, and all those guys growing up. It is fun to be a part of it – absolutely amazing.
How did it all come about?
It happened quick. I got a call from my boss on Feb 15th. I was told they were looking for someone to join the broadcast team and they offered me the position. It was the opportunity of lifetime, but I did not have much time to think about it because I only had two weeks before going to Clearwater for five weeks. But it felt like 2 days!
This is obviously a major lifestyle change for you and your family. How do your wife and kids feel about your new role?
It was the one thing that gave me pause. When I came home after receiving the offer, I sat with my wife and she cried. She was upset because she knew how much travel was involved, but she slowly got past that. My daughter was in 8th grade at the time and my sons were 11 and 8. They were all Phillies fans. The hardest part is knowing that I can’t go to all of their sports games and events. It was hard, but at CSN I would be working weekends, holidays, and late nights. They all fell into a routine and now I’m off for five months.
During the season, the kids went to all of the games in Baltimore, my wife went to Miami, and we had about ten home games for the kids. Everybody is coming to Clearwater this year. It won’t be as difficult this time, but it was the toughest part.
What is life like as Phillies sideline reporter? What is a typical day for Gregg Murphy during the season?
It’s kind of crazy, but a good crazy.
On a typical day (for a 7 p.m. home game) I come to the park by 2:00 or 2:30 and I’m in the clubhouse at three. From 5 to 6:30 I’m available for reports on Daily News Live, Sportsnite, and the pregame show. I meet with our producer, Jeff Halikman, at six to discuss possible topics for the game. At 7:00 I start roamin and map out a spot. After the game, I just wait out the traffic and head home.
I generally have six different ideas and will take maybe three or four of them. A lot of it depends on the game. If we are getting blown out I won’t do a fun bit. I’m a fan, too, and I don’t even want to watch that. If we are winning I will try to do the fun segments. I also try to bring some baseball to the game, as well.
Now that the season is over, I do a Phillies show on Comcast Sportsnet each Tuesday following Sportsnite.
What is the best part about being Phillies sideline reporter?
The best opportunity, especially at home, is the interaction with the fans. I’m talking to folks all the time and people are always coming up to me to talk about the Phillies. The fans are terrific and they’ve really accepted my role. And Phillies fans travel really well. No matter what park we go to, Phillies fans are all over the place.
Are there any moments that stand out for you from last season? Paula Abdul perhaps?
Paula Abdul is definitely one of them. The reaction to that one has been great.
There was also a game in Arizona when a woman puked on me. I was walking through the stands looking for a spot and I bumped into a woman. I said, "Hey I’m sorry," and then she puked all over me. It went everywhere, down my legs, and into my shoes. It was really disgusting.
During another game, I was doing a spot out in front of Harry the K’s and there was a guy doing a crazy dance and acting silly behind me. Tom McCarthy mentioned while we were on air, "There is crazy guy behind you, go get a shot of him." Later on, just for fun, I got behind the guy and started imitating and acting crazy like him. That ended up being the final spot on Comcast Sportsnet’s 15th anniversary show.
What is it like working with Sarge, T-Mac, Wheels, and the rest of the crew? Tell us something we might not know about the guys.
Anytime you join a new group you are a little hesitant. I knew Tom and Wheels, but I did not know Sarge outside of saying hello in passing. From day one it could not have been better. I talked to Tom a lot and he gave some great advice. The guys made it easy for me and we eventually hit a pretty good stride. I really enjoyed it. It was so great.
The one thing people may not know about Chris is that he is just the most wonderful guy. He is a terrific person and he is truly concerned about everyone. Wheels knows the game as much as anybody in all of baseball, and that includes players who have actually played the game.
Another thing people probably don’t know is that Tom is a big teenager. He is always pulling pranks. He puts sugar packets in Wheels' briefcase, hides his wallet, and moves his car keys. He hides behind a door just about every day and scares the crap out of Sarge. Sarge lets out a huge scream every time.
Tom is also one of the best broadcasters in the game. He is at the absolute top of his profession.
It also helps that we actually like each other, and that includes Scott Franzke and LA, too. I think people genuinely feel that we love the game and enjoy being around each other. The biggest compliment is when people say, "Hey, you look like you are having fun." If you don’t have that, you probably should not be doing this.
In your current role you get to spend a lot of time with the players and coaches. Were there any guys who surprised you when you got to know them?
Juan Pierre. He is an absolute class act and he will be sorely missed. He’s the hardest worker, the first one in and the last guy out. He is practicing bunting every day. One of the nicest guys you will meet. He’s a quiet guy, but he will talk to you for 45 minutes about baseball. He was a pleasant surprise.
Ryan Howard is the biggest cheerleader. He is a fun guy to be around, always smiling and joking. He is the team cheerleader and the guy who is getting the team going. He's the guy saying, "we’ll get ‘em next inning" and “let’s get going,” that kind of stuff. When he’s not around in the dugout it is awful quiet.
The coaches are great, every single one. It was sad to see those three coaches let go. The hours they put in is mind boggling.
How/what/when do you eat on game day?
I’m a night person - definitely not a morning person. On the road, when I’m staying in a hotel by myself, I leave at about 12 in the afternoon and go look for food. Around 6:30 I go to the press dining room. After the game I have been known to grab a burger or two. I generally head off to bed around one or two o’clock. Sometimes if I’m starving I will grab food around the 4th inning.
Citizens Bank Park has some great food. Miami has good Cuban food and I love it.
The Phillies pulled off a trade for Ben Revere. What are your thoughts on the move?
The Phillies gave up some talent for Revere. I like Vance Worley as a person and as a competitor, but as Ruben said, "You need to give up something to get something." Reeves is a guy who could be a Michael Bourn skill wise. The Phillies need a centerfielder who can get the ball. He’s a prototypical leadoff guy.
Similar to Juan Pierre?
I’m not sure of his work ethic yet, but maybe. I also think Ruben is not done.
What do you think of the possibility (it wasn't official at the time of the interview) of adding Michael Young?
I hope it happens. Michael Young plays at a high level. It can only help to add a guy that understands how to win.
Many thanks to Gregg Murphy for taking the time out to chat. Be sure to catch Murph on Tuesdays at 6:30 on Comcast Sportsnet and of course throughout the season during every Phillies game. You can also hit up Murph on Twitter at @GmurphCSN.comments powered by Disqus