On September 26, 1976, the Phillies defeated the Montreal Expos on a blustery, cool afternoon in Montreal and became the first Phillies team since the 1950 “Whiz Kids” to capture the Eastern Division title. What followed in the visiting clubhouse was the type of mass demonstration of euphoria that ensues when seven months of hard work result in accomplishing your goal. It was a true celebration twenty-six years in the making.
There was just one problem. It was the first game of a makeup doubleheader. There was still another game to be played. Richie Ashburn, the Phillies’ color analyst and a member of the 1950 team, had to return to the broadcast booth to cover the second game.
A certain Phillies’ Hall of Fame third baseman once referred to Philadelphia as "the only city where you can experience the thrill of victory and the agony of reading about it the next day."
One man who understands that statement perhaps more than anyone in Phillies history is Larry Shenk. For the former director of PR, last October marked 51 years with the Phils.
He was here for the Phillies’ collapse in 1964 and he was here when the Phillies forced a Mets collapse in 2007. He was here for Dick Allen's first season and for Jimmy Rollins' final season. He was here for Jim Bunning’s perfect game and he was here when Doc threw his.
Some numbers since “The Baron” joined the Phillies:
Harry Kalas is a legend in Philadelphia. A man so beloved that he was memorialized as a statue, a ballpark restaurant was named after him, and his voice celebrates each Phillies home victory. Harry was synonymous with Phillies baseball for 39 years.
Now try being the guy who replaces him.
That task was given to Tom McCarthy. Nearly four years after Harry's death, Tom narrates the next best era in Phillies broadcasting.
The Jersey man who once considered medical school and whose jobs took him from Trenton to Philadelphia to New York and back to Philly again has finally made a permanent home with the Phillies. What stories did the new voice of the Phillies have in store for us? I just had to find out.
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.
If you lived in the Philadelphia area over the past decade and love baseball, there is no doubt you are familiar with the name Matt Yallof. Matt was an anchor and reporter at Comcast Sportsnet from 2000 to 2006 and a regular host of Phillies Post Game Live. After a stint in New York as the primary studio host for SportsNet NY from 2006 to 2008, he joined MLB Network and has been there ever since. Matt now co-hosts The Rundown with Lauren Shehadi on MLB Network weekdays from 2-5.
Matt Yallof was always one of my favorites on Comcast Sportsnet, because it was evident when he hosted Phillies Post Game Live that he was a baseball guy. He gave the impression that he would stretch 30 minutes into two hours if he was able. For a baseball nerd like myself, it doesn't get any better. That is why it came as little surprise when MLB Network grabbed him.
I had the chance to catch up with Matt to learn a little more about him and a few of his thoughts on the Phillies.
We hold on tight to our local success stories in Philadelphia. Represent Philly well and fans love you, turn your back on Philly and they destroy you. It’s the reason a statue of a fictitious boxer appeared in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum steps, it’s the reason East River Drive was renamed after a movie star, and it’s the reason fans despise JD Drew, Scott Rolen, and Kobe Bryant.
It’s also the reason we love John Kincade.
Eric Pettis is accustomed to facing challenges. As a 35th round draft pick in 2010 by the Phillies out of UC Irvine, Pettis quickly proved he belonged with an 8-0 record and 1.37 ERA in his first season at Williamsport. In 2011, Eric moved up to Lakewood and later to Clearwater, posting a career minor league record of 10-3 with a 2.17 ERA. With such solid numbers, it came as a big surprise when the Phillies recently released the 23-year-old.
Pettis is clearly not averse to roadblocks like the one he currently faces, as he already took on the challenge of becoming an author and published his first book, Just a Minor Perspective: Through the Eyes of a Minor League Rookie. To give you my brief sportsbook review, Just a Minor Perspective, chronicles his his first year of minor league ball at Williamsport. He brings to life the seldom examined minor league experience in a way few have.
Pettis invites us inside his head through the exciting, frightening, and oftentimes mundane life of a minor leaguer. We travel alongside the right-hander to experience the surreal world of hotels, bus rides, and bright lights. His frank and candid perspective allows readers to experience his feelings, thoughts, and emotions as if they were our own. Pettis allows us to stand beside him on the mound through his attempt to live out the American Dream.
We were lucky enough to get Eric to answer a few questions to expand on the book and update us on his status. For me personally, it was an enjoyable sportsbook reviewBefore you leave, don't forget to buy a copy of his book.