Morandini may be next Phillies broadcaster

Former Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Mickey Morandini acknowledges the fans before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Phillies hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Four of the NLCS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 19, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Former Philadelphia Phillies second baseman Mickey Morandini acknowledges the fans before throwing out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Phillies hosting the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Four of the NLCS during the 2009 MLB Playoffs at Citizens Bank Park on October 19, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Chris McGrath/Getty Images)
Posted: January 17, 2014

The goal has not changed for Mickey Morandini.

The role might.

Morandini, 47, still wants to be a long-term member of the Phillies, the team that drafted him out of Indiana University in 1988. He is preparing for his first season as a coach at the team's triple-A Lehigh Valley affiliate after serving as a minor-league manager with short-season Williamsport (2011) and low-A Lakewood (2012-13) the last three years.

Last week, however, a curveball was thrown at Morandini in the form of a phone call. Shortly after the news broke that Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews were being relieved of their duties on the Phillies' broadcast team, Morandini was contacted by Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia to see whether he would be interested in the role of color analyst.

"I didn't expect it and I wasn't looking for it," Morandini said. "I always thought Wheels and Sarge would be here forever. I never thought broadcasting would be an option because I know how loyal the Phillies are to their own. I love what I'm doing and I love being in player development, but there is something about being one of the voices for the Phillies that is very intriguing to me. I would love and enjoy being part of the Phillies family in that way. It's too good of a dream job to pass up."

Morandini isn't the only former Phillie to receive such a phone call. Sources said CSN Philly also has been in contact with Ricky Bottalico, Kevin Stocker, and Mitch Williams. Both John Kruk and Brad Lidge have said publicly that they were contacted but not interested. Chris Coste, Doug Glanville, and Ben Davis also have been mentioned as candidates.

The timing couldn't be better for Morandini. To show how committed he is to being part of the Phillies organization, he asked his wife, Peg, and three sons to move from their home in Valparaiso, Ind., to the Philadelphia suburbs last year. His oldest son, Jordan, is a freshman at West Chester University. His two younger sons - Griffin and Braydon - are in the Garnet Valley School District. Griffin, a junior, is on the high school basketball team.

"It was a huge commitment, not so much for my wife and I, but for the kids," Morandini said. "They had to change schools and leave things they were familiar with. But we did it for a couple of reasons. One was so they'd be closer to me for the six months during the season. The move to triple A was good because now they're only an hour away."

Morandini's role with the IronPigs this season is listed as third-base coach, and infield and baserunning instructor. He did not care that it would be his first professional job as something other than a manager.

"I told the organization that I love managing and that's ultimately what I'd like to do, but for me it was time to get out of Lakewood," he said. "It's a tough league from a travel standpoint, with the bus rides going from Jersey to Georgia throughout the summer. I loved it there, but it was time to take the next step.

"I wanted to move up in any capacity. This will be a different perspective. It's a chance to work with older players. It's much different being with triple-A players and guys who have been in the big leagues than working with young guys. It's a different brand of athlete."

Much different still would be a move to the broadcast booth. If anyone knows the impact a broadcaster can have, it's Morandini, because he played when the Phillies' featured broadcasters were Harry Kalas and Richie Ashburn. Kalas enunciated Morandini's name in such a way that it remains burned in memories around the region.

"No question about it," Morandini said. "People still see me on the street and tell me, 'I loved the way Harry said your name.' That was something special. Harry was a special broadcaster, and he put my name on the map with the way he said my name."

Now, Morandini would love a chance to put his imprint on the Philllies broadcast booth. After finishing his career with Toronto, he did some postgame analysis with the Chicago Cubs. He has proved he is comfortable in front of the camera and behind the microphone.

"I think I'd be honest," Morandini said. "I know the game very well and I think I know the minor-league system better than any of the other candidates out there. I have a love for the Phillies. It's the one organization I've wanted to be a part of, but I know, being an analyst, you owe it to the fans to be honest and say what's on your mind. That's what I would plan on doing."

It's a plan that came out of the blue, but the more Morandini thought about it, the more he realized it would be the chance of a lifetime.

bbrookover@phillynews.com

@brookob

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