Moyer steps into broadcast role

Jamie Moyer, one of the Phillies' new broadcasters, with his sons at his first All-Star Game, as a Seattle Mariner in 2003.
Jamie Moyer, one of the Phillies' new broadcasters, with his sons at his first All-Star Game, as a Seattle Mariner in 2003. (TED S. WARREN / AP)
Posted: February 14, 2014

It's been a while since Jamie Moyer went to work without much job experience, but that will be the case when he arrives in Clearwater in about 10 days to join the Phillies' television broadcast team.

Moyer and Matt Stairs, both of whom are linked to the Phils' 2008 championship, were hired by Comcast this week to replace Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews in the booth. They provide that link to the title even as they will be judging some of their former teammates still out there trying to win another.

"In no way, shape, or form do I expect to fill their shoes, but the expectations I have of myself are to learn quickly, minimize my mistakes, but have fun with my mistakes, too," Moyer said Wednesday from his Seattle home as he prepared for the transition to his new role. "I'm not going to take myself too seriously, at least not initially."

Moyer, of course, specialized in preparation during his major-league pitching career. That's how it lasted 25 years, not ending until 2012 at the age of 49. Along the way, he played for eight teams, won 269 games, and stayed at the big-league level on smarts and preparation long after he could no longer throw the ball past batters.

"At this level, it's expected that you love the game and know the game," Moyer said, "but some guys have more passion than others, some are more dedicated than others. It's about how you come to the ballpark."

Analyzing a game on television, Moyer said he will expect that dedication from the Phillies and will let the viewers know when it might be lacking.

"I'm not going to have a problem talking about it. The transition for me will be to just verbalize what I'm seeing," Moyer said. "You're not going after the person. You're going after the action. If a guy makes a mistake, I can give a little information and opinion of that mistake. I'm not going to blast a guy and embarrass him, but if a guy's dogging it for two weeks, it's all right to say, 'Enough is enough.' Knowing Ryne Sandberg, he won't let that happen for two weeks."

Moyer broke in with the Chicago Cubs in 1986 and played three seasons with the Phillies' new manager. They were cut from the same cloth, mostly quiet and very serious about their profession. Moyer is more optimistic than many about the team's chances this season, if it is reasonably healthy, but he has no doubt that Sandberg will provide a base of discipline that won't waver regardless of the record.

"The manager's job, the coaching staff's job, is getting these guys prepared. The mental side to this game is huge, whether people realize it or not," Moyer said.

Originally from Souderton, Moyer played for St. Joseph's before being drafted in 1984. He grew up listening to the Phillies' broadcasts, but it hasn't sunk in that he's joining that team now.

"It all just came full circle and happened [on Tuesday]. Since I was hired, I've been trying to figure out logistics and a schedule, and I haven't had time to reflect on where I am," Moyer said. "Once I get to spring training, get back in the clubhouse, start hanging around my fellow broadcasters, then I think it will start to click for me. It's a pretty special job."

Moyer did an initial interview with Comcast, then was called back for an audition that consisted of a pregame show and a half-inning of commenting on a taped game. There were other candidates in the mix who went through the same thing, and Moyer wasn't entirely sure how he had done. During a rehab stint a few years ago, he did most of a season in-studio on ESPN's Baseball Tonight, but that experience didn't necessarily translate to live broadcasting.

"I had a pitching coach who told me, 'Stay in character.' Then your teammates get to know you," Moyer said. "This will be similar. There's an audience that listens that includes young kids, and you can have a big impact on them. You also have parents and fans and older people, and the big thing I'm going to try to do is touch everybody.

"What it gets down to is that our job is to talk about that game and what's going on."

Moyer has certainly watched enough baseball to know. He has also been around the game long enough to know it can be humbling. As spring training is set to begin, the rookie broadcaster is similar to the team he will be analyzing. There's no way to know exactly how the season will turn out, but working hard can't hurt. So that's the plan.

"I want this to work," Moyer said. "I want to share knowledge."

He might not get 25 years out of this job, as he did the last one, but you never know. He's surprised people before.


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