Phillies Notebook: Moyer, Stairs set for broadcast debuts

DAVID SWANSON / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Jamie Moyer, Matt Stairs discuss their new gigs as analysts for Phillies broadcasts.
DAVID SWANSON / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Jamie Moyer, Matt Stairs discuss their new gigs as analysts for Phillies broadcasts.
Posted: February 26, 2014

CLEARWATER, Fla. - Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs sat at a table in the lunch room at Bright House Field yesterday morning and answered questions about their new jobs. Fittingly, two microphones were affixed in front of them.

Moyer and Stairs will make their debuts as the new color analysts for Comcast SportsNet's Phillies broadcasts tomorrow, when the Phillies will play host to the Toronto Blue Jays at 1:05 p.m. The two former Phillies, who are replacing Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews in the broadcast booth, have a combined 44 years of major league experiences as big-league players.

Both have minimal broadcast experience, but are beloved members of the 2008 World Series champion Phillies.

"We're sitting there talking about baseball," Stairs said of the job. "We both played with 1,300 or 1,400 players in our career. So we've been around. We know the game. That's the biggest thing."

Stairs worked as an in-studio baseball analyst for NESN in Boston for part of the 2012 season. Moyer previously worked as an analyst with ESPN in 2011, when he was recovering from Tommy John surgery.

"There are going to be places where I'm going to stumble, but that's the fun of it," Moyer said. "Showing the human side, I think is the important thing here in just being ourselves . . . I've signed a 2-year contract. I'm going to give it my best for 2 years and become the best broadcaster I can be."

The two newest members of Comcast's broadcast - they are Comcast employees, not Phillies employees - will work 30 games together as a three-man team with play-by-play man Tom McCarthy. Moyer will broadcast 109 games, total, including 12 in spring training; Stairs will be on-air for 108 games, 13 in spring training.

"We're going to be ourselves, be positive, but we're going to tell people what they want to hear," Stairs said. "If somebody messes up or doesn't run the bases, we'll call them out on it. I think the nice thing about it is we played the game so long that we know the game is so hard, it's a lot easier when you're sitting on the other side watching the game on TV or up in the press box. But I think the three-man system is great. I think it'll work out well and we'll have fun with it."

Since a healthy portion of the schedule will be split, with each working as a two-man team with McCarthy, Stairs volunteered for one road trip.

"I got to Cincinnati," Stairs said, "because of Broxton."

Stairs etched his place in Phillies lore when he hit a two-run, go-ahead home run off Jonathan Broxton in Game 4 of the National League Championship Series at Dodger Stadium in 2008. The veteran reliever pitches for the Cincinnati Reds.

A.J. Burnett finished his workout with the Phillies Sunday and boarded a plane. He had an important place to be.

Burnett's 12-year-old son was playing in an elimination playoff game in Maryland. The pitcher had co-coached the basketball team all winter and made sure he returned to the bench to help the team.

The team won, surviving for another day.

"They've got another game [today], though," Burnett said, motioning to fellow pitcher Cliff Lee. "I'm not sure I'm going to be able to make that one."

After hanging out with his family for a little bit after the game, Burnett was back in the air. His plane landed in Florida at 1:30 a.m. yesterday morning.

Burnett will take the mound in a Phillies uniform for the first time this weekend. He is making his spring debut vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates on Sunday at Bright House Field.

Burnett pitched for the Pirates in each of the last two seasons, but chose to leave the team for Philadelphia this winter. Philadelphia is closer to his family's home in Maryland.

The scheduling was purely coincidental, said pitching coach Bob McClure.

"Yeah, in fact it was like, 'Ah [darn],' " McClure said. "But [Burnett] didn't say anything."

Roberto Hernandez will start the Phillies' Grapefruit League opener against the Blue Jays tomorrow in Clearwater, with Lee following on Thursday against the Jays in Dunedin. Kyle Kendrick is on tap to start Friday in Clearwater vs. the Tigers and Ethan Martin will follow in Tampa vs. the Yankees on Saturday.

Cuban free agent Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez, who has looked rusty in bullpen and live batting practice sessions, was scheduled to make his Grapefruit League debut in relief of Lee on Thursday. But manager Ryne Sandberg told reporters Gonzalez was sick and his first spring appearance will be pushed back.

"We just want to make sure they pitch against hitters in multiple innings," McClure said of the scheduling.

The Phillies will play an intrasquad game - free to the public - at noon at Bright House Field today.

Ryan Howard, Domonic Brown, Carlos Ruiz and Ben Revere are among the players on one team while Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Darin Ruf and Bobby Abreu are on the other. Notable: Rollins is hitting second in the batting order, where manager Ryne Sandberg envisions using the longtime leadoff man behind Revere.

Top prospect Jesse Biddle and Martin are scheduled to start the game.

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