Moyer, Stairs aim to bring fun, knowledge to TV
New Phillies broadcasters to debut with Grapefruit League opener
CLEARWATER, Fla. -- Jamie Moyer and Matt Stairs took a seat Monday to talk baseball, namely, how they plan to talk baseball on TV.
Moyer is the Philadelphia-area native who pitched 25 years in the big leagues, including five with the Phillies. Stairs is the native Canadian who crushed a Jonathan Broxton fastball deep into the right-field bleachers at Dodger Stadium in Game 4 of the 2008 National League Championship Series. They join Tom McCarthy in the Phillies broadcast booth this season after Comcast SportsNet dismissed Chris Wheeler and Gary Matthews as part of its recently negotiated 25-year contract with the Phillies.
Their first broadcast is Wednesday, when the Phillies open their Grapefruit League schedule at 1 p.m. ET against the Blue Jays.
"When I got the opportunity to get the job and I was at the mike, I started to get a little nervous and my stomach was rolling around a little bit," Stairs said. "It's going to be fun. It's going to be a blast."
Moyer, Stairs and McCarthy will work together in a three-man booth 30 games this season. Moyer will work 109 games overall, which includes Spring Training games. Stairs will work 108.
So how did they divvy up the schedule? Who gets San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Diego? Who gets Cincinnati, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee?
"I go to Cincinnati because of Broxton," Stairs joked.
Moyer and Stairs both auditioned for the job last month in Philadelphia. Moyer came and went quietly. A week later, Stairs auditioned and also downed a couple of beers at Wing Bowl.
"It went well," Stairs said. "Everyone knows the Wing Bowl went well as well, so it was a good time."
Moyer grew up listening to By Saam, Richie Ashburn and Harry Kalas, so he has a strong connection and appreciation for Phillies broadcasters and their impact on the game and region.
"I hear their voices as we all do as fans," Moyer said. "Whether it was an exciting game or just their voice or how they talked about the game or broadcast the game. I don't see any way that I'm going to try to emulate those people. I think they were all great in their own respect. I believe it's about being yourself. For me, I know it's about trying to educate about the game, use my education, my experience of the game and trying to expand that with the fan base and make it a positive experience and not just for myself, but for the fans. I really want to talk about what's going on on the field."
The three-man booth should be interesting to watch. Some teams already utilize a three-man booth with great success.
Moyer and Stairs hope to make those games fun conversations, bantering back and forth, sharing stories and offering opinions and insight about plays, games and events.
"We both played with 1,300 or 1,400 players in our career," Stairs said. "So we've been around. We know the game. That's the biggest thing. Like Jamie said, we're going to be ourselves, be positive, but we're going to tell people what they want to hear. 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."
They have signed two-year contracts, so they will have the opportunity to grow. Neither has been a color commentator on TV, although they have done studio work as analysts. Moyer worked with ESPN, while Stairs worked with NESN.
"We're going to individually become who we are as a broadcaster," Moyer said. "It's all about, like Matt said, being honest. Am I going to pick up on everything? Of course I'm not. But I'm there to watch the game, to enjoy the game, to try to expand on what happened. Like, 'He could have been thinking this,' or 'Why did he throw this pitch when there wasn't anyone up in the bullpen?' That type of thing. Those are scenarios you can talk about. A lot of it is what ifs. It's really an opinion, that's all. An opinion."
Todd Zolecki is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.