Today, Saturday, August 9th, marks the birthday of Phillies analyst Chris Wheeler.
Birthdays can be good or bad, depending on how you see them. It can be another year older, or a celebration of, yep, I made it through another year. Pain free and healthy, hopefully. How old is Wheels? I don't know. But the way he looks and talks, the way he thinks, I'd say he's closing in on 40.
I do know this, he is a terrific analyst and makes watching or listening to a Phillies game a pleasure for a baseball fan. If you played Little League, American Legion, high school or college baseball, you might think you know the game.
But when you watch a Phillies broadcast and listen to Chris Wheeler, you realize how much you don't know about the game.
Chris Wheeler is Penn State proud, too!
Not long ago, Wheels, a '67 Penn State graduate, made two sizeable philanthropic gifts to the College of Communications at Penn State, one to create the Christopher C. Wheeler Scholarship endowment, and another for student scholarships in the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism.
Wheels could have bought a yacht, a house at the shore or a nice condo in Florida. He could have taken a few trips around the world. But he didn't. He gave the money so kids could get an education at Penn State.
That right there says something about the man.
When asked about the Penn State support, Wheels simply said, "I just want to help out."
And no matter who his booth partner has been through the years--Richie Ashburn, Andy Musser, Tim McCarver, Larry Anderson, Scott Franzke, John Kruk, Scott Graham, Jay Johnstone, Gary Maddox, Mike Schmidt, By Saam, Kent Tekulve, or Tom McCarthy, Harry or Sarge, Chris Wheeler is always respectful and professional with his colleagues. Chris Wheeler is a class guy.
I hope that Wheels never retires. I would miss what the man adds to Phillies baseball.
Chris, Denise and I will be in section 115 tonight, nine from the field, looking up at the booth, waving, and wishing you a happy birthday.
"Put me in Coach...I'm ready to play..." (could be the Fanatic's favorite dugout-dance music)
Or maybe it's the dancin' Irish music...