Eskin reveals running feud with Wheeler

Phillies' broadcaster Chris Wheeler, whom we learned this offseason, doesn't have a friend in colleague Harry Kalas, also is striking out with another broadcaster - Howard Eskin of WIP 610-AM and WCAU-TV.

During his afternoon radio show Tuesday and Wednesday, Eskin revealed that Wheeler hasn't spoken to him since the mid-1990s, after a disagreement over Eskin's criticism of then-Phillies manager Jim Fregosi.

Reached by telephone, Eskin confirmed the problems between them.

"Chris holds grudges against people," Eskin said. "When I criticized Fregosi, Chris took it personally. Even though I eventually came to an understanding with Fregosi, when I tried to talk to Chris, he said, 'I'll never talk to you again.' "

Eskin, who said he's not mad at Wheeler, also stated on his radio show that the reason Kalas doesn't like Wheeler is because Wheeler tried to run the late Richie Ashburn out of the broadcast booth, trying to get him to retire.

Contacted by e-mail, Wheeler had no comment.

This week, the Phillies announced that both Kalas and Wheeler will be back in the booth, even though Kalas tried to negotiate in his new contract that he would not have to work with Wheeler.

Circle April 7 on your calendar when the Phillies play at Pittsburgh. That should be the first time Kalas and Wheeler will work together since their problems became public during the off-season. Play ball!

There will be some other changes to the Phillies broadcast team. John Kruk will be going to "Baseball Tonight" on ESPN, and radio pre- and post-game host Tom McCarthy will do some play-by-play for home games. Currently, McCarthy is enjoying his first year as the Saint Joseph's Hawks play-by-play man. Good luck charm McCarthy has yet to see Saint Joseph's lose.

Ratings game

Wednesday night's Saint Joseph's-UMass game, which was rushed onto UPN 57, scored with a 5 rating/7 share. Each rating point equals 28,743 local households.

Gargano jinx?

One upside to the A.J. Feeley trade to the Miami Dolphins is that there will be no more "A.J. Feeley Show" with Anthony Gargano on WIP-AM. Last year, Brian Mitchell was not re-signed by the Eagles after starring in his own radio show with Gargano. How about the "James Thrash Show" this year?

Laura Nachman covers television and radio sports for the Courier Times. She can be reached at  

February 27, 2004 7:41 AM