THE QUESTION:

1, I'm curious to get your take on the Eagles draft. Not sure if we'll run reader comment on Sunday night for Monday out of the draft, but we might, so you're welcome to e-mail me as early as Sunday if you want.

2, a, This is a two-parter. Give me your early take on the performance of new Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews. Has he improved? What is his greatest limitation at this point?

b, Since I like to occasionally run lists, give me your top three favorite radio/TV sports announcers who are working now. They can include local and national broadcasters, either play by play or analysts. I'm curious how much overlap there's going to be.


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1, I feel like the Eagles, once again, are more determined to show they're smarter than anyone else and they know something no one else knows. I just expect this to not be a good draft when the guys start to line up.

2.a. I really like Gary. At first I didn't, because I wasn't used to him. But I really think it is just getting used to his calm direct way of speaking. He isn't bombastic in any way, just matter of fact and sure about what he has to say, with no agenda other than being informative, which is a great deal different from anyone in that seat ever.

2 b. Sadly, I think Harry is past it, so not him any more.

I really love Mike Emrick doing hockey pbp. How did the Flyers ever let him get away (not that Jim Jackson isn't wonderful in his own right)?

Nick Faldo, in spite of being new, is great analyzing golf. He's frank, and funny, and knows just when to hit the anecdote and when to hold back. (I like David Feherty as an on-course guy--funny about the personalities and situations but serious about the golf).

Phil Liggett is entirely responsible for how much I know and understand about cycling tactics. He's a Trojan.

I'm going off track now. I think Al Trautwig is the king of studio hosts--he handles the panel, no matter the sport, and all the ins and outs (with a guy yelling in his ear) seamlessly.

And my favorite anchor is John Buccigross. And yes, I have no objectivity. He's a friend. Still, I love his joy in the game, his juice, and his coachability (his delivery has slowed down and cleared up appreciably since they gave the ESPN guys a coach).

Deborah Sullivan

Philly

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1. I don't care about the NFL draft. There's too much of a big deal about it.

2. a) Sarge is awful. He has not improved one iota. He overstates the obvious, and has trouble with people's names (Josh Wilmington?). I thought listening to Wheels and Scott Graham was bad until I heard THIS combo!

b) My top two are hockey guys. Nobody calls a game better than Gary Thorne, Mike Emrick is a close second for me, because he brings a lot of knowledge to the game without dumbing it down for the newby at the expense of the long time fan. My third is Mike Patrick of ESPN. Very underrated football play-by-play,.

Rick Bauer

Bellmawr, N.J.

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1. just a passing interest in the draft...a crap shoot,  overhyped, where everybody is a future brian dawkins.  I'm interested in the draft from the perspective the results a year or two later.  So many good players come from small schools and drafted late in the process.  So many "can't misses" miss. All this curiosity just shows how bored we are, and just raises the salaries and the piece of the pie for agents.  The draft is a bit offensive to me in this regard, since in my line of work as a child advocacy lawyer I see the other end of the spectrum of kids.

2. a,   haven't heard much of "sarge"...sounds brutal.  But I didn't like Richie Ashburn when he first joined Campbell and Saam, but I grew to love his humor and passion for the game... and still miss him as a boyhood hero ( he drove me and few friends to a game, when he lived in Broomall...(only lived there a couple of months, I think we chased him away) and a voice that linked me to a hometown once i moved away.

b.    marv albert

vin skully

turning the sound down and listening to music while watching the games

al singer

Raleigh, n.c.

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2. I am in the minority when it comes to the Sarge. I like him but he needs to loosen up. I don't think he should be on for 9 innings. Maybe six ?

Top three

1. Harry Kalas. he has lost a lot over the last few years. Yesterday was a perfect example when Burrell hit one to the warning track in the 9th. He called it like a no doubt about it shot. As long as he is living he is #1 out of respect.

2. Jim Jackson. The consummate professional.

3. Chris Wheeler. I don't care what anyone people say, as you can guess with my Sarge comments. Wheeler know the game.  he is a pleasure for baseball purists like myself.

Joe Messina

South Philadelphia

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1. The Eagles draft. first, you listen to the ridiculous amount of confidence that tom Heckert seems to have about; the current make-up of his team, and the teams' drafting skill to-date, and you think...I must be crazy. Haven't their drafts been a dreadful disaster in a lot of places...especially the early rounds? Maybe a pick-by-pick comparison may not bear that out, but it sure seems that way; Jerome McDougle, Freddie Mitchell, Matt McCoy, Ryan Moats....are you kidding me? Tom talking about having the luxury of many quality players in the starting spots sounds like a guy talking up his own performance in light of other contrary opinion. I know Shawn Andrews, Brian Westbrook, and, well, some other guys I'm sure, have been big successes but overall they have not drafted well. This contributes to them not being a serious NFC threat, in a weak NFC...despite what they may say!

2a. Gary Matthews. I want him to succeeed and sometimes cringe at his delivery. I think he is getting better, but he just has a terrible sound for the job that includes only sound. He sure knows the game...I really hope he gets better at it. He seems to be a humble gentleman.

b.

1. Joe Buck is frankly flat-out good at his job. Very professional, silver-throated. As long as he keeps to that job and keeps his personal comments out of things...I'll respect his work.

2. Troy Aikman: I always start this out with.."I hate to say it but..." since he was a Cowboy...he's great at what he does. He is unbiased and objective. Keeps the bull-crap completely out of it and says what he thinks and believes.

3. Bill Walton....nah, just kidding, a bigger blow-hard has never been born....this spot includes; Phil Simms, Darrell Johnson, and all of ESPN's NASCAR announcers...I'll let you decide if I'm kidding about that last one.

Rob Alessandrine

Sewell, N.J.

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Igs draft...............they should go with Eskin who will keep the locker room alive, and he can get them discount roses for playoff celebrations.

Broadcasters: Red Barber, Connie Desmond and Vin Scully (Dodgers circa 1949)

Matthews: needs to visit a pharmacist in Albany to get some "cheer-up" meds to enhance his gloomy persona. What ever happened to witty broadcasters ??

Michael Watts

Bethlehem, Pa.

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2a. I am disappointed in the entire Phillies broadcast package. Has Matthews improved? Slightly. He has stopped repeating the same idioms and found some new terminology; however, he is still too aggressive in the booth. LA was laid back and his personality fit better with Wheeler's "style." Also, not that you asked: the radio broadcast is awful, Franzke doesn't have the ooomph for baseball.

b. Michael Barkann

Brian Baldinger

Ken Rosenthal...does he count?

Heather Greenberg

Marlton, NJ

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1.The Eagles NEED DEFENSE.....I'm hearing people on sport's talk radio complain about running backs....THESE PEOPLE ARE IDIOTS(if u don't mind my french(smiler)). Anyone looking at the team last year could see that for the first time in a long time the defense is the weak link on the team. They have problems at both line positions as the line by committee is not working. They need talent on the D-line and they need it bad. Takeo Spikes will help at linebacker...but they strll need another one....Dhani Jones is a liability that won't be overcome until he is gone. They also need a safety since Lewis fell out of favor. I would like to see them take a chance on a big back on the second day...but that's about it.

2. dont really look at the Phillies too much....so i cant comment. My favorite announcers are:

1)Hubie Brown-the most knowledgeable and articulate announcer PERIOD in any sport.

2)Troy Aikman-Very knowledgeable and unbiased. Kinda dry...but I still like him.

3)Bill Raftery-Who can get tired of hearing...."THE KISS" on a slick bank shot?

Kyle Outting

North Philly

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Gus Johnson (he did some NCAA tournament games). Because the guy gets so excited over a big shot. He makes the game so much more fun to watch.
Vince Scully. Its amazing how that guy can announce an entire Dodgers game by himself and never run out of everything to say. He explains everything in detail and knows his baseball.
Charles Barkley (enough said there, haha).
Kevin Walton

NE Philly

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Regarding Gary Matthews... as a 75 year old radio fan of baseball, from the late 1930's to the present. Some of the following names I have listened to on warm summer nights.

Taylor Grant, Claude Herring , Gene Kelly, By Saam , Bill Campbell , and the best for last .. Rich Ashburn & Harry Kalas. A voice coach should have been assigned to Gary Matthews prior to his air time , his voice sandwiched between Wheeler and Kalas only show case his lack of being able to amplifile his voice.

His sentences trail off to the point of mumbling , I would like him to succeed he seems like a likable person. But, as the Phillies front office tend to do on the field or in the booth they are incompetent !!

All the best, Len Hulme

Doylestown , PA

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1, I'm curious to get your take on the Eagles draft. Not sure if we'll run reader comment on Sunday night for Monday out of the draft, but we might, so you're welcome to e-mail me as early as Sunday if you want.  I like football and the Eagles but I am not a big NFL Draft fan.  I would like to see them get Paul Pozlusny from Penn State or a highly ranked running back or highly ranked receiver.
2, a, This is a two-parter. Give me your early take on the performance of new Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews. Has he improved? What is his greatest limitation at this point?  I do not get to hear him very much because I dropped Comcast last Fall and went exclusively with DirecTV.  The little I have heard of him seems to indicate he does not bring a lot of new information to the table.  He more or less states the obvious and he is too quiet.  I have to listen very hard to hear him.  And I think 3 men in the booth for baseball is one too many.
b, Since I like to occasionally run lists, give me your top three favorite radio/TV sports announcers who are working now. They can include local and national broadcasters, either play by play or analysts. I'm curious how much overlap there's going to be.  Joe Buck (FOX-TV for Baseball and Football play by play), Mike Lange (Radio/formerly TV - Pittsburgh Penguins play by play), Bob Cole (CBC-TV Hockey Night in Canada play by play)

Joe Peca

Lansdale, Pa.

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Gary Matthews sucks! Radio Mcaffrey on 'pen, Rhea Hughes on her Saturday show. Jim Jackson does TV like it's on radio he doesn't shut up and let us WATCH! the action and not for him to tell us. Kalas is done the whole Phillies team are homers but I like Wheels the best( so he wears a piece at least he didn't have breast reduction like Cataldi who cuts Chris up all the time for his hair)

Bill Shanahan

Philly

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I've been trying to determine the Phillies strategy in hiring Gary Mathews as an announcer. I can't remember him adding anything special to the broadcasts. Chris Wheeler sounds like a genius compared to the Sarge.


Peace of mind & Good Health,
Gregg Atzert

Riverside, N.J.

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Eagles draft:   The thing that really struck me was a quote from Reid that was something like,  "We like our team, so we are building for the future."   Ahhhh,  WHAT!!??!!    A Super Bowl champion can say that, but not this team.  This is a typical Eagles draft in that you see the guys they pick and say: Who?   This team has closing window of opportunity to win it all, and this draft does not seem to have done anything to help right now.

As for the trade; Nice move if you pic the right guys.  A QB, LB and CB.    Well, I look at the names and think it's a bust.   Yes, they got a few more players by trading, but there are no real step in winners here.  I don't know much about the DE they drafted, but that position is one of depth for the team, so why take him so early.


If they had stayed pat, and did not trade,  they could have drafted like this:


1) Meacham (WR) or Olsen (TE)   Either could have impacted the team this year.

2) QBs   Kolb or  Drew Stanton     or best player available:   Chris Houston (CB)

3) Tony Hunt

etc....


The key here is, would either of those top two have made a greater impact than Abiamiri and the guys they picked in lower round.   I think the tream would have been better off speaking what would help them win NOW.

Phillies radio.   Don't listen anymore, and if I did it would be only for Harry Kalas.
 
John Tidd 
Morrisville, Pa.

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I do not have much of a problem with the Eagles draft. It does cause one to wonder why they choose a QB though. If management thinks # 5 still has five good years in him then why waste a pick now? The one left out in this draft is AJ Feeley. He had to think if McNabb went down he would have a shot and for this year he probably does but after this year you have to think they would want the new guy taken some snaps. or Shot guns!

If McNabb stays healthy for the next few seasons this pick will become a waste but we will have to wait and see. I like the pick up of Hunt from PSU. Hopefully now when it is 3rd and 2 we will give him the ball to move the chains, instead of always throwing a screen pass.

As far as Gary Matthews, he is Captain Obvious. All he does is repeat whatever has already been said in a different way. Whatever graphic is on the screen he also finds a way to say that. We are knowledgeable fans and do not need to hear the same thing every inning. He is not horrible but he is not good either. I find myself watching with the volume down and the radio announcers on. Larry Anderson has come a long way and I think LA does a great job.

3 Favorite announcers are:

Mike Emrick - NHL Hockey, he got his start here on Prism and he brings it each night. He lets the viewer get a feel for the action.

Tom McGinnis - Are you kidding me? great pipes and did it all by himself for years. He makes you feel like you are sitting courtside.

Harry K - I have to admit he is losing it a bit, but he is still better than most. In his prime he was by far the best. I can close my eyes and picture many home run calls from him. Did he do it? Yes he did -  this ball is outtalk here......

For a radio sports talk perspective I think Glen Macnow is the most knowledgeable guy on the radio. and he is nice to the callers. He is a breath of fresh air, especially in the 7:00 hour after he relieves that other guy.


I hope all is well.


Thanks,
Mike Hart
Ridley Park, PA

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1. I'm curious to get your take on the Eagles draft.

The most popular word to describe it seemed to be "shocked."

The fans were shocked. Analysts and the media were shocked. Even Kevin Kolb said he was shocked. (The last player to say that, by the way, was Jon Harris). And the Eagles will probably start the spin cycle by saying they were shocked to get the player they really wanted.

Why should we be shocked, though? This draft was so symbolic of the Eagles. They tried to show that they're the smartest guys in the draft room. They gave up a first round pick -- and the money and the 5-year contract that goes with it -- for a 2nd round pick that will cost them less without the same length of contract requirement. Heck, this is nirvana: their first pick is so happy to be drafted this high, maybe he'll give the Eagles a big discount.

Maybe it's shocking to our common sense that they think a QB will cure their run-stopping problems. Then again, maybe not. When you trade with the enemy (Dallas) and give them a 1st round pick to get a defensive end, whose sole purpose is to rip your injury-prone QB's head off, you're going to need all the QB backups you can get.

Nah, this was not shocking. It was classic Eagles. Besides, the college draft doesn't worry me. The only draft I'm worried about is the one that's whipped up  by the tailwind from busted draft picks and former players flying through the doors of the Nova Care Center on their way out.

2.a  Give me your early take on the performance of new Phillies broadcaster Gary Matthews. Has he improved? What is his greatest limitation at this point?

Would love to say that the Gary Matthews has improved because I really like him as a player and he seems like a real gentleman. In all honesty, I haven't noticed any improvement. Good analysts should be able to entertain, engage and educate their audiences. Sarge's biggest limitation is that he doesn't seem to really connect on any of those levels.

It's fashionable to criticize Sarge's body of work, but the fault should rest with the Phillies. You have to wonder if they even auditioned him or just hired him out of fondness. Either way, the Phillies' media team should have worked on his development. For example, they could have put together a checklist list of broadcasting "do's and don'ts." They could have compiled a video of the great analysts for him to study. They could have given him more practice. And they could have limited his innings worked.

This is just one of many broadcasting blunders the Phils have orchestrated this year. They've cluttered the booth with 3 guys at once. They have Sarge working 9 innings. They've limited Larry Anderson to radio -- and have him doing play-by-play. And they dumped Scott Graham for still unknown reasons.

The broadcast team was solid if not stellar. More importantly, fans were comfortable with them. That's big in baseball. Disrupting the continuity of the broadcast team smacks of a broadcasting director making change for change sake, just to justify his position. Sarge isn't the problem. He's a symptom of it.

2.b Since I like to occasionally run lists, give me your top three favorite radio/TV sports announcers who are working now.

Larry Andersen: works well with his colleagues ... witty and refreshing sense of humor ... not afraid to voice an opinion unlike others

Steve Mix: knows the game ... candid ... keeps it light ... not afraid to make fun of himself

Tom McGinnis:  passionate ... unique ... comes up with some great phrases without sounding like he's trying too hard

Jeff Brooks, Montgomeryville

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I always like the IGGLES  draft, especially when Reid says something on the order of "We don't care what the fans think"  !!

Matthews is OK but he definitely should not be on TV the entire broadcast.

Johnny Miller -- the absolute best, never sucks up to players.  Jim Nantz -- a total pro.  And I gotta put harry the K in here at 3rd, just because....


Paul -- it's Derby Week!


Larry Buzby

Ocean City, N.J.

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1. I was watching the NFL draft at a bar in the Lancaster area, and it just so happened there was a guy from Buffalo there.  He was happy with the Bills' selection of a running back.  When the Eagles pick was first announced, I was stunned.  Even the Buffalo guy was perplexed.  I thought for sure that I had misheard, perhaps due to too much bike riding that day followed by all-too-refreshing beer, and that the Eagles had picked a cornerback.  Even when I saw QB listed as position, knowing the Eagles needed secondary help, I thought for sure it was a mistake, that the graphics were wrong, that ESPN had listed QB instead of CB.  Soon enough, it was all too clear that the selection was a QB.  I couldn't believe it.


I guess I am finally ready to admit that the Eagles are playing to prolong their playoff run rather than to win the playoff run.  When you compare what they have done with what the Patriots have done in the off-season and in the draft, the Eagles are projecting years down the road.  I don't see an immediate impact player in their draft, except for perhaps Tony Hunt.  And he's playing a position the Eagles under-utilize. 

The Eagles missed addressing their biggest need in the secondary.  Who would have thought they would begin grooming McNabb's replacement before grooming one for Dawkins?  With a draft rich in DBs, they came away empty until late in the draft.


I liked that they got a pass-rushing DE, especially with Kearse coming back from injury and McDougle likely on his way out.  Getting a bigger power back in Tony Hunt is also a plus.  I have no confidence in the Eagles selection of linebackers based on past history, but have to think none can be worse than Dhani Jones.  Hopefully, the late rounds will produce some solid players like an Omar Gaither from last year.  If nothing else, perhaps some good special teams contributors. 

2a.  It's not unusual that Gary Matthews is being heavily criticized since many broadcasters have gotten the same treatment starting out.  Yet I don't mind him.  I like his relaxed delivery, and am willing to give him a chance to grow into the role.  He is somewhat bland and hasn't developed an announcer's persona yet: mixing the subtleties of the game with humor and insight.  Part of the problem is he works all nine innings on TV, and he hasn't learned the art of when saying nothing is better than saying too much.


2b.
1. It might be sacrilegious as an Eagles fan, yet I have to say Troy Aikman.  He conveys the X's and O's along with the human drama and personality of the game.
2. Brian Baldinger provides knowledgeable insight with passion for the sport without being sanctimonious.
3. Dick Enberg.  His voice exudes excitement, which adds to the suspense of a well-played important game.

Thank you,

Joe Boyce

Levittown, Pa.