It turns out Phillies general manager Matt Klentak isn’t the only one who dislikes Howard Eskin’s questions.
During Tuesday’s press conference announcing Charlie Manuel’s new role as the team’s hitting coach, Eskin brought up a tweet from Phillies manager Gabe Kapler back in 2013, while Kapler was a FOX Sports analyst. At the time, the Phillies were struggling, and it was Kapler’s opinion that the team should fire Manuel, which they did just a few weeks later.
As Crossing Broad’s Kevin Kinkead pointed out, Eskin didn’t ask Kapler directly about the tweet — it was the second part of a two-part question that he tiptoed around and awkwardly backed into by simply noting the tweet’s existence (which you can watch here starting at the 7:48 mark), allowing Kapler to sidestep it.
But during his weekly radio spot on WIP Wednesday, Kapler was asked directly about the tweet by morning show host Angelo Cataldi.
“I actually didn’t remember that at all when Howard brought it up, but I’m impressed you went through more than six years of my tweets to find that,” Kapler said. “Charlie knows how excited I am to have him with us. I didn’t see him getting too worked up about a one-off tweet from 2013.”
“My job at the time was to put out opinions often. It was a different job, a different role, a different time, and that it isn’t at all reflective of him as a coach or a person,” Kapler added. “But I’m sure Charlie would prefer to talk about [J.T. Realmuto]'s bomb to right center field last night over an old tweet when I was an analyst at FOX.”
On Tuesday, 97.5 The Fanatic host Mike Missanelli ripped Eskin and questioned why the WIP host was allowed to attend Phillies press conferences in the first place. He also encouraged Klentak and the team to “shut the dude down instead of putting up with his nonsense.”
Later in the show, egged on by a caller, Missanelli went after Eskin again, this time for his ability to end up on camera during Eagles games, where he handles sideline reporting duties for WIP’s broadcast.
“NBC Sports cameras are on him because he sidles up to [Eagles owner Jeffrey] Lurie when he walks off the field,” Missanelli said. "It’s just pathetic. I just wish one of these managers would call him out and say, ‘What do you do? Why are you here?’ "
Eskin, who hosts a show on WIP Saturday mornings and an Eagles pregame show on FOX 29, defended his question.
“I don’t ever listen to his show, but anybody that follows my career knows I’m not afraid to ask the tough questions,” Eskin told the Inquirer. “I’m sorry to hear I’m still living rent free in his head.”
This isn’t the first time one of Eskin’s Phillies questions received some blowback. In 2017, an NBC Sports Philadelphia camera captured Klentak complaining under his breath and rolling his eyes after an exchange with Eskin about potential trades.
In April, longtime Phillies public-address announcer Dan Baker missed his first games in 15 years due to an undisclosed illness, his first absence since the Phillies moved to Citizens Bank Park back in 2004.
On Tuesday night, Baker, 72, was forced out of the booth again and will miss an undetermined amount of games due to a lingering sinus infection that the longtime announcer said “must be addressed.”
Phillies director of public affairs and former 6ABC sports anchor Scott Palmer will fill in for Baker.
Baker has been the Phillies’ public address announcer since 1972. He was also the public address announcer for the Eagles for 29 years (where he never missed a game), but was replaced before the 2014 season.