Interview: Franzke looks back on ’08 and ahead to ’09

Scott Franzke is the Phillies radio play by play announcer. His career began as a studio host for the now-defunct Prime Sports Radio Network (now Fox Sports Radio) in 1994 which led him three years later to be the host of the Texas Rangers radio pre- and post-game shows 1997-98.

He honed his play-by-play skills as the voice of the Kane County Cougars from 1999 to 2001, and covered the 2000 Summer Olympics for Sporting News Radio. He returned to the Rangers to reassume the pre and post game broadcasting duties and also filled in on play-by-play from 2002 to 2005.

In 2006, he came to the Phillies to take over those same duties when Tom McCarthy was hired away from the Phillies by the New York Mets, their National League Eastern Division rivals.

Franzke worked the fifth and sixth innings in 2006 with Larry Andersen. In 2007, Franzke assumed more play-by-play duties, replacing Scott Graham in the broadcast booth, turning over pre- and post-game duties to Jim Jackson.

Franzke currently does play by play in innings 1-3 and 5-9 with Andersen, while Harry Kalas joins Andersen for play-by-play in the fourth.

He is a graduate of Southern Methodist University (1994) with a journalism degree.
(Bio Courtesy

He took some time on Saturday morning to talk with Shay Roddy about the Championship that was, and the journey ahead in ‘09.

Walk us through a typical 7:05 game day.
Usually it starts in the morning at home.  I do a couple hours reading on the internet.  I look at the game stories from the previous night, look at some things that happened around the league.

Then I eat lunch, maybe run some errands on the way into the park.  You try to be at the park around 3:00 or so.  The clubhouse opens at 3:30, so I spend some time talking to Charlie, or talking to players.  Hang out for some of batting practice and then try to get up to the booth for good by 4:30 or certainly by 5:00.

Then I try to get ready for the game… I put my book together, grab a bite to eat, around 6 or 6:30.  Then I’m on the air at 7:00.

When it’s your profession to cover the team, does the fan get sucked out of you, or can you still be a fan, but report accurately.

There’s no question I work for the team, so I get to know a lot of the players personally. But I think it’s hard not to be a fan.  I like the guys, and It’s hard not to root for them, because by in large they’re really good people.

It obviously makes my job easier when they win, we don’t have to manufacture things, we stick to the game and stick to the storylines that are playing out.  I think we try to do a respectable job of being fair.  We understand that they make mistakes and its not the end of the world.

You don’t beat a dead horse but you highlight when mistakes are made, and you make note of them.  But winning the world series was such a thrill for us.

You mentioned when they make mistakes, and you’re in a tricky position because its your job to report what you see fairly, but at the same time you work for the team.  When you report on a mistake, does anyone ever come after you for being over critical?

It’s not that it hasn’t happened.  You know, it hasn’t happened to me personally, but to other broadcasters, regardless of the sport, it’s a tricky thing when you work for the club.  But I think one thing that is important to remember is, when your analyzing the game, it’s important to make it about the game.

As I said, you understand mistakes are going to be made.  You never make it personal, you just understand that mistakes are going to be made. For me it’s been great having Larry Anderson as a partner because he’s played the game, and now he’s broadcasting the game, so he’s seen both sides of it.

The broadcasters have a job to do, and I think by in large, the players understand that.  And they know that we are on the same team as them.  At the end of the day we both want the same thing, and that’s to win.  I think as long as you don’t make it personal, you’ll be ok.

You mentioned working with Larry Anderson.  You do eight innings with him on 1210 WPHT-AM.  You guys seem to have great chemistry.  What’s been the reason you work so well together?
You know, I don’t know. We do have good chemistry on and off the air, it’s not fake we are good friends.  We’re not friends to the point where we’re spending tons of time together in the off-season, but we keep in touch.

And we do spend time together away from the park during the season, whether it’s having lunch or dinner after the game together.  I think we have a similar sense of humor, and that probably helps.

I also think we both have a similar way we want to broadcast a game, we both want it to be fun and we both understand what a long season it is and that they’re going to lose some games.  We understand not to get too wrapped up in any at bat, because we both understand that it’s a marathon not a sprint.

You have to make it fun for the listener, who listening to that many games, so we might get a little off-track, a little silly at times,  But when the game is on the line, we both have an understanding that it’s supposed to be about the game, and we revert to that.

Call it a similar style or a similar philosophy… whatever you want to call it, but I think it just works out.

Aside from Larry Anderson, there’s a Hall of Famer on your crew, Harry Kalas.  How much do you get to interact with him, and how big of a help has he been?

On the air, very little, sometimes maybe if there is a spring game or a nationally broadcast game but off the air, all the time.  He’s such a pleasure to be around, he’s so genuine.  More so than the broadcasting part of it, it’s been watching what he does with fans, how he interacts with people.

I love watching all the time he puts into it, because for all the big moments he’s called, and of course for being in the baseball Hall of Fame, he realizes why he’s been able to that, and that’s because he’s connected so well with the fans.

He realizes what we do is for the fans, we’re the conduit to the team.  I think it’s been great to watch Harry, because even at his stature he’s never managed to loose sight of that.

There’s some guys who are full of themselves, and take themselves a little too seriously, but Harry doesn’t do that.  He always has time to sign an autograph, he always has time to shake a hand.  I can only dream of being in this game as long as Harry has, and that’s something I’ll always take with me.

J.C. Romero was suspended 50 Games by MLB.  What are your thoughts on that?

You know, I’m around him everyday and I really think J.C. had good intentions in mind.  I really don’t think there was anything sinister going on there.  But, you know, MLB has to have rules, and if he tested positive, he tested positive.

I guess it’s hard to paint any sort of gray area.  They’re trying to get tough about this and they’re trying to show that they are doing something for what had become a big problem, so that leaves little room for negotiations.  I really don’t think he had any intentions of doing anything illegal, I really don’t see J.C as that kind of a guy.

But they accused him of negligence.  Is negligence worth 50 games?

Well negligence aside, the rule is if you test positive for this substance then you’re done 50 games.  I think it’s a little odd that they offered him a 25 game suspension.  That seems a little curious to me.  But you have to draw the line somewhere and that’s where it happens to be.

Obviously there’s been rumors about Nomar Garciaparra coming here.  Would you like to see him in a Phil’s uniform?
I don’t know.  Obviously he’s a guy that when healthy can still contribute.  He hurt the Phillies in that four game series during the regular season.  He’s a guy who can play multiple positions, I’m not sure where they stand on that type of thing right now, but I think he’s a guy who can hit and play multiple positions and anytime you can give your manager that that’s good.

Do you think Raul Ibanez will be an improvement over, a downgrade from, or a wash with Pat Burrell?

Numbers wise, it’s tough to say.  You never know how a guy is going to adjust coming over to a new league, and things of that nature.  From everything I’ve heard, he’s going to be every bit the workaholic Pat was.  I really liked Pat personally.  He was very good to me the three years I was here.

He was one of the first guys, if not the first guy to arrive at the clubhouse everyday.  Winning came first, there wasn’t anything he wanted more than to win, and if that meant coming out of games late, he could accept that, because it meant winning.

Everything I’ve heard about Raul is that he had the same kind of work ethic, the same kind of desire to win.  That’s very important because when you are replacing Pat you have to replace him with the same kind of work ethic, the same kid of presence and attitude toward winning.

From everything I’ve heard, now I haven’t met him yet, but from everything I’ve heard, Raul is the same type of guy.

Who will be the Phillies opening day fifth starter?

I don’t know, obviously there is a large collection of guys there battling for it.  It will be interesting to see who steps up in spring training.  Obviously they have the veteran type options.

You have to wonder if Adam Eaton can put anything together.  He’s going to have to be really good in spring training in order to convince everyone that he’s that guy.

As for the young guys; whether its J.A. Happ or even Carlos Corasco they have some maneuverability with those guys, because they’re young.  They’re going to have to be really good to take it from those veterans.

Kendrick is going to have to prove that his work on his off-speed stuff made a difference.  And I think its good.  I always love competition going into spring training because it makes you think about what your doing a little more and makes you try a little harder.

The Braves have gone out and signed Derek Lowe.  Will that make them a legitimate third contender in the East race?

A third, or fourth even.  You know, it’s a talented division, there’s depth throughout.  I don’t think anyone expected the Braves to fall as hard as they did last year.  Obviously the Lowe signing will help and I think they need Francoeur to help them revert back to who they were in previous years.

I can’t imagine the Braves suffering through as many injuries as they did last year.  Again. I think it’s a really stacked division and I think it will be a dog fight until the very end.  By in large, whoever can stay healthy will have a good shot, but it will go down to the end, again.

Your favorite movie:
Hmm… I’m not a big movie guy…  You know, that’s a great question… I’ll go with… Glen Gary, Glen Ross

Best Cheese-steak in Philly is…
Hmmm… One I don’t have to wait in the cold for.

Favorite city to go to cover a team is…
You know, I love going to New York.  Maybe it’s the energy that’s always there in Phillies-Mets games.   San Diego is always nice.  It’s a nice walk to the ballpark, you can sneak off to the beach for a few hours, the weather’s always fantastic.  I also like Denver, the scenery is really great there.

Favorite Memory of the 2008 season:
The parade is hard to beat.  It’s just hard to describe the feeling.  All the broadcasters were on the first float.  It was amazing to see the love, support, outpouring passion for this team.

We were driving down Broad Street and we did not have a single thing to do with a game that was won or lost, and everyone was showering us with affection, and cheers, and chants, and things of that nature.  That’s pretty hard to beat.

Also for me moments after the Phillies won, Harry was on the air, and I was down on the field, trying to do interviews and I found myself standing on the mound, literally a minute after the Phillies won, trying to chorale Shane Victorino for an interview.

Just standing next to Shane, and watching him look up into the stands, and myself being on that field, in front of 45,000 people, which is obviously somewhere I’ve never been, was just surreal and it was really, really cool.  That’s something  think I’ll always remember.


1 Comment

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One response to “Interview: Franzke looks back on ’08 and ahead to ’09

  1. Awesome interview. That’s so cool your able to interview these guys. I like listening to Frankse and LA.

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