Mike Schmidt in the TV booth could be a home run for the Phillies

The Hall of Famer's commitment to 13 home Sunday games could be a stroke of genius.

On the day before Thanksgiving every November, LifePath and the Lehigh Valley Chapter of Pennsylvania Institute of Certified Public Accountants have a banquet as a fundraiser and bring in some big sports name to serve as its main speaker.

Johnny Bench, John Kruk, Dick Vermeil, Mike Ditka, Bill Walton and Herman Edwards have all addressed a full ballroom in the past at the Holiday Inn Conference Center in Fogelsville.

And Jim Palmer has already been announced as this coming November's speaker.

But perhaps the best speaker LifePath and PICPA has ever had was Mike Schmidt.

I was reminded of that when I heard the news that Schmidt has been hired by Comcast SportsNet as a TV analyst for the Phillies' 13 Sunday home games this season.

They're billing it as "Sundays with Schmidt" and he will join Tom McCarthy and either one of the other new hires, Jamie Moyer or Matt Stairs, in a three-man booth.

Because Schmidt was the speaker in 2007, I can't remember the particulars of his speech, but I described it in the next day's Morning Call as "engaging, animated and funny" and that's exactly what the Phillies are going to be looking for when he teams with McCarthy and either Stairs or Moyer.

It was a 40-minute speech and I remember thinking at the time that Schmidt would do well as an analyst.

In November 2007 you'll remember, the Lehigh Valley IronPigs hadn't thrown one pitch yet, and Schmidt had some fun just hearing about the strange nickname for the Phillies' new Triple-A affiliate.

It wasn't just jokes and storytelling about the past that made him compelling. Schmidt wanted to talk about some of the game's issues, including steroids. He didn't shy away.

He has some experience, of course, having worked the 1990 season with the late Harry Kalas on PRISM, the Philadelphia cable predecessor to Comcast SportsNet.

And, he also did some national work for ABC when they had the Monday Night Baseball package.

Personally, I think he'd be better suited to a two-man booth and working strictly with McCarthy.

There can be a lot of clutter in a three-man booth and since he's only working 13 Sunday home games, there will be no time for him to develop chemistry with either Stairs or Moyer.

But it will be interesting to see if this clicks and if it could lead to a more extended role for Schmidt, who never seemed like the type who wanted to be committed to 162 games after his playing days were through.

One thing that baseball fans in general, and Phillies fans in particular, want to hear is some stories from the past.

Moyer and Stairs can certainly generate them, but no one has more stories about Phillies baseball in the 1970s and '80s than Michael Jack.

And, they'll want to hear references to Harry and Richie, too, and some old Veterans Stadium tales of horror as well. Remember, he wasn't particularly fond of the Phillies former home.

For some reason, the Sunday games unfold at a slower pace and are more conducive to mixing in some yarns from the past.

Yet, while Schmidt has a chance to be very good, I don't know that he'd wear well on the air for a full season. I don't know if his edgy personality would resonate game-after-game.

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