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The most jarring moment of the 2019 season was not on the field

And it’s probably not the one that you think it is

Miami Marlins v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Rich Schultz/Getty Images

There are certain moments during the season in which you as a fan are caught so off guard that it takes some time to get your bearings. You’re sitting there, minding your own business, taking in a game and then on the screen comes something so jarring, you aren’t sure if you saw what you think you saw.

Now you might think that the moment like this in 2019 was the news that Odubel Herrera was accused of domestic violence. You might think that it was when Gabe Kapler was ejected for the first time...or the second time. You might even be referencing to something else that happened in your hazy memory of the 2019 season, but no. While Herrera was certainly a contributor on the field to the team over the past few years, domestic violence allegations, sadly, have almost become commonplace in sports. They’re ugly incidents that too many people are trying to brush under the carpet for fear of beginning an actual debate and “keeping politics out of sports”. Kapler promised a more passionate brand of managing, but in the end that didn’t matter.

No the incident that I’m talking about happened on a warm summer eve, August 14th. The broadcast booth had penciled in that game as the one where they came down amongst the proletariat, mixing it up with the common folk. Midway through the game, as guest after guest came down to chat for an inning or two, one in particular came down and shocked us all.

Seeing Chris Wheeler and his wonderfully shiny dome after years of seeing him on TV broadcasts, on commercials and guest appearances with a decidedly more coiffed look was something that made a lot of Phillies fans sit up and take notice.

Now, Wheeler has a lot of his detractors amongst the fanbase. Many of the criticisms were that he was too wordy with his analysis, always interjecting points that were pretty obvious to even those with the lowest level of interest and knowledge about the game. I can still hear the term “no doubles defense” in my sleep. Yet his was a voice that was with us for years, one that had nothing but unbridled enthusiasm and a deep love for the game, but mostly for the Phillies. As wonderful as it was for Harry Kalas to finally call a game where the Phillies were declared World Series champions, the lasting image of Wheeler going absolutely bananas in the background is one that is ingrained in the minds of Phillies’ fans everywhere.

It takes a real pro to not only let Harry make the call, but to make sure he scored the play properly in his scorebook.

So, in 2019, when Wheeler came down and showed no fear of showing his true outer beauty, it jarred many people to the core. The rumors were true. There was a certain amount of coverage that Wheeler was being provided. And guess what?

It’s better this way.

Going the way that you were born is the way nature intended it. It’s always better to be au naturale than to cover up what yearns to be free. A quick Twitter search will show you that much of the reaction to the disappearing tresses were mean and unnecessary, quick thoughts that were meant to gain as many RT’s and Likes as possible.

My opinion though: it caught me slightly offguard, but I am on the closely shorn Wheeler bandwagon. I always like him then, and I think I like him more now. So enjoy the cool breezes, Chris. Rent a convertible and feel the wind kiss your scalp and send shivers of happiness down your spine. As one of the biggest Phillies fans around, you can do whatever you want.