Radio announcer Scott Franzke catapulted into Philly broadcast history as the Phillies progressed to the World Series.
Already a fan favorite, his “Bedlam at the Bank” call after Bryce Harper hit his NLCS-clinching two-run homer was quickly recognized as an unforgettable play call befitting of an unforgettable moment. The plaudits and profiles have rolled in since then.
“It’s great to be part of something that means so much to so many people around our city, it’s humbling and flattering,” Franzke told Billy Penn about the heightened awareness of his and his fellow broadcasters’ work. The 50-year-old has been a play-by-play announcer for the Phils since 2006, learning from industry legends as his stature within the organization rose.
In between a bevy of other appearances and, oh yeah, prepping for the World Series, Franzke chatted about his Texas roots, move to Philadelphia, and how he came to love the city and its sports fans.
Note: This interview has been edited for length and clarity
You’re from the Dallas area and you’ve done play-by-play for the Texas Rangers, is it safe to say you were a Rangers fan?
I was a Rangers fan … Rangers weren’t very good most of the time.
I was obviously fortunate to do my first big league game for the franchise I grew up rooting for in whatever year that was — 2002, I guess — and I worked for them on a couple of different occasions doing stuff for the radio network.
Since Houston is the opposition this series, any Lone Star Series memories or Astros stories?
It’s kind of funny, a few months before the Phillies hired me, I interviewed with the Astros for their job. But I didn’t get it.
I was obviously crushed, I was just looking to get a full time major league job somewhere. I got an interview, came down to Houston and met a lot of folks but it didn’t happen. So I was still available a couple months later when the Phillies thing happened.
And how did you end up with the Phillies?
At the time, I had a job as a talk show host for the Rangers, hosting their pre- and post-game shows. But I wanted to be a play-by-play guy, and so I would have gone anywhere just to get that opportunity.
I didn’t know what would become of my time with the Phillies. I was hired to be the pre- and post-game host, but I would get to broadcast two innings every night. I didn’t know how long that would last or if I would stay or if people would like me or the team would like me.
Obviously you just go into it and try to do your best. Really fortunate it’s worked out.
Were you familiar with the city and the region before making the move?
When I got the job, I had been through Philly twice. My wife’s family, they have some North Jersey roots, and they would always do a week at Long Beach Island in the summer.
The only other experience was actually in the fall before I got the Phillies job. For my job with the radio station in Texas, I covered one Cowboys road trip [to Philly]. That was the first time I ever got a real firsthand look at how passionate sports fans were in Philadelphia. Which was really cool, it was definitely eye opening.
When did Philly start to feel like home?
Right away the Phillies organization felt very much like family.
Marc Zumoff — who called the Sixers for years and years — in my first week when I got to Philadelphia, he called me up. I’d never met him, I didn’t know him at all, and he left me a voice message: “Welcome to town, congratulations on the job. Philadelphia is the biggest small town you’re ever going to live in. And you’ll find that everybody you meet knows somebody you already know.”
I found that to be the case and I like that. I like the fact that it’s tight knit, you know?
When you got here you were working with a few legends of the broadcast game. What was that experience like?
Working with guys like Harry Kalas and Chris Wheeler, when I got here … I mean, Harry was obviously just a rock star.
I was always amazed by the way he interacted with fans, because the demands on his time were, I mean, as an announcer during the season, [he was] asked to do all these extra things. He always made time for it, he always had time for it. And I think the respect that he showed back to the fans was something that I’ll never forget.
And “Wheels” was such an encyclopedia of Phillies history. And for a guy who came into the market new and didn’t know anybody and didn’t have the lifelong frame of reference that so many do about, you know? Anytime something happened in the game, I knew I could go to “Wheels” and say, ‘Do you remember this?’ And he would have such great recall and context.
How are you feeling about calling the World Series?
I’m incredibly excited. One thing it’s shown me is that you just never know. You can have a great team that doesn’t play well in the playoffs. You can have a not-so-great team that does play well in the playoffs.
I think the overarching thing is that I have no control over it. So I’m going to try to enjoy every single minute of it — that’s what I’ve tried to do this fall.
Where would you go to watch the World Series if you weren’t calling it?
I don’t ever get out to watch games. *laughs*
So I would probably just do it from my couch with my kids.
What’s your favorite food from Citizens Bank Park?
It changes, but I love everything that Federal Donuts offers. And the Burnt Ends Cheesesteak that they sold this year was a new favorite of mine.
Do you have any travel tips on how to avoid traffic for home games?
Leave your house early. *laughs*
Are you a tailgater? Any fun Philly tailgating stories?
I don’t tailgate a lot, I’ve been to a handful of Sixers and Flyers ones.
The day I came as a member of the Cowboys traveling media. They would provide travel for us so we were on a team bus, even though it was only media on the bus.
And driving by on Pattison Avenue and seeing all the fans lined up along the gates giving us the middle finger, that’s my favorite tailgating moment.
Talk about a warm welcome.
I mean, the great thing about it is that it instantly shows you how much they care and how much they root for their home team. And I loved it.