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Tuesday's with Felzzy- Left of the dial.

Tuesday's with Felzzy- Left of the dial.

 

So John Arguello, grand Poobah and master of all Cub Knowledge writes this fabulous article about filling the vacancy in the Cubs radio booth. It's a killer piece. The thinking is out of the box, ahead of the curve, more in line with the way baseball is being viewed AND covered. And a total compliment to the new Regime and progression of the Cubs from Old-timey relic to future thinking organization. Naturally the idea lasted all of 43 seconds before up and vanishing like a fart in the wind.

Rather we were treated to a list of 8 Cubs, all former players, and all so bland and oatmealish, it makes the managerial search feel like a Supreme Court nominee hearing.

Mark Grace, Doug Glanville, Mark DeRosa, The Riot, Dave Otto, Prancer, Dancer and Vixen. That's your list of candidates. This list couldn't be more "in the box" if it was created by ACME box company itself. You couldn't be more in the box with a survey crew and a staple-gun. How hard did WGN work on this list? My guess is about as hard as it takes to take the TV vacancy list, erase Jim Deshais' name and add Kerry Wood's name.

This of course was followed by a whole evening of Twitter outrage by every single Cub fan who has nothing good to say about every single candidate.  Who knew this was such a sore spot for Cub fans.  Of course, it should be pointed out that if Mick Gillespie, Arguello's choice for the job, had been mentioned as a candidate, he would have been panned by the masses as well. #thatsthebestwecando. #wereallyareasmallmarketteam. And on and on it would have gone.

So allow me to shout at the rain because as right as I will be with my following announcement, I fully expect everybody to ignore me and go ahead and have an opinion as to who should sit next to Pat Hughes. I for one, have no opinion. I could care less. And I beg you all to not give a darn with me.

When I first lived in New York City, I couldn't afford cable. So I listened to baseball by radio. Jon Sterling was working with Charlie Steiner. 2 play by play guys. I thought they were incredible. What a great way to call a game I thought. Well, Sterling felt threatened by Charlie and got him kicked off and replaced by Suzy Waldman, AKA Georgie Girl. So Sterling felt free to miscall the game as he saw fit, and Waldman would pipe in with out of town scores and how incredible it was that Roger Clemens was sitting in George Steinbrenner's box. Waldman was an express elevator down the Empire State building with no brakes from Charlie Steiner.

And it didn't change my listening habits one iota.

Radio listening is one of two things- Practicality and/or sentimentality. Most people don't want to listen to the game. They HAVE to listen to the game. They're in the car, they're at work. You're going to put it on because you want to listen to the game. Then there are those, that just like the pace of radio better, it agrees with your sitting outside and enjoying the day lifestyle. Well, Pat Hughes has that in spades, and no color commentator is going to ruin that for you. Heck, the past two gave it their all and couldn't do it.

Does anyone really remember Ron Santo as a radio guy? He was absolutely awful. AWFUL. Capitol A. Capitol W. Capitol F. Capitol U. Capitol L. Capitol AWFUL!!!! Couldn't remember names, couldn't really see. And preferred to grunt and scream instead of using actual words. So, other than not being able to see what was going on, and accurately describe what was happening, he was a great radio guy. Almost everyone I know points to his "Oh Nooooooo!!!!!!" (something I heard live at the time....) on Brant Brown's fly ball as the classic radio call of his career. I thought it was a disgrace and should have been fired. But guess, what, the next day, I had the radio on because I was moving out of my Wicker Park apartment and was in the car all day.

Come May, when Darwin Barney is jogging back to the dugout after his 3rd groundout of the day, I doubt anyone is gonna think to themselves, "Boy, really would like to hear Mark DeRosa's thoughts right about now...." You'll listen when you'll listen.

We throw our 2 cents around on so many things. Bench coach, hiting coach, second base, 14th pitcher, etc.  And while you might loathe Mark Grace ( line forms at the left...) or think the Riot is a little trader, the truth is the position is kind of irrelevant. So keep your 2 cents on this one, get your self something special.

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  • Hope for Kerry Wood.

  • wouldnt the Riot be a 'traitor'...unless he is on the floor at the CBOE

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    In reply to ChiTownD:

    I worked at the CBOE and I met Theriot, he would be a "little trader" hahaha.

  • Of course, I love the Replacements reference. Great song. And thanks for the kind words. I think I'll make a business card and put Grand Poobah on it as my title.

    I'm with you on this Felzz. I'm hoping to avoid the same old pattern of ex-ballplayers and it's why I wrote about Gillispie the other day. He can take interaction with fans to a new level with his knowledge of prospects and social media. Seems to me he's the kind of guy you want heading into a new future for the Cubs.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    The best part with Gillispie is he's young enough to take over when Pat warms his old bones in retirement in the AZ. sun .

  • Gracie so he can pull out his "slump buster" method when the Cubs are on a losing streak. Woody 2nd..... Gracie has the personalty and lets face it the guy needs a hug or two.

  • In reply to Rbirby:

    We can probably do a poll at sometime once the candidates become clear.

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    Capital.

  • Bill Murray would be too much to ask for. How about Brian Doyle-Murray?

  • In reply to baseballet:

    I agree, and have posted that idea in the past. Bill Murray loves baseball, loves the Cubs and might be at that point in life where he might want to do something a little different and still make movies in the off season. Do you remember when he owned the team in St. Paul? He just might go for it.

    Can you imagine the ratings? Can you imagine what those ratings would do for the worth of the air rights? He would have to work the middle innings on the TV side which would make those ratings skyrocket as well. The Cubs should reach out and try to get Bill Murray on board. They do have final say-so over who is in the booth, correct?

    The Cubs would be on every national sports segment nearly every single night. Its a no lose situation.

    Of course if he wasn't interested, maybe someone like Jeff Garlin would work.

  • In reply to baseballet:

    People still talk about Bill filling in for Harry back in.....87. And I loved it. But since then.....How do I say this......... He's gotten severely less funny. Let's leave it at that.

    Basically I want the most vanilla, least controversial person. Which I think is DeRosa. But he might be so fresh from playing that every sentence might start with "When I played......"

    There's no good answers on that list. Arguello provided a wonderful answer and The GN response basically looked at Arguello like he has three eyeballs and a two tongues.... So hopefully they tell me on a Saturday in a an "oh by the way here he is". Because whoever it is, I won't have an opinion until August after I've heard them for a few months.

  • In reply to felzz:

    Murray was great, for one day, but I'm thinking he would wear thin in a hurry for regular viewers/listeners. And a the primary interest for a lot of us is the baseball game and he would take away from that, in my opinion.

  • In reply to GAHillbilly:

    Yeah, as much as I like the guy, I can help but think of the Dennis Miller MNF fiasco. No more comedians in the booth please.

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    Great article. The last time I listened to the Cubs on the radio was in Game 1 of the 1984 playoffs. I was working as a dockworker at McCormick Place. It was a beautiful day. Caught the whole game, didn't do any work. Got laid off for Game 2.

  • In reply to Michael Canter:

    The Replacements AND another fantastic, well said article. I couldn't agree more. I loved Santo. My dad was dying a few yrs ago and I wrote a letter to Ron and asked if I brought my dad to Wrigley, would he give my dad 30 seconds to shake his hand. He wrote me back and invited us into the booth and treated my dad like they'd been lifelong friends. The next season, they read a tribute to my dad who had passed over that winter, and then sent me a CD of it. I loved Ron. But you're right Felzy. I think, for the job that is 2nd fiddle to Pat, would be Dave Otto.

  • In reply to copinblue:

    Great story. Santo was a great person. May not have been the best announcer from a critical standpoint, but he was fun.

  • My dad's favorite will be Kerry Wood. He got to meet him once and raved about what a great guy he is and became his favorite player along with Shawon Dunston (because he busted his tail on every play). I told Kerry Wood about it and how my dad is kind of this curmudgeonly old man when it comes to ballplayers (they're all overpaid, they're all prima donnas, etc.) -- so he doesn't like any ballplayer, not even Sandberg or Dawson! But Wood (and Dunston) was an exception.

    Wood's response?

    "Sounds like I had him fooled."

    Found him to be funny and very friendly to anyone who approached him. I can see him playing the ambassador role very well if he's the guy.

    That said, I'm still going with Gillispie. I think he fits in so many ways.

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    Allow me to make a case for Doug Glanville. He is a very smart baseball mind. Actually he went to an Ivy League school and wrote for the New York Times. He was using some advanced stats on his stints on Baseball Tonight. Ironically he seemed very impressive with Manny Acta.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    I've always liked Glanville.

  • In reply to Sean Holland:

    I agree, Doug is my choice too. Articulate, good sense of humor, and gets it with the sabermetrics..

  • I honestly haven't listened to the radio in years. I get the games streamed to my iPhone, iPad, Computer, TV, etc... could really care less about radio broadcasting. I barely listen to the TV announcers...

  • I don't know if Kerry Wood is interested, but I hope that stays involved with the team on a regular basis in some capacity. We fans have lost Santo, Sandberg, Grace, Dawson, Sutcliffe Williams, Banks Jenkins etc. I feel like Cubs/Chicago need Kid K.

  • I'm about as indifferent as you can get on this subject since I don't really have the opportunity to listen to games (and sadly, rarely get to watch them... Cubs Den is really my lifeline to all things Cubs these days). That being said, what would be wrong with going the Vin Scully route and letting Pat Hughes call the game solo? Or maybe he doesn't have the type of personality to let that fly?

  • In reply to Pura Vida:

    He could do it. But I think Pat is funniest when he's bouncing jokes off somebody. Love Hughes. Otto or Glanville. Maybe DeRo. Just hope they pick well.

  • You can put a growling dog in the booth with Pat Hughes and I would still enjoy the broadcast. I prefer Mick Gillespie as the choice. He is knowledge about the kids that will come up and I like the extra content from Smokies Radio.

    Good stuff felzz. How about 'Purveyor of Rents' for the manager's nickname?

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    I think your comments on Santo contradict a portion of your article a bit. With Santo, it was about the sentimentality you mentioned. He offered nothing in the way of informing the listener (his lack of preparation is well-documented). He mispronounced names and was often clueless. He could be crotchety. But Ron had a great chemistry with Pat, and could be endearing. Santo also harked back to a time when many of us were growing up, eliciting nostalgia.

    My wife, who loves the Cubs but could care less about analysis, loved Ronny. And he was my favorite player growing up, so while he frustrated me with his non-analysis, I cherished every year he was still with us.

    My vote, for what it's worth, is Glanville. And hopefully, he will be able to broadcast with a certain degree of honesty.

  • How about Andre Dawson?

  • Mark Grace would be a terrible choice. He blasts the Cubs every chance he gets when they play the D-Backs. He tries to be funny, but he isn't. His two d.u.i.'s got him four months in Sheriff Joe's tent city, but the D-Backs bailed him out, making him a spring training instructor, so he left at 6:00 a.m. and had to return by 6:00 p.m. "Work release," or preferential treatment for a celebrity.

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    Now you can't say Gracie wouldn't be a joy. He could tell stories about getting 5 hits in a day game after drinking til 5am, or the time he may or may not have slept with Cindy Sandberg.

  • Many years ago, listeners to the Braves networks were subjected to John Sterling. If I've ever heard a worse broadcaster, I don't remember it and I've been listening to/watching broadcast since the days of Dizzy Dean and Pee Wee Reese on the Game of the Week.

  • In reply to GAHillbilly:

    John Sterling is an embarrassment. The mere fact that Felzzy thinks he is in any way, shape, or form a decent major league broadcaster is deeply troubling.

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    Andy Masur or Dave Revsine?

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    HAHA! I just got moderated for suggesting Andy Masur and Dave Revsine...hilarious.

  • In reply to Lou Sofianos:

    It''s a glitch in the system. It sometimes say "comments need to be approved by moderator", but that doesn't really happen. It does delay the comment, but nobody is looking at it.

  • In reply to John Arguello:

    And I thought somebody was reading each and every word I wrote. lol

  • In reply to GAHillbilly:

    Haha :) I do try and read all the comments, but only after they appear in the comments section.

  • Bill Mueller hitting coach?

  • Because I am way to young to have ever seen Santo play, I do really remember Ron Santo as a radio guy on WGN. You are correct that Santo wasn't a good Radio guy. His analysis and technical broadcasting skills were obviously pretty poor, and if he was a broadcaster on any other team it would be awful. But as a CUBS radio guy I think he was GREAT. His love of the Cubs and emotion teamed with the great color commentator Pat Hughes made for a great listen. I loved to listen to his reaction to plays, both good and bad, because he really represented what I felt during the game. I used to turn the radio up and have the TV on mute just to hear Pat and Ron(even though the TV had a 5 second delay). Since Ron has left the both and passed away I really miss listening to that duo over the radio.

  • Other Chicago born celebs who might be looking for work: Pat Sajak, Chaka Khan, Mr. T, Hillary Clinton, Fred Savage, Daryl Hannah, Jennifer Beals...

  • In reply to baseballet:

    ...........Marla Collins.

  • In reply to GAHillbilly:

    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

  • Put me in the "I don't care" category.

    First of all, I don't listen to the Cubs on the radio unless I happen to be driving somewhere while they are on. Perhaps a half dozen games a year.

    Second, as long as they have Pat Hughes, they have the best in the business anyway, and no "color man" is going to pull him down.

    But if I were forced to pick someone, it would be someone like Santo. He taught us nothing about baseball. He was inarticulate. But he was fun to listen to, if for no other reason than that he lived and died with the Cubs. He was a FAN. And he was Likable. Good enough for me.

    Of the list mentioned, I would pick Grace. I have no idea what he said about the Cubs while he was in Arizona, nor do I care. I liked him as a Cub, and I liked him as a person. After 6 decades of being a Cub fan, there are two memories I have of the Cubs that will stick in my mind forever. One is Sammy Sosa giving Maguire a bear hug when he broke the Maris record, after both chased it all year. The other is Grace giving a similar hug to Brown after he hit a couple of home runs while replacing an injured Mark Grace. I don't care if he is a drunk (as long as it doesn't affect his job). I don't care if he got in on the Cindy Sandberg welcome mat or not. I think he would do a great job.

  • I listen to the radio because 3/4 of the games are not televised. I do love radio listening, and guess what, Felzzy, I gotta split from you on this one. It does matter. It matters to ME a lot.

    Santo was imperfect, but he was perfect. He had a sense of humor, a great chemistry with his partner, and he loved the team. There is a lot of time and space during a baseball game, and it needs to flow, and feel natural and pleasant. Like being there, actually sitting at a ballgame at Wrigley with your two favorite uncles. Listening to Ron and Pat was a highlight to my day.

    Zonk was knowledgeable enough, but he was just bad. Not Joe Carter bad, but still an uncomfortable sort of suck. He talked WAY too much, like he had to comment on every little thing that happened. His humor was pedestrian and forced. And he never developed any real chemistry with Pat, which should not be that hard to do with such a gregarious guy.

    Cubs should seek a guy who is funny, who is nice, who is easy to talk to, and who loves the game of baseball. Pat should have the biggest say. I think Kerry and Doug G are great choices - I don't know Mick that well.

  • Any chance DeRosa rejoins the Cubs' family?

  • He is reportedly on the list.

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    Ron was a great guy, but only slightly less annoying than Wrigley's other Ronnie. Santo was brutal as a broadcaster, but there were a few moments that were genuine Ron that provided something that no one else could, like the time he kept referring to Klondike Bars as Cronkite Bars.

    Hughes, of course, is the consummate professional and is an easy listen. By far the best broadcaster in town - in any sport.

  • In reply to Mike Partipilo:

    Or his interview with Al Fonseca. lol

  • GA,
    I guess you've never been subjected to Ken Harrelson.

  • In reply to AZBOB:

    I'd rate him a close 2nd in the awfulness category.

  • Theriot sounds like a good value choice for the announcer position. Cubs are not bidding against other teams for his services. If Theriot turns out to be a good announcer, maybe we can trade him to a competitive team at midseason for a couple of younger announcers!

  • In reply to Rosemary:

    Haha

  • Karros is good.

    No Theriot. Jesus...

  • Two things they need to do away with ASAP.

    1. Celebrity 7th Inning Stretch.
    it got old fast. 1 yr would've been more than enough to honor HC. you want to continue "honoring" HC, play an old track of him singing. When you get the video board up, play an old video of him signing. DONE! Stop with the celebrities already. THEY SUCK!
    2. Do not hire a former player to replace Moreland.
    like John says, "think outside the box" and stop with the damn former CUBS crap already. Rickets screams CUBS FAN BOY worse then any person doing Cosplay at ComicCon.

  • I gotta disagree with you on this one too, Felzz.

    After next year, the Cubs drop "free" WGN-TV. Subscription baseball tv prices are going to skyrocket in order for teams to meet the demands of Tanaka, Verlander, Kershaw, Cano, any Scott Boras client, etc...., Then WGN radio is going to become REAL IMPORTANT to me.

    Because, That's about all I will be able to afford!

    By the way, how long until the Cubs pull the plug on "free" WGN radio and force listeners to subscription radio?

  • In a perfect world, every game would be a day game and I could listen to the game on the radio while at work. In that world I would really care about this.

    But the number of day games continues to dwindle to the point that who replaces Moreland is of little consequence to me.

    Having said that: NO to Grace, NO to Theriot, NO to Otto.

    Thank-you.

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    While I'd like Pat Hughes, my guess would be Ron Coomer would be a solid replacement for Moreland.

  • Too late for the Cubs and DeRosa.

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