With Keith Moreland Stepping Down, Your New Radio Color Commentator is.....

With Keith Moreland Stepping Down, Your New Radio Color Commentator is.....

Today, the Chicago Cubs announced that after three years, Keith Moreland will walk away from his position as the color commentator on the flagship’s radio broadcasting partner of long time play by play man Pat Hughes.

Signed to a three year contract before the 20111 season to replace the irreplaceable Ron Santo, he had big shoes to fill. While some feel he did an admirable job, many other felt that he left a lot to be desired. He was just not able to bring the excitement or the chemistry to the broadcasting booth that Santo and Hughes had. In Moreland’s defense, he only had three years with Hughes where Santo had more than a decade.

Now, the team has to once again look for someone to sit beside Hughes to call Cubs games. In what you would think would be a prime job to have, finding a replacement for Moreland might not be easy. The Cubs contract with WGN Radio ends at the end of the 2014 season. There is no guarantee that the Cubs will work out a new deal with their long time radio home. If a new radio deal is not worked out with WGN, the Cubs will only be able to offer a one year contract to whoever is willing to join the Cubs booth. With only one year guaranteed, the Cubs may have to settle for a less than admirable broadcaster.

If there is a new deal reached with WGN Radio, and I have to believe that the Cubs would be stupid to walk away from 720, then they could very well have their pick of the litter. If the Cubs want to once again fill the radio booth void with a former Cubs player, there are two names who the fans would put at the front of the list.

A lot of Cub fans bring up Mark Grace as a potential replacement for Moreland. He was one of the most popular players in Cubs history, especially in the decade that he manned first base. Grace also has a stellar resume as a broadcaster. He is a former broadcaster for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and even did games for FOX on the weekends. He is very intelligent, knows the Cubs history and could bring excellent chemistry into the radio booth with Hughes.

The only problem with Grace, is he has a bit of a drinking problem. He has quite a few DUIs on his resume as well, and has spend time in jail because of them. That being said, he has paid his debt to society and should be considered to fill the vacant radio position. Not because he is a former Cub (though that would help the fans welcome him), but because he is a smart baseball man.

Then, there is Kerry Wood. Being a long time fan favorite, Wood seems like a no brainer to good percentage of Cub fans. While he has no experience as a broadcaster, he would have an instant connection to the Cub fans, and would also bring back to the booth a connection with Santo. Wood was always one of Santo’s favorite players, and the two joked around with each other a lot. Santo would always talk about how he gave Wood batting advice, and Wood re-signed with the Cubs in 2011, due in part to Santo’s passing. Wood attended Santo’s funeral , and a conversation with then General Manager Jim Hendry took place. From there, Wood decided to return to the Cubs at a very team friendly deal shortly afterwards in part to pay tribute to the man.

But here is why I feel he may very well be the man to replace Moreland.

A few years ago, Dan Bernstein of WSCR, 670 The Score, reported that along with the contract he signed to pitch for the Cubs in 2011 came an additional clause that would essentially make him a member of the Cubs family for life. Bernstein took that rumored clause a step further by saying that Wood would eventually take the place of the departed Santo. He said that job would have to wait since the position had just been filled by Moreland. Now, with Moreland’s departure, if there is anything to that rumored clause, now seems to be the perfect opportunity for Wood to fill that void.

Of course, Wood may not want to be a broadcaster. Grace may not want to return to the booth, or maybe he doesn't even want to return to Chicago. This is all just speculation, and lot likely depends on what happens with the Cubs contract with WGN Radio. While both Grace and Wood might be great additions to the booth, there is a very good chance that they might go in a completely different direction. They might even hire some guy no one ever suspected. Whoever they hire, they have a great man to work beside in Hughes. Just as long as he is kept after the WGN Radio contract expires. The Cubs could have an entirely new Radio and Television broadcasters in 2014. But that is another blog for another day.


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  • Since some WGN radio sports program reported that the main reason Brenley wouldn't come back was that TV only offered him a 2 year deal because of the contract out, a one year radio deal is really going to be a problem. Not to mention that it is represented that the announcers are WGN employees, which now makes a difference since the Trib. does not own the team.

    Maybe they can get Sammy "i don't speak English [before the Congressional Committee]" Sosa. I can't think of any former Cub that would generate much interest, except maybe Grace, but he left teed off at the Cubs. Maybe they can make Sveum work off the last year of his contract.

  • In reply to jack:

    I don't foresee a problem. They can offer a provisional multi-year contract. He's carried forward past next year, with WGN or with the new station. And he'll have the option.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    Since later stories refer to reporting to Dave Eanet, if the contract is with WGN, they can't just assign it to, say, WCFS.

    Remember when the White Sox contract went over to WSCR, John Rooney said he wouldn't take WSCR's offer, and left.

  • Dale got a job as a coach with the Royals.

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    Kerry Wood "maybe he doesn't even want to return to Chicago."
    He lives in Chicago with his wife and children. They run the Wood Family Foundation and have already made several large donations around the city. How the hell can you not know this ? If you are this unqualified to write the article, at least do some research.

    I guess anyone can have a blog ...........

  • In reply to Dan Mickelson:

    And anyone can write a reply without carefully reading. The pronoun "he" refers to Mark Grace.

  • In reply to Dan Mickelson:

    Read again sir. Mark Grace is the he I am talking about.

    Reading is a skill

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    In reply to Dan Mickelson:

    When you are wrong, you say so. I apologize ! Obviously reading is not a strong suit of mine. Back to community college for a remedial reading class.

    Sorry again !

  • In reply to Dan Mickelson:

    All is good Dan. No worries

  • K Wood is a heckuva nice guy, and there's mutual admiration between him and Cub Nation. But he's not quite well-spoken enough, not quite bright enough for this gig. And he'd likely be too much of a homer.
    M Grace's problems go way beyond drinking. It's hard for him to push his huge ego aside. He can be annoying in an unctuous sort of way. And the voice has never been all that suitable to announcing. It's basically Kevin Costner's voice. A bit sophomoric, nasally, clingy.
    I lost track of what D Glanville is doing. If he's available, he could grow into the job pretty well.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    I don't agree with your perspective on Kerry Wood at all. First off, what examples can you give that support your claim that he isn't a bright guy or well spoken? I have always found him to be well spoken and intelligent. Plus he's always been one of the few stand-up guys they've had over the years. And too much of a homer? Have you ever listened to Ron Santo's broadcasts? Plus Cubs fans want to know that their broadcasters are just as invested in the teams as they are. He'd be perfect.

    I agree that Grace would not be a good choice, mainly for the big ego and false humility that he presents.

    I do not want Glanville, no matter what he's doing now. It seems to me that people fawn over him as a baseball-savant when in reality his comments really do nothing to illuminate the situation.

  • In reply to michaelc:

    The big ego point reminded me of the Fox "GraceOMeter" or whatever that piece of bull was.

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    "Grace also has a stellar resume as a broadcaster. He is a former broadcaster for the Arizona Diamondbacks, and even did games for FOX on the weekends. He is very intelligent..."

    Did you actually ever listen to Grace call a game? He's terrible! An absolute dolt. The Cubs need to do better than that. Cub fans deserve better than that. There's no reason why the new guy has to have a Cubs connection like Grace or Wood. JD doesn't and he is doing a great job on the TV side. Get a good broadcaster don't just comb the bars for an ex-Cub.

  • In reply to Pooch7171:

    Never said the Cubs needed to fill the void with a former Cub., Just tackling the issue from the idea of IF they wanted to.

    And yes, I have heard games he broadcast on FOX. I did not see a problem with him whatsoever from a broadcasting standpoint.

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    In reply to Anno Catuli:

    This is really the guy you want calling you Cub games?


  • I've heard Mark Grace do Cubs games as a Diamondbacks announcer and he is nothing buy negative towards the Cubs. He would be a terrible choice. He tries hard to be funny, but never is. And as far as paying his debt to society, the D-Backs hired him as a spring training instructor so he only had to serve half days from 6:00 p.m. until 6:00 a.m., when he got to go to the ballpark. Another celebrity getting special treatment disguised as work release. He would be a terrible choice.

  • In reply to AZBOB:

    Yes, he can be overly negative towards the Cubs, but that is not really a bad thing. Can he go overboard in his criticism? Sure, and that can get a bit annoying. Perhaps he has a grudge against the Cubs for how they chose Sosa over him, or perhaps he is just speaking how he truly feels about the Cubs and how they have been playing.

    Personally, I like hearing opposing announcers, FOX or ESPN broadcasters because they are not going to "toe the company line" as much as the flagships. I enjoy hearing opposing view points.

    Not sure he would really make a great fit for the Cubs myself to be honest. I looked at him from a neutral view point and threw him in for consideration because his name comes up almost as much as Wood's when thinking about a potential fill in.

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    Anno, I'm not going to argue with your opinion on Grace's broadcasting style because I think I've only seen him like twice on FOX.

    However, I give a little more weight to the DUI issue than you seem to. He has done his time, but his issues were pretty prevalent and repeating.

    I like your column, but if it came down to those two I'm hands down Kid K.

  • In reply to StevenH:

    I agree. I hate people who get off for DUIs because they are a celebrity. He needs to grow up a bit, and since he is in his 40s..... I think.... that might not happen.

    But I do agree that Wood would be the better choice between the two. Though I would not be disappointed if they hired someone who was never a Cub.

  • Anno,
    I'm not talking about the national broadcasts, I mean when he was broadcasting locally for the D-Backs. His sarcasm was truly over the top. Arizona, in general, is less forgiving on the d.u.i.'s which is why he got 4 months in tent city for his second w/I a year.

  • Why not at least TRY to call Kerry Wood, or a representative of Mark Grace, or someone with the Cubs and including their response before posting something like this? Is there some belief that things are better if they are entirely rank speculation instead of containing at least the faintest glimmer of actual information?

  • In reply to jesbeard:

    All I have is what I have heard. Not having actual sources, or contact information for the players I have no way to contact them and get information. If that was needed for A BLOG then there would be absolutely zero blogs anywhere on the net. No place for fans to write out their thoughts for people to read, respond to ect. But what this piece is, is a speculative piece Jes.

    I never once said they would take it or they would not. It is all speculation.

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