Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Replacing Ron

I have no idea if this is real, but Twitter friend, @Eukadanz, posted a link to Career Builder today that brought up this ad:

You can click on it to enlarge it, but it appears to be an ad for the job opening in the Cubs radio booth created by Ron Santo's passing.  They don't list a lot of criteria except:

"Preferred candidate will have played with the Chicago Cubs - or played major league baseball with previous broadcast experience as a game analyst."

I e-mailed the Tribune's HR department to find out if this was a real ad or if someone was pulling a hoax.  If it is a real ad, I hope they are fulfilling some regulatory requirement that they publicly post all job openings.  If it is a hoax, I don't get it.  I'll update if I get a response. (Don't hold your breath for a response.)

Nevertheless, WGN Radio is going to have to move forward in a search for Ron's replacement now that they have locked in Pat Hughes until 2015.  Ed Sherman broke down a list of potential candidates on his Crain's Chicago Business blog:

Dan Plesac: The Gary, Ind., native was popular as the Cubs pre- and postgame analyst for Comcast SportsNet through 2008. He has continued to shine as an analyst for the Major League Baseball Network. He's funny and insightful and fulfills the ex-Cub factor, having pitched for them in 1993-94. Several broadcast people believe he is the favorite if he wants the job.

Dave Otto: Mr. Otto, a reliever for the Cubs in 1994, was solid during his many appearances filling in for Mr. Santo on WGN. However, does he have a big enough name to be the full-time Cubs analyst?

Keith Moreland: He got solid reviews while doing some fill-in work for Mr. Santo. He also has experience working baseball games for the University of Texas. He spent six seasons in Chicago and was a key player on the 1984 National League East champions. He will be a strong contender.

Todd Hollandsworth: Currently the pre- and postgame analyst for Comcast SportsNet, where he does good work. A Cubs role-player on the 2003 team, he could get a look.

Gary Matthews: Now a color commentator for the Philadelphia Phillies, "Sarge" has thrown his hat in for previous broadcast openings with the Cubs. Will he do it again?

Eric Karros: A popular player on the Cubs' 2003 team, Mr. Karros currently works the pregame shows for Fox's national games. A full slate of Cubs games could be enticing.

Wildcard: Will the Cubs and WGN pull a surprise move? It's hard to imagine considering there are many well-known and qualified contenders, but you never know.

Of these candidates, I heartily endorse Keith Moreland.  He had a laid-back charm and he actually brought some analysis to the position of analyst.  It was very enjoyable listening to Pat and Keith, even as they described excruciatingly dull games that seemed to be lost even before Wayne Messmer had gotten the word "brave" out of his mouth.

My conspiracy theory mind wonders if the next person to fill the chair will be more of a placeholder until another fan favorite becomes more readily available.  It seems the job of truly replacing Ron Santo can't ever happen without the transitional stage.  As in many painful moves from one long-term relationship to another, maybe the Cubs are looking more for Mr. Right Now to help pass some time from the Santo years.

It fits together since I wondered aloud to Kris the other night if there has been unofficial discussions with Kerry Wood where he agrees to pitch for the Cubs as long as his arm holds out.  Then when his playing career ends, he would move into another position with the Cubs or associated with the Cubs.  Obviously, if the radio gig was being considered, they can't tie one directly to the other since WGN Radio and the Cubs are not under the same ownership umbrella anymore (mostly), but I have to figure the Cubs would have some input into who broadcasts their games.

That $1.5 million for one year seems too low for Kerry not to get much more than watching his team lose 90 games from the bullpen bench in 2011.  There has to be more to it than that, right?  Maybe someone like Dave Otto fills in for the next year or two, takes all the hits and criticisms because he isn't Santo (and never will be), and then the radio job goes to Kid K as he begins his second career.

I've got no sources or real insight here, so I'm pretty much just thinking aloud in print.


Mercurial Outfielder said...

I can think of about 1000 words to describe Kamikaze headband wearing doucehnozzle Dan Plesac. "Funny" and "insightful" are not among them.

Kin said...

I know people say that Pat Hughes does best when playing off a broadcast partner, but I feel like he'd be fine going solo. Although that means that during Pat's 6th/7th inning bathroom break, Judd Sirott would be going solo, and that may be bad.

Joel Reese said...

Keith Moreland was definitely solid. I really like Todd Hollandsworth's work, too, but he doesn't quite have enough humor. But I think he's smart and insightful.

Aisle 424 said...

Any scenario involving Judd Sirott that doesn't also involve him being fed to sharks is a major downgrade, in my opinion.

Kin said...

I think it'd be cooler if those sharks also had some frickin' laser beams attached to their heads.

MattA said...

Of the subs I've heard in the last couple of years, I favor Moreland. I never felt like he was giving the standard Cubs/WGN Cubs-do-no-wrong analysis.
I don't think Pat would do well solo. One of his strengths is his sharing of history, trivia, et al. For him to do that without sharing with someone would seem strange to me.

Tim said...

What a bizarre ad.
Anyway, if you were taking a poll, I absolutely agree with you - I'd vote Moreland.

FrankS said...

The ad is apparently true as it was referenced in an article on the Trib's web site. The article stated that WGN wanted to have the new analyst hired before the Cubs Convention next month.

It seems like they are really rushing into this unless they already have someone targeted for the job. I'd want to at least have the candidates audition with Pat. There doesn't seem to be enough time.

RonTrauma said...

I really would like to see Mitch Williams leave his job at MLBNetwork and come broadcast Cub games. That would be a hoot.

SK said...

The Wood theory is interesting, but I don't think a guy who has made $70 million is that obsessed with his post-playing career options, especially since he could be playing for another 5-8 years.

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