Tuesday, November 09, 2004

Announcing My Discontent

It's Tuesday, November 9 and I still have a bad taste in my mouth. About the Presidential Election? Certainly, but what I'm referring to here is the Cubs. I still am acutely irked by the stupid way they played, their being a bunch of whiny jerks led by the ego-moronical Sammy Sosa and their parting company with their TV announcers -- Chip Caray & Steve Stone -- after a tempestuous relationship that I perceive being mostly the fault of the Cubs players & management including Dusty Baker. Now I just heard today that the 2005 Cubs Convention has already sold out in record time, so I guess legions of Cubs fans don't feel betrayed as I do, but to fans like me, who feel legitimately disgruntled about how things went down (and I mean down), the Cubs have a lot of work to do to fix things both in terms of fielding a truly World Championship caliber team on the field and restoring a positive public image; i.e. giving me a team I want to root for.

Now the reason for this blathering today is that I read that Bob Brenly will be the new color analyst on Cubs television broadcasts; the play-by-play announcer hasn't been selected yet, but the top contenders are all people I haven't heard of (one is a guy named Len Kasper, or something like that). This bothers me, though I actually really like Bob Brenly as an announcer. It might sound stupid, but I want my announcers to be "Cubs guys." Steve Stone played for the Cubs, albeit for just 3 years. Chip Caray is the grandson of Harry Caray, as legendary a Cubs figure as any non-player has ever been (and yes, I know Chip & Harry's "relationship" was negligible at best). But true or not, I got the sense that they were Cubs fans, which made listening in general more enjoyable and hearing them criticize the Cubs somehow more incisive. Don't get me wrong, I don't want my announcers to be blatant homers; I realize that a long tenure -- Vin Scully: Dodgers, Ernie Harwell: Tigers, Harry Kalas: Phillies -- can make an announcer seem more like part of the team than a short-lived playing career; and I don't want a terrible announcer calling the game just because there is a connection (a la Joe Carter). But I'm afraid listening to Len Kasper and Bob Brenly, if that's the tandem, will sound more like an ESPN broadcast than a local telecast. It may be good announcing, but at least for awhile, disconcerting to Cubs traditionalists like me.

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