- » WFMT starts show devoted to chamber music
- » Girls-only 'School of Rock' on PBS
- » Wooden features in HBO presentation
- » 'Biggest Loser' casting call Saturday
- » Bill Maher is back for 8th season
- » You haven't seen a Spartacus like this one
- » TV3: Jack's back for his 8th day
- » ABC7's got 'Soul', Rufus Wainwright opera
- » WGN organizing Drive-Thru Toy Drive
- » Museum looks at making of WGN doc
- » 'Monsters and Money' on CH. 2 mornings
- » Rock Hall of Fame Concert set for HBO
- » CSN airs Ben Wilson doc, Mag Mile lights
- » Minds behind 'ATHF' at Lakeshore Theater
- » TV3: TCM salutes Grace Kelly
- More from Ted Cox
Having gushed about our local baseball announcers for a couple of weeks, I'm prepared to let the readers have their say. And boy do they ever.
"Ted: Some points of interest.
1) I am a Cub fan and have been for 52-plus years.
2) Ron Santo does not belong in the Hall of Fame. Though we all enjoy his carnival act on the radio, his baseball numbers do not warrant an invitation to the Hall. For that matter, Billy Williams should not be in there either. As my 87-year-old father says, 'When I think of Billy, I see a groundball to the second baseman for a double play.' As you may be aware, Billy led the majors for a long time with the most hits into double plays. Derrek Lee may be catching up to him now.
3) Let go of the lauds and applauds for (Ed) Farmer and (Steve) Stone. They stink. I listen to Sox games when I have absolutely nothing else to do. They are bad. I don't watch Sox games because (Ken) Harrelson is worse. Is every player on the Sox team 'the best in the bidness,' as Harrelson says? Whatever (Darrin Jackson) is smoking, well, enough said there!
4) And lastly, the Cubs are winning in SPITE of (Lou) Piniella, not because of him.
I enjoy your articles. Keep up the good work!"
- Terrence Grom
Wow, imagine what he'd have written if I hadn't exercised such a civilizing influence on him.
"I just couldn't let your effusive praise of (Pat) Hughes and Santo pass.
As a Cub fan for 57 years and (someone who) appreciates Santo's on-the-field career, his grit (we are parents of a diabetic daughter) and his enthusiasm, (that) doesn't override the unvarnished truth that he's a terrible color analyst, one of the worst I've heard in 65 years of listening to Major League Baseball. The contrast between he and Stone and (Bob) Brenly is painful.
Ronny adds little to what Hughes announces: He parrots the observations Pat makes, he cheerleads ad nauseam, he mangles the English language (the least of his shortcomings) and, worst of all, contributes minimum baseball insight to listeners."
- Ray Smith, Wheaton
All true, which is why I love him.
"I don't think it matters who they put with Farmer. I think he comes across as arrogant and very deadpan, monotone voice. You never know if a flyball is a home run or a double most of the time because 90 percent of the time he never gets excited.
I know I'm not the only one who feels this way. How long is he signed for? Oh well, guess being 46 years old, I'm used to (Harry) Caray and (Jack) Brickhouse."
- Jeff Markarian, Lake Zurich
By the way, did you catch Farmer's call of that Cuddyer-Pierzynski collision at home plate Tuesday night? He might as well have been doing a mah-jongg tournament.
"Steve Stone belongs on TV (Cubs in fact). Hawk belongs in Boise. Farmer is OK for radio, but DJ is a joke anywhere. He is weak, insipid, uninteresting and bland. You may be correct that DJ has improved every year, but starting from 'blech' he has risen to insignificant toady to 'Know-it-All' Harrelson. The latter is nasal, banal, biased and full of ... himself. In all, one great announcer, (and) that thanks to Cub stupidity!"
- Bill Thieben
And who belongs in Geneseo?
"I have been voting every day for Hughes and Stone (in the Hall of Fame Ford Frick Award), and I see they are on the ballot. I totally agree with you, Steve Stone knows more about baseball than anyone else in the business. When he was with the Cubs, he would tell you what was going to happen next, and 90 percent of the time he was right on. I miss him on Cubs (TV games). They made a big mistake letting him go because of a few ballplayers, like (Moises) Alou for instance, who couldn't shine Steve's shoes as far as I'm concerned."
- Joan Steiner, Arlington Heights
So it appears that no matter what happens with our baseball teams this month, everyone agrees on Steve Stone.
In the air
Remotely interesting: Comcast SportsNet Chicago has gone entirely high-definition for all home and road games with their pro teams and studio shows. CSNC is also doing pre- and postgame shows for the Cubs and White Sox through the playoffs. ... WWME Channel 23 airs the high-school football game between Providence and Brother Rice at 7:30 p.m. today.
During the Sox-Twins playoff Tuesday night, TBS' Dick Stockton couldn't tell the difference between a fastball and a slider, but worse yet, he had the Cubs, not the White Sox, winning their World Series meeting in 1906.
End of the dial: I heard a lot of stupid things said after the Cubs' Game One loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday night, but the stupidest had to be WSCR 670-AM's Dan Hampton blaming Carlos Zambrano for it Thursday morning. But hey, what do you expect from a guy who'd typically blame Jim McMahon for losses he never even played in?
Do I have to remind anyone you can still turn down the sound on the TV and turn on the local team broadcasts for the Cubs on WGN 720-AM and the Sox on the Score throughout the playoffs and the World Series?