WAIW Roundtable #21: Announcers (and Joe Carter)

Friday, August 14, 2009

WAIW Roundtable #21: Announcers (and Joe Carter)

. Friday, August 14, 2009

We at WAIW are lucky enough to be acquainted with the operators of a bunch of excellent Cubs blogs. Every Friday throughout the 2009 season, we're going to bring as many of them as we can together to share their thoughts on being Cubs fans. This week - our favorite and least favorite announcers.

Personally, I enjoy listening to the game broadcasts on the radio, no matter who's calling the game that night. I even bought one of those expensive-ass time delay radios so I could sync up the game and the TV. Len and Bob are pretty enjoyable as well. Who is your favorite Cubs broadcaster, either on TV or radio, of all time?

If you pick Harry Caray, as I'm sure a lot of you will, then give us a good story about your memories of the man.

Also, who was the worst? Let's not pretend they've all been good ones.


When he was in the Cubs' booth - emphasis on WHEN HE WAS IN THE CUBS' BOOTH - it never got better than Steve Stone. As gigantic a douche as he's become, there's no denying that he knew his shit. I loved Stone with Chip Caray, and I also loved him with Thom Brennaman. Of course, Brennaman subsequently also became a huge douche, so what do I know?


This is a fun question, John. I'm a radio geek when it comes to baseball. As much as I loved Jack Brickhouse and Harry and Steve on the television side of things, I have probably spent much more time listening to the Cubs on the radio. On the radio side I go all the way back to Vince and Lou doing the games. I really enjoyed listening to Vince Lloyd call a Cubs game. But I would have to say that my favorite Cubs announcer is the current radio pbp man Pat Hughes. Pat calls an outstanding game. Him and Ron Santo make the bad Cub games bearable, and I think Pat does a nice job working with Ron which would be a challenge for many announcers.

I enjoy Pat call a game so much that I have to admit, I barely listen to Len and Bob anymore. So I can't really give a critique of them.

My least favorite Cubs announcer was probably Milo Hamilton. Milo was not a bad listen, I just hated his bashing of Harry Caray after he had died. I'm sorry, he may have had a point but I just thought it was in real bad taste. After that, I could care less for Milo Hamilton.

Chip Wesley

I don't have a best but Joe Carter was certainly the worst. Just unbearable as a color commentator. Although it did lead to the best unintentional comedy moment in the booth. In 2002 with Jim McMahon up in the WGN booth with them, Joe Carter had the following exchange.

Joe Carter: "So is Pete Rozelle (former NFL commish) still giving you grief for wearing the headbands during your Super Bowl season?"

Jim McMahon: "Well, actually Mr. Rozelle has been dead for several years now."

Maybe you should sit out the next couple of plays Joe.....

More exultation and excoriation of Cubs broadcasting, after the jump


Ronnie Santo! A good commentator will describe the play but Ron makes you FEEL it. While it's true he could never put on a solo show ala Vin Scully, Ron is the wax paper cup to an Old Style - it's just not the same without him. When I hear fans with the opposite opinion, I'm just like, "Awwww, jeez".

Personally I've always thought the Cubs have had above-average broadcasters, something I didn’t fully appreciate until I added Extra Innings to my cable package. I attributed this to WGN and its national coverage…so can someone explain to why Hawk Harrelson has a job?


I'd like to go a different direction just so everyone doesn't answer the same, but how do you go against Harry Caray? Any man that can ask "how does a guy from the Dominican lose a ball in the sun?" has to be the hands down winner. If someone said that today they'd be fired within the hour but somehow Harry could say things like that and it would sound charming. He also earns bonus points for "allegedly" schtooping the daughter-in-law of Cardinals owner August A. Busch, Jr and for conducting the seventh inning stretch during a time I actually looked forward to it.

As far as the worst, there are a lot of candidates. I remember the '89 season when the radio team was Dewayne Staats and Dave Nelson. I used to walk home from school listening to the games on my walkman and I remember Dave Nelson being absolutely brutal to listen to. The worst in recent memory though has to be Joe Carter. Joe took over the first time Steve Stone left in 2001 and I remember thinking I would never be able to watch a Cubs game on TV ever again.

Ted Lilly Fan Club

Maybe it's because our Sanka machine broke this am, maybe it's because the Commerce Department reported that retail sales fell 0.1 percent last month (despite forcasts from TLFC economists of a .7 percent gain) or maybe we're just upset that the death rattle is beginning to shake for the Cubbies but we're in no mood for spotlight the "best of" anything right now.

Instead, as we take out our shoelaces and belts for safety purposes, we'd like to simply focus on the three worst announcers. Gold Medal Winner? Joe Buck. Sure, technically, he isn't a full-time Cubs announcer but hearing him on Fox Baseball makes us want to punch ourselves in the sack and repeat as necessary. Silver Medal Winner? Dave Otto. Like Buck, he wasn't a fulltime announcer when he filled in for Stoney (who we like) but how did he get a broadcasting gig? He was 10-22 lifetime as a pitcher w/ a 5+ ERA. Bronze Medal Winner? Brenley--b/c of that mustache (note to Bob: you're not Magnum PI) and b/c every story/anecdote ends up with him talking about his Arizona D'Backs team from 2001.
Prozac anyone?


I thought DeWayne Staats was really terrific. I loved listening to him and Steve Stone together. I'm too young to remember Jack Brickhouse. Saying Harry is my favorite broadcaster is like saying Michael Jordan is my favorite Bull or Payton was my favorite Bear. So obvious.

I'll toss in my own Harry story, though. When I was 16, I was waiting for a friend outside Cubs Con when Harry pulled up in a towncar. I grabbed my camera and asked someone to take a photo of me, then ran over and stood next to Harry. He put his arm around me, which was great. . . then put his hand on my ass, which was not. At the time I was all upset, but not I think it's hilarious.

Worst ever? Can I say Judd Sirott? He even sounds like he annoys Ron. Second worst ever? Joe Carter.


For the last few years, I have really grown to like Bob Brenly and that appreciation has exploded this year. I can look past his lame jokes, and contrary to the opinions of many of my family members, I feel that he gives pretty good analysis of the game. Yeah, he mentions that he was a player and manager a lot, but guess what, he was hired to give analysis from the prospective of a player or manager. Also, lately, I have liked his willingness to call out the poor play and laziness of guys like Soriano. As a fan, I appreciate that in a commentator. It's really nice to hear someone acknowledge what frustrates me.

Now to the worst broadcaster - I know I'm in the minority, but I can't be alone here. I can't stand listening to Ron Santo. His analysis is non-existent, as is his ability to form a complete sentense, most of the time. Look, I've got nothing against the guy. He is what I am, a fan. I think I would have a much better appreciation for him if there were three people in the booth (although this rarely works) and he was allowed to just sit back and root, rather than try to give any bit of analysis.


wolfie said...

"Tony Gwynn now up for South Dakota." - Harry Caray

I'll never forget it.