Prior to 2005, Steve Stone and Chip Carey called Chicago Cubs TV broadcasts. Consequently, I became a huge fan of Pat Hughes and Ron Santo on WGN Radio as I stopped at nothing to avoid Stone and Carey's broadcasts. The best way I can illustrate that is that I was only about 11 years old when Chip Carey took over. When you're 11, substituting a visual display for a radio is no small feat. Combining with being a visual learner and general amounts of ADD that go around at that age, I've always thought it spoke highly of Hughes and Santo, or that it spoke painstakingly low of Carey and Stone, that an 11-year old was willing to bail on the TV to listen to the radio simply because of the broadcaster choice. When the time came to watch or listen to a Chicago Cubs game, the radio was the easy choice.
That changed in 2005 when Len Kasper and Bob Brenly took over in the Cubs' TV booth. I had no idea who Len Kasper was, and I only knew that Brenly had been the manager when the Arizona Diamondbacks won the World Series in 2001. While no one will ever top Pat Hughes for me personally --listening to his broadcasts is directly responsible for me loving baseball-- Kasper and Brenly made watching Cubs' games fun again. When a team is perennially a disappointment, having people to make the ride a little more fun is a big deal. Len and Bob did exactly that.
In light of the above, I was disappointed to hear of Brenly's decision to move on. It's nice to hear him say: "I had as much fun as you could have in the last eight years. I have nothing negative to say. It was great," but it's still too bad to see him go. One aspect of their broadcasts that I specifically enjoyed was the consistent nerdy music banter that would go on between them. As an active musician and someone who generally loves music, this always added a layer to the broadcasts that I simply didn't get anywhere else. I'm sure some people found that aside to be specifically obnoxious, but it was greatly endearing to me.
The natural question is asking who the Cubs will bring in to replace Brenly? One name that is being thrown around is Kerry Wood. While the prospect is intriguing, I have not the slightest idea if he has any "worth" in a broadcast booth. I have a similar feeling to that as I did when people were calling for Greg Maddux to become the pitching coach a few years back. The name recognition makes the inquiry interesting, but has zero bearing on whether or not it has any chance of working.
Of course, who is going to replace Bob Brenly falls to about 87th on the "To Do" list for the Cubs, who have much bigger fish to fry before the 2013 season kicks off.
Thanks for the memories, Bob!
Brian is a lifelong Chicago Cubs fan, having lived in Illinois his entire life and having followed Major League Baseball throughout.