The Chicago Cubs fan base is still in mourning over the fact that broadcaster Bob Brenly will not be joining Len Kasper in the Chicago Cubs television broadcast booth for the 2013 season. But as the saying goes, the show must go on. Before we dive into too much detail about potential candidates to replace Brenly, it should be noted that the Cubs are not in control of the search for Kasper’s new partner. While the Cubs will be involved in the process, the ultimate decision on who will be hired will come from WGN. In addition to WGN and the Cubs, I would also hope that Kasper is involved in the hiring process as well. One of the most important traits to a successful broadcast team is chemistry. After all, Kasper and Brenly’s replacement will be partnered together for the entirety of the Major League Baseball season. With that said, lets take a look at the early candidates to replace Brenly in the Cubs’ television booth.
February 23, 2012; Mesa, AZ, USA; Chicago Cubs former pitcher Rick Sutcliffe talks during spring training at Fitch Park. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE
Throughout the past couple of days, there have been several names that have emerged as early candidates to join Kasper in the Cubs’ broadcast booth. Those candidates appear to be Steve Stone, Kerry Wood, Mark Grace, Keith Moreland, Todd Hollandsworth, Rick Sutcliffe, and Dave Campbell.
Steve Stone would be an interesting choice. Though, to be honest, a part of me is hoping that Stone returns to his rightful position with the Cubs. Remember, Stone spent 20+ seasons with the Cubs’ broadcasting team before departing from the organization after the 2004 season. Many Cubs fans were upset with the news that Stone would not be returning to the broadcast booth after the 2004 season. Stone’s exit from the Cubs after the 2004 season is what makes me hesitant to think that he would return to the organization. After complaints from former manager Dusty Baker that Stone was too critical of the Cubs’ during the 2004 season, the Cubs opted not to retain the broadcaster. Ironically, Brenly proved to be just as critical as Stone was. Stone is currently the White Sox television broadcaster and has two years remaining on his contract with the organization. But there has been speculation that Stone is not too fond of partner Hawk Harrelson. Stone would certainly be interested in the Cubs’ position, but would he jump ship and return to the Cubs’ organization?
After retiring during the 2012 season, Chicago Cubs relief pitcher Kerry Wood vowed to remain a vital part of the Cubs’ organization. The early indications is that Wood would be a field instructor with the Cubs next season. However, there has always been speculation that Wood would eventually wind up in the Cubs’ broadcast booth, either on the Television side or Radio side. Wood has always expressed a lack of interest in broadcasting, but the consensus is he could be talked into taking the position. Interesting enough, Wood may not find his broadcasting role on the television side. If the Cubs and WGN were to move Moreland from Radio television, Wood could then step in and replace Moreland in the radio booth along side Pat Hughes. Moreland has been surprisingly insightful over the past two season with Hughes, and would make for an easy transition for the Cubs’ television broadcasts.
Todd Hollandsworth has been a successful replacement to Dan Plesac on the Cubs’ pre and post game shows on Comcast Sportsnet Chicago. Hollandsworth has even held his own while subbing in for Brenly over the past couple of seasons. Though, expanding that throughout the entirety of a 162 Major League Baseball regular season may make for a different story. Hollandsworth will be candidate, but there is a saying that says “Don’t fix what isn’t broken.” Hollandsworth is sitting comfortably as a Cubs’ analyst, and there is no need to change that.
Mark Grace and Rick Sutcliffe are two former Cubs that most Cubs fans are clamoring for. If it wasn’t for Grace, then it is very possible that we wouldn’t be having this discussion right now. Grace is currently facing legal troubles dating back to a DUI arrest in August, and is what created an opening for Brenly in Arizona. Before Grace can be ruled as a candidate, one would think that the Cubs would want clarity on where things stand with Grace and his legal matters. Though, even if Grace is in the clear, I don’t anticipate that he will be hired as Brenly’s replacement. Sutcliffe, on the other hand, has done impressive work for National broadcasts and has been closely connected to the Cubs over past seasons. Sutcliffe served as a member of Mike Quade’s coaching staff during Spring Training of the 2011 season.
The respected, veteran broadcaster Dave Campbell has also been connected to the Cubs over recent seasons. Campbell has filled in the Cubs broadcast booth when Brenly has had time off. Campbell also spent 15 seasons as part of the radio broadcasts for ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball games.
When asked with the question who should replace Brenly, the answer in my opinion, is an easy one. Stone should be considered as the top candidate for the position, though given his obligations to the White Sox, Sutcliffe may be in a prime position to join Kasper in the Cubs’ television broadcast booth.