Cubs talking points: Glanville waits for radio call

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Cubs talking points: Glanville waits for radio call

Sunday, Jan. 16, 2011
Posted 3:35 PM Updated 6:22 PM

By Patrick Mooney
CSNChicago.com

Fans have been asking Doug Glanville about it all weekend. Even the guy that used to walk Glanvilles dogs whos in Korea now saw his name mentioned in an online article and wanted to reconnect.

The idea of Glanville replacing the late Ron Santo in the WGN Radio booth gained momentum among fans on Twitter, but there are obstacles, like his ESPN contract, and the fact that he hasnt been contacted about the job yet.

WATCH: Cubs fans enjoy the convention

I have no idea, Glanville told CSNChicago.com on Sunday. Its not like WGN or the Cubs have called me or anything like that. I work for ESPN. So Ill be working for them this year, but obviously a lot of people come and go in different places like (Buck) Showalter leaves (ESPN) in the middle of the season to manage (the Orioles). Thats where Im focused right now.

All that doesnt automatically disqualify the 40-year-old Glanville, who was signing copies of his book The Game from Where I Stand at the Hilton Chicago. Glanville is a gifted writer who used to contribute to The New York Times op-ed page and appear on CSN.

Team president Crane Kenney interviewed one candidate on Saturday, and said that the speculated names are generally accurate. Dave Otto and Keith Moreland also fit the profile as former Cubs with extensive broadcast experience. It could take weeks before the Cubs and WGN make a final decision.

I dont know where it goes, Glanville said. Im always listening. And you always know, just like in baseball, (that) your job is a blink away from being something else someone gets rid of you. I definitely keep all those options open.

Glanville described himself as a huge Santo fan, and played the day the Cubs retired No. 10. He still lives in the Chicago area, and has young children hed have to think about before considering the travel commitment of broadcasting close to a 162-game schedule.

READ: Santo statue begins Wrigley makeover

But the University of Pennsylvania graduate is naturally curious.

To think about even replacing him for anybody is impossible, Glanville said. But its more about respecting his legacy and then figuring if you can add your own flavor to the passion of Chicago and Cubs baseball.

Whoevers selected will benefit from working next to Pat Hughes, a radio fixture in his own right. With the Cubs Convention closing Sunday, here are some of the talking points youll likely hear from Hughes and his partner in 2011:

The fine manager. Mike Quade recently rode the Orange Line in from Midway Airport, in a car where hustlers were trying to run a game of three-card monte. He insists that hes still going to take the El, figuring hed rather spend two bucks than 20.

Quade knows that he wont have the same sense of privacy anymore, and maybe the job will ultimately wear him down. But a sense of humor will help, like when a fan wonders whether Greg Maddux could become Carlos Zambranos life coach.

If were going to have individual guys taking care of each (player) that has some emotional issues, Quade said, were not going to have a big enough plane.

The passion. Welcome to Chicago, Matt Garza, and endless (unfair?) comparisons to Zambrano, who asked by a fan if hes going to open a rehabilitation center for Gatorade coolers.

WATCH: Garza happy with Cubs

Yes, they are both talented and emotional, and eventually well have a better idea to what degree. But the Cubs did their homework on Garza, even calling his former coach at Fresno State University.

There wasnt one person that works for the Cubs that wasnt all in on Matt Garza, general manager Jim Hendry said. He seemed like the perfect guy because he has three years left before hes a free agent. Hes in the prime of his career. Hes been completely clean medically.

The Rudy Jaramillo effect. Carlos Pena was scheduled to leave for Dallas on Sunday to spend a week with the hitting guru. The Cubs were willing to look beyond Penas .196 average last season, and he will initially get the benefit of the doubt because of his reputation as a class act. But for how long?

All you see is the numbers, (but) it doesnt make sense, Jaramillo said. Im looking to the future. Whatever happened to him in Tampa, (well) figure it out.

The system. The Cubs love hyping their prospects, but Matt Szczur (pronounced like Caesar) is an interesting name to file away. A two-sport athlete at Villanova University, he once put it all on hold to donate peripheral blood cells to a young leukemia patient who had only a 1-in-80,000 chance of finding a match.

Szczur will work out later this month at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., and projects as a middle-round pick in the NFL draft. He also hit .347 across 25 games in the low minors last year. He could earn a 500,000 bonus if he commits to play only baseball by a certain date in early February. The NFLs labor uncertainty cant hurt the Cubs in this case.

Weve not lost sight of Matt, scouting director Tim Wilken said. I think we got a real good shot to sign him. Well see what happens, (but) hes got a chance to be a big-time, front-line centerfielder.

The actual, um, baseball team. Too often this offseason the Cubs have been in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. They are not just a marketing machine and a political action committee. Let Showtime and the San Francisco Giants film their reality show. Even the Undercover Boss is ready for spring training.

My 15 minutes are over, Todd Ricketts said, and we can go back to focusing on baseball.

PatrickMooney is CSNChicago.com's Cubs beat writer. FollowPatrick on Twitter @CSNMooneyfor up-to-the-minute Cubs news and views.

How Joe Maddon plans to use Aroldis Chapman in October

How Joe Maddon plans to use Aroldis Chapman in October

PITTSBURGH – The Cubs viewed Aroldis Chapman as the finishing piece to a World Series team, a shiny new toy for one of the game’s most innovative managers and a dominant closer who could change the shape of entire playoff series.  

That’s how president of baseball operations Theo Epstein sold a controversial trade with the New York Yankees in late July. After a rocky start, Chapman has been as good as advertised, doing his job with precision – 1.14 ERA, 16-for-18 in save chances, 40 strikeouts in 23.2 innings – and blending into an easygoing clubhouse. 

Joe Maddon also came to understand that Chapman ideally prefers to work in one-inning bursts rather than manufacture triple-digit velocity for four- and five-out saves. A suspense-free race in the National League Central has allowed the Cubs manager to slow down Chapman in September and conserve his energy for October, when all bets are off.

“It just depends on the magnitude of the game, what’s going on and where we’re at,” Maddon said before Monday night’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at PNC Park. “If our guys are rested, I’m good with Ronnie or Strop or C.J. getting to him in the ninth inning.”

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That would be Hector Rondon, Pedro Strop and Carl Edwards Jr. – plus Justin Grimm – and what the Cubs hope will be a bullpen strong enough and deep enough to do what the Kansas City Royals did during last year’s World Series run.  

“It just depends on what’s happening with our guys,” Maddon said. “I think we can still get to (Chapman) in the ninth inning. But you don’t leave anything on the table by not utilizing him if it’s absolutely necessary. That would be a conversation he and I would have before the game: ‘Listen, how do you feel about four outs tonight?’”

In a roundabout way, the Cubs actually feel better about their bullpen heading into the playoffs after Rondon (2.96 ERA) and Strop (2.82 ERA) experienced second-half injuries. That forced Edwards (.126 batting average against) and Grimm (1.11 ERA in his last 30 appearances) into bigger roles. Together, that group has put up 223 strikeouts against 55 walks through 177-plus innings, with 43 holds and 19 saves combined.

“We did well without (Strop) and Rondon, which really surprised me, honestly,” Maddon said. “I’m not denigrating the group that did well. I’m just saying I really thought that they were that important to us being able to win 90-plus games this year.

“They both get hurt, we’re able to sustain it with Grimmer coming on like he did. And the acquisition of Aroldis – right now you can really understand how important it was.”

David Ross helps Cubs edge Cardinals in regular season home finale

David Ross helps Cubs edge Cardinals in regular season home finale

CHICAGO — David Ross got fired up when Cubs manager Joe Maddon walked to the mound with two out in the seventh inning, ready to argue for Jon Lester to stay in the game.

Maddon and Lester had a different plan.

"Joe looked at him and said 'Have you ever been a part of where the catcher gets taken out of the game before the pitcher?'" Lester said, describing the scene with a big grin. "You can just see him, it's like the kid at the candy store when you tell him he can pick out whatever he wants.

"It was just like the disbelief in his face and slams his mask back over his face and all he can say is 'I love you guys. I love you guys. I love you guys.'"

Ross then walked off to another standing ovation from a raucous crowd of 40,859 at Wrigley Field, part of a heartwarming Sunday night for the backup catcher in his last season. He also hit his 10th homer and teamed with Lester for another scoreless performance, helping the Cubs to a 3-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals.

"It was an amazing night," Ross said.

Ben Zobrist had three hits and scored two runs as Chicago finished with a major league-best 57-24 home record. It's the most home wins for the Cubs since they went 58-19 at the West Side Grounds in 1910.

The Cardinals lost for the third time in four games, wasting a chance to improve their playoff positioning. They remain a half-game back of San Francisco for the second NL wild card after the Giants lost 4-3 at San Diego earlier in the day.

"I think we're in a good position right now," pitcher Carlos Martinez said through a translator. "I also think we have a great shot at winning the World Series."

Ross, Lester's regular catcher, was greeted with a long standing ovation when he came to the plate in the second inning. St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina walked halfway to the mound, forcing the unassuming Ross to take in the moment, and he took off his batting helmet to acknowledge the cheering crowd.

Ross then struck out, but he got another chance in the fifth and drove Martinez's second pitch over the wall in left for 1-0 lead. Ross clapped his hands as he rounded first on his 10th homer and the cheers continued after he reached the dugout, prompting a curtain call.

"It was just fitting that David would hit a home run, isn't it?" Maddon said. "I mean it had to have happened tonight."

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Lester (19-4), one of the top candidates for the NL Cy Young Award, struck out seven in 6 2/3 innings. The left-hander allowed three hits and walked one while improving to 10-0 with 1.34 ERA in his last 13 starts.

It was Lester's idea to pull Ross in the middle of an inning.

"He's like a brother to me and for him to give me that was pretty cool," Ross said.

The Cardinals pulled within one on Jhonny Peralta's two-out RBI single in the eighth, but Brandon Moss flied to center with runners on the corners. Willson Contreras responded with an RBI single in the bottom half and Aroldis Chapman worked the ninth for his 16th save with the NL Central champions and No. 36 on the year.

Martinez (15-9), pitching with a heavy heart after the death of Miami pitcher Jose Fernandez in a boating accident, allowed two runs and six hits in six innings. He struck out six and walked four.

"He had lots of juice," Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. "It's probably the hardest sinker I've ever seen him throw. A couple of those were 97 (mph). He was locked in. He wanted it bad today, and he was good enough for us to win."