LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Todd Hollandsworth is still waiting to hear a final answer from the Cubs and WGN Radio, but there’s no doubt he wants this job.
Hollandsworth has spoken with Cubs executives Crane Kenney and Theo Epstein and WGN Radio president Jimmy de Castro, as well as Dave Eanet, the station’s sports director, and play-by-play man Pat Hughes.
Hollandsworth is working the winter meetings for MLB Network Radio. A credential hanging around his neck, he chatted inside the media workroom on Monday at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort after his daily radio show, which he normally does from his home in Chicago’s northwest suburbs.
Hollandsworth — who also covers the Cubs as the pre- and postgame analyst on Comcast SportsNet Chicago — hopes to hear something this week in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
“I’d like to believe that I’m the guy for the job,” Hollandsworth said. “It’s something that I’ve been working my entire career for. (My) dream all along — as my beautiful wife Marci will tell you — has been to land here in Chicago. I’m raising my kids here. I’m part of the fabric here in our town.”
Industry sources have identified Hollandsworth and Ron Coomer as finalists for the analyst job that opened when Keith Moreland stepped down after three seasons in the WGN-AM 720 booth. Moreland — a popular ex-Cub and an accomplished broadcaster at the University of Texas— followed the legendary Ron Santo.
Coomer — a Lockport High School graduate and one-time Cub — does TV work with the Minnesota Twins on Fox Sports North and has a radio presence in the Twin Cities. Hollandsworth remembered playing with Coomer at Triple-A Albuquerque in 1994 and winning a Pacific Coast League title for the Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate.
“I’ve gone through other outlets with the hopes of getting to this position,” Hollandsworth said. “These jobs only come along so often. It would be a dream to work alongside Pat. He is a legend and in my mind a Hall of Famer — and the time will come for that. I think we’d have an awful lot of fun kind of bridging that gap between where we sit today and the years that are going to be much better.”
This search is happening at a time when the Cubs and WGN Radio have a partnership that now runs only through the 2014 season. Industry sources say the Cubs have met with CBS Radio Chicago, though it might just be for leverage. Other industry officials have indicated ESPN wants a piece of the Cubs, saying WMVP-AM 1000 will be a factor.
“There’s got to be some guarantee on both ends,” Hollandsworth said. “It would be a real leap of faith on somebody’s part — whether it was me or anybody else — to stick their neck out for only one year. You’ve got to have some kind of guarantee on the other end.
“I am willing to give up everything that I’ve built to this point in order to come on with the Cubs.”
Hollandsworth interviewed for the television analyst job that went to Jim Deshaies last winter and is clearly looking for a bigger platform.
“I’ve been watching,” Hollandsworth said. “I’ve lived through all the managerial switches and all the changes and the ups and the downs with Starlin (Castro) and Anthony (Rizzo). It’s what I’ve invested in, so I’d like to see it all the way through.
“I’d like to take the next step. I’m not content. I want to do more.”