Cubs TV job piques Eric Karros’ interest
BY GORDON WITTENMYER firstname.lastname@example.org October 25, 2012 11:13PM
San Francisco Giants' Sergio Romo reacts after the Giants defeated the Detroit Tigers, 2-0, in Game 2 of baseball's World Series Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Updated: November 27, 2012 11:15AM
SAN FRANCISCO — Sticking to the longest October tradition in American sports, the Cubs dodged another World Series this year.
Yet they’ve managed to make an impression this week at AT&T Park almost everywhere a TV camera has been pointed during the first two days of the Series.
Wasting no time in putting together a high-caliber pool of candidates to replace Bob Brenly in the TV booth, the Cubs this week have created a buzz among broadcasters here after contacting analysts working the Series for national outlets — including former Cub players Eric Karros of Fox and Rick Sutcliffe of ESPN and MLB International.
Karros, who was called by business operations president Crane Kenney just before the Series opened this week, looks like an early front-runner considering his strong qualifications and that — unlike many potential candidates — he has the freedom to pursue the job.
For example, Dan Plesac, an Indiana native and former Comcast Sports analyst in Chicago covering the Series for MLB Network, recently signed a five-year extension with MLB and doesn’t consider himself a candidate. The Cubs have not called him.
The Cubs’ recent interest in Karros started with an unsuccessful bid to get him to consider the radio job eventually filled by Keith Moreland before the 2011 season. This time, the attraction is mutual.
“I absolutely have interest,’’ said Karros, who’s part of the World Series coverage team for Fox. “Two years ago radio didn’t make a lot of sense, but this opportunity is very intriguing.’’
That the World Series is playing out 2,000 miles and untold years of rebuilding beyond the Cubs’ reach underscores the importance of finding the right person to replace one of the few guys who made a Cubs game worth watching.
The right hire will almost certainly have a bigger impact on the club than any free-agent player they sign this winter.
And forget about fan-favorite Mark Grace, especially after he was indicted in Arizona Thursday on felony DUI charges and faces the possibility of nearly four years in jail. Another popular object of speculation, Sox broadcaster Steve Stone, is not considered in play unless something suddenly changes in his relationship with the White Sox.
“This is somebody who’s going to spend several hours in our fans’ living rooms every day,’’ said Bob Vorwald, director of productions for Cubs’ flagship WGN. “There’s no magic formula, but you do want it to be informational, educational and fun.’’
Sutcliffe and Cubs studio analyst Todd Hollandsworth, both of whom have talked to the Cubs about the opening, would seem to qualify — along with ESPN analyst Doug Glanville, another former Cub.
For Sutcliffe, the question seems to be whether that’s his ideal role if he returns to the organization — and whether he wants to commit to 140-plus games a year in the booth.
“I don’t know where I fit for the Cubs,’’ said Sutcliffe, who said he likes his spring-training instructor role and who says he’s been a “fan’’ of Theo Epstein since Epstein was an intern in the San Diego Padres’ front office more than a decade ago.
“[Player development] is the area right now that I feel I’m probably best suited for,’’ he said, adding that he has a year left on his ESPN contract and isn’t sure whether he has an out clause.
Hollandsworth could make a seamless move contractually, and he considers the job an ideal fit.
“I would love the opportunity and I’m 100 percent on board [for it],’’ he said.