Now, Harry Caray got a lot of the love, acting like an old drunken grandpa spewing out hilarious, puzzling statements, one after the other. Providing the commentary “substance” during many of my formative baseball viewing days was Steve Stone. A Cy Young winner with Baltimore in 1980, Stone was the perfect compliment to Caray. Plus, he’s an accomplished Jewish athlete, so I’m genetically inclined to worship him.
Well after he took some deserved digs at the Cubs during the Dusty Baker era, the Cubs and Stone separated. He moonlighted a bit with ESPN and TBS while continuing to do radio in Chicago before the White Sox signed him up last year to be their color commentator.
I don’t watch a lot of White Sox baseball. There’s really no need to. (When I picture a White Sox fan, I picture someone who uses their baby’s head as a coaster). But they were playing the Brewers in Spring Training and I have J.J. Hardy, Corey Hart and Ryan Braun on my fantasy team. So I gave it a shot because thanks to AT&T U-Verse, I get Comcast Chicago.
I flipped to Thursday’s telecast just for a brief moment. Stone and Sox announcer Hawk Harrelson were discussing how large some of the older ballparks like Milwaukee County Stadium and Municipal Stadium in Cleveland were. As the game meandered, as Spring Training games tend to do, their conversation reached a tangent. And for those who grew up listening to Steve Stone massaging your brain with baseball gold, it was a trip down memory lane – a reminder of the good days.
Every announcer takes little jabs at players when they get a chance. Some are eloquent. Others? Not so much (see McCarver, Tim). Steve Stone is eloquent. He’s Shakespeare with a nine-inch cock. Beautifully crafted, but he’s not afraid to lower the boom.
Hawk: When’s the last time you ever heard of a guy turning down $140-plus million because the ballpark was too big?
Stone: That was Juan Gonzalez in Detroit. And having my cousin as his agent, he mentioned to him, ‘You know you’ve had some back problems and for seven years at $142 million they will probably move the fences in for you.’ Which by the way they have done in that ballpark. But he turned it down and never came close to that kind of money again. Now, they’re not holding the tag days for him…
Stone: …but on a list of decisions in his life, that’s going to go down as a bad one.
Hawk: They are not holding Miguel Negram on at first. Little chopper, easy force at second and that will do it. We are half way home, tied at 1-1.
Commercial break. Sit on it for a minute. What timing.
Nope. Instead, it’s Harrelson and Steve. But hey one out of two ain’t bad. Maybe now I have a reason to watch a White Sox game…