Monday, June 21, 2010

Is it time for Ron Santo to go?

I had planned on questioning Ron Santo's intelligence on this page after reading that he said "rock scientist" instead of rocket scientist and "slime flu" instead of swine flu. If he really isn't familiar with the common American phrase "rocket scientist" and didn't peruse 2009's top news stories to learn what swine flu is, maybe he shouldn't be broadcasting Cubs games. On the other hand, this has been his job for 20 years. He turned 70 years old this year.

In a June 21 story, Chicago Tribune Sports reporter Dave Van Dyck wrote that Ron Santo will be cutting back on his travel schedule in 2011. He will most likely keep to a 300-mile travel radius, working Cubs games in Milwaukee, Cincinnati and St. Louis in addition to home games. The Tribune also printed two online postings from readers urging Santo to retire. Whether to keep him on or push him out was a topic on at least two different sports radio shows on June 21.

What is the issue? I was about to say that due to poor health, old age or low intelligence, Santo's contributions to the radio broadcast rarely rise above simple cheering good news for the Cubs or loudly lamenting the Cubs' woes. Apparently his delivery hasn't changed much in 20 years, so I'm afraid it's the latter. Most announcers, play-by-play and color, prepare for each game (or at least each series) by studying the opponent. There is no evidence Santo takes the time to do this. Most color commentators provide intelligence and wisdom to the game and valuable insight from their on-field experiences. Santo played Major League Baseball for about 15 years, but it's difficult to tell from listening to him during Cubs games.

I would suggest the Cubs move Santo to a weekly radio show in which he talks about the Cubs. But that would require intelligent thought and discussion on his part. So such a show is most likely over his head.

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