With the tacit encouragement from Mr. Aiello, I purchased Gameday Audio from MLB.com. For just $14.95 a year I can listen to every ballgame and here’s the kicker, I can get either the home or visitor’s feed. I’m probably the last one to realize this but this has given me an idea. While Joe and his crackerjack staff competently bring you the recap of the game itself, I thought it might be interesting to explore occasionally the View From the Press Box, both the Cubs and their opponent’s. Different perspectives of the same game or play contribute to a more honest interpretation of the events themselves.
Ron Santo is the consummate “homer” and no one expects him to be anything else. Nevertheless, I thought it would be interesting to hear what he had to say about the debut of new Cubs closer Kerry Wood. Santo never hid his fondness for Wood and I awoke this morning wondering if Ron was going to make excuses for his good friend giving up three earned runs in the ninth to break up a scoreless tie or if he’d be more objective with his listeners. In pre-game comments, Santo pointed out how Wood received standing ovations throughout spring training and that he looked like the old Kerry Wood who struck out 20 Houston Astros in his first year as a major leaguer.
As the ninth opened, Wood drills Rickie Weeks on the first pitch. “Ohhhhh,” came the famous cry of the Cubs color man. Later he attributes it to the fact that Kerry is “pumped up” over it being Opening Day. “It’s going to be hard for Gwynn to bunt against (Wood’s) fastball going 97-98 mph.”But Gwynn indeed sacrifices with two strikes, Santo reacts “I was hoping it would be a high fast ball so he couldn’t get it down.” Intentional walk to Prince Fielder. “I agree with that.”
But then Braun steps up and instead of hitting into a a double play, he slaps it through to score the game’s first run. “He got jammed but hit it hard enough to get through the infield. Oh man.” After Pat Hughes notes that Eric Gagne was warming up; Ron says “Gagne’s not the same pitcher he was with the Dodgers.” [But Kerry is the same guy who struck out 20 Astros?]
Corey Hart’s two run double comes seconds after Ron’s statement how good Kerry’s stuff was. Then after Hart’s shot, all we hear is Hughes. It’s as if Ron leaves the Box altogether.
After the game, Ron blamed Zambrano’s cramping. “He’s got to do something about that. He could have gone nine innings. Something like that turns the momentum around.”
Not to mention your closer giving up 3 in the ninth.