Cubs

Let's reminisce with Ronnie's best moments

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Let's reminisce with Ronnie's best moments

Miss Ron Santo? Yeah, we do, too. A lot, actually.

On a day that came decades too late, the Cubs legend is being honored at the highest level with his election into the Hall of Fame. He's not here to celebrate, but his family can shed tears of happiness and joy at the announcement.

Cubs fans can do the same. Tom Hanks once said there's no crying in baseball, but we can all agree a year ago was one of the days that just made us want to tear up.

Any time we listened to a Cubs radio broadcast this past season, it just felt incomplete. All we heard was about the game. No talking about cake or flossing or sandwiches or a random "OHHH NOOO!!!" after a Cubs player makes an error.

So in the spirit of a fallen icon who touched many hearts throughout his 21 years in the radio booth and 14 years on the North Side as a player, I've found a video of some of Ron's greatest moments in the booth.

Check it out here and we'll all laugh and reminisce together.

Here's a great and more serious tribute to Ronnie from commenter nfalcone set to my favorite song of all time "Iris" by the Goo Goo Dolls.

Here's a funny one from commenter MattAndracki (yes, there is a relation) about Pat and Ron discussing Michael Barrett's unfortunate groin injury.

From commenter JeffBerta: "I'm so proud of 10 today! I wore my Ron Santo Jersey today, for good luck! Last year at this time was really hard on me, My Grandpa who taught me to be Cubs fan and taught me all about Ron Santo (His Favorite player) died toward the end of November, and then the news about Ronnie today, makes me smile today, and think of my Grandpa telling me stories about number 10!"

From commenter AndySteckling, who posted a fantastic video of classic Ron being Ron: "Relating to Matt, just the banter between Pat and Ron. How Pat was always so professional in calling the play but you could just tell (if not at the game and not listening to the fan reaction in the background) how great or terrible it was based on the moaning or groaning or even the persistent cheering from Ron. This video clip I think states it perfectly."

From commenter jjsmmf: "There was a time in Colorado when a praying mantis was in the booth, and Ron printed off the wikipedia page and was beside himself with laughter reading it to Pat Hughes. I can't say I'm a Cubs fan, but stuff like that -- and Ron saying he always wanted to meet someone who's name was a palindrome, like Ned Den -- made listening to Cubs games enjoyable."

From commenter TraciAnn: Ron made me love listening to the games on the radio. He always made it interesting and fun. I love how he was just such a big fan. When something good would happen he would react like any fan would. Same when something bad happened. You always knew how he felt, and he was easy to relate to. Missing him very much today, wish he could have seen this, but glad it has happened, he couldn't be more deserving.
If you have your own favorite video, story or picture of Ronnie, post them below in the comments section and I'll include them in the article here.

The most underrated storyline of the Cubs offseason

The most underrated storyline of the Cubs offseason

There are plenty of intriguing Cubs storylines to monitor this offseason from their potential pursuit of the big free agents to any other changes that may come to the coaching staff or roster after a disappointing finish to the 2018 campaign.

But there's one question simmering under the radar in Cubs circles when it comes to this winter: How will the team solve the shortstop conundrum?

Just a few years ago, the Cubs had "too many" shortstops. Now, there are several different factors at play here that makes it a convoluted mess.

First: What will the Cubs do with Addison Russell? The embattled shortstop is in the midst of a suspension for domestic violence that will keep him off an MLB diamond for at least the first month of 2019.

Has Russell already played his last game with the Cubs? Will they trade him or send him packing in any other fashion this winter?

Theo Epstein mentioned several times he felt the organization needs to show support to the victim in the matter (Russell's ex-wife, Melisa) but also support for Russell. Does that mean they would keep him a part of the team at least through the early part of 2019?

Either way, Russell's days in Chicago are numbered and his play on the field took another big step back in 2018 as he fought through a hand injury and experienced a major dip in power. With his performance on the field and the off-field issues, it will be hard to justify a contract worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $4 million in his second year of arbitration (prorated, with a month's worth of pay taken out for the suspension).

Even if Russell is on the roster in 2019, Javy Baez is unquestionably the shortstop for at least the first month while Russell is on suspension. 

But what about beyond Baez if the Cubs want to give him a breather or disaster strikes and he's forced to miss time with an injury?

At the moment, there's nothing but question marks on the current Cubs shortstop depth chart throughout the entire organization and they're certainly going to need other options at the most important defensive position (outside of pitcher/catcher). 

There's David Bote, who subbed in for Baez at short once in September when Baez needed a break and Russell was on the disabled list. But while Bote's defense at third base and second base has opened eyes around the Cubs, he has only played 45 games at short across seven minor-league seasons, including 15 games in 2018. There's also the offensive question marks with the rookie, who hit just .176 with a .559 OPS and 40 strikeouts in 108 at-bats after that epic ultimate grand slam on Aug. 12.

The Cubs' other current shortstop options include Mike Freeman (a 31-year-old career minor-leaguer), Ben Zobrist (who will be 38 in 2019 and has played all of 13 innings at shortstop since 2014), Ryan Court (a 30-year-old career minor leaguer) and Chesny Young (a 26-year-old minor-leaguer who has posted a .616 OPS in 201 Triple-A games).

Maybe Joe Maddon would actually deploy Kris Bryant at shortstop in case of emergency like a Baez injury ("necessity is the mother of invention," as Maddon loves to say), but that seems a lot more like a fun talking point than a legit option at this current juncture.

So even if Russell sticks around, there's no way the Cubs can go into the first month of the season with just Baez and Bote as the only shortstop options on a team that with World Series or bust expectations.

The Cubs will need to acquire some shortstop depth this winter in some capacity, whether it's adding to the Triple-A Iowa roster or getting a veteran who can also back up other positions. Right now, the free agent pool of potential shortstops is pretty slim beyond Manny Machado.

Epstein always says he and his front office look to try to mitigate risk and analyze where things could go wrong to sink the Cubs' season and through that lense, shortstop is suddenly right up there behind adding more bullpen help this winter.

Podcast: In light of recent hitting coach turmoil, who’s to blame for Cubs offensive struggles?

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USA TODAY

Podcast: In light of recent hitting coach turmoil, who’s to blame for Cubs offensive struggles?

On the latest Cubs Talk Podcast, David Kaplan, Kelly Crull, Luke Stuckmeyer and Tony Andracki discuss the comments Chili Davis made after being fired as Cubs hitting coach, ask if the Cubs struggles on offense were Davis' fault or the players and what Anthony Iapoce will be walking into as he tries to gets the team back on track a the plate.

 

Listen to the entire podcast here, or in the embedded player below: