Steve Stone on XM Radio

Steve Stone on “The Show” with Kevin Kennedy and Rob Dibble

Call it perfect timing….or perfect planning but whatever the case Steve Stone was on XM Radio Thursday afternoon with Rob Dibble and Kevin Kennedy. With the obvious talk about Harry this week and then hearing Stoney on the radio….words cannot express how much I miss those guys. And then to top off the afternoon with Dutchie and Harry’s toast….I felt 10 years younger. ESPN 1000 even played Harry’s call of the last out of the division clincher in 1989….it was great to hear Harry say, “CUBS WIN!! CUBS WIN!!”

Steve Stone talked about his Cy Young in 1980, Sammy Sosa, Rafael Palmeiro, Steroids, Amphetamines, Michael Barrett, Milo Hamilton and Harry Caray and of course the upcoming Cubs season.

Steve Stone won the 1980 American League Cy Young Award with the Baltimore Orioles and after that he could not get back on track with his pitching career. Stone retired from baseball on June 2, 1982 and ABC hired him to do Monday Night Baseball with Al Michaels and Don Drysdale. Stone said the second week was with Howard Cosell. Steve mentioned the fact that there is nothing like performing in the Major Leagues and if you do your job well there is not a bigger high. He never took anything for granted and never considered himself a great pitcher, he just borrowed from greatness. Stone loves broadcasting and in my opinion is one of the best.

Rob Dibble brought up Sammy Sosa and asked Stoney if Sosa should be in the Hall of Fame. Stone thinks Sosa should be in the Hall. He reminded us about the magic of the 1998 season, when Sosa and McGuire brought baseball back from the 1994 strike. He does not understand why Sosa turned down the Nationals offer, unless it had something to do with the unguaranteed contract. Stone said for the first time in Sosa’s life, he is going to have to work at baseball. He thinks Sosa has not been the same since the beaning in Pittsburgh. Sosa will have a hard time escaping the corked bat incident, the steroid rumors and the bad 2005 season….but Stone cannot get over Sosa walking away only 12 home runs short of 600. Stone did not talk about Palmeiro much, he mentioned the Congressional Hearings last year and the conversation switched to amphetamines.

Stone thinks the older guys that have used amphetamines for years will have a hard time getting through the 162 game season without them. The players will do whatever they need to do to get an edge. He said between 50-60% of the players used amphetamines. The older players with the larger contracts will have to be watched by the General Managers because of the random testing. Major League baseball will sit the guys down for a lot of games if they test positive for amphetamines.

Stone thinks baseball will quit paying the huge contracts soon. He thinks the contracts have gotten out of hand and mentioned the Cubs signing of Bobby Howry and Scott Eyre. The Cubs paid a combined $23 million dollars for those guys, but he was quick to remind Dibble the Cubs were paying $5 million dollars a year for LaTroy Hawkins. Stone thinks a ton of money is being spent on middle relievers and setup men.

The Cubs are saving money with playing Murton and Cedeno. Those players allow the Cubs to overpay for middle relief and helps pay Kerry Wood’s $11 million dollar salary. Stone was quick to point out Wood has only won 11 games in the past two seasons.

Kevin Kennedy asked Stoney about the Cubs chances in the Central Division this year. Stone thinks the Astros and Cardinals will have to come back to the Cubs because the Cubs will not be able to make up the 21 games they finished behind the Cardinals last year. He feels the loss of Morris, Sanders and Walker are bad for the Cardinals, but they will not be 21 games worse than last season. When asked if the Cubs have done enough this off-season Stone replied, “Not the team I see them putting on the field.” Every year is the same thing, the Cubs think if they can get 65 starts out of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior they will be fine. Stone said, “Guys cows are going to fly before they get 65 starts out of Wood and Prior. It is not going to happen.” He thinks Glendon Rusch and Jerome Williams are fine 4th and 5th starters, he said Maddux always gets off to a slow start and he feels that puts too much pressure on Carlos Zambrano. The Cubs are hoping Zambrano does not get hurt during the WBC. Stoney thinks the Cubs are a little better than last season. They are hoping for another big year out of Derrek Lee and for Aramis Ramirez to stay healthy. Stone said the Cubs are a decent team, but reminded Kennedy and Dibble they finished behind the Brewers last season.

Michael Barrett has received a lot of attention this off-season and Dibble asked Stone about him and his defense. Stone thinks Barrett has improved but the pitching staff is hard to handle. The Cubs staff has great stuff but it is hard on the catcher. Barrett is a plus as a hitter and just under a minus for his defense. Stone said Barrett has been working hard to improve and is looking to Henry Blanco for help. Stone thinks Barrett give the Cubs a very good offensive weapon behind the plate.

The segment ended with talking about Harry Caray and Milo Hamilton. Stone thinks this whole situation with Hamilton is sad. Milo Hamilton got what he wanted he is beloved in Houston. Stone was quick to point out that Harry Caray is beloved just about everywhere. Both Hamilton and Harry are in the Hall of Fame and it is time for Milo Hamilton to turn the page.

I could listen to that man all day long….

Quote of the Day

"You try to get that game out of your mind, but it never leaves you." - Cool Papa Bell
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