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updated: 11/6/2012 8:35 PM

Helping Cubs manage search for TV booth

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  • Former Cubs manager Jim Riggleman sounds good as a replacement for Bob Brenly in the team's TV booth.

    Former Cubs manager Jim Riggleman sounds good as a replacement for Bob Brenly in the team's TV booth.
    Associated Press


Choosing from among the half-dozen or so presumed candidates for the Cubs' television analyst position is like voting for president.

You sort of wish there was somebody a little more appealing.

How many combined yawns do guys like Dan Plesac and Eric Karros inspire? Each emerges as "OK" but none is "Oh, yeah!"

The group is uninspiring enough that Cubs fans must be searching the recesses of their minds for someone else.

I'm here to help, though nobody listens to me. That was clear when the search was on for a partner to team with Pat Hughes on Cubs radio broadcasts.

My suggestion was Todd Walker, who played for the Cubs in 2004-06 and was a good talker. Naturally his name never came up and Keith Moreland won the job.

Let's try to fill the TV seat next to Len Kasper anyway.

As long as the field is as exciting as the Bulls without Derrick Rose, here's my bland compromise candidate: Jim Riggleman.

Stop laughing. He would be as good as any of those other guys and better in a couple of important ways.

Riggleman's name came to me Tuesday morning while listening to WMVP-AM's Waddle and Silvy interview Bob Brenly, who left the Cubs' television booth to work in a similar capacity with the Diamondbacks.

The focus to replace Brenly has been on ex-players, but he made me think that an ex-manager should be considered.

Yes, Riggleman and not just because his .445 winning percentage as a major-league manager -- .472 with the Cubs in the 1990s -- would be perfect for this franchise.

Riggleman isn't any more exciting than the candidates I'm dismissing. Nor does he fit one of my primary qualifications: He isn't a character who would fill the air with wisecracks, slapstick and unpredictable remarks.

But the two best analysts on Cubs radio or TV the past 25 years not named Ron Santo were ex-major-league managers Jim Frey and Bob Brenly.

Frey, who lost a World Series as Royals manager, briefly had the radio job between managing and generally managing the Cubs.

During that time he would sneak up with some really interesting commentary. The man had opinions and wasn't afraid to express them.

Brenly, who won a World Series as D'backs manager, was similarly candid about the Cubs, opponents, strategy, umpires and baseball in general.

Frey and Brenly had something else important in common: Each was current, entering the Cubs' booth shortly after being active in the game as a manager.

They had competed with or against the players they were analyzing and had insider stories to tell about them.

Which brings us back to Riggleman.

Whether you liked him or not as a manager, he knows the game.

One question is whether Riggleman is too respectful of players, managers and administrators to share opinions about them with the public.

If Riggleman is willing to let loose, I'm all for him even though he's too serious a person and professional to do standup comedy in the booth.

Riggleman managed the Nationals as recently as 2011. Since then he scouted for the Giants, managed the Reds' Double-A team and even did pre- and postgame work for Comcast Sports Net on three Cubs-White Sox games.

The idea of another recent former manager sounds to me like he would sound good to Cubs fans.

So if Jim Riggleman would be interested, why not him as a compromise candidate?

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