Mulling things on my morning ramble
with Storm, the family's mixed Lab.
I woke up early at 4:30 a.m. to catch the final half hour of Steve & Johnnie on WGN-AM. I am not a huge fan, but they have been a part of my driving to and from outdoor adventures for the past couple decades or thereabouts.
They made good solid radio background on drives in the middle of the night. I owed them a listen of their final minutes.
We'll see if Bill Leff fills the bill for overnight radio and driving. There aren't a whole lot of other options.
Snow had fallen heavy enough to whiten the ground and added early light to the night.
I hung around, before walking the meathead, to hear the historic opening minutes of Johnny B's first show on WGN. He did his usual shtick, that rapid-fire style of his.
I can go either way on him. My radio idol is Steve Dahl, I always felt there was something deeper behind his shenanigans.
With Johnny B, it always seemed like it was only the shtick. But maybe that is enough because he is good at it.
One thing I have always enjoyed about him is that he understands the outdoors. I suspect that comes from his Wisconsin roots. In that regard, I am glad he is on the big station.
Then, in the opening minutes, he did a lapdog interview with Ron Santo's son, one of those typical slobbering kneels before the idea of late Ron Santo that seem required at WGN.
I say the idea of Ron Santo, because anybody who actually listened to Santo would turn the damm radio off.
It infuriated me so much I grabbed the leash, then Storm and I set out. Enough of Johnny B, first show or not.
Here's the thing with Santo. I can understand why people think he belonged in the Hall of Fame. His numbers bear that out, as Bill James has pointed out.
But there are reasons not to put Santo in, not the least of which is how many Hall of Farmers can there be on a team that never won a thing. Then there's the prickly personality with others in baseball. That counts for something. And it counted against him.
What counts against his Hall of Fame credentials in my world is the utter incompetence of his baseball broadcasting. In the early years, it was passable enough that I could at least listen to a Cubs broadcast.
Because of my travels for various outdoor pursuits and because I simply think baseball is near perfect background radio, I've listened to a lot of varied baseball broadcasts in my life.
I understand the idea of hometown heroes.
But you have to be able to express at least some rudimentary understanding of the game, especially if you're somebody who thinks you belong in the Hall of Fame.
And it doesn't reflect well on those Cubs fans who thought Santo was acceptable as a broadcaster.
The last five years, Santo made Cubs broadcasts unlistenable. I quit listening, unless it was a game that mattered in playoff possibilities. Even the professional skills of Pat Hughes couldn't carry that dead weight at the end.
I resent that. I really do.
The interview had me so riled up--I sure hope Johnny B isn't sucked into that vortex of Santo worship at WGN--that I didn't relax and enjoy the first decent snow until the meathead and I were out of town.
Officially at O'Hare, I think it was .2 inches. Farther south by us, we had closer to half an inch, enough to really slick the roads and whiten the landscape.
It was beautiful.
At first, there was only a few mouse tracks. Then near the edge of the town pond, the tracks of a fox meandering around. Then a several sets of squirrel tracks.
Both sides of the town pond were completely devoid of geese. It wasn't enough snow to move geese away from the nearby cornfields. Who knows where they went and why.
Back on the edge of town, a set of rabbit tracks disappeared into a weed patch. I used to be really good at picking out sitting rabbits in briar patches or weed clumps.
Sometimes, we are not as good at things as we get older.