Cubs shocked by Stone's comments

Updated: October 5, 2004, 9:15 AM ET
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- WGN-TV analyst Steve Stone met Friday with Chicago Cubs president Andy MacPhail, general manager Jim Hendry and manager Dusty Baker after the broadcaster questioned managerial strategy and criticized the team's approach.

" We all have things that if we had them to think over again we might change them. But my comments are my comments. "
Steve Stone, Cubs broadcaster

During a postgame TV show Thursday, Stone wondered about Baker's moves in the 12th inning of a 2-1 loss to the Reds.

Later that night, he went on a talk show on WGN radio and criticized the team for making excuses. WGN and the Cubs are both owned by the same company, Tribune Co.

Stone, in his 20th year as a Cubs broadcaster, is a former major league pitcher with the Cubs who won the Cy Young Award for Baltimore in 1980 when he went 25-7.

His comments have angered several players during the season. Reliever Kent Mercker called the booth during one August game to complain.

Hendry said Stone's comments Thursday went beyond constructive criticism.

"I think it was pretty clear yesterday that it was personal," Hendry said.

"It shocked me," Baker said. "I don't understand it, I don't understand the timing of it. It's bad timing. If there is something personal, you need to talk about it with somebody instead of broadcasting it to everyone else."

Stone didn't spare his opinion when he was interviewed by WGN-AM radio Thursday.

"You want the truth. You can't handle the truth," Stone said. "The truth of this situation is an extremely talented bunch of guys who want to look at all directions except where they should really look and kind of make excuses for what happened.

"At the end of the day, boys, don't tell me how rough the water is, you bring in the ship."

Stone went on to say that the Cubs should have already clinched the NL wild card by six or seven games, instead of trailing by one entering play in the final weekend.

Asked Friday about his future, Stone said: "What happened was I had extended conversations with Andy MacPhail, with Jim Hendry and with Dusty Baker at length. And I think we resolved everything. That's pretty much it."

"We all have things that if we had them to think over again we might change them. But my comments are my comments," he said.

After the Cubs lost to the Braves 5-4 on Friday, Stone said he plans to be back next year. His final game of the season will be Sunday.

"I'm a Cubs broadcaster," he said.

Stone said he and Baker had a good conversation and there is mutual respect. "He has his job to do and I have mine," Stone said.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press