Stone doesn't elaborate, but was under fire

Updated: October 29, 2004, 5:31 PM ET
Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Longtime Chicago Cubs analyst Steve Stone announced Thursday he was leaving WGN-TV, less than one month after coming under fire for on-air comments he made criticizing the team.

"I regret I won't be calling another Cubs game on WGN-TV for the greatest fans in baseball, the fans of the Chicago Cubs," Stone, a Cubs broadcaster for 20 years, said on WGN-AM radio.

Stone did not say why he was leaving the booth. Telephone messages left for him and a Cubs spokeswoman were not immediately returned Thursday night.

Stone's partner Chip Caray also recently left WGN-TV to take a job calling games for the Atlanta Braves, joining his father, Skip, in the booth.

Stone, who joined the Cubs as a pitcher in 1974, won the Cy Young Award for Baltimore in 1980 when he went 25-7.

WGN and the Cubs are both owned by Tribune Co., the parent of the Chicago Tribune.

Some of Stone's comments this season led to a meeting Oct. 1 with Cubs president Andy MacPhail, general manager Jim Hendry and manager Dusty Baker after Stone questioned managerial strategy and criticized the team's approach during a postgame television show Sept. 30.

Later that night on WGN radio, he also criticized the team for making excuses in a late-season loss that damaged their chances of making the playoffs.

"You want the truth. You can't handle the truth," Stone said at the time. "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."

Some of Stone's comments last season also angered several players, including reliever Kent Mercker, who called the booth during one August game to complain.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press