Goodbye, Steve Stone

Longtime Cubs color commentator Steve Stone has resigned. It's a sad moment for Cubs fans like myself who grew up listening to his color commentary on WGN-TV. This year he was involved in some disputes with Cubs players like Moises Alou and Kent Mercker, and even Cubs manager Dusty Baker and general manager Jim Hendry. Stone didn't pull any punches in the booth, and it rubbed some players and coaches the wrong way. Stone was always fair, and those players and managers should've worried about winning on the field instead of acting like millionaire babies.
Harry Caray was a little loopy (I'm being generous, but we forgive our old and increasingly senile baseball personalities, like Peter Gammons) his last few years in the booth. Stone's patience (he never made a big deal about Caray's many mistakes or mispronunciations) and reasoned insight helped to balance out Caray's more partisan, emotionally driven play-by-play. Now WGN's entire commentary booth will turn over next season since Chip Caray left for the Braves.
True, perhaps none of this affects the team's on-field performance. But the Cubs sure are making it difficult for fans to warm up to the team. It feels, as Seinfeld said, like I really am rooting for laundry.