An observation — or more like a joke — that Pat Foley made to Chicago Cubs manager David Ross illustrated how the retired Blackhawks broadcaster is a fish out of water in the baseball world.
Ross said a reporter asked him Saturday about infielder Patrick Wissam’s injured ring finger, “and (Foley) said, ‘We’re calling it an upper-body injury,'” in reference to hockey’s tendency to be cryptic when labeling injuries.
“I told him you (baseball reporters) don’t like it and why it doesn’t belong here,” Ross said with a laugh.
Foley wasn’t in the media room at the time, but he understands that likely won’t be the only culture shock he’ll experience when he calls his first game at Wrigley Field during Tuesday’s night cap in a doubleheader against St. Louis Cardinals.
“I haven’t done a baseball broadcast in 20 years. I’ve got some butterflies,” Foley told the Tribune while surveying the scene in the Cubs’ clubhouse before Sunday’s series finale against the Milwaukee Brewers.
On Tuesday, Foley plans to split time between the radio and television booths, calling the first three innings on WSCR-AM 670, switching to Marquee Sports Network from the fourth through seventh innings before finishing up on radio again.
“I can easily say that I have never spent as much time preparing for one broadcast as I did for this one,” Foley said. “Tuesday night, I’ll be in five (career) baseball games.
“I’m trying to get to know the pace better. It’s obviously a different sport. It will be difficult.”
Calling the game at Wrigley “absolutely” means there’s no roster spot for Foley.
“I’m a Glenview kid, I spent a lot of time at Wrigley Field when I was a young man, and I obviously loved the place,” he said. “It’s a shrine, but I’ve never been able to do a broadcast here. And this is a good step towards my career. I’m very excited to be able to do this and hope it goes well.
“I used to be at a baseball game in Minnesota. It’s less exciting than Wrigley Field.”
Foley said the opportunity came about because of the connections between the Cubs and the Hawks.
For example, Hawks President of Business Operations Jaime Faulkner is married to Cubs Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing Colin Faulkner.
“It helped,” Foley said. “Marquee’s producer is a guy named Mike Leary who Dale Tallon and I broke into hockey (with) and I’ve been a friend and a fan of his for probably 30 years. So he was at the center of it all.’
“It will be different when the game starts,” he said.
Asked if he might re-appear in the Hawks booth at some point, he said: “Maybe. We’ll see.”
For now, he’s focused on the Cubs-Cardinals game.
“This game on Tuesday night and then it’s over” with baseball, he said.
Until then, Foley was hovering around the team, soaking up as much as he could.
“He seems like a great storyteller,” Ross said. “He seems to be the guy you used to go to the bar and talk a lot and watch the games with.”
Ross laughed as he thought about the reverse situation if he were in Foley’s shoes — trying to call hockey after spending his entire life in baseball.
“I’m a Florida boy,” Ross said. “At least he has some experience in this field. Yesterday he was telling stories to Harry Caray. It was quite interesting. I felt like I could listen to him talk all day.
“But when it comes to hockey, it would be dead air.”