Cubs fans have been spoiled over the years with great announcers, both on the radio and television. Granted, some have been a bit goofier than others, but all have deepened the fan experience in their own way.
All you have to do to realize that we have it lucky as a fanbase is to switch over to another team’s feed. Or wait for those ESPN Sunday Night games when we are saddled with A-Rod’s inanity for three hours. And that’s happened quite frequently this season, so it’s not easy to avoid.
With all the talk of the switch to Marquee Network next year, one facet that’s been ignored is the broadcast duo of Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies. They currently have a contract that expires after the 2019 season and aren’t officially the Cubs’ television voices for 2020 and beyond. As Marquee adds execs to its structure, the network needs to extend this pair before the 2019 season comes to a close.
Whether you love them or you’re more “meh” about their affect, Len and JD are knowledgeable, witty, and honest about what they’re seeing on the field. They interact well together and with fans on social media, they’re excited about their team without being homers, and they can impartially question decisions and poor play by both teams. As a former big-league pitcher, Deshaies is well-versed in pitching nuance and can break it down simply when he’s not talking about a Seinfeld episode.
Kasper has worked for Fox broadcasts as well, but he’s at his best when with his everyday partner. He is a competent and well-respected play-by-play man who is always upbeat and fun, maintaining his professionalism without being too dry or pretentious.
While there is always scuttlebutt out there that perhaps the current tandem isn’t exciting enough going forward, Patrick Mooney reported several times that Sinclair and the Cubs are both on board with Kasper and Deshaies in the booth next year.
However, the folks running the new network taking over all things Cub in 2020 might see this as the perfect opportunity for fresh talent as a means of making a clean break from the past. Possibilities for new voices include former Cubs like Ryan Dempster, Kerry Wood, and Doug Glanville, though there has been no public discussion about any of those options as Crane Kenney, the Cubs’ president of business operations, has backed the incumbent duo so far.
Here’s hoping the powers that be don’t feel the urge to change just for the sake of change. As it gets started, Marquee would do well to regift Cubs fans an early Festivus present of Len and JD for another few years.