The Cubs must really want to push fans over to the radio broadcasts of Pat Hughes and Ron Santo. The Pat and Ron Show is very popular in Chicago each summer. It should only grow in the coming year as many fans will turn down the tv sound and turn up Pat and Ron. How come they didn't do this in the Cub clubhouse?
On Friday, the Cubs hired Len Kasper to fill the television play-by-play spot. I have listened to Kasper for several years. He was a sports show host on WTMJ in Milawaukee. The past three years I heard Len while I watched the Marlins on satellite. Kasper may end up being a fine partner for Bob Brenly, but in my opinion he does not have the experience Cub fans deserve to sit in the chair that has been occupied by hall of famers Harry Caray and Jack Brickhouse.
What the Cubs get in Len is another cookie cutter young broadcaster. He's not gonna get excited and raise his voivce very often like Chip did. But Len is flat out boring to listen to. Len lacks an on-air personality. Maybe partnering with Brenly will change that. If it doesn't change the Tribsters are gonna be bombarded with complaint letters, just like they were on Chip the past several years. I really thought the Cubs would do better finding a replacement for Chippy.
Why did the Cubs "settle" for Kasper? To most Cub fans the play-by-play tv voice is important. After Chip Caray quit the Cubs brass repeated that this was considered one of the premier jobs in sports broadcasting. If that is the case why did the Cubs hire a lesser name to fill the position? There are several reasons, but two standout. First off money, Kaspar is cheap. Second the Dusty factor. The Cubs are not regarded very highly in media circles right now. People know that the clubhouse was out of control. Why would an experienced professional broadcaster subject themselves to the treatment Stone and Caray received. The answer is cash.
There has been a real shift in the Cub braodcast booth since Harry passed away in February 1998. As long as the Cubs had been on television Jack Brickhouse or Harry Caray was the lead broadcaster. These two had personalities that were bigger than life in and around Chicago. Both of them have statues in Chicago. When the Cubs brought in a "green" Chip Caray, to replace his Grandfather, the star in the booth became Stone. Stone carried the Cub broadcasts. With the departure of Chip and Stone, and the hiring of a new team it is obvious that the Cubs new formula is have a star in the analyst seat and a caretaker calling play-by-play. No offense Mr. Kasper, but the Cub fans deserved better sitting in Harry and Jack's chair.
IN OTHER NEWS
The Cubs signed swing man Glendon Rusch. Rusch was a great pickup by Hendry late in Spring Training. He served every role Dusty asked him to in 2005. My hope is that the Cubs still find a fifth starter and keep Rush in the swingman role in 2005.
Have a great weekend! Go Badgers!