Every great highlight has a story behind it, and every story has a voice telling it. From Al Michaels’ “Do you believe in miracles!”- To Howard Cosell’s “Down goes Frazier!” – Those moments were even more memorable because of the broadcaster’s voice making the call. Just like all great highlights, there are great teams that have broadcasters telling their stories throughout their season.
Broadcasters can make the games even more enjoyable. The Cubs have had their own great voices to describe the highs and the low’s we’ve experienced as Cubs’ fans. Names like Jack Brickhouse, Harry Caray, Pat Hughes, Thom Brennaman and even former President Ronald Reagan all have had their voices a part of the Chicago Cubs. Now the Cubs have another voice making his mark – Len Kasper.
Kasper took over the broadcaster’s booth from Chip Caray (grandson of Harry Caray) after the 2004 season. He had other broadcasting experience in baseball from his days working with the Brewers and the Marlins.
While with the Cubs, Kasper has had a few different partners in the booth. The one that I found to be the best was his work with Bob Brenly. The two had very good chemistry with each other – that may have come from their love of music, or just the fact that they were a great team together.
Unfortunately, Brenly left the Cubs booth after the 2012 season. With the exit of Brenly it opened the door for current analysts Jim Deshaies. The duo calls a great game- playing off each other’s jokes and comments. Both have a strong knowledge of the game and see things very similarly on the field.
Kasper also has a firm grasp on what is current in the sport and pop-culture, while still keeping the traditional fan happy. He calls the play-by-play very accurately, but adds his own touch when it’s needed. And like a lot of baseball announcers – his home run call gets you excited. “It’s gone” comes out like he’s in a 1970’s rock band howling out their lyrics.
Like all public figures – Kasper has had his share of critics – mainly because he’s accused of “jinxing” a few no-hitters of Jake Arrieta. The Chicago Tribune’s Steve Rosenbloom even wrote on the subject in an article printed by the paper last year. From what I could find, Kasper takes the high-road on these tweets and just retweets them instead of lashing back. That isn’t in his nature.
Others have said he’s not a true Cubs guy. There are websites dedicated to the notion. If their reason for believing this is because he isn’t giving all Cubs’ errors and mistakes a free-pass then you’re unfairly criticizing him for doing his job.
“When things happen that shouldn’t happen, you point them out. If there are mistakes in communication, you’re just pointing out things that happen.” Len Kasper ~via dailyherald.com
Not everyone can be the cheerleader for the home team – and it isn’t necessary for each broadcaster to be that. The fact that he isn’t as biased and is willing to point out the mistakes, only makes him more credible and genuine.
You might find it hard to believe but Kasper does struggle with anxiety. You would think being a broadcaster of one of the most popular teams in baseball – one would have to be calm and cool under pressure. But he has found ways to manage it.
He had his own story about his struggles published in an article by dailyherald.com – by doing this he shows other people who suffer from this they aren’t alone. Myself, being someone who suffers from anxiety – it’s always reassuring to read about others who are also dealing with the same problem.
"“There are times when that big picture has overwhelmed me. So instead of taking a breath and letting life just happen, I picked one of those areas — my career — and decided that because I could control that through painstaking preparation and attention, this would rule everything.”"
While he is not new to the Cubs (now on his 10th season) he brings a fresh perspective and enthusiasm to the Cubs. I for one am a big fan of his and hope that he stays with the Cubs for the foreseeable future – personally I would like to hear his reaction to when the Cubs win it all.