The longtime TV voice of the Cubs, Len Kasper, is headed to White Sox radio.
Look, we knew change was coming this offseason. But no one expected a change in the broadcast booth. Len Kasper, who has been with the Chicago Cubs since 2005, will be headed to the South Side to fulfill a lifelong dream of working in radio for a big league club.
Kasper and color commentator Jim Deshaies have formed one of the most well-liked TV broadcast tandems in the game in recent years – and the pair have called innumerable historic moments at the Friendly Confines. Now, the search is on for Kasper’s replacement, with reports suggesting current Marquee presence Chris Myers is a “leading candidate” to succeed him.
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"“Len has been a fantastic play-by-play man for several years here with the Chicago Cubs, and we wish him nothing but the best in this new endeavor,” Marquee Network GM Mike McCarthy said in a statement. “Len is chasing a dream which he and I have discussed many times. We made a significant effort to retain Len, but he was resolute that moving to the White Sox radio position was his desire. We honor that and now begin the process of filling what is one of the premiere jobs in sports – play-by-play for the Chicago Cubs.”"
Now, one can’t help but draw a connection between the bumpy first year of Marquee Network and Kasper’s departure. It was hardly the inaugural campaign Tom Ricketts and ownership anticipated when they laid the groundwork for an all-things-Cubs television network.
No fans in the stands, an inability for TV broadcast teams to travel with the club – prompting them to call road games from their home stadium booth and this seemingly endless push to make it feel like a Sunday Night Baseball game, with Kasper and Deshaies in suits (or at the very least ties), forced conversations with third members of the broadcast and all kinds of unfamiliarities that I needn’t remind you with.
Now, Kasper was adamant that Marquee wasn’t a factor in his decision. Marquee and the Cubs reportedly made strong offers to him in efforts to keep him with the club, but his desire to work in radio for a team – and not have to relocate his family – proved too much for them to overcome.
To say the least, White Sox fans are in for a treat with Kasper on the call over the airwaves and Jason Benetti leading the charge on TV. On days when Steve Stone, also a former Cubs broadcaster, is off – Kasper will work with Benetti on TV, as well.
I have absolutely no faith in ownership to find someone worthy of succeeding Kasper. I just don’t. Maybe they’ll prove me wrong, but with so many decisions – both on and off the field – running opposite of what fans have wanted of late, I simply lack confidence they’ll find the right guy. Let’s hope I’m wrong.
At the end of the day, all I can say is this. For the majority of my fandom (more than half of my life), Kasper has been the voice of the Cubs. His calls have been the soundtrack of every summer and all I can offer is a resounding, “thank you,” to Len. One of the best in the game – and I wish you nothing but success and happiness in your new gig.