As SoxSteve posted earlier, Len Kasper is indeed leaving the Cubs television booth for the White Sox radio booth.
Len has said that he’s always wanted to call a World Series, and that was never happening without either switching to radio or landing a gig on a network that broadcast World Series games. And with future Ford Frick Award winner Pat Hughes in the Cubs radio booth, he was not going to get that chance on the north side.
This is, however, one more hit for the beleaguered Marquee Network. The brainchild of Crane Kenney and the Ricketts family has been plagued by things both in and out of their control since their launch. Between not having a carriage deal with Comcast until Opening Night, despite the network having been in the works for years, and the COVID-19 pandemic, they were behind the 8 ball from Jump Street.
Add to this the fact that they still don’t have nearly enough quality content, and the one thing they had that worked – Cub games – they transformed into tedium by taking something that worked and insisted on a third person on the broadcast, despite it clearly not working.
While Len and JD both said they didn’t mind having to wear a jacket and tie for broadcasts, the whole thing had a very inorganic feel. The Cubs have never been a stuffed shirt organization, and they were suddenly trying to out-Yankee the guys in the Bronx. Which might make sense if they put the money on the field like the Yankees do.
Also, I’m not saying that Len throwing life preserver after life preserver to Mark Grace while Grace went on a rant about his ex-wife made the decision for him, but it certainly didn’t make the decision any harder.
The Marquee Network sent out their perfunctory press release wishing Len luck (and if there’s one thing the Cubs have gotten good at doing, it’s wishing people luck as they leave), they also said they’re beginning a search for Len’s replacement. Which will be Chris Myers.
How do people feel about Myers? Not great. Here’s Keith Olbermann’s take, and mind you, Keith isn’t exactly a walk in the park…
If this were not bad enough, the rumored replacement is Chris Myers who is, flatly, the worst human being I’ve ever worked with and I once worked with the guy who later blackmailed Letterman #TheNewCubsDroughtHasBegun https://t.co/GeSx3vQ33d— Keith Olbermann (@KeithOlbermann) December 4, 2020
OK, so one terrible person calling out another terrible person. Let’s try someone else.
Len Kasper is an elite broadcaster, the voice that rang out like a carillon when it was time for Cubs baseball. They traded Lou Brock and sold Dennis Eckersley, as well. And Chris Myers is one of my longtime friends and partners https://t.co/exlRMZPPbH— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) December 4, 2020
Shit. That’s textbook “damning with faint praise”.
Myers has done national broadcasts, and has done some airtime with Marquee as well, none of it with any particular distinction. And there’s absolutely no guarantee that he and Jim Deshaies will have any sort of on-air chemistry.
There’s also much ado on Cubs Twitter about the types of “likes” Myers bestows, but the Ricketts family really shouldn’t have any issue with that. If anything, it would give him the leg up on the competition, if there even is any competition.
Now this could very well have been something that Kasper has been thinking about ever since Ed Farmer died. But like everything involving the Marquee network, it’s just another swing and miss.