CHISportsNation

It’s not that I don’t appreciate Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies normally. I guess when you hear them broadcast every day you kind of get used to it and take it for granted. But the past two weekend I have listened to other broadcast teams, and boy do I really have a newfound appreciation for them. Image result for len kasper and jim deshaies

Since the moment he arrived in Chicago, I have always thought Len Kasper was the definition of professional. Deshaies, I admit I had to warm up to a little. At first I wasn’t sure about him, but he’s grown on me. His jokes are still terrible, but he is a lot more knowledgeable than I originally thought. The duo works well together, and while the broadcast is Cubs oriented (as it should be), they aren’t big homers. Which leads me to the past two weekends.

I live in North Cental Indiana. Most of the Cubs games I watch are on Comcast Sports Chicago, which carries both Cubs and White Sox games. I pay very little attention to the Sox of course, being a Cubs fan. Last weekend when the Sox played at Wrigley, for some reason I got the Sox broadcast of the games. OK, cool. I still get to see the games. I was ready to throw something at the TV by the end of the 3 game series. Hawk Harrleson wasn’t there, which is good, because if I started in on that clown I’d be here writing for 2 days. Mr. “the league and the umpires conspire against the White Sox” will be gone after this year anyway. I already know what he brings to the table. The team I got for this series was Jason Benetti and Steve Stone. This was the first time I have ever even heard of Jason Benetti, in case you doubt how little I care about the South siders. To be just quick and honest, he is boring. Dry, very little sense of humor, and tries to play straight man to Steve Stone, but fails miserably. Then there’s Stone. Yes, I remember very well him calling Cubs game for many years. I remember him being very baseball intelligent and allowing Harry Caray to be Harry Caray, which he did a fantastic job of. What I don’t remember is him being such a homer and an insufferable douchebag. Again, I get it, its a White Sox broadcast, but its OK to give the Cubs a little credit. Everything was about how fortunate the Cubs are, how things have “fallen their way.” Certainly it couldn’t be that the Cubs have hired good people and made good decisions or anything. But if you thought that was bad, last weekend was worse.

I’ll start off by admitting this is self-inflicted. Whenever the Cubs play the Reds, I watch the game on Fox Sports Ohio, mostly so I can laugh at old friend Thom Brennaman. Another former Cubs announcer, but I didn’t like him then either. I understand, his dad is the legendary Marty Brennaman, he was born into the Reds, and all that. I get it. I have never been able to find out of there was bad blood between Thom and the Cubs when he left, but it sure sounds like he is bitter. In the past, he couldn’t wait to bring up 1908 and the Bartman game. I mean, like, every single time they played. He doesn’t have that ammunition anymore, obviously, after 2016, so Thom has to find new ways to take subtle shots at the opposition.  Now I occasionally watch some Reds games other than when they play the Cubs. My family has been Reds fans for generations, with me being the oddball, and, I just love baseball, regardless of who’s playing. He is not nearly as homeriffic in those games as he is when the opposition is the Cubs. First, he always refers to them as “Cubbies”, which I know is common, but I have never liked it. It sounds juvenile to me. Kind of like Joey Votto being Joey and not Joe or Joseph. Joey is ok when you’re 12, but at some point you need to grow up.

Sunday Yu Darvish pitched for the Cubs, and yes, he can be kind of slow. Not Steve Trachsel slow by any means, but yeah, he’s deliberate. I listened to Thom complain and moan about it for 5 straight innings. At that point, his complaining was worse than Darvish being slow.Image result for beat a dead horse

Thom also like to complain about how many Cubs fans are in Great American Ballpark. I hate to break it to him, but the Reds stink on ice. Maybe if you weren’t one of the worst teams in baseball your own fans would fill the place up.  Also it’s close and the tickets are cheaper there than in Chicago. I live just about halfway between Chicago and Cincinnati, so the drive is about the same. Except in Cincinnati it’s easier to park, get in and out of the park, and I don’t have to deal with Chicago traffic. I’ve gone there to see Cubs games. It’s actually a nice ballpark.

Thom lives in the past. If I’ve heard it once, I’ve heard 100 times how the aforementioned Votto has “arguably the best half of a season ever in 2016.” Arguably being the key word, because I remember a guy wearing number 21 hitting 20 homer runs in the month of June in 1998. He’s also always stumping for awards for  the hometown team. Billy Hamilton for the Gold Glove. Yes, Hamilton has made some great plays. Nothing I haven’t seen Albert Almora do, mind you.. And Thom conveniently forgets the numerous bone head routine plays Hamilton botches.  He still complains occasionally about Darwin Barney winning the Gold Glove at 2nd base in 2012 over Brandon Phillips. Image result for darwin barney gold glove

Never mind the previous year Phillips won the award while leading the league in errors at 2nd base. He’s also always pining for reds All Stars. Again, the Reds have been one of the worst teams in baseball for 3 years running. How many All Stars do you think they should have?

I’m pretty critical of announcers in general, so take all of this with a grain of salt. I’ll never forget Joe Morgan, notorious Cubs and specifically Ryne Sandberg hater, saying that he remembered Ernie Banks dropping home runs into the basket at Wrigley Field. First of all, Mr. Cub didn’t need any baskets to help him hit home runs. But the basket in the outfield wasn’t installed until 1972. Ernie retired after the 1971 season. So when I say that Kasper and Deshaies do outstanding work, it must be because I’m not easy to please. I think we should all take a minute to appreciate that we as Cubs fans have the best in the business in the broadcast booth.

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