(Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Monday night, WGN-TV and the Chicago Cubs announced that former Houston Astros broadcaster Jim Deshaies has agreed to a four-year contract to join Len Kasper in the booth as the television analyst for Cubs broadcasts on WGN-TV, Comcast SportsNet and WCIU-TV.
Deshaies, who pitched 12 years in the major leagues and seven with the Astros, joins the Cubs broadcast team after serving as an analyst for Houston since 1997.
“After spending the last 16 seasons with the Houston Astros, it will be a very tough organization and fan base to leave. However, I can’t imagine anywhere else I’d rather move than with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field,” Deshaies said. “My family and I look forward to meeting the great, passionate fans of the Cubs and we’re excited at what lies ahead in Chicago.”
Deshaies has a good reputation in the business as a strong analyst with a good wit, similar to former announcer Bob Brenly. Although Deshaies has no direct ties to the Cubs organization, he did announce for a former division rival, which means he is very familiar with the team.
“We’re very fortunate, along with our fan base, to welcome Jim as the next television analyst of the Chicago Cubs,” said Crane Kenney, Cubs president of business operations. “Jim expressed an incredible appreciation for Cubs baseball, the history of Wrigley Field, the strength of our fan base, his predecessors in the broadcast booth and [wanted the] opportunity to carry the tradition forward. He is a student of the game who incorporates his firsthand knowledge, stories and humor into the broadcast, and we’re excited to see him in the booth with Len.”
The Cubs kicked off the holiday season in fine fashion on Friday with the second annual lighting of the holiday tree and the grand opening of the Rink at Wrigley. Hundreds of fans were on hand to watch Tom and Todd Ricketts, David and Kim DeJesus, Fergie Jenkins, Congressman Mike Quigley and many others light the 30-foot tree, which is located in front of the famous Wrigley Field marquee. Chicago Cubs Charities and WGN also kicked off a toy drive at Wrigley. All presents will be donated to Jennifer Hudson’s Julian D. King Gift Foundation.
(Photo by Stephen Green)
A unique view of Wrigley Field from inside the iconic scoreboard. This is another shot that didn’t make it into our 2012 photos of the year feature in the December issue of Vine Line. All month, we’ll be posting some of the extras here on the blog.
This year, Chicago Cubs Charities is doing its part to make the holidays a little brighter.
The Cubs will kick off the holiday season with a daylong celebration, culminating in the lighting of the Cubs Holiday Tree, on Friday, Nov. 30. The WGN Morning Show will also produce a live broadcast from Wrigley Field to launch the WGN Morning News Drive-Thru Toy Drive.
Fans can help support needy children during the holidays by bringing an unwrapped gift to the administrative entrance at Wrigley Field, Nov. 25 through Nov. 29, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and Nov. 30, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. All fans who donate a toy will receive a pass for one free skating session at the Rink at Wrigley during the 2012-13 skating season. Toys will be donated to Jennifer Hudson’s Julian D. King Gift Foundation.
This marks the second year the Cubs have held a Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony under the famed Wrigley Field marquee. David DeJesus and his family will be on hand to help light the tree, and the celebration will feature photos with Santa, free hot chocolate and ice skating. The tree was designed by Christy Webber Landscapes.
Also, for the fourth consecutive year, an ice skating rink outside the Friendly Confines will welcome skaters this winter thanks to the generosity of the Ricketts family and Chicago Cubs Charities. The full-size rink will be available in the Cubs’ parking lot at the corner of Clark and Waveland through March 3, 2013. The Rink at Wrigley is sponsored by the Ricketts family and the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Cubs Charities, the Chicago Park District, Westrec Marinas, Christy Webber Landscapes and the Central Lakeview Merchants Association.
The rink is open Monday through Thursday from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Friday from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.; Saturday from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m.; and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission is $5 per adult and $3 per child Monday through Thursday, and $10 per adult and $6 per child Friday through Sunday. Season passes are available for $60.
Chicago comedian and actor Jim Belushi spent many afternoons at Wrigley Field when he was growing up and never misses a chance to come back. Vine Line talked to the Cubs superfan during his most recent trip to the Friendly Confines, where he was slated to throw out the first pitch. Belushi told us about the moment he officially became a Cubs fan, his fondest memory of Wrigley Field and what it’s like to spend time in his hometown.
To read the full interview, pick up the October issue of Vine Line featuring the best moments from the 2012 season, on sale now at Chicago-area retailers. Or subscribe to Vine Line, the official magazine of the Chicago Cubs, for just $29.95.
The Cubs kick off their second-to-last homestand of the season on Friday, as the Pirates, Reds and Cardinals come to town. If you’re headed to Wrigley Field over the next week, here’s your seventh-inning stretch lineup:
Friday 9/14: Jonathon Brandmeier, WGN Radio morning drive host
First Pitch: Christina Loukas, USA Olympic diver
Saturday 9/15: Keith Moreland, former Cub and current Cubs radio broadcaster
First Pitch: Carlos Leon, paralympian, track and field
Sunday 9/16: TBD
First Pitch: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles
Monday 9/17: Israel Idonije, Chicago Bears Defensive Lineman
Tuesday 9/18: Firefighter Appreciation Night
Members of Fire Department Engine 78, located across the street from Wrigley Field, will lead the seventh-inning stretch
-Actor Taylor Kinney from the new NBC show Chicago Fire will throw out the ceremonial first pitch
-Actor Jesse Spencer from Chicago Fire will play the national anthem on violin, joined by real-life Chicago firefighter Art Guzman on guitar
-Multiple cast members from Chicago Fire will be joined by multiple firefighters on the field for a pregame recognition and photo
Wednesday 9/19: Donnell Woolford, former Chicago Bears cornerback
Thursday 9/20: Michael Madsen, actor and Chicago native
Friday 9/21: TBD
Saturday 9/22: George Lopez, actor and comedian
Sunday 9/23: Kerry Wood Day
Kerry and Sarah Wood will lead the seventh-inning stretch along with their three kids, Justin, Katie and Charlie
Kerry’s son, Justin, will throw the ceremonial first pitch and Kerry will catch it
While you’re at the park, remember to pick up the latest issue of Vine Line and the collectible Vine Line Gameday Edition and scorecard.