Results tagged ‘ Crane Kenney ’

Now Playing: Broadcaster Jim Deshaies makes his Wrigley debut

Say goodbye to Len and Bob, and say hello to Len and JD. The Cubs welcomed new television analyst and former major league pitcher Jim Deshaies to the broadcast booth Wednesday morning in a press conference at Wrigley Field’s United Club. Deshaies, who recently completed his 16th season as an analyst for the Astros, said it was hard to leave Houston but that he couldn’t turn down what he considers the best broadcasting job in baseball.

“It’s going to be so much fun to be in a city where baseball matters no matter how the team is doing,’’ Deshaies said. “This place is a baseball-mad environment. The Astro guy had a hard time leaving Houston, but the baseball guy said this is the place to be.”

Deshaies set to join Kasper in Cubs broadcast booth

Houston Astros

(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.”

Ahoy, Captain!

Thumbnail image for Thumbnail image for INSIDE THE IVY LOGO.jpgA little rain doesn’t scare a captain. Captain Morgan himself was standing on tables, chanting and throwing out free t-shirts as fans packed into his new club at Wrigley Field this morning.

Located down the rightfield concourse where the Friendly Confines Caf used to be, the Captain Morgan Club is a state-of-the-art garden establishment boasting the best amenities the stadium has to offer, including indoor/outdoor seating, removable windows, and more than 25 wide-screen TVs. The club opened today and is the Cubs’ first year-around operation.

“What we heard over and again was there isn’t a great facility [other than the Stadium Club] for me if I’m a business season ticket holder to bring clients and find a place to eat and make it in the ballpark before the national anthem is finished,” said Cubs President Crane Kenney. “And wouldn’t it be great if
dormers.JPGthere were public
spaces [Wrigley Field]? We have the Stadium Club, but it is a members club. But there isn’t really a place for the public to gather, and that’s what we’re trying to offer.”

It all started back in late-January when workers were beginning the process of removing and relocating all the dedicated brick pavers in the area along Addison Street near the Day of Game Tickets windows. Not many of us in the front office actually knew what was going on, frankly.

But when news of an establishment being created started to circulate, Vine Line decided to inquire. Indeed, Kenney was quite forthcoming about what was going in and when we asked him to elaborate it was the first time we were made aware of the Captain Morgan Club.

“Go up and down Clark Street and you see that this is the entertainment zone for a certain age group. It is an exciting place to be on game days and even non-game days, when we

girders.JPGdon’t play,” Kenney said. “So now we’re going to actively participate in the buzz that in a way, we’ve created and a lot of these businesses have smartly capitalized on. We’re getting into the game.”

After the brick pavers were relocated to just in front of the main entrance under Wrigley Field’s marquee, the construction crew began installing the wrought-iron fencing, girders for the dormers–see above–(they look a lot like the one’s at the top of Wrigley, don’t they?) and they even gave the old tree a little trim, removing some of its more extended branches.

The Club is run by Harry Caray’s Restaurant Group.

I am told that the Captain himself is wandering around the Club with his “Morganettes.” It should be an interesting debut for Wrigley Field’s first year-round establishment.

Just heard behind me in the hall way, a meeting of Cubs legends, as Mr. Cub Ernie Banks and Rick Sutcliffe bumped into each other. It’s always interesting to hear Cubs heroes chat with each other. Players always talk in this sort of mutual admiration type-speak. You can really understand that they appreciate each other and the business of baseball.

–Mike Huang and Kelsey Peters

Welcome, Milton Bradley

Bradley_Milton.jpgThe Cubs front office and Chicago media just wrapped up the formal press conference and group interviews with chairman Crane Kenney, general manager Jim Hendry and new outfielder Milton Bradley.

As is the case when the ink finally dries on a deal, there were several new tidbits that came out of the press conference.

Milton emphasized several times that the Cubs were the only team to which he wanted to go. In fact, according to Hendry, the two parties first made contact on Nov. 5 or 6 over dinner. Both came away struck by the integrity of the other and the positive feel of the discussion.

After that, Hendry said he talked to “the people who count the most … the people you play with and the people you play for.” As he heard good thing after good thing — and he explored every other trade or free agency option out there — he decided on Milton as his main offensive target. It’s a testament to a lot of hard work, diligence, waiting and trust that this deal got done a full two months later.

Milton also teared up when asked about how rewarding it felt to get a long-term contract: “I try my best not to get emotional. I just remember — I didn’t call my mom because I wanted her to find out by watching TV, but she called and left me a message. And I played it back several times. You can hear her voice cracking on the message, and I just know, my mom worked 35 years as a grocery clerk … 35 years, and was able to retire a few years back. It’s just a tremendous blessing.”

On what kind of a hitter he considers himself: “My focus at the plate is just to try to get on base. A lot of people say they’re trying to get a hit or hit in the gap or whatever, I’m just trying to get on base. I’m going to try to make a pitcher throw me three strikes. If I get the first strike, and it’s a good one and that’s what I want, then I’ll hit that one. But for the most part I want to make the pitcher work, and I want to get a strike to hit.”

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