Results tagged ‘ Jim Deshaies ’

From the Pages of Vine Line: Talking stats with Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies

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(Art by Jerry Neumann)

The following can be found in the Short Stops section of the June issue of Vine Line.

Sure, there will always be three strikes per out and three outs per half inning in baseball, but the strategies for success are constantly evolving. To keep pace, broadcasts have to change as well.

The 2003 book Moneyball, and the success of teams like the A’s and the Red Sox, have brought advanced statistics to the forefront of the game. Though most baseball insiders are well-versed in WAR, WHIP and VORP, many old-school baseball folks—White Sox broadcaster Ken “Hawk” Harrelson included—don’t subscribe to the numbers game.

That’s why Cubs broadcasters Len Kasper and Jim Deshaies, both believers in sabermetrics, try to work the new stats into most broadcasts.

“We’ve found better ways to evaluate performance than the old-school batting average, RBI, runs,” Kasper said. “Counting stats can sometimes not really tell the whole tale. [Advanced stats] allow you to pull a player out of his team context and evaluate how he might be in a generic vacuum.”

As baseball moves away from traditional stats that don’t carry as much weight as they used to, it’s often up to the broadcasters to bring new ideas to the viewers’ attention—without being overbearing.

“We don’t want it to be a math class,” Kasper said. “I think always remembering the narrative of a baseball game is important, keeping the focus on what’s happening on the field. You can extrapolate some interesting notes about a player or a team without necessarily giving them raw numbers”

Though Kasper, who has been calling Cubs games since 2003, is all for the game’s evolution, he tries not to get carried away with new concepts.

“Sometimes [stats people] maybe overthink some of these situations,” Kasper said. “Sometimes guys are just good.”

Cubs announce regular season broadcast schedule

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(Photo by Stephen Green)

The Chicago Cubs today announced their 2013 regular season television broadcast schedule. For the fifth season in a row, all 162 games will be available in high-definition in the Chicago area.

WGN will televise the Cubs’ Monday, April 1, season opener at the Pittsburgh Pirates at 12:35 p.m. CT, and Comcast SportsNet will have its first broadcast the next game, Wednesday, April 3, in Pittsburgh at 6:05 p.m. WCIU will televise its first game on Friday, April 19, when the Cubs play at the Milwaukee Brewers at 7:05 p.m.

Cubs games have been televised by WGN since 1948 and by WCIU since 2000. This will be Comcast SportsNet’s ninth season with the team.

Len Kasper returns for his ninth season in the Cubs’ television booth and will be joined by Jim Deshaies, who comes to the Cubs after 16 years in the  Astros television booth. Former broadcaster Bob Brenly took a TV job with the Diamondbacks this offseason.

The Cubs will also be broadcasting 36 0f 39 spring contests on either WGN Radio, MLB.com, WGN Television, CSN or MLB Network. You can find the spring broadcast schedule here.

The first televised spring game, featuring Deshaies’ debut, will be Saturday, March 16, when the Cubs host Kansas City on WGN. Comcast SportsNet’s first game will be Monday, March 25, vs. San Francisco.

Cubs TV play-by-play announcer Len Kasper will again join Mick Gillispie, radio broadcaster for Chicago’s Double-A Tennessee affiliate, for most of the cubs.com internet radio broadcasts

From the Pages of Vine Line: Broadcaster Jim Deshaies

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Say goodbye to Len and Bob and say hello to Len and JD. New Cubs television analyst Jim Deshaies will step into the Cubs broadcast booth for the first time this spring, filling the rather large shoes left behind by former analyst Bob Brenly. Deshaies pitched for six different teams during his 12-year major league career before moving into the Astros’ broadcast booth, where he spent 16 years behind the mic. Although his memories of Wrigley are not always fond (he had a career ERA of just under 7.00 at the Friendly Confines), he’s excited to move to a city he calls “baseball mad” and follow in the footsteps of greats like Jack Brickhouse and Harry Caray. For the January issue of Vine Line, we talked to the analyst about his memories of Wrigley Field, leaving Houston and his broadcast style.

QUIET TIME  When I first started, I was terrible. It was brutal. They just said, “Here, go talk.” And I was like, “What do I do?” They said, “Well, you know the game, talk about it.” I had no idea when to come in, when to shut up. It was torturous. Richie Ashburn gave me great advice. He said, “Kid, if you don’t have anything to say, don’t say anything.” You’re better off not saying something than just spewing nonsense.

CALLING A MASTERPIECE  Kerry’s [20-strikeout] game was my second year in the booth. I remember it was grey and misty here. It had kind of a surreal feel. It was the most dominant performance, maybe ever—a one-hitter that could have been a no-hitter. That slider was breaking about three feet at about 90 miles per hour. It was so much fun to talk to the Astros hitters after that game.

BEST OF THE BEST  I spent 16 years in the booth with the Astros, and, to a certain extent, I feel like I’m breaking up the band. There were a lot of good people I worked with down there. You don’t leave that situation easily. You leave it when you’ve got the best opportunity there is in the game for guys who do what I do. I’ve received a lot of messages from colleagues all around the league who work for other clubs, people I’ve worked with in the past, and, frankly, they’re all really, really jealous.

GETTING TO KNOW YOU  Here’s my self-assessment. I feel like I’m an honest guy. I’m fair. If players make mistakes, I’ll point them out, but I’m hesitant to just bury guys. It’s important to have a critical eye and not gloss things over, and I think that’s the reputation I’ve earned in Houston. But I do realize it’s a very difficult game to play. I think some guys who do my job forget how hard this game is sometimes.

To read the complete interview with Jim Deshaies, pick up the January issue of Vine Line, featuring an interview with Theo Epstein, available now at select Jewel-Osco, Walgreens, Meijer, Barnes & Noble and other Chicago-area retailers. Or subscribe to Vine Line today.

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.”

Cubs introduce new broadcaster Deshaies

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Cubs President of Business Operations Crane Kenney and play-by-play announcer Len Kasper helped the team welcome TV analyst Jim Deshaies to the Friendly Confines Wednesday morning. Deshaies, a 12-year major league pitcher who spent seven seasons with the Houston Astros, retired from the game in 1995. Two years later, he became the TV analyst for the Astros, a position he held until signing with the Cubs earlier this week.

In the press conference Wednesday, he noted how difficult it was to leave Houston but how excited he is for his new role.

“A lot of good people down there, so it was tough to leave. You don’t leave that situation easily,” Deshaies said. “You leave it when you get the best opportunity that there is in the game for guys that do what I do. And I’ve received a lot of messages from colleagues, who work for other clubs or I’ve worked with in the past, and frankly they’re really, really jealous.”

The 52-year-old Deshaies replaces Bob Brenly, who left to become the TV analyst for the Diamondbacks after eight seasons with the Cubs. Kasper and Brenly were known to have a strong relationship in the booth and were well liked by fans. While Deshaies and Kasper haven’t previously worked together, they have spent plenty of time getting to know each other around the majors.

“I think Lenny and I are going to have a blast,” Deshaies said. “I’ve gotten to know Len over the years because of our time together in the National League. We’ve spent a lot of time in the press lounge, sharing meals, swapping stories, talking about the game.”

Having spent more than 25 years visiting Wrigley Field as a player and analyst, the former starting pitcher understands the magnitude of his new position and is excited to get the season started.

“The Astro guy had a tough time leaving Houston, but the baseball guy says this is the place to be.”

Deshaies set to join Kasper in Cubs broadcast booth

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(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.”

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