Just a quickie ... but a biggie.
Reports very late on Thursday night had a HUGE Chicago media name switching sides of town, from north to South.
I expected some big departures from the Cubs this offseason, but this one came as a shocker. Sources have confirmed to The Athletic that Len Kasper is leaving the Cubs to take the White Sox radio play-by-play job. Story: https://t.co/SSBZofOoTx— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) December 4, 2020
It’s a bit dramatic to say that this is as big a move as Harry Caray leaving the White Sox for the Cubs for the 1982 season, or perhaps even Steve Stone shifting from north to South Side, but the loss of Len Kasper is hitting Cubs fans hard based on the early comments on Sahadev’s story.
As well it should; Kasper is acknowledged as one of the very best play-by-play men, radio or TV, in baseball. He also has a fresh take on the game, which puts him more in the Jason Benetti camp when it comes to pop culture references and openness to analytics.
Kasper will join color man Darrin Jackson as the White Sox return to ESPN radio 1000, and will replace Andy Masur in the booth. Jackson begins his 22nd season with the White Sox, the last 13 spent on radio.
As this story is updated on Friday morning, the White Sox announced that Kasper will work 20-25 games on TV, which could mean subbing in for either Benetti or Stone, or perhaps just taking a few innings as a third wheel or in a three-man booth. Also, he and Benetti “plan to collaborate in creating several multimedia projects throughout the year, connecting White Sox baseball with fans in new ways,” which seems to point to analytics, pop culture, or both.
“Broadcasting baseball on the radio has always been my dream,” Kasper says in the White Sox release. “I am happy the White Sox were interested in having me handle their play-by-play responsibilities ... I have always been fascinated by the creative freedom radio allows its broadcasters, and baseball is such a great game when presented on the radio. I have been dreaming about doing this since I was 12 years old, listening to Ernie Harwell, and I didn’t want my career to pass without experiencing this great game nightly from the radio booth. I want to thank both the Sox and Cubs for allowing me to live out this baseball dream.”
“Len is a friend who I know very well. We get along great together, and I welcome him to the White Sox organization,” Jackson says in the release. “With my background of broadcasting more than 20 years for the White Sox organization and Len’s Chicago experience and baseball background, I hope White Sox fans share our excitement about covering an up-and-coming Sox team on a nightly basis. I miss former partner Ed Farmer every single day, really enjoyed last season with Andy Masur and am appreciative of how each helped seamlessly form a tandem. Now, I am looking forward to building a long-term bond with Len, Sox fans and all of our listeners.”
“Len brings an unparalleled reputation and status to any broadcast team, and we are fortunate to welcome him to ours,” says Brooks Boyer, White Sox chief revenue and marketing officer, in the release. “As momentum builds for promising seasons ahead, Len’s experience and talent in the radio booth enhances the excitement for the start of White Sox baseball. We absolutely believe White Sox fans will be the big winners with today’s news.”
Sharma reported that Kasper isn’t unhappy with the Cubs or their “Marquee” network, but simply wishes to shift from the TV to radio work. He also shares that Kasper loves radio and hopes to broadcast a World Series one day — as a local television guy, he doesn’t have that option, but on radio, he will.
Yep, Kasper wants to broadcast a World Series ... so he comes to the White Sox.