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They're not booing Marquee they're saying Boog
And then once they stop they'll start booing Marquee again
In a Cubs offseason full of bad news, departures and Ryan Tepera MVP votes, it seemed unthinkable that the milquetoast incompetence wagon that is Marquee Sports Network would be ones to actually do something good.
But it actually happened. After putting together such a finely tuned, professional operation that Len Kasper went running for the obscurity of White Sox radio, Marquee managed to not screw up the search for his replacement. Believe me, I’m as shocked as you are.
Last year when Cubs fans booed the mere mention of Marquee, Tom Ricketts told the horde of sweatpants wearers that they would not be booing Marquee at the next convention. I guess Tim’s governor brother had told him a pandemic was coming and there wouldn’t be a convention this year.
If there was a convention this year they’d be “Booging” and then booing, because replacing a beloved announcer with a guy who seems destined to be just as beloved still won’t paper over the abject mediocrity of everything else on that dud of a network.
Kasper will be missed because he’s flat out good at his job and because he had such a good rapport with Jim Deshaies, but Jon “Boog” Sciambi should slide in pretty seamlessly.
A few things are clear from the Marquee merry go round.
The leadership at Marquee didn’t try very hard to keep Len. He called on a Monday asking them if they’d consider letting him out of his TV contract so he could fulfill his lifetime dream of reading Victory Auto Wreckers ads during Sox games. They said, “OK.” And by the middle of the week Kasper had a new deal with a new team.
They really were content with just asking Chris Myers to do all the games. Nobody at Marquee misled Sahadev Sharma in The Athletic that day when he said it was going to be Myers. They were just going to do that.
These Marquee nitwits were shocked at the visceral negative reaction on social media to Myers being elevated into the role and just as shocked when agents for high caliber announcers from around the country started checking in to let them know the job was of great interest to them. A few hours later Marquee announced they were going to do a “national search.”
Kasper and Sciambi are good friends who go back to their time with the then Florida Marlins in the early oughts. The fact that Len didn’t dissuade Boog from pursuing the Cubs’ job is a sign that all isn’t horrible at Marquee. Or at least Kasper doesn’t think Boog will be put off by having Ryan Dempster foisted upon him at odd times, having to Zoom with a suit coat wearing, but likely pantsless, Mark Grace from his home bar or wearing a suit for no good reason in August.
Due to his ESPN duties, Sciambi will have to miss upwards of 30 games on Marquee, and we’ll almost certainly get Myers for those, and he’ll be fine. But that’s the thing, it’s a helluva lot easier to deal with fine for 30 games than 130.
Marquee is excited to have an announcer change, and not because Len isn’t really good at his job. The only part of that network that’s worth two shits are the actual game broadcasts and they had nothing to do with it. Marquee inherited a great broadcast duo, and with this move they still have one. Only now, they can point to the fact that they hired one of them. Marquee did a very good job with this hire, and hopefully now they can stop passive aggressively (or maybe just aggressively) trying to get JD to leave.
As the Cubs become less and less watchable while the garbage family that owns the team strongly urges (wink wink) Jed Hoyer to give away any player that demands an actual paycheck the burden on Sciambi and Deshaies to entertain us will grow.
You’ll know things have gotten bad if Boog breaks out the eight minute robot baseball routine he did on the Dan LeBatard Show a decade ago.
(The length of it is absurd, but it somehow gets funnier as it goes along, if only for what happens to Joe West and Steve Austin—the Six Million Dollar Man, not the wrestler.)
Would you like four minutes of the current Cubs manager and new play by play guy talking about what a great manager Joe Maddon is? Sure you would.
And finally from early last summer here’s an excellent podcast with the Cubs former TV play by play guy, and the current play by play guy and color analyst. The three get along famously and share some very entertaining stories.
I’m more than willing to hammer the Cubs, the ownership and the TV network when necessary and unfortunately it’s been necessary quite a bit. But not yesterday. Yesterday they did a very good thing.
I’d tell them to keep it up, but we need to save up all of our delusions to get us through the Bears playoff game Sunday.