Jim Deshaies is replacing Bob Brenly in the Cubs’ broadcast booth.
He’s not who many fans wanted, or was even among those we thought might get the job. In fact, Deshaies wasn’t even mentioned as a candidate until a month into the search. Now he has a 4-year deal with WGN and the Cubs.
I don’t have a real opinion of Deshaies because I’ve never actually heard him during a full broadcast. I don’t recognize his voice and I couldn’t tell you what his face looked like until Monday.
What I do know, however, is Deshaies is highly regarded for his broadcast work, which began with Houston in 1997. That’s plenty of time to build a reputation, and it’s one Astros fans have thought highly of over the past 15 seasons.
Remember Drayton McLane letting Alan Ashby go? Letting JD walk out of the Astros broadcast booth could be Jim Crane’s Ashby, and believe me he doesn’t want that on his permanent record. -Timothy De Block, CrawfishBoxes.com
In March FanGraphs.com rated Deshaies and his former partner in Houston, Bill Brown, as the No.4 broadcast duo in MLB–two spots ahead of Len & Bob. The fact the Cubs went ‘outside’ the organization to hire Deshaies also speaks to his talent.
Deshaies’ broadcast style of dry-wit and solid game analysis has been likened to Brenly’s on-air style. Perhaps his decision to take a new opportunity is similar to Brenly’s as well?
The Astros organization is going through a major upheaval. The team’s posted its two worst regular seasons in consecutive years and is making a move to the American League West in 2013.
One of Deshaies’ three daughters is currently in law school at the University of Illinois, another is a senior in high school; Brenly makes a home in Arizona, wants to retire there and is already loved by the Diamondbacks’ fan base for leading the team to its only World Series championship in 2001.
Maybe the combination of a new chapter in Astros’ baseball and Deshaies’ home life helped spark his decision to head north? Or in both cases, maybe Brenly and Deshaies had their fill of covering 100-loss teams and felt they could be more comfortable professionally elsewhere?
Whatever the reasons, both Brenly and Deshaies publicly stated they expected to return to their respective clubs following the 2012 season. Neither did of course.
As a fan I was particularly interested in the Cubs hiring either Dan Plesac or Doug Glanville as Brenly’s replacement. But that doesn’t mean I won’t give Deshaies a fair shake.
Instead, I’m grateful the Cubs went with an experienced and proven professional. By all accounts Deshaies is no hack. He’s informed, entertaining and best of all, a likeable guy.
“He works hard and brings with and humor and knowledge of the game to the booth every single night, he’s one of the best broadcasters in the country and a fan favorite. People always comment to me just how much they enjoy his work.” -Bill Brown
Of course it’s going to take some getting used to Deshaies, just as it was with Brenly, but I’m already looking forward to hearing the Cubs’ new broadcast team.
I’m also curious to find out if Deshaies’ is musically talented? Does he play guitar, the drums…anything? Who’s Len going to partner with on stage now that Bob’s history?
Paul Sullivan of the Tribune tweeted Kasper pushed hard for WGN/Cubs to land Deshaies, so there must be a musical connection, right?
Nonetheless, I now introduce to you the “Len & JD Show.”
Deshaies’ friends say Len Kasper pushed hard on Deshaies hiring. #Clout
— Paul Sullivan (@PWSullivan) December 3, 2012
Been asked for 6 wks who my new partner is & now I can finally answer: Jim Deshaies. JD will blend in well, we r all thrilled to have him.
— Len Kasper (@LenKasper) December 3, 2012
— Len and JD (@lenandjd) December 3, 2012
“That pitch was up, but then most pitches are up for Altuve.” Deshaies
— Astros One Liners (@AstrosOneLiners) May 2, 2012
“He has a high pitchability quotient. The HPQ. Don’t look it up. I made it up.” Deshaies, praising Jordan Lyles.
— Astros One Liners (@AstrosOneLiners) April 29, 2012