Results tagged ‘ Bob Brenly ’

12/3 Deshaies new Cubs TV analyst

The Cubs added a new voice to the television broadcasts, reportedly hiring long-time Astros analyst Jim Deshaies to join Len Kasper in the booth and fill the opening created by Bob Brenly’s departure. Brenly, 58, left after eight seasons with the Cubs to join the Diamondbacks broadcast team.

Deshaies, 52, reportedly accepted a four-year offer from WGN. has confirmed the deal. Deshaies had been a part of the Astros broadcast team since 1997, and was considered a longshot because it was assumed WGN preferred to have a former Cubs player as the color commentator. Dan Plesac, Todd Hollandsworth, Rick Sutcliffe and Eric Karros, who all played for the team, were mentioned as possible analysts. However, Brenly never played for the Cubs.

Deshaies pitched for six teams over a 12-year Major League career and established himself as a rookie with the 1986 NL West champion Astros. As a broadcaster, he is well-respected for his extensive knowledge and keen insights, but it was his quick wit that won Astros fans. He’s an easy conversationalist and is known to keep things entertaining during tough stretches. Brenly, popular with the Cubs fanbase, had a similar reputation. The parallels between the two broadcasters may have been a big selling point as WGN searched for a new color man.

Kasper is entering his ninth season as the Cubs’ television play by play broadcaster.

Deshaies does know Wrigley Field. His last game as a pitcher came against the Cubs on July 30, 1995, at Wrigley. Brian McRae doubled to leadoff and one out later, scored on Mark Grace’s RBI single. One out later, Todd Zeile hit a two-run homer off a 3-2 pitch to go ahead, 3-0. Jose Hernandez led off the Chicago second with a home run to left, and one out later, Deshaies walked Jim Bullinger and then McRae singled to left. Deshaies was pulled and that was it.

— Carrie Muskat

11/18 Extra bases

* According to Comcast SportsNet Chicago, Dan Plesac told WGN on Friday that he’s withdrawing from consideration for the Cubs TV analyst job and will remain at MLB Network. There’s a new name in the mix: Astros broadcaster Jim Deshaies has reportedly interviewed for the Cubs TV analyst job, open after Bob Brenly left to join the Diamondbacks’ TV team.

Also, Doug Glanville is reportedly no longer being considered. The former big league outfielder is reportedly close to an extension with ESPN.

Who is Deshaies? A left-hander known as J.D., he pitched for 12 seasons, including seven with the Astros from 1985-91. His last game was an abbreviated start on July 30, 1995, at Wrigley Field. He gave up six runs on five hits, including a first inning home run by Todd Zeile and another blast in the second by Jose Hernandez over 1 1/3 innings as the Cubs rolled to an 8-0 win over the Phillies. Deshaies reportedly holds the Major League record for most at-bats without an extra-base hit (373). Deshaies just completed his 15th season as color analyst for the Astros.

Brenly did not have a direct Cubs tie, playing all but one season with the Giants.

* The Dallas Morning News reports free agent relief pitcher Kyuji Fujikawa visited Wrigley Field and the Cubs’ facilities. Fujikawa also has talked to the Rangers, Diamondbacks, Angels and Dodgers, and all have some level of interest. The 32-year-old right-hander has compiled a 1.77 ERA, 0.96 WHIP, 914 strikeouts and 220 saves over 692 1/3 career innings for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan.

* Josh Vitters and Tony Campana are both playing in the Venezuela Winter League for Caracas. Vitters has started one game at third and was 0-for-3.

* Tuesday is the deadline for Major League teams to finalize their 40-man rosters.

— Carrie Muskat 

11/6 Cubs search for color man

According to Comcast SportsNet Chicago, the Cubs will begin interviews this week with five contenders for the TV analyst job as they search for a replacement for Bob Brenly. The list includes Dan Plesac, Rick Sutcliffe, Eric Karros, Todd Hollandsworth and Gary Matthews. Plesac was a pre and post-game analyst for Comcast SportsNet before joining MLB Network. He also played for the Cubs in 1993 and ’94. Sutcliffe, another former Cubs pitcher, is under contract for one more year with ESPN.

Karros, played for the Cubs in 2003, was approached for the WGN Radio color job after Ron Santo died in December 2010. Hollandsworth is the current pre and post-game analyst on Comcast SportsNet Chicago. He has filled in for Brenly before. Matthews is currently a color commentator for the Phillies broadcasts. “Sarge” played for the Cubs from 1984-87 and was a member of Dusty Baker’s coaching staff from 2003-06. Brenly left to join the Diamondbacks TV broadcast team.

— Carrie Muskat

10/17 Brenly leaving Cubs

Cubs television analyst Bob Brenly informed WGN-TV he will not return to the team’s broadcast booth in 2013, and instead will seek another baseball broadcasting position. There is speculation Brenly will join the Diamondbacks’ TV broadcast team, replacing Mark Grace. Fans who may want Grace to replace Brenly should keep in mind that the former Cubs first baseman is facing DUI charges in November.

Said Brenly: “For the last eight years, I’ve had the unmitigated joy of going to Wrigley to work with one of the best play by play men in the game. I had as much fun as you could have in the last eight years. I have nothing negative to say. It was great.”

— Carrie Muskat

5/8 Sing along with Len, Bob, Theo, Billy Corgan

Tickets go on sale Saturday for the June 14 Hot Stove Cool Music concert at Metro in Chicago featuring Cubs fan Billy Corgan’s group, Smashing Pumpkins, plus the Figgs, Jenny Dee and the Deelinquents, members of Buffalo Tom and the Hot Stove All-Stars. Theo Epstein, Cubs president of baseball operations, is scheduled to perform as well along with Cubs broadcasters Len Kasper and Bob Brenly. Proceeds will support Cubs Charities and the “Foundation to be Named Later Serving Disadvantaged Youth.” Epstein and his brother, Paul, run the foundation.

— Carrie Muskat

1/15 Fathers & sons

Shawon Dunston and son, Shawon Dunston Jr., Bob Brenly and son Michael, and Keith Lockhart and son Daniel took part in an entertaining session on Sunday to close the 27th Cubs Convention at the Chicago Hilton. Dunston Jr. and Daniel Lockhart were selected in last June’s First-Year Player Draft in the 11th and 10th rounds, respectively, while Brenly was a 36th round pick in 2008 and helped Daytona win the Florida State League championship last season.

Both Lockhart and Dunston Jr. are going from high school to pro ball. Lockhart’s Hebron Christian Academy in Georgia is coming off a state championship. Shawon Jr. said it was a tough decision to choose between school and baseball; he wanted to go to Vanderbilt University. The Cubs’ signing bonus included money for school, which helped convince the outfielder.

“I want him to be a better player than me, to have a better career than me,” said Dunston Sr., who was the Cubs’ first-round pick in 1982.

Keith Lockhart, a former Major League infielder who is now a scout with the Cubs, said Daniel developed an early love for the game. When he was 3 years old, Daniel would stand on a seat at ballgames to watch, rather than go play with the other kids. Bob Brenly said Michael was determined to be a catcher and would dig out dad’s old gear to wear. What will happen if Michael does make it to the big leagues and dad is broadcasting the game?

“That sound you hear in the background will be me throwing up [out of nervousness],” said Bob Brenly, the analyst for Cubs TV broadcasts.

All of the fathers and sons did give credit to the moms for taking them to games and supporting them. Michael said his mother often sounded just like his dad in giving advice.

Shawon Sr., who works in the Giants organization with Minor Leaguers, made sure his son put school first. Shawon Jr. had to maintain a 3.55 GPA. If it was lower, he couldn’t play baseball.

“My job is to hate me now but you’ll love me later,” Shawon Sr. said.

Someone suggested Cubs fans would be eager to dust off the “Shawon-O-Meter” sign popular during Dunston’s days with the Cubs from 1985-95.

“I have a t-shirt at home with that on it,” Shawon Jr. said.

Shawon Sr. is doing his best to keep his son on track. The latest argument in the Dunston house is about what car young Shawon will get. Dad will probably win this one.

“Best advice, always listen to your father,” Shawon Sr. said.

Dunston wears a 20-year-old gold chain with charms for each of his children on it.

“I always keep my kids with me,” he said.

— Carrie Muskat

11/14 End of era for Ramirez & Cubs

Aramis Ramirez’s agent Paul Kinzer said Monday there’s no chance the third baseman will return to the Cubs and is looking for a three to four-year deal with a new team. Ramirez wants a ring.

“Aramis is going to be fine,” Kinzer said of the free agent, considered the top third baseman available. “We’re not in any hurry. I’m just feeling teams out. As the market establishes itself and people find out if they’re in or not on [Albert] Pujols or [Prince] Fielder, and who’s in on [Jose] Reyes, Aramis is going to be there. He’s not looking at an eight-year contract. He’s going to be looking in the four range, and maybe three with an option. It’s going to be his choice.”

However, Kinzer did take the opportunity to respond to criticism from Cubs TV analyst Bob Brenly, who said in a radio interview that it was time for Ramirez to go.

“There’s no question about it, you look at the stats and he’s the best third baseman they’ve had since Ron Santo, maybe the only third baseman the Cubs have had since Ron Santo,” said Brenly, who also said pitchers don’t like Ramirez because it takes him too long to turn double plays and he’s weak defensively.

“For me, I think maybe it’s time for him to move on and go somewhere else,” Brenly said. “I’m sure he still has a number of good years left as an offensive player but if you’re looking to retool the team in a diffrent image, it might be time for him to go.”

Kinzer’s response?

“I’m not real happy about the stuff that came out negative about Aramis,” Kinzer said. “For a broadcaster to come out and say that, I think is very low class. We didn’t come out and say a word about it but that bothered Aramis and it bothered me a lot. If [Brenly] had something to say to him, he should’ve said it to his face when he was a Cub and not when he hits free agency and then come out like that. You can talk to Jim Hendry, Lou Piniella, Dusty Baker and if this guy isn’t a producer and he was as bad as he said, and not a clutch hitter — they don’t give Silver Sluggers out to punch-and-Judy hitters. If he had a personal problem with him, he should’ve come to Aramis or I instead of trying to destroy him in the media. That bothered me a lot.”

— Carrie Muskat

9/11 Cubs Minor League report

Tennessee won its third straight Southern League North Division Championship with a 7-2 victory over Chattanooga on Saturday. The win completed a sweep, and gave the Smokies a berth in the Southern League Championship Series, expected to begin Wednesday. Trey McNutt earned the win, giving up two runs on seven hits over five innings. Rebel Ridling drove in four runs, including a two-run triple in the first and a two-run single in the fourth. Jae-Hoon Ha turned a double play to end the bottom of the sixth as he made a running catch on a fly ball by Travis Denker then doubled up Jake Lemmerman at first to end the inning. Ha also made another highlight reel grab to end the eighth, stealing a base hit away from Brian Cavazos-Galvez. The Smokies will play the winner of the South Division Championship Series (either Mobile or Birmingham).

* The Daytona Cubs are one win away from their first Florida State League title in three years. The D-Cubs beat St. Lucie, 10-4, on Saturday to win Game 2 of the best-of-five series. Justin Bour had two hits, including a three-run homer. Five Cubs had multiple hits, and Matt Szczur finished 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Frank Del Valle threw six shutout innings, giving up two hits and striking out eight. Jake Optiz also homered.

* For Michael Brenly, Sept. 11, 2001, was a day he’ll never forget. He was 15 then and the bat boy for the Arizona Diamondbacks, who were playing the Yankees in the World Series. His dad, Bob Brenly, now the Cubs TV analyst, was the D-Backs manager. Father and son went to Ground Zero when the team was in New York for the Series. Michael took off his plastic hard hat and asked some of the volunteers there to sign it. The family still has the hat, mounted on the wall of their Arizona home.

“That was a life-changing day,” Michael told the Daytona Beach News-Journal. “For us to get to go down there so quickly after that happened, I would say it was something that no one wanted to see, but it was something I cherished the opportunity to see. Going into it, I was a little skeptical, because I knew it would be a lot of emotion. But I’m very happy that I did it. I wouldn’t trade that experience, getting to meet them.

“They were digging through fire and smoke to give those families any kind of hope that they could,” said Michael, now a catcher for the Daytona team. “Those guys are real heroes, giving their time and their effort and long days without their families.”

— Carrie Muskat


6/6 Brenly: “Another dead [bleep] team”

Cubs television analyst Bob Brenly said Carlos Zambrano’s rant after Sunday’s game was overdue.

“Big Z is just expressing what a lot of fans feel, what a lot of us broadcasters feel, and, as usual, doesn’t always choose his words properly, doesn’t always choose his forum properly, but I applaud the emotions,” Brenly said in an interview on WSCR 670-AM on Monday. “This has been, once again, another dead-[bleep] team. You’ve got some guys that look like they’re just playing out the string, and we’re only in the first [week] of June here, and we know from past experience that Carlos is not one of those guys who can sit idly by and keep his mouth shut and just let things continue to spiral downward. He’s going to express his opinion, he’s going to be emotional about it when he does it.

“”I don’t view this as a suspendable offense or anything like that,” Brenly said. “I just think it’s a guy who is frustrated with the way the season has gone, he’s frustrated with the way his teammates have approached their daily business. … I’m sure there are times when Carlos is just as guilty as anybody on that roster.

“For me, it’s time,” he said. “It’s about time that somebody stood up and said, ‘Enough is enough. I’m tired of watching this.'”

However, Brenly said Zambrano’s comments at Carlos Marmol should’ve been kept between the two, saying “it’s not right to throw your teammate under a bus and divert attention away from the other shortcomings of this ballclub.” Brenly applauded Zambrano for trying to light a fire under the team.

“For God’s sake, this team just cannot continue to spiral the way it has been,” he said.

— Carrie Muskat

3/5 Pitching probables

Andrew Cashner makes his first start for the Cubs on Saturday when they play host to the Padres at HoHoKam Park in Mesa. Looking ahead to Sunday’s split squad games, Ryan Dempster will start in Mesa against the Dodgers, and Todd Wellemeyer will get his first spring start in Goodyear against the Reds. Sunday will be the first of four scheduled split squads for the Cubs this spring.

Saturday’s game will be broadcast on WGN Radio as will Sunday’s game against the Dodgers. Sunday also will be the first Cubs TV broadcast this spring as Len Kasper and Bob Brenly are in the booth in Mesa for the Cubs-Dodgers game.

— Carrie Muskat