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New Cubs announcer Jim Deshaies: ‘I’m not going to pronounce names backwards’

Jim DeShaies’ last career game was in Wrigley Field, a place that was never kind to the left-handed pitcher.

``My career ERA record here was just under 7.00, and in July, 1995 I pitched my last game here. I was hanging on with the Phillies, the wind was blowing out and I was a fly ball pitcher. [Manager Jim] Fregosi had the nerve to put me out there.’’

DeShaies career in uniform ended a few days later, but his broadcasting career for the Houston Astros followed—a career now bringing him back to Wrigley Field in a better situation.

``It’s going to be so much fun to be in a city where baseball matters no matter how the team is doing,’’ he said Wednesday as he was introduced as the Cubs new television analyst. He will team with play-by-play announcer Len Kasper to replace Bob Brenly, who left in October to become the Arizona Diamondbacks analyst.

DeShaies, 52, comes to the Cubs after 16 years as the Astros announcer following a 12-year career, seven of them pitching for the Astros.

``The Astros guy had a tough time leaving, but the baseball guy knows this is the place to be,’’ he said. ``I think Len and I will have a blast.’’

DeShaies won out over several candidates who had ties to the Cubs, including Eric Karros and Todd Hollandsworth. But his work with the Astros and announcer Bill Brown had been considered among the best in baseball.

``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 opportunity to carry the tradition forward,’’ Cubs president Crane Kenney said.

DeShaies said Brenly was the first to contact him about his potential interest in replacing him, and Kasper praised him for having ``a sense of humor that will come in handy’’ to go with sound baseball knowledge.

``He likes to have fun,’’ Kasper said, adding ``we look forward to learning about the game from a great baseball mind.’’

DeShaies admitted to a self-deprecating style--``but from what I’ve heard from Len and Bob, they assured me `goofy’ works.

``But be assured there will be serious baseball, too,’’ he added. ``I’d be lying if I said I knew everything going on in the Cubs organization, but I like the fact they have some high ceiling guys already at the big league level. I think they have a chance to get better sooner rather than later.

``I’m not going to pronounce any names backwards,’’ he said joking about the late Harry Caray, ``but I feel I’m an honest guy and fair. If a player makes mistakes, I’ll point them out. But I don’t bury guys. Guys who do my job sometimes forget how difficult this game is to play.’’



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