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New Cubs TV analyst Jim Deshaies ready for challenge

Jim Deshaies meets mediChicago Cubs  press conference Wrigley thannounced thhe would be new color commentator for Cubs telecasts.

Jim Deshaies meets the media at a Chicago Cubs press conference at Wrigley that announced that he would be the new color commentator for the Cubs telecasts. "J.D." replaces longtime Cubs announcer Bob Brenley on Wednesday, December 5, 2012. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: January 7, 2013 1:27PM

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

‘‘My career ERA here was just under 7.00, and in July 1995 I pitched my last game here,’’ Deshaies said Wednesday. ‘‘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 a broadcasting career with the Houston Astros followed. Broadcasting has brought 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,’’ Deshaies said during his introduction as the Cubs’ new TV analyst.

He will team with play-by-play announcer Len Kasper after replacing Bob Brenly, who left in October to become the Arizona Diamondbacks’ TV analyst.

Deshaies, 52, comes to the Cubs after 16 seasons as a broadcaster for the Astros.
That followed a 12-year
major-league career, seven of them 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 was chosen over several candidates who had ties to the Cubs, including Eric Karros and Todd Hollandsworth. But his work with the Astros alongside play-by-play man Bill Brown had been considered among the best in baseball.

‘‘[Cubs fans] have been treated over the years to some great, insightful, intel-
ligent, colorful, humorous analysts,’’ Kenney said. ‘‘That tradition was something we really looked to carry forward for our fans. By the end, I think the group of us who were making the decision came to a pretty easy conclusion that Jim was the guy who will call the next World Series team for the Cubs.’’

Deshaies said Brenly was the first to contact him about his potential interest in the job, 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. ‘‘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.

‘‘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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