CHICAGO – The biggest shock so far in the 2020-2021 offseason for the north and south sides didn’t even come on the field. Instead, it was a shift in the broadcast booth that stunned the fan bases in Chicago.
Len Kasper, the television voice of the Cubs for 16 years, made the surprising move to the White Sox radio booth late this week. News of the change broke late Thursday night and was confirmed on Friday with strong reactions from those on both sides of town.
It was a difficult decision for the veteran broadcaster to make, and one that was made even more complicated by an offer from the Cubs that he said “blew him away.” But for Kasper, this was about living out a dream of his since he grew up as a child in Mount Pleasant, Michigan, listening to Tigers games called by legend Ernie Harwell.
He emotionally described what the late Hall of Famer meant to him during his introductory Zoom conference on Friday, wishing that he could have been around to see him fulfill the dream of stepping into the radio booth.
While Kasper has admiration for the Cubs, the opportunity for the White Sox is simply one he couldn’t pass up.
“I’m not getting any younger, I’m not the new kid on the block and I don’t know where radio is going to be in 80 years and I won’t be around to know what that is. I can just tell you that radio and baseball will live together until the day I’m no longer around and I want to be a part of that,” said Kasper. “If I don’t do it now, I don’t know what the landscape will look like ten, 20, 30 years down the road.”
So he’s making the move to the other side of town like others have done before him. Harry Caray went from the White Sox booth to the Cubs in 1982 and Steve Stone went from the north side to the south side, though there was nearly a four-year gap between that transition.
Kasper will make his White Sox in just a couple of months, taking over for Andy Masur, who handled the duties for the shortened 2020 season after the death of Ed Farmer on April 1st. Money wasn’t an issue in this decision, it was all about living a dream.
“At the end of the day, the feeling in my gut was always there. It crystalized my decision. What are my priorities at this time in my life? Why did I want to do this in the first place, and if I had decided not to do it, to get something extra that at the end of the day really didn’t matter,” said Kasper. “I was already happy. I didn’t need any extra benefits with the Cubs. I had a great job.
“Jed Hoyer said the grass isn’t greener elsewhere. He’s so right. But the grass might be red or blue or a shade of grey or black and white. The grass is just different, and different and new and challenging is really what excites me about this.”
Enough to make the move from the north to the southside after nearly two decades.