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Len Kasper keeps it cool during the Cubs’ collapse

Kasper discussed broadcasting the difficult four-game stretch from last Friday to Tuesday that expedited the Cubs’ elimination. 

St Louis Cardinals v Chicago Cubs
Craig Kimbrel watches the flight of the go-ahead home run hit by Paul DeJong in the ninth inning Saturday. Yadier Molina homered on the previous pitch.
Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Cubs TV voice Len Kasper felt the disappointment fans were feeling during the sweep at the hands of the Cardinals last weekend. He felt it more Tuesday against the Pirates.

But he wasn’t going to express it in a manner afforded to fans.

“They can throw stuff at their TV and they can yell and scream, but that’s not my job,” he said. “My job is to call the game and try to give a fair call. But you know it’s a Cubs broadcast, and there’s going to be some disappointment in the call.”

Kasper discussed broadcasting the difficult four-game stretch from last Friday to Tuesday that expedited the Cubs’ elimination, which became official Wednesday. We can only imagine how Harry Caray would have sounded, but we probably would have heard “Holy cow!” at the other end of the spectrum. And if Hawk Harrelson had called the games, we probably wouldn’t have heard anything at all.

Interestingly, Kasper said it wasn’t the Cardinals’ gut punches that were tough to call. It was the Pirates’ seven-run haymaker in the seventh inning that knocked him over.

“There was drama up until the final moment every single day [against the Cardinals],” Kasper said. “So I think when you look at that weekend as a whole, yeah, it’s really tough. But when you’re in the middle of it, they’re all close, and just about every game the Cubs were a swing away.

“Those are a lot different than the game [Tuesday] where everything just fell apart in the seventh inning and then Washington wins and Milwaukee wins, and you’re just like, this feels like it’s over.”

Viewers could hear a trace of exasperation in Kasper’s voice, which is rare.

“That seventh inning just sucked,” he said. “I said [on the air] I think, all in all, this is the worst inning of the year when you think of everything that’s on the line, you’re playing a horrible team. What else am I supposed to say?”

Kasper and analyst Jim Deshaies don’t shy away from calling out players’ mistakes, and Kasper was candid during that albatross of an inning. But he aims to stay even-keeled, even during the worst times.

“This is my personality,” Kasper said. “I think anyone who knows me knows that that’s how I am all the time. And so anyone who thinks I’m sublimating or pushing down emotion, this is genuinely who I am.”

Remote patrol

  • Jim Nantz and Tony Romo are scheduled to call the Vikings-Bears game Sunday on Ch. 2, but “NFL Today” analyst Boomer Esiason is on call if Romo makes the cut at the PGA Tour’s Safeway Open in Napa, California. Romo has missed the cut in three tries on tour.
  • Former Blackhawk Patrick Sharp is now a full-time studio analyst for NBC Sports. He still will appear on Hawks pre- and postgame shows on NBC Sports Chicago for at least 25 games, as he did last season.
  • Aaron Goldsmith, John Smoltz and Ken Rosenthal will call the Cubs-Cardinals game Saturday on Fox-32.