You don’t have to be from Chicago to get the whole Cubs thing.
Jon ‘‘Boog’’ Sciambi grew up in New York and graduated from Boston College. But he watched the Cubs on superstation WGN as a kid, and he estimated he has called more than 100 games at Wrigley Field in his career. He gets it.
That’s just one of the reasons Marquee Sports Network, the Cubs’ TV home, hired him to be the team’s play-by-play voice alongside analyst Jim Deshaies. Sciambi replaces Len Kasper, who left after 16 seasons to call the White Sox on their new radio flagship, ESPN 1000.
‘‘The person we all circled from the very beginning was ‘Boog,’ ’’ Cubs president of business operations Crane Kenney said. ‘‘He is a lover of our game. He is an analyst of the game, as well. He can go deep with the sabermetrics community. He appreciates the unique place the Cubs and Wrigley Field have in our game.’’
Sciambi, 50, has been with ESPN full-time since 2010. He has been the radio voice for ‘‘Sunday Night Baseball’’ and the TV voice for ‘‘Wednesday Night Baseball’’ since 2014. He will continue to work as a multiplatform broadcaster for ESPN, but he said the Cubs are his priority.
‘‘This job is special; that’s what it comes down to,’’ said Sciambi, who was the Braves’ TV voice in 2007-09 and the Marlins’ radio voice in 1997-2004. ‘‘This isn’t, ‘Hey, now you’re going back to doing an every-day job.’ I’m going back to do the Cubs.’’
Marquee general manager Mike McCarthy said Sciambi would call about as many games for the Cubs as Kasper did, roughly 130 based on a 162-game season. Sciambi said he still would call some Sunday night games, in addition to the MLB playoffs and college basketball, for ESPN. McCarthy said the network would discuss its plans for fill-ins later.
Sciambi is close with Cubs manager David Ross, who was Sciambi’s partner in the ESPN TV booth, and Kasper, who called the Marlins on TV in 2002-04. Sciambi said he’d lean on Kasper to prepare for the job.
‘‘I know how important Cubs baseball is to its fan base,’’ he said. ‘‘But also, yes, I’m not from Chicago, but as someone from the outside, I think I get it and my antenna is up for things that I might not get. I’m open to learning, listening and trying to understand.’’
Sciambi said he and Kasper have similar sensibilities regarding broadcasting, and viewers might notice a similar sound. Sciambi also has a great sense of humor and dry wit that should mesh well with Deshaies’ personality.
‘‘I’m gonna want [the broadcast] to be smart, interesting and fun,’’ Sciambi said. ‘‘Len is a friend of mine for 20-some years, and we strive for similar things. The biggest thing that I’m trying for is the person that you see out on the street or in the press box, that’s pretty much how I’m going to be on the air.
‘‘So if there’s something that we’re gonna chuckle at sitting in the food room, I’m probably gonna try it on the air. Not the food, the joke.’’
Sciambi earned the nickname ‘‘Boog’’ at his first job in 1993 at WQAM radio in Miami. Morning-show co-host Dave Lamont was an Orioles fan, and he told Sciambi, who was rather portly, that he looked like former Orioles first baseman Boog Powell. The next morning, ‘‘Boog Powell’’ was taped over Sciambi’s name on his mailbox.