Marquee Sports Network announces three fill-ins for Jon Sciambi
When the Cubs’ TV voice fulfills his ESPN commitments, he’ll be replaced by Beth Mowins, Pat Hughes and Chris Myers.
Marquee Sports Network will rotate three fill-in play-by-play announcers when Cubs voice Jon “Boog” Sciambi fulfills his ESPN commitments, station general manager Mike McCarthy said Wednesday. One will make history, and another will simply switch booths.
Beth Mowins, who has worked for ESPN since 1994, will become the first woman to call play-by-play for the Cubs. Mowins primarily has called men’s and women’s college sports, and in 2017 she became the first woman in 30 years to call an NFL game.
Pat Hughes will take a break from calling the Cubs on 670 The Score to fill in. Hughes last called baseball on TV in 1983, his first year in the majors, as the voice of the Twins on Spectrum Sports, a pay-TV service. He left for the Brewers’ No. 2 radio job the next season.
The third replacement is Chris Myers, who calls NFL games for Fox and is part of the network’s NASCAR coverage. He also contributes to Marquee as host of “Chris & Tell,” a monthly interview show. He was scheduled to call some games last season until the coronavirus pandemic thwarted those plans.
Sciambi will call more than 130 Cubs games. Marquee still is determining which games he’ll miss and which fill-in will work with analyst Jim Deshaies on each.
Mowins has a kinship with Deshaies as a native Upstate New Yorker, and her father and brother attended the same college as Deshaies, Le Moyne in Syracuse. She has been the voice of the Women’s College World Series for more than 20 years, but she has yet to call a regular-season baseball game.
“I called a spring-training game years back with John Kruk and had a wonderful experience with him,” Mowins said. “But otherwise, it’s bat and ball. From a play-by-play standpoint, the language is the same, most of the strategy is the same. I feel pretty comfortable in terms of that transition.
“I grew up on ‘TWIB Notes’ and ‘This Week in Baseball,’ and a lot of the old-timers were people that I watched a lot of. And for women in baseball, Suzyn Waldman and what she’s been able to do with the Yankees over the years has been remarkable.”
Mowins joins four other women working in major-league broadcasting. Waldman has been the Yankees’ radio analyst since 2005 and first called their games in the mid-1990s. Melanie Newman shares play-by-play duties on Orioles radio, Jenny Cavnar has called play-by-play for Rockies TV and Jessica Mendoza is an ESPN analyst.
Hughes called Marquette basketball on TV on and off from 1985 to 2000, the last third with Hall of Fame coach Al McGuire, which Hughes said was one of the highlights of his career. But don’t expect him to change his medium permanently. He left the Twins job because he wanted to call baseball on the radio.
“I’m not about to leave Cubs radio,” Hughes said. “I’ll do this until they tell me to jump in the lake.
“I’ll have some fun. It’ll be a nice challenge. It’s just a matter of preparing, trying to be a team player. I’ve always prided myself on trying to work with the color commentator and trying to get their knowledge on the air.”
Zach Zaidman will fill in for Hughes, who realizes he’ll have to change his broadcast a bit on TV.
“I’ll try not to talk as much because people can see what’s going on, so you don’t want to be annoying,” he said. “It’s a balance.”
He also might not feel the need to describe the players’ uniforms in such intricate detail as he does on radio.
“Maybe I’ll just have to describe Jim Deshaies’ uniform instead,” Hughes said.
NOTE: Marquee Sports Network will carry 13 of the Cubs’ 14 spring-training home games from Sloan Park, the first being March 2. The game March 3 will air on ESPN. Plans for broadcasts of road games are being determined. Marquee again is planning to broadcast regular-season road games from Wrigley Field.