The photo at the top of this post does not mean that new Cubs TV analyst Jim Deshaies is going to take the pitcher's mound at Wrigley Field.
But given the former Astros pitcher's noted sense of humor, it wouldn't surprise me if he headed to Theo Epstein's office and volunteered, particularly because the Cubs could use another lefthanded starter. (Deshaies is, for the record, just two years older than Jamie Moyer, a man he never faced in his major-league career.) The uniform number shown on the Cubs jersey was the number Deshaies wore through his Astros career.
Deshaies was a noted humorist as a player and continued on those lines as an Astros broadcaster. When he retired, he went on a quixotic campaign to get one vote for the Hall of Fame (obviously, being clearly unqualified for Cooperstown induction). Houston Chronicle columnist John Lopez gave him that vote, and Deshaies was tongue-in-cheek thrilled:
A Web site was set up to promote Deshaies' bid for the Hall and, when the results were announced Tuesday, Deshaies basked in the glow. "As you know by now, this campaign fell 386 votes shy of reaching the Hall, but the fact that we reached our stated goal is a testament to the validity of our effort, as well as to the wisdom of never setting one's sites too high," said Deshaies, a noted cutup both as a player and in his current job as an Astros broadcaster. "Today we acknowledge the will of the voters and accept their mandate. I have called the winners (fellow former Twins Dave Winfield and Kirby Puckett) and left a message of congratulations, but they have yet to call back."
It's this kind of humor that Deshaies will bring to the Cubs TV booth with Len Kasper, who always seemed to find things to laugh about with eight-year partner Bob Brenly. Asked at his introductory news conference Wednesday about the Wrigley seventh-inning stretch tradition, Deshaies said, "I don’t quite have the musical chops Len does." So maybe he'd agree with me that this tradition ought to be retired. Deshaies added: "The passion of Cubs fans; I get that. I’m thrilled to be here."
Let's hope Deshaies has a better broadcasting career at Wrigley Field than he had in his pitching exploits there. In eight career starts at Wrigley, Deshaies posted a 6.98 ERA and 1.603 WHIP, while allowing eight home runs in 38⅔ innings. In fact, the last game of Deshaies' playing career was at Wrigley Field, pitching for the Phillies July 30, 1995; he must have known it was over after he gave up six runs in 1⅓ innings, including home runs to Todd Zeile and Jose Hernandez. The Phillies released him the next day.
As for the headline on this post, that's surely not to glorify Chris Berman or ESPN, who have become bloated imitations of their former selves, but simply to remind all of you of one of Berman's best nicknames, back when he was actually clever.
Here's to a long and successful career for Deshaies as Len's partner. (Incidentally, don't click on the "playful Internet campaign" link in the link above regarding Deshaies' Hall of Fame quest. Somehow, it leads to a Japanese breast enhancement site. Somehow, I think Deshaies would find that amusing.