Jan. 2006: Questions & Answers with Len Kasper

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Balsa
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Postby Balsa » Sun Jan 15, 2006 1:59 pm

Hey Len,

Thanks for answering our questions.

Do you see the NL Central weaker than it was last year, especially in regards to the Cardinals? If so, how do you like our chances and who will be our main competition?

What is your favorite foreign country? If none, what is your favorite city outside of Chicago?

What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a sportscaster like yourself?

If the Cubs could acquire one currently active pitcher for next season, regardless of contract or price, who would you choose?

Thanks Len! You really take a lot of time out to answer our questions and we really appreciate it!
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Postby baseball7897 » Mon Jan 16, 2006 10:15 am

Sup Len,

In my opinion i think the Cardinals took a step back this offseason. What do you think?
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Postby EricG » Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:47 am

Do you prefer day games or night games? Which baseball stadium has the best food? Do you ever talk to Hawk Harrelson, does he know how annoying he is?
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Postby Andy » Tue Jan 17, 2006 11:52 am

Len, what sort of adjustments (if any) did you have to make last year from the Florida weather to the Chicago weather, and did you find any of those adjustments successful? Here's hoping you haven't accidentally set yourself on fire like our beloved Ron Santo did on one memorable occasion!

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Postby reggiemiller rules » Tue Jan 17, 2006 3:23 pm

Len what are your opinions on the offseason moves of the NL Central teams?

Clearly none of them did all that much so I was wondering how you saw the division playing out this year?

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Postby B » Tue Jan 17, 2006 4:01 pm

Len, I remember last year that you and Bob agreed to a bet where you would grow a mustache and Bob would shave if the Cubs went on a 10 game winning streak. Unfortunately that never happened. :cry: Will you agree to that again?

What is your favortie t.v. show?

What do you think about the renovations to Wrigley?
Last edited by B on Tue Jan 17, 2006 4:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby B » Tue Jan 17, 2006 4:09 pm

Rocket Sauce wrote:Do you like Kelly Clarkson?



If so, Which of her songs do you like the most?

Kelly Rocks.
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Postby Balsa » Wed Jan 18, 2006 8:18 am

Another question if you have the time Len,

Will you take us on a tour of the new bleachers/batter's eye diner before the first game?
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Postby Chris » Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:08 am

The Q & A with Len Kasper has been completed! Due to the length of this session, it will be posted in 2 parts, with the second part posted Wednesday, February 1st.

A very special thank you to Len Kasper for once again taking time out of his schedule for us here at NSBB. You will see from the detail of the responses that Len put a lot of effort towards this session. In addition, thank you to all of you for making NSBB such a wonderful posting community!

LEN KASPER Q & A Part 1
January 2006

vance_the_cubs_fan

Len,

One of the things that has puzzled many of us is the Cubs attempts to trade Todd Walker this offseason. Do you have any insight into why the Cubs aren't enamored with the Bayou Basher?

What is your opinion of the rapping abilities of our new centerfielder, Juan Pierre?

What are some of your favorite road cities and what makes them so?

Have you ever been to Louisiana?

Has Dusty ever offered to take you fishing? How about Bob? Would you go if he did?

Also, do you know what this quote:
"It's just like fishing. You're going striped bass fishing. You've got birds on top and you follow the birds. Where the birds are, the bait fish are below that. Below the bait fish are the striped bass. That's what you want to do. That's how you want to do your lineup. That way they can't escape. That's how I try to make my lineup out so the opposition can't pitch around this guy or that guy and that guy and can't escape. You try to get them in the crossfire." means? I have no clue and thought you could help?

A few more questions:

Len, do you anticipate the Cubs making any more moves between now and the start of spring training?

How much contact do you keep with the Cubs and front office personell during the off-season? Do you get any "inside" scoops or do you find out about trades and signings through the Interent and print media like the rest of us peons?

What's your favorite restaurant in the Chicago area?

Have you ever eated boiled crawfish? (mmmm crawfish) If so, did you suck the heads?

Who's the better golfer between you and Bob?

On Opening Day, I think it would be cool if you, Bob, Pat Hughes and Ron Santo challenged Marty Brennamen and the rest of the Reds crew to caged tag-team wrestling match. What do you think? Who would win?

Finaly, what is your prediction of the Cubs record and finish within the division for this season?

LEN: Wow, that’s quite a “first” question! I’ll try to tackle all of them…

On Todd Walker, I think the only issue is defense. Offensively, Todd is a very solid player and really a prototypical #2 hitter. If he’s on the roster going into spring training, he’d be my second baseman. Will he be on the roster? Not sure.

Pierre is a pretty good rapper from what I remember.

I like most of the cities we visit. The California stops are all great. NYC is tough to beat. My sleeper city is Philadelphia…lots of great independent movie theaters near our hotel.

I have been to New Orleans…once. During Super Bowl week when the Packers played the Patriots. Had a great time. I can’t imagine what they’re going through right now as they try to rebuild that city.

I haven’t technically been invited to fish yet with anyone, but my guess is, if I were into fishing, I could probably tag along sometime. I fished as a kid and to be honest, it’s not my bag. Love to eat ‘em, but I don’t love catching them.

Not familiar with that quote. Is that Sartre?

My guess is the Cubs will make another move or two prior to spring training, like maybe signing a guy like Wade Miller (OK, I cheated, that happened a few hours ago).

I do have contact with Cubs people in the off-season, but I really don’t try to get any scoops. I usually read it on the internet or in the papers just like you (like the Wade Miller signing, for instance!).

My favorite restaurant? Can’t name one in particular because there are so many great ones, although I will name Tempo as the best breakfast place I’ve ever been to (I’ve been there many times).

I don’t think I’ve ever “eated” anything. And can’t say I’m really into crawfish.

I would say the question of, “Who’s the better golfer, you or (anyone who’s ever swung a golf club)?” has the same answer everytime—the latter.

I’ll stay away from the wrestling question, although the Reds might be looking for payback after what Kyle Farnsworth did to Paul Wilson a few years ago.

I don’t make predictions because I have absolutely no idea where the Cubs are going to finish. My HOPE is that they win the division by 20 games and that the Cardinals finish last.


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Mizzou
Location: Columbia, MO

Len,

1. Have you ever thought about doing something else in the baseball business? Like maybe getting into upper management? Or are you content calling the games?

2. What's your favorite kind of beer?

LEN: Mizzou, I’m VERY content calling the games. In fact, it’s the job I’ve wanted since I was about 10 years old. My favorite beer? Gotta say Budweiser, right!

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RoastTheD---Goat

Mr Kasper,

Are you as scared as the rest of us that we are really going to suck due to Hendry's new found love for guys who can "catch the ball"?

LEN: First off, call me Len. Before last season, I would say I was someone who definitely would eschew defense for offense. But consider a couple things—the White Sox CAUGHT THE BASEBALL last year and there’s no doubt it helped them win the World Series. The Cubs were not particularly strong defensively and it hurt them. Now, here’s the fundamental question: will the Cubs offense in 2006 be worse than it was in 2005? I don’t think it will. Will the defense be better? Yes, it has to be. So I don’t think the Cubs have hurt themselves per se offensively to get better defensively. They may not be an offensive juggernaut, but if the pitching and defense improve and the offense even stays statis quo, this team will be better. The hope here is that the offense can be at least a little better now that the Cubs have a leadoff hitter. I don’t think the offense stands to be worse—LF and CF were issues for this team last season, as was SS because of Nomar’s injury, although Neifi was as good as you could expect him to be filling in. The keys as of January 22 will be Jones, Murton, Cedeno and whoever plays 2B. If those guys are good, this offense will be in excellent shape because I think we all know Lee, Ramirez, Barrett and Pierre are pretty good. So, to answer your question, no, I’m not scared Jim Hendry emphasized defense. I think it was necessary. I’ve converted a bit—I love OBP and SL%, but you have to turn some double plays every once in awhile too.

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Outshined_One
Location: Chicago, IL or Madison, WI

Len,

Thanks a bunch for dropping by once again!

Do you think the Cubs intend to let Rich Hill win a rotation spot in Spring Training, or is he going to have to battle with Glendon Rusch over it? Do you think he could stick at the #5 spot?

Do you think Corey Patterson needs a change of scenery, or could things still somehow work out for him in Chicago?

Given the fact that the team across town recently won a World Series, has that put any more pressure on management or the team to win one? Or are they pretty much business as usual about matters?

Thanks again!

LEN: My hunch is that Rich might need a full season @ AAA. There’s no doubt he’ll one day be a big league starter, but after bouncing around a bit last year, Hill could probably use one full season @ AAA before making a more permanent jump. Of course, with injuries, anything can happen, but I would be surprised if Hill won a spot on the big league roster out of spring training.

I think you have your answer on Corey.

I don’t think the White Sox winning the World Series has any bearing on the practical day-to-day operations of the Cubs baseball people. Their desire to win a World Series doesn’t change because the other team in Chicago won. You do what you can do to win a championship EVERY year. There’s a perception that there’s more pressure, I grant you that, but on a practical level, how does that truly affect what the Cubs’ GM would do? If the White Sox hadn’t won the World Series, would Jim Hendry shrug and say, “You know, I’d ‘kinda’ like to win the World Series”? No, it wouldn’t alter his desire to win at all. You do what you do based on what you believe you need to do to help your team win, period. That’s my take on it.


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Aramis Fan
Location: Rochester, NY

Len,

Do you think Neifi Perez will start?

What do you think of Jacque Jones?

Can Kerry Wood and Mark Prior manage to stay healthy?

Thanks again for doing this!

LEN: Aramis Fan, no problem, I’m happy to do it.

I like Neifi a lot as a utility player, a guy who can fill in at several different spots, not as an everyday starter (unless forced into the lineup everyday due to an injury like last year when Nomar got hurt). For me, he doesn’t get on base enough to be an everyday player.

I think Jacque Jones will play a terrific RF, just like Jeromy Burnitz did last year. My hope is that Jones has a career year offensively. The Cubs really, really, really need him to have a better season than he’s had the last couple years.

I wish I could answer your question about health. I’m not as worried about Mark as I am about Kerry just because Kerry is coming off shoulder surgery.


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ZMovieman
Location: What Should Be Brewers Country, If Brewers Fans Existed

Hey Len. Marquette student here. What's your take on the whole Prior for Tejada rumors that have flown about the past few weeks? Do you feel it was blown out of proportions? Just wondering for your insight.

Also, what other sports and/or teams do you follow closely? Thanks. We are Marquette.

LEN: Go MU! My simple take on the Tejada/Prior rumors is this—if you’re Jim Hendry and you call the Orioles and tell them you’re interested in Miguel Tejada, they’re likely going to reply with, “Well, if you would be willing to part with Zambrano or Prior, we might be interested.” How that turned into “the Cubs want to trade Prior,” I don’t know. Teams can ask for whomever they want and what gets reported regarding potential trades should always be taken with a grain of salt. My thought in general is, when you’re coming off a 79-win season, you simply need to take a look at everything. In the end, there’s no way Hendry would have traded Prior for Tejada straight up. But if you could get Tejada and say, Barry Zito, in a three-way deal, isn’t it worth at least considering? I’m not saying you do it, but at a certain point, you must at least give it some thought. I’m sure Jim has been asked about every player on his roster at some point or another. It’s the nature of the business.

In the off-season, I watch a ton of hockey. I’ve been to a couple Blackhawk games, which is fun (in fact, I’m heading down to the UC Thursday night to see the Flames and Hawks. I wish the Hawks were playing better. I still follow the Red Wings, who are having a solid year (I grew a Wings fan in Michigan). And while I can’t say I’ve kept up as much I’d like with Marquette basketball, I was at the DePaul game the other night (MU won).


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Is_Pedro_There
Location: Babysitting Edward K. in Indianapolis, Ind.

Len,

Thank you so much for answering our questions. The first question is one that my buddy the Cards fan and I argued about last July. I'd like a 2nd opinion. The 2nd question is a serious one (believe it or not, I have always wanted to know).

1. Who would win in this tag-team wrestling match: Barrett & Aramis vs. Pujols and Rolen?

2. When the team you are being paid to call on a daily basis goes through a horrible streak where absolutely nothing goes right and they look like little leaguers, exactly how hard is it to not scream "YOU SUCK" into the microphone?

LEN: I think it would be a really tight match. Wow, that’s a tough one…Pujols and Rolen are huge, but Michael can take care of himself and Aramis is no slouch. I’ll go with the Cubs guys (would you expect me to say anything else?) ;-)

There are definitely times of major frustration, but I pride myself on trying to be fairly even keel and remembering that it’s a long season. Look, my passion for the Cubs has grown every single day since I took this job and I’m sure you’ll hear a little more excitement and a little more frustration as time goes on. I didn’t want to insult Cub fans last year by trying to overdo it and act like I’ve been here forever, because that’s not the case. I hope people understand my position on that. And along those lines, thanks for your patience. I’ve learned so much about the history of the Cubs and the landscape here over the past year and I hope to hope to continue to learn more and more every year. I want to be a part of this for the rest of my career if possible. We live here year-round and we want to be here for as long as we can.


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Oscargolfstud

Len,
Why is Hendry so hell-bent on trading Todd Walker? Last offseason he placed alot of emphasis on balancing the lineup and without Walker we have no left-handed pop in the 2-6 spots other than JJ. We need that other left-handed stick...don't you agree?

LEN: Oscar, we covered this in part earlier, but on the LH/RH thing, I don’t care so much about that “balance.” I want good hitters and I don’t care if they’re all RH, LH or switch-hitters. I know it sounds simplistic, but to simply go after a LH hitter because he’s LH misses the point a bit. If you’re a RH hitter that can hit RHPs, what’s the difference? And let me add, Todd Walker is a good hitter and a guy who I’m fine with playing vs. LHPs.

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TheDude

Len, it appears the Cubs have made lateral or minor improvements in each of LF,RF,CF, and SS, without making a major improvement anywhere, but also without taking any steps backward at any position (from last year's production anyway).

Likewise, the bullpen is improved by summation of all moves made (and maturation of previous moves, like Williamson).

Do you think these minor improvements or lateral moves improve the product the team puts on the field in 2006? Or do you see the transactions differently (as in you think the team has made a great improvement or taken a step back somewhere)? Lastly, do you believe its enough to compete for the division?

Thanks.

LEN: I think this is an excellent evaluation, one that I had somewhat espoused earlier in the Q&A. I think on paper the Cubs have made at least minor improvements in some areas, including the defense, a huge one in two areas—the bullpen and the leadoff spot—and haven’t gotten significantly weaker in any areas. That’s my personal assessment. So, with that as a backdrop, you look at a team that frankly did not have a good season, but still finished close to .500 (2 more wins and the Cubs would have finished 81-81) and you make some tweaks here and there and you hope that 1) a few guys have career years and 2) you have good health. If all that falls into place, we can envision this team getting back to the upper 80s in wins, no? And, I like this intangible too—the Cubs will enter the season flying a bit below the radar. Nobody will pick this team to win the division (or likely to finish even 2nd). Sometimes that’s an advantage in that you can sneak up on a few people. Let’s hope that happens. Again, I’m with you…I think the Cubs have made some improvements, not sexy ones per se, but they addressed their primary needs. Now it’s up to the guys on the roster to get it done.

And sure, I don’t see why this can’t win the division if all those things happen.


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Mark Prior's Calves
Location: Chicago

Len,

Thanks for stopping by for a Q+A session. Can you walk us through your average day at Wrigley Field? What time do you arrive? What's is your pre-game routine, etc.? Thanks.

LEN: I’ll give you the short version if I can. I usually get to the park between 9:30 and 9:45 for a day game. I stop by the media relations office first to pick up game notes and stats. I then go up to the booth and drop off my stuff and fire up the computer. Then around 9:50-10 am, I head down to the Cubs clubhouse to get the lineup and see what’s going on that day. Then I might head over to the visitors clubhouse to get their lineup and go back upstairs and fill out my scorebook. Then, back downstairs to listen to Dusty’s news conference around 10:45. At some point, I’ll check in with our producer Pete Toma, our associate producer Marc Brady and our director Skip Ellison to go over what’s happening and our gameplan for the Lead-Off Man, any graphics we want to use and any storylines we want/need to follow. I’ll talk with Bob Brenly as well to compare notes. When that’s done I might chat with Dusty for a couple minutes and talk to players or coaches if I have questions. Essentially, I’ll hang around the dugout and/or batting cage for 15-20 minutes to gather info. Then maybe another quick trip into the other team’s clubhouse to see if they have any news. Then it’s back upstairs (you can see I get a little cardio in at Wrigley which is awesome during the busy regular season!), have some lunch w/Bob and get ready for the Lead-Off Man show and the game.

Once the game starts, we take a deep breath and enjoy the ride!


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Tim
Location: Naperville, IL

Len,

If you ever have occasion to talk with Corey again, can you pass along our best wishes and thanks for his efforts as a Cub?

Thanks!

LEN: Tim, I doubt we’ll see him this year considering he’s with the Orioles, but I’m with you on your sentiment. I like Corey, I think he’s a good guy and will have a good major league career. I think everybody within the Cubs organization is rooting for him to get back on track.

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Postby vance_the_cubs_fan » Wed Jan 25, 2006 3:54 pm

Great answers! Thanks Len!

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Postby Mark Prior's Calves » Wed Jan 25, 2006 8:42 pm

Len is the best.

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Postby sethuel1 » Wed Jan 25, 2006 10:49 pm

I love this website. Also Len.
"Well, he's a natural infielder, so for him playing first base is probably a little easier than playing third base." -Joe Morgan

"He can load it up and put some weight in his pants when he wants to." -Phil Simms

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Postby Chris » Wed Jan 25, 2006 11:01 pm

Len wrote:I don’t make predictions because I have absolutely no idea where the Cubs are going to finish. My HOPE is that they win the division by 20 games and that the Cardinals finish last.


Other than the "eated" comment (sorry, Vance) this is my favorite line from part 1! :lol:

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Postby Ding Dong Johnson » Thu Jan 26, 2006 8:45 am

DJAXXFAN wrote:
Len wrote:I don’t make predictions because I have absolutely no idea where the Cubs are going to finish. My HOPE is that they win the division by 20 games and that the Cardinals finish last.


Other than the "eated" comment (sorry, Vance) this is my favorite line from part 1! :lol:


I concur -- that was hilarious! Len rules!!!
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Postby Balsa » Thu Jan 26, 2006 9:44 am

Wow....Len spent a lot of time on us!
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Postby Andy » Thu Jan 26, 2006 11:56 am

BalsaWoodKeyBoard wrote:Wow....Len spent a lot of time on us!

Len is awesome. You've gotta love it any time someone very visible in an organization will reach out to the diehard fans like this. :)

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Postby vance_the_cubs_fan » Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:37 pm

I don't know, I kinda liked his answer to this:

vance the cubs fan wrote:Also, do you know what this quote:
"It's just like fishing. You're going striped bass fishing. You've got birds on top and you follow the birds. Where the birds are, the bait fish are below that. Below the bait fish are the striped bass. That's what you want to do. That's how you want to do your lineup. That way they can't escape. That's how I try to make my lineup out so the opposition can't pitch around this guy or that guy and that guy and can't escape. You try to get them in the crossfire." means? I have no clue and thought you could help?


Len wrote:Not familiar with that quote. Is that Sartre?

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Postby treebird » Fri Jan 27, 2006 1:09 pm

vance_the_cubs_fan wrote:I don't know, I kinda liked his answer to this:

vance the cubs fan wrote:Also, do you know what this quote:
"It's just like fishing. You're going striped bass fishing. You've got birds on top and you follow the birds. Where the birds are, the bait fish are below that. Below the bait fish are the striped bass. That's what you want to do. That's how you want to do your lineup. That way they can't escape. That's how I try to make my lineup out so the opposition can't pitch around this guy or that guy and that guy and can't escape. You try to get them in the crossfire." means? I have no clue and thought you could help?


Len wrote:Not familiar with that quote. Is that Sartre?


beat me to it, i was going to post that

much thanks to da len!

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Postby Chris » Wed Feb 01, 2006 10:06 am

Len Kasper Q & A Part II
January 2006



Rocket Sauce
Location: Dayton, Ohio

Dear 1/3 of the Holy Trinity,

Do you like Kelly Clarkson?

Who do you think is the best pitcher in the game, and the best position player?

Any thoughts on the Marlins fire sale, round 2?

You've seen Juan Pierre play a lot more than any of us have. Is he a sparkplug that makes things happen and puts the fear of KENT in the hearts of pitchers while he's on first base; or is just an average at best centerfielder that the Cubs overpaid for?

Is Bob Brenly as much a ladies man as I envision him?

If you were a closer, what would be the music you'd enter the game with?

Has this gig given you new celebrity Cubs fan friends? ie Bill Murray, Billy Corgan, Jeff Garlin...and if it's Jeff Garlin, have you asked him what was the deal with season 4 of Curb Your Enthusiasm?

Not a question...more a favor. Next time you're broadcasting a Cincy game (opening day!!), if Kent Mercker comes out of the bullpen to pitch, could you acknowledge that Kent still has MANY loyal Cubs fans still supporting him? It'd mean a lot.

Good luck in 2006!

LEN: Hey Rocket Sauce, not a fan of Kelly Clarkson (don’t know much about her to be honest other than she was on American Idol…I think!).

Best pitcher? Roger Clemens was last year I’d say.

I’ll tell you what—Carlos Zambrano is already an elite guy and has the chance to be THE best starter in the game. I’d take him in a big game right now against anybody.

Best position player? Last year it was Derrek Lee. Overall, I’d say Albert Pujols has proven over the course of his short career that he will ultimately be seen as one of the best EVER.

It’s certainly sad to see that the Marlins’ stadium deal has fallen apart in South Florida. I’m hopeful a last minute deal can be struck. On the field, they’ll likely struggle for at least a year or two, but I’ll tell you something, Jeffrey Loria did everything in his power to build a winner, which he did in 2003. They spent a bunch of money last year and it didn’t work out, so now they’ll try to rebuild. But you cannot say the Marlins didn’t try to capitalize on their World Series Championship this last time around.

Juan Pierre is a guy who creates a lot of havoc on the bases. His key is to get on base. He should make a big impact atop the Cubs order. And he’ll be a great clubhouse guy—sets an incredible example with his work habits.

On BB, I’m not quite sure how you “envision” him, so I’ll let you ask him that one yourself.

If I were a closer, I’d enter with “Get Your Hands Off My Woman” by The Darkness. Kidding, kidding…

How about “Action! Not Words” by Def Leppard?

Can’t say I’m tight with any of the stars you mentioned. I’d love to meet Jeff Garlin though. I think he’s very funny.

Ah yes, the Kent Mercker fanclub…I’ll keep that in mind.


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Mark_R

Len, great to see you Q&A'in it up again. Much appreciation for your time.

What were your thoughts on the whole Kerry Wood experiment out of the bullpen? It proved to be a minor shot in the arm (no pun intended at the time) but in the grand scheme of things was pretty insignificant as the Cubs faltered further and further. On top of that, do you feel it was wise AT ALL to have Woody going out there to pitch the day before he's to have surgery on his arm?


LEN: Mark, I think we learned that Kerry could be a terrific short reliever and definitely could close down the road if needed. I think at the time the Cubs were hoping they could get back in the race. Unfortunately it didn’t happen. And on pitching before the surgery, if there was a danger of him making it worse, there’s no way the Cubs would have let him go out there.

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NCCubbieFan
Location: near Raleigh, North Carolina

Len,

Who do you think is the Cubs' best off-season acquisition (trade or free agent) this year?

Do you think Dusty will give both Murton and Cedeno regular playing time?

Great to have you do another Q & A.

LEN: Juan Pierre would be hard to argue with. The Howry and Eyre signings are up there as well.

Yes, I think both Murton and Cedeno will be starting in LF and SS respectively at this point.


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VVMattVV


If you could play one position in the majors, what would it be?

How closely do you follow the Cubs farm system and its top prospects?

Some of us here spotted you at the Bulls game recently, how was that?

LEN: Wow, great question. I was a 3B in high school, but I don’t think I’d be too comfortable playing the hot corner in the big leagues! I think 2B would be fun.

I do keep some tabs on the farm system, but to be honest, some of those guys we’ll never see in a big league uniform. I really try to focus on the current Cubs and if a young guy comes up, I learn as much as I can about him. I have info on many of the Cubs prospects like Pie and Dopirak and Harvey, etc. and hopefully one day I’ll be able to use it!

The Bulls game was a blast, although unfortunately they lost. I’ve seen the Bulls and Blackhawks in person this year. Didn’t get to Soldier Field, which I hope to at some point maybe next year.


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IMB!
Location: I'll be in my bunk

Firstly, Mega Lounge Love to da Len

Secondovely, how do you prefer Brenly, with the "Fu-Manchu-Tombstone mustache", or with the "Youth Pastor-Boring" mustache?

Thirdly, are you upset that Arrested Development had its episode order shortened? Where do you think it ends up, Showtime or ABC?

Fourthly, did you get a chance to catch any of "The Comedians of Comedy" when it was running on Comedy Central? And, if so, what do you think of Zach Galifinakis?

Fifthly, do you consider "Worlds coolest daddy" a job?

Thanks Len

LEN: Thanks for da love.

My preference is that Bob shows up with the right logo on his shirt. We both had a moment or two last year when we’d get to the park and say, “We’re on WGN today, right? Or is it Comcast?”

You know, that show should totally appeal to my twisted mind, but I never got into it. Not sure why. I think I’m going to have to rent the DVDs and I’ll probably get totally hooked. We just finished the first season of The Office (the original British version) and I think Ricky Gervais is brilliant. I also roar with laughter every time I catch a portion of the Ali G Show.

I think I caught a bit of the Comedy Central show, although I’m not familiar with Zach.

World’s Coolest Daddy? Is that an NBC reality show?


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Ivy Walls
Location: CO Springs

Where (and why) do you see things improving in the Cubs game(s):

A) Infield defense
B) Outfield defense
C) scoring more runs especially without the aid of a HR
D) bullpen efficiency

LEN: A) Better @ SS…2B pending B) Murton is a work in progress in LF, but I’m not concerned about him. Pierre can go get ‘em in CF but has a less-than-average arm (not a huge problem at Wrigley). Jones has terrific range in RF and probably will be a wash considering Jeromy Burnitz is an above-average RF as well. C) Hard to tell, but having a true leadoff hitter helps a lot. D) Much better with experienced arms like Howry and Eyre.


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USSoccer
Location: Chicagoland, IL

Len

Thanks for taking time out to talk to us!

Did you ever question using Kerry Wood in the bullpen last season even though it was public knowledge that he needed shoulder surgery?

Describe and evaluate Aramis Ramirez. He's a much better player than I think anyone realizes, and I think he's a bit underrated by some.

LEN: I addressed the Kerry Wood situation earlier, thanks for the question.

I think you might be right. Aramis had a terrific year, which might have been mitigated by some because of 1) his slow start, 2) his quad injury late in the year and 3) Derrek Lee’s MVP type season (i.e., Aramis was overshadowed a bit on his own team). For a power hitter, he doesn’t strike out much, which adds some value. He’s been over .300 each of the last 2 years and has slugged about .570. Defensively, he had a down year, but the year before he was pretty good so you hope 2005 was just a one-year blip. I think Aramis has the chance to be perennially the best 3B in the NL.


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BalsaWoodKeyBoard
Location: York, England

Hey Len,

Thanks for answering our questions.

Do you see the NL Central weaker than it was last year, especially in regards to the Cardinals? If so, how do you like our chances and who will be our main competition?

What is your favorite foreign country? If none, what is your favorite city outside of Chicago?

What advice would you give to someone interested in becoming a sportscaster like yourself?

If the Cubs could acquire one currently active pitcher for next season, regardless of contract or price, who would you choose?

Another question if you have the time Len,

Will you take us on a tour of the new bleachers/batter's eye diner before the first game?

Thanks Len! You really take a lot of time out to answer our questions and we really appreciate it!

LEN:

I don’t know if the division will be weaker. Top to bottom it might be better w/Milwaukee improving and I feel like Pittsburgh’s young LH pitching corps will impress some people. At the top, you just hope the Cardinals finally come back down to within striking distance and that Roger Clemens decides he wants to really retire.

I haven’t traveled abroad really much at all, so my choices would be Mexico or Canada at this point based on where I’ve traveled to. I’d love to travel to Europe some off-season.

My advice for a young broadcaster would be to do it because it’s your passion, not because you think you can make a lot of money. I’ve seen people along the way give up on broadcasting because they can make better money do other things. It can be a rough business that way. Also, do as many different things as you can—even if you want to by a play-by-play announcer, it helps to do radio talk shows, anchoring, etc. All that stuff helps you get better at ad-libbing and being comfortable on the air. Nothing replaces experience. And finally, be yourself. It’s tough to make a career out of trying to be something you’re not.

One active pitcher? Dontrelle Willis would be very enticing, especially considering his age.

My hunch is the first time I see the completed renovations will be Opening Day itself considering I’ll have been in Arizona and then in Cincinnati prior to the first home game. Wow, that came off as a blow-off answer, huh? Not my intention, sorry, but if it was a serious question, that’s my serious answer. I will say this—my hope is that we’ll do another game from the bleachers this year because I had a blast out there last year.

Thanks for your nice comments.


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baseball7897
Location: DeKalb, IL

Sup Len,

In my opinion i think the Cardinals took a step back this offseason. What do you think?

LEN: Well, their bullpen will look a lot different for sure. But remember, they didn’t have a healthy Scott Rolen last year, so he might be a big key for them this year. Sidney Ponson is a total wildcard, but their rotation is still a huge strength. Hey, let’s face it, they’re clearly the team to beat once again. You just hope they fall back a little and the Cubs improve and then anything’s possible.

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CubsFanNotBudMan
Location: Tucson, AZ

Do you prefer day games or night games? Which baseball stadium has the best food? Do you ever talk to Hawk Harrelson, does he know how annoying he is?

LEN: I like both…at home there’s nothing better than a day game @ Wrigley. On the road, I don’t mind catching up on my sleep on occasion. Best food? I love the Wrigley press box, run by Robert Chamberlain. On the road? I’d probably say Dodger Stadium off the top of my head. I talked to Hawk briefly after the season to congratulate him on the Sox winning the World Series. He’s been great to me, which I truly appreciate. Look, everybody has their opinions. There are a lot of people who think I’m really annoying. Nature of the beast...

I thought Hawk and DJ had a great year and Hawk really stepped up on the big calls. I was happy for him.


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ndistops
Location: Ball State University

Len, what sort of adjustments (if any) did you have to make last year from the Florida weather to the Chicago weather, and did you find any of those adjustments successful? Here's hoping you haven't accidentally set yourself on fire like our beloved Ron Santo did on one memorable occasion!

LEN: I’m a Midwesterner by birth (I’m from mid-Michigan), so other than the 3 winters I spent in Florida, I’ve been scraping snow and ice off the windshield my whole life. I will say this…I pretty much discarded most of my winter clothing when I moved to Florida, so I had to make a few purchases (i.e., long underwear, gloves, etc.) when we moved.

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reggiemiller rules

Len what are your opinions on the offseason moves of the NL Central teams?

Clearly none of them did all that much so I was wondering how you saw the division playing out this year?

LEN: Again, I’m not in the prediction business, but aside from the Cubs moves, I think the most underrated move made within the division was Milwaukee acquiring Corey Koskie from Toronto. They already had Bill Hall, but Doug Melvin saw that he could improve his club by acquiring a steady veteran.

On paper, it’s the Cardinals division to lose. Houston would be next on the list and then you have the Cubs and Brewers trying to crack the top two spots. Beyond that, it would take an incredible year for either Cincy or the Pirates to be a contender.


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B
Location: Ruston, LA

Len, I remember last year that you and Bob agreed to a bet where you would grow a mustache and Bob would shave if the Cubs went on a 10 game winning streak. Unfortunately that never happened. Will you agree to that again?

What is your favortie t.v. show?

What do you think about the renovations to Wrigley?

LEN: I absolutely would do that again. Remind me when the season starts!

Right now, I’m really into The Shield. And I cannot wait for The Sopranos to start up again. That’s the best TV show ever made.

I’m fine with the renovations. Wrigley’s essence hasn’t been fundamentally changed from what I read about the bleacher expansion. Hey, it’s an old park and every once in awhile, you have to make changes to keep up with the times a bit. It’s still the best ballpark in the bigs.



DJAXXFAN
Location: Tennessee

In regards to the 7th inning stretch, who was your favorite guest and what was your favorite moment from the 2005 season? Is there someone that you would love to have in the booth to sing the stretch?

By the way, I really enjoyed the broadcast from the bleachers last year and would enjoy another broadcast from the bleachers in '06!

Thanks for taking the time for another Q & A and for the great job that you and Bob have done! Keep up the great work!

LEN: Best guest, hands down, Bonnie Hunt. She just totally GOT it. We had a lot of laughs. I wouldn’t mind Julie Bowen or Sienna Miller in the booth…to sing of course. And going back to an earlier question, I think Ricky Gervais would be a riot, especially if he didn’t have a clue about baseball.

Favorite moment? Just about everything Derrek Lee did.

Thanks, we’ll try to get out to the bleachers again for sure. I had a great, great time.

You’re welcome, thanks for having me jump on the site now and again.




Great questions…I hope I answered them to your satisfaction. Talk to you soon and make sure to check out our WGN blog if you can (shameless plug: it’s @ wgntv.com).

vance_the_cubs_fan
Piniella's posterior pain
Posts: 48412
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Postby vance_the_cubs_fan » Wed Feb 01, 2006 10:36 am

Once again...top notch answers from da Len.

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Ding Dong Johnson
Crap Bag
Posts: 24935
Joined: Thu Jun 30, 2005 9:42 pm
Location: Durnsville

Postby Ding Dong Johnson » Wed Feb 01, 2006 10:45 am

I loved how Len called Brenly a moron and said the Cards suck. OK, he didn't, but it would have been funny.

Thanks again, Len!
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B
5-Time All-Star
Posts: 5462
Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 9:16 am
Location: Bossier City, LA
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Postby B » Wed Feb 01, 2006 11:29 am

I can't believe he doesn't like Kelley Clarkson. :?


but Len is still awesome
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rocket
Superstar
Posts: 17780
Joined: Wed Sep 03, 2003 7:48 pm
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Postby rocket » Wed Feb 01, 2006 6:38 pm

thx len!
Do it for Kent.


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