Len Kasper can be as nontraditional as any TV baseball announcer around, dropping in references to such rockers at the Redwalls to go along with the runs, hits and errors.
So it seems only fitting that Kasper will be heavily involved this spring in a new, nontraditional broadcast venture with the Cubs.
In addition to working eight TV games this spring training, Kasper will branch out to Internet radio, working 16 of 19 games to be broadcast on cubs.com.
There won't be any pictures to help tell the story, so Kasper will have to brush up on his word-painting skills.
"I've done a little radio, not much," he said this week. "In Milwaukee, I filled in a few times for Bob Uecker and for Jim Powell. That was 10-11 years ago. So I'm really excited about doing it. It's something I've always wanted to say I did. I know it's a big challenge. It will be a lot different from doing television."
Almost every Cubs Cactus League game will be available to fans this spring via TV, radio and now, the Internet. Fans will be able to access the Internet games for free on cubs.com by registering for a login account.
Kasper will work alongside Mick Gillespie, radio broadcaster for the Cubs' Class AA Tennessee affiliate, for most of the web casts. The first exclusive cubs.com broadcast is March 1, when the Cubs play the Giants in Scottsdale.
"He's got all the equipment, he's got a wireless microphone," Kasper said of Gillespie. "So we're coming up with some ideas here, trying to do some interviews in game and really trying to make it special and fun. We're going to a 15-minute pregame show. With games on every day, I think there will be a lot of people interested in listening."
Spring-training games can become a bit tedious to watch, especially when a team brings good old No. 87 into the game from minor league camp and nobody's quite sure who he is.
That could lend itself to Kasper and Gillespie going off on a few entertaining tangents or even bringing in a guest or two along the way. Certainly welcome in cyberspace are WGN radio broadcasters Pat Hughes and Keith Moreland if they wish to stop by.
"If my TV partner (Bob Brenly) shows up and wants to do a couple of innings with us, he's certainly welcome to," Kasper said. "Or if Keith Moreland hanging out or Pat. We'll get writers on. We'll get Jim (Cubs GM Hendry) and Randy (assistant GM Bush). It will be a lot of fun to do, and I'll look forward to being there every day."
Kasper says he won't forget the serious baseball talk, using the immediacy of the Internet as a tool.
"You've got 29 other teams, and you have 15 of them that'll be in Florida," he said. "We can talk about what's going on with Adam Wainwright and the Cardinals, how serious the elbow injury is. With the Internet, everything is so up to date and so right on time.
"Within the course of the afternoon, you could have three or four different interesting stories coming out of Florida not even having anything to do with our game or with what's going on in Arizona. So I really want to make it a full-service broadcast. This is a great time of year to preview the teams the Cubs are going to be competing against. I like having the Reds in Arizona. We'll see them, but I think a lot of people will be interested in what's going on with the Cardinals and Houston and Pittsburgh over in the Grapefruit League, too."