Articles filed under Kasper, Len

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  • It’s risky to ignore data when discussing baseball’s ‘intangibles’ Apr 27, 2014 7:53 PM
    While baseball is a game that allows us to quantify many things, it is played, managed and umpired by human beings. It’s something that sabermetricians should always keep in mind, says Len Kasper in his weekly baseball column. As he explains, it gets tricky when people espouse intangibles while ignoring the data.

     
  • Here’s how baseball can speed up the game Apr 20, 2014 8:33 PM
    Baseball is struggling with a paradox of longer at-bats and decreased offense, which still doesn’t completely explain why the game has slowed down at such an alarming rate. No worries, though. Len Kasper has a few ideas to speed the game along.

     
  • Aaron or Bonds? Time to let go of that angst Apr 13, 2014 11:07 PM
    A great thing about the game of baseball is that we hold its records, its heritage and its long-retired and deceased heroes dear to our hearts. Butwhenever the modern baseball world interferes with or “attempts” to erase, obscure or offend those memories, we tend to lash out and immediately condemn. In his weekly Cubs insider column, Len Kasper says i's time to let go of the angst over Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron.

     
  • Opening Day is all about firsts Mar 30, 2014 9:22 PM
    Opening Day never disappoints. It has been my favorite day of the entire sports calendar since I can remember.

     
  • Why Cubs fans are so passionate about their team Sep 30, 2013 12:49 PM
    Why are Cubs fan so passionate about their team, and why do they care so much? Len Kasper examines the emotions and issues tied to the franchise that hasn't played in a World Series since 1945.

     
  • Hitting to all fields as season winds down Sep 23, 2013 8:29 AM
    Len Kasper has some general baseball observations as we hit the final week of the regular season.

     
  • Castillo, Wood give Cubs some positive vibe Sep 16, 2013 8:04 AM
    While Anthony Rizzo and Starlin Castro continue to garner a lot of attention during the Cubs' rebuilding efforts, Len Kasper says the biggest positive developments of 2013 on the current roster are the seasons Travis Wood and Welington Castillo have put together.

     
  • A baseball cheat sheet for the most important stats Sep 10, 2013 8:15 AM
    If you want to know how good your team really is, it's important to pay attention to the right numbers. In that spirit, Cubs insider Len Kasper provides a cheat sheet on how to use (and not use) stats to evaluate performances for players and teams.

     
  • Kasper: Barney is my kind of baseball player Sep 2, 2013 8:00 AM
    Len Kasper sits down and talks with one of his favorite baseball players, Cubs Gold Glove second baseman Darwin Barney.

     
  • Cubs’ young stars learn August can be tough on clubhouses Aug 26, 2013 5:49 AM
    We are nearly through baseball’s toughest month. No, it’s not September, it’s August. Yes, September isn’t easy either, considering some players/teams are limping to the 162-game finish line. Len Kasper explains why it's so challenging on players and clubhouses.

     
  • Many to root for outside of the Cubs Aug 18, 2013 7:21 PM
    Len Kasper presents his non-Cubs all-stars, those around the majors he both respects and appreciates.

     
  • Cardinals offer view of Cubs’ hopes Aug 12, 2013 5:58 AM
    Every time Len Kasper sees the Cardinals he asks himself, how in the world do they do it year after year? While in St. Louis over the weekend, he sought out some answers.

     
  • In support of a one-of-a-kind sport Aug 4, 2013 8:51 PM
    This week, for all those who doubt that baseball is the most tried-and-true, most intellectual, quirkiest and simply greatest game on earth, I have a few questions for you. How many other major pro sports leagues have histories that date to the Ulysses S. Grant administration? Where else can you blatantly steal something and not only avoid being arrested but be cheered for it? Or earn millions of dollars and wide acclaim for failing to do your job between 60-70 percent of the time?

     
  • Cubs say two goodbyes, but also a big hello Jul 29, 2013 2:16 PM
    Quite a week for the Cubs as they traded Matt Garza and Alfonso Soriano while watching Junior Lake begin his career in comet-like fashion. Len Kasper looks back on the action, plus offers his insight on Junior Lake, Soriano's tenure and the trouble in Brewers country.

     
  • Len Kasper: Trying to sort through steroids issue Jul 22, 2013 5:54 AM
    This week Len Kasper begins his column on steroids by saying he is am tired of steroids. "I’m sure you are, too. But hear me out because maybe together we can put to bed our angst over the whole thing."

     
  • An up-and-down first half is in the rearview mirror Jul 15, 2013 5:26 AM
    It was an interesting Cubs’ first half to say the least. The highlight for me, without a doubt, was Travis Wood’s ascendance. I've always liked how he competes, but this year he has added a laser-like side-to-side command of all of his pitches and it has made him an elite guy, at least for half a season.

     
  • Kasper: Give Cubs’ front office credit Jul 8, 2013 5:30 AM
    For the millionth time, “Moneyball” was not about on-base percentage. Or computers taking over for scouts. It was about exploiting market inefficiencies. Again, repeat after me: It was about EXPLOITING … MARKET … INEFFICIENCIES.

     
  • Len Kasper: Busy week indeed for Cubs Jul 1, 2013 5:30 AM
    Lots of Cubs news in the past week, including Carlos Marmol being designated for assignment and Ian Stewart getting released from AAA Iowa.

     
  • Baseball’s rule book keeps things interesting Jun 23, 2013 1:57 PM
    Jayson Stark recently penned a great ESPN.com column on the baseball rule book and included a 10-question true-or-false test that several baseball people agreed to take. This stuff is right in my wheelhouse, not because I’m an expert by any means, but because I find some of the rules really intriguing. The results of the quiz were fascinating, and you can find it online at espn.com or linked with this story at dailyherald.com. For the record, I got 6 of the 10 right, which thankfully was considering a “passing” grade. Whew! I have often thought of crazy, yet plausible scenarios based on baseball’s wacky rules and Stark’s study spawned even more. In honor of his piece, I will construct some of my own potential situations using his template. Consider this: The Cubs are in their first World Series in well over 100 years (you gotta like where this is going so far!) and it’s Game 7, bottom of the ninth at Boston. Tie game, Daniel Nava is at third with one out and James Russell gets Dustin Pedroia to hit a foul pop up near the first base dugout. Anthony Rizzo leans over the railing and makes a great catch, tumbling feet over head into the Red Sox dugout for the key second out. Or so we think. Because he fell out of play and held onto the ball, Pedroia is out, but Nava is allowed to advance one base and trots home with the World Series-winning run (OK, not such a fun ending). How about this one, and it has as much to do with a scoring quirk as it does with the rule book. Jeff Samardzija is throwing a no-hitter when he walks Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen with two outs in the top of the ninth. Because the Cubs have a 6-0 lead, Anthony Rizzo plays behind McCutchen at first as Garrett Jones then pulls a blistering ground ball that takes a funny hop off the lip of the infield grass and hits McCutchen on the left heel. McCutchen is immediately called out and the game ends. But the no-hitter is ruined because Jones is credited with a base hit. Yes, both cases are once-in-a-lifetime possibilities, but under the rules of baseball, they absolutely could happen. I have talked a lot with infield coaches over the years about another scenario and how a savvy infielder might test a runner’s knowledge of the infield fly rule. Let’s say it’s the bottom of the ninth, Cubs at Cardinals. Tie game, bases loaded, one out. Allen Craig hits a high pop-up to shallow short. Umpires immediately call an infield fly, so Craig is out. But Starlin Castro lets the ball drop right in front of him. An unsure Matt Carpenter (sorry Matt, somebody’s gotta be my guinea pig here!), thinking he needs to break up a force at the plate, takes off from third and Castro throws to Welington Castillo, who tags Carpenter for an inning-ending double play. Most coaches agree that because of the extraordinary circumstance, many runners would temporarily panic and think they need to run and that you might be able to pick up a cheap out. However, there are risks. If you don’t catch the ball, it could take a weird hop and bounce too far away or you could blow a rundown and end up losing the game. Even the most savvy players can temporarily forget these complicated rules, and in a split-second contests can be won and lost. It’s what makes baseball such an intellectual — and often mind-boggling — game. Ÿ Len Kasper is the TV play-by-play broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs. Follow him on Twitter @LenKasper and check out his [URL]blog entries;http://wgntv.com/news/stories/len-and-jds-cubs-baseball-blog/[URL] with Jim Deshaies at wgntv.com. To post comments or questions for Len, click on the comment link with his column at dailyherald.com.[/URL]

     
  • Cubs boast legitimate all-star candidates Jun 16, 2013 3:38 PM
    As we near midseason, it’s time to start thinking about the All-Star Game. The contest itself doesn’t excite me that much and I am not a fan of the World Series homefield advantage component. However, sorting out the participants themselves is intriguing and while the Cubs are a second-division club at the moment, they have several interesting all-star candidates.

     
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