Marquee Sports Network is loosening up for the 2021 Chicago Cubs season. That should make broadcasters Jon “Boog” Sciambi and Jim Deshaies more comfortable and provide a more relaxed approach for viewers.
On Monday, the network made a point of announcing to viewers that Sciambi and Deshaies would not be forced to dress up in shirts and ties for Cubs broadcasts this season. The guys will be allowed to wear more relaxed, less formal attire for the 150-plus games televised on Marquee.
(That will also apply, of course, for Beth Mowins, Pat Hughes, and Chris Myers, who will also call broadcasts when Sciambi is not available due to his ESPN commitments.)
“We get it,” said the announcement. Apparently, that message is directed at viewers who sent messages and posted to social media about the buttoned-up attire. But maybe it’s an assurance to Marquee broadcasters as well.
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) March 30, 2021
Last season, many Cubs fans expressed concern for Marquee’s broadcast team of Len Kasper and Deshaies wearing suits and ties during game telecasts. Why so formal? Local broadcasts are more relaxed. Most of the games are played in the summer. Let the guys wear matching polo shirts, probably with the network logo on them.
But according to The Athletic’s Jon Greenberg, Marquee executives — based in New York — wanted “national network quality” product on their network. For game broadcasts, that meant wearing shirts and ties like Joe Buck and John Smoltz do on Fox.
Kasper and Deshaies were allowed to wear polo shirts for “summer camp” preseason games, but once the regular season began, they had to button up — even when calling road games remotely from the Wrigley Field booth.
Fans didn’t like the more formal presentation imposed upon their beloved broadcasters. This isn’t the NBA or NHL, indoor sports played during the winter.
Viewers feel more affection for their local baseball announcers than in any other sport and the national pastime is meant to be more casual. We’re lounging in the stands, soaking up the sun or evening summer air, enjoying a cool beverage. Even while watching at home, baseball feels like it’s outdoors.
Lighten up, Francis. It’s good to see Marquee execs loosen their collars for the new season and new broadcast team. Isn’t this all supposed to be fun?