Len Kasper, voice of the Cubs, shows off his other talents for a good cause this summer.
Ask a fairly large subset of Chicago men to describe their ideal life, and they’d reply something along the lines of, “I’d play in a band alongside big-name indie rockers and go to every Cubs game.”
In other words, they’d be Len Kasper.
Thus is the niche carved out by the clean-cut, mellifluously voiced Cubs TV announcer, who is almost as into music as he is the sport that has paid his bills for the past 14 years, 10 of them here in Chicago.
“I am very, very fortunate, and I don’t take any of it lightly,” the humble 44-year-old Kasper says. “I just try to keep my head down, work hard, enjoy the ride.”
Kasper gets the chance to combine his loves at this year’s Hot Stove Cool Music, an annual benefit concert July 9. The gig features a veritable who’s who of Chicago alt-rockers, including Jimmy Chamberlin (the former Smashing Pumpkins drummer), John Stirratt (from Wilco and The Autumn Defense), Jason Narducy (from Split Single) and more.
Kasper, who plays the bass, will take the stage a few times during the night. But he’s more than just a guy anchoring the beat—Kasper was instrumental in bringing the show to Chicago.
Hot Stove Cool Music began in Boston in 2000, and former Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein became involved a few years later. After Epstein joined the Cubs in 2011, Kasper had an idea.
“I said to Theo, ‘Hey, let’s do Hot Stove in Chicago,’” Kasper recalls. “It was kind of a throwaway line, and then suddenly we’re like, ‘OK, let’s do this.’ It kind of came together pretty quickly after that, and it’s been a lot of fun.”
A resident of the northern suburbs, Kasper is known for his statistical acumen, but he’s almost as likely to drop a reference to The Replacements or Matthew Sweet during a broadcast as he is to talk about on-base percentage. Indeed, while Kasper’s day (and sometimes night) job has enabled him to meet some of the biggest names in baseball history, he says hanging out with a musical idol would trump just about anything else.
“To meet one of the Rolling Stones or Paul Westerberg,” he says, “that would be pretty incredible. A top moment for sure.” 7:30pm, VIP tickets $1,000, Metro, 3730 N. Clark St.
Documentaries, a well-mixed Moscow mule, the Northfield Restaurant, power pop
Smoking, big-budget movies, bad Chicago traffic, peanut butter