Luke Cassis is not shy about criticizing his former teammates. In fact, he gets paid to do it.
Cassis, a former Missouri baseball player and student assistant coach, moved into the broadcasting booth this year, providing the color commentary for Tiger baseball radio broadcasts on KTGR 1580/AM in Columbia.
“I try not to be critical at all, I try to be more positive than anything,” Cassis said. “If somebody messes up or does something bad, I’ll point it out. They know what they should’ve done so it’s not a big deal to say anything on air.”
Cassis finished playing for the Tigers in 2002. A four-year letter winner, he batted .262 with 59 RBIs in his last two years and started 157 games in the infield during his 183-game career.
When his eligibility expired, Cassis moved into the role of student assistant coach, giving help to players and helping with batting and fielding practice.
“At the time, we had 19 newcomers on the team,” Cassis said. “They had never been a part of Missouri baseball, so, more or less, I helped them get acclimated with the program.”
Cassis left the dugout for the broadcasting booth this season to call games with Tex Little, a 14-year veteran of Tiger baseball broadcasting. This is Little’s second year after returning from a four-year hiatus.
“(Little) needed a guy,” Cassis said “I was kind of the only available ex-baseball player around, so he asked me and it just worked out.”
Little said working with someone who has looked at the program from different angles makes the broadcast better.
“(Cassis) sees things I don’t,” Little said. “As a player, and because he’s worked as a coach, he’s been tuned into some things.”
Missouri played its 24th game Wednesday, and Little said he is amazed how much progress Cassis has made for a broadcaster with no prior experience.
“I think I have had experience playing Nintendo,” Cassis said. “I used to do that all the time when I was a little kid, you know, broadcast the games in my room.”
Little said it is often hard for broadcasters, including himself, to stay focused when they have been with a team for many years.
“Sometimes it gets to be difficult because you’re so emotionally involved,” Little said. “That’s something that (Cassis) has to fight too.”
Although Cassis spends many afternoons and nights talking about Missouri baseball, he has another part-time job at Johnny’s Beanery, 212 E. Green Meadows Road, where he is a bartender and cook. He graduated in the summer of 2003 with a degree in general studies.
Cassis said his true love is baseball, though, and he has enjoyed his role as a broadcaster, player and coach.
“I would like to play, but I think anything to be on the field; I think coaching would be my choice, but broadcasting is fun,” Cassis said.
For this season, Cassis said he is enjoying himself in the booth and Little said he likes Cassis as a partner.
“(Cassis) is not getting rich working these games,” Little said. “You want somebody who will be accepted by the club, and he is a dead ringer for that.”