5 Questions with...ABC 7's Mark Giangreco

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5 Questions with...ABC 7's Mark Giangreco

Wednesday, Jan. 26, 2011

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor

Want to know more about your favorite Chicago media celebrities? CSNChicago.com has your fix as we put the citys most popular personalities on the spot with everyones favorite local celeb feature entitled 5 Questions with...

On Wednesdays, exclusively on CSNChicago.com, its our turn to grill the local media and other local VIPs with five random sports and non-sports related questions that will definitely be of interest to old and new fans alike.

This weeks guestwithout question, one of the most popular sports anchors in Chicago television history whose wit, wisdom and love of the Chicago sports scene is simply unrivaledhes been a fixture on the local news airwaves for close to 30 years and, for the last 16 years, hes been the sports director and chief sports anchorreporter for the top-rated ABC 7 Newslike a fine wine, this guy just keeps getting better and better each yearhere are 5 Questions withMARK GIANGRECO!

BIO: Mark Giangreco is the ABC 7 Chicago sports director and primary sports anchorreporter for the No. 1 rated 5 p.m. and 10 p.m. newscasts. Giangreco has earned a reputation for being a sports anchor that even non-sports fans enjoy watching, delivering sports with humor, wit and an interesting spin on the day's sports news. He joined ABC 7 Chicago in 1994.

Giangreco came to ABC 7 from Chicago's WMAQ-TV, where he was the station's sports director as well as sports anchorreporter (1983-94) and the weekend anchorreporter (1982-83).

Previously, Giangreco worked at WLKY-TV in Louisville, Ky., where he was sports anchor and sports director (1978-82). Before this, he served as weekend sports anchor and reporter at WDTN-TV in Dayton, Ohio (1976-77).

Giangreco's broadcasting career began during his college years, when he joined WING-AM radio in Dayton as a news and sports reporter in 1972.

Giangreco has been honored with the prestigious Iris Award from the National Association of Television Program Executives, three Emmys, two Peter Lisagor Awards and two Associated Press Awards for "Best Sportscast." In 1996, the Chicago Father's Day Council named him "Father of the Year," and in 1995, he won the Dante Award from the Joint Civic Committee of Italian Americans and the Justinian Society of Italian Lawyers Award for journalism. Giangreco was also honored in 1982 with the Louisville Journalism Award for his excellence in sports reporting.

Giangreco's hobbies include hockey, classic cars and drawing.

Giangreco earned a B.A. in Communications from the University of Dayton in 1974. He lives in Chicago and has three sons.

1) CSNChicago.com: Mark, your career in Chicago has been beyond impressive highlighted by industry awards, continuously solid ratings and admiration from millions of viewers throughout the city. Why do you think your unconventional style has resonated so well with Chicago viewers over the years?

Giangreco: I dont know how unconventional it is, but its just me. I think the most important thing about doing television is to be yourself. Im a jaded, cynical, wise guy by nature and dont really take anything too seriously. I realize how deeply sports are woven into our culture but, at the end of the day, its just entertainment. I enjoy making fun of players, coaches, fans and myself. Its really ridiculous what I do for a living. I think people in Chicago get that. This is a classic, blue collar, ethnic, no nonsense town where phony grandstanders last about one ratings period.

2) CSNChicago.com: This may be tough to answer, but in your opinion, what would you say was the pinnacle championship moment (Blackhawks 2010 Stanley Cup, Bulls first championship in 91, White Sox WS title in 05, Bears Super Bowl XX win, etc.) in Chicago sports history that truly brought everyone in this city together?

Giangreco: I think the pinnacle championship moment that truly galvanized this city was Super Bowl XX. Da Coooooaaaach and his amazing cast of characters will never be duplicated. Id say the first Bulls title would be a distant second. I really enjoyed the Sox World Series, run but being a hockey nut, I have to say the Hawks 2010 Stanley Cup Quest was my personal, all-time favorite.

3) CSNChicago.com: As someone who has mentored hundreds who have appeared on-camera and behind-the-scenes over the years, who would you say were some of your mentors in the early part of your Chicago television career?

Giangreco: I dont know if Id call Chet Coppock a Mentor (maybe more like a Vegas Casino Greeter ha, just kidding Big Guy), but he certainly taught me that its not a broadcastits a showits not PBSits a Circusand youre the Ring Master. I took most of my cues from national sportscasters like Bob Costas and Al Michaels. They are machines. Then mixed in a few prominent comedians and writers and tried to steal as much as I could.

4) CSNChicago.com: Tell us about the single best concert youve ever attended in your life.
Giangreco: Best concert ever? No question: Santana and The Neville Brothers at Poplar Creek. Carlos actually broke up a brawl in the front row with his foot while still playing his guitarnever missed a noteand even handed the combatants some flowers after he finished the song. Then Aaron Neville and his band joined Santana for the most powerful encore Ive ever witnessed .

5) CSNChicago.com: Finish this sentence: If I werent a sportscaster, I would have loved to have had a career as a _______.

Giangreco: IF I werent a Sportscaster, Id love to have a career as a: guitar playing-hockey player of course!and drive a different, classic, muscle car to each of my gamesconcerts.

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Anything you would like to promote Mark? Tell us, CSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it.
Giangreco: Hmmmmwell, Im still appearing nightly at 5pm & 10pm on the Big Blow Torch, ABC 7, and Tuesdays from Noon to 1pm on ESPN Radio with Waddle & Silvy. Im also the Honorary Chairman of the great Ronald McDonald House Charity effort here in Chicago.

Giangreco LINKS:

ABC 7 Sports official web page

Mark Giangreco on Facebook

Fire head to Yankee Stadium for big Eastern Conference clash

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USA TODAY

Fire head to Yankee Stadium for big Eastern Conference clash

There’s no easing out of the break for the Chicago Fire.

The Fire return after having two and a half weeks between games to take on one of the top rivals in the Eastern Conference race. The Fire head to Yankee Stadium to take on New York City FC on Saturday.

The match will be televised on CSN+ with coverage beginning at 12:30 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live.

The Fire last played July 5 in Portland, taking time off while the Gold Cup group stage took place. Bastian Schweinsteiger missed that match with a hip injury that caused him to leave the previous match against Vancouver early, but he says he is ready to go in The Bronx.

“I was a little bit unlucky that I had this injury and I couldn’t play against Portland,” Schweinsteiger said. “If the game would be on a Saturday (three days after the match took place) I probably could play the game. The break was nice. It was good to recover. Not only for the body, but also for the head. Actually more for the head. I’m ready for the second part of the season. We have a good position in the standings, but it’s going to be more tough for us. I think other teams, they analyze us as well now. They play maybe in a different style against us so we have to find solutions and prepare ourselves.”

The Fire return from the break with a mostly clean bill of health. Defender Jonathan Campbell is listed as questionable with a right ankle injury.

New York City is in the middle of a crucial stretch for the race at the top of the conference. Toronto FC, which currently leads the league with 39 points, just earned a 2-2 draw in Yankee Stadium on Wednesday. NYCFC is four points behind the Fire (11-3-5, 38 points) with a 10-6-4 record (34 points).

Fire coach Veljko Paunovic always hypes up the upcoming match, but wasn’t shy to speak of the extra importance of Saturday’s clash of playoff contenders.

“It’s everything, this game is everything,” Paunovic said. “We are now in a good spot. We have time to prepare. We have time to see them, but also we have to know that we have to work.”

Schweinsteiger called NYCFC one of the best teams in the league, along with Toronto. He also praised the style the team plays with under coach Patrick Vieira.

“I really appreciate how they play and how they behave also on the pitch,” Schweinsteiger said. “It’s going to be not an easy match for us away, but we are confident. We are confident. We are trying to find solutions to prepare ourselves during the week for that game and I’m very looking forward to play in Yankee Stadium. It’s a little bit different, it looks a little bit different when I saw it on TV, but I’m looking forward to this match.”

When set up for soccer, Yankee Stadium features a small field. The tight dimensions could make it tougher for the Fire’s preferred style of building out of the back with possession.

“You have to prepare for that,” Schweinsteiger said. “The pitch is smaller than, for example, let’s say I played in Barcelona in Nou Camp. It’s a huge field over there so it’s different. We have to know that and obviously we have to focus of course on our game, but also on the other team. They have David Villa, one of the best players in the league.”

Villa, who was voted into the All-Star Game as part of the Fan XI alongside Schweinsteiger and Fire forward Nemanja Nikolic, is second to Nikolic with 13 goals and also has seven assists.

Chicago Fire at New York City FC

Where: Yankee Stadium, New York

TV: CSN+

When: Coverage begins at 12:30 p.m. with Fire Pregame Live

Records: Fire (11-3-5, 38 points), NYCFC (10-6-4, 34 points)

Blackhawks: Tommy Wingels fractures foot, will be ready for training camp

Blackhawks: Tommy Wingels fractures foot, will be ready for training camp

Tommy Wingels, who the Blackhawks acquired earlier this month, will miss 6-8 weeks after suffering a left-foot fracture during his offseason training. Team physician Dr. Michael Terry said in a statement that the Blackhawks, “anticipate a full recovery in 6-8 weeks and in time for training camp. We do not anticipate any long-term issues.”

The Blackhawks signed Wingels, a Wilmette native, to a one-year deal on July 1. Wingels will still be at this weekend’s convention.