5 Questions with...Comcast SportsNet's Pat Boyle

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5 Questions with...Comcast SportsNet's Pat Boyle

By Jeff Nuich
CSN Chicago Senior Director of Communications
CSNChicago.com Contributor

December 23, 2009

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 our weekly media celebrity interview feature entitled 5 Questions with...

Every Wednesday 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 weekan Emmy award-winning sportscaster who knows just about everything there is know about the Chicago sports scene, not to mention the national sports landscape as wellhes a Chicago guy who loves his teams as much as his own familyyou can catch him weeknights at 6:30, 10:00 and 10:30 PM with partner Mark Schanowski on Comcast SportsNets SportsNitehere are 5 Questions withPAT BOYLE!

BIO: One of the most popular sports broadcasters in Chicago, Boyle has been a centerpiece on Comcast SportsNet as primary co-anchor for SportsNite and host of U.S. Cellular Bears Post Game Live. In addition, Boyle hosts Pro Football Weekly and Countdown to Kickoff. In 2006, he won the Midwest Emmy award for Outstanding Achievement for Individual Excellence On-Camera: News-Sportscaster. He had been at ESPN since June 2000 anchoring SportsCenter and ESPN News' nightly half-hour show during primetime. Boyle has also been a studio host for NHL 2Night and ESPN's Wednesday Night Baseball. Prior to that, he was the weekend anchorreporter for Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia's edition of SportsNite, along with substitute hosting the network sports roundtable discussion show and reporting for the network's game coverage of the Philadelphia Flyers, Philadelphia 76ers and the postgame show for the Philadelphia Eagles. Boyle is a Michigan State graduate with a degree in telecommunications.

1) CSNChicago.com: Pat, as host of numerous Bears programs on Comcast SportsNet, Im sure youve had your own personal moments of sheer frustration this season like thousands of other fans in the city. The pre-season hype with the arrival of Jay Cutler, along with a 3-1 regular season start, had fans going crazy early on. Then the wheels fell off the bus. Should the fall of this team be placed on Lovie Smiths shoulders alone or should Cutler and the entire team be taking some of this blame as well?

Boyle: Its funny to think that back on April 2nd, when the Bears acquired Jay Cutler, I blogged that I felt like I was a kid at Christmas now that they finally have their franchise quarterback. Now, just a handful of days before Christmas, I feel like asking Jerry Angelo if he held on to the receipt and what the NFLs return policy is like. Seriously, I still think the deal for Cutler will turn out to be a good move, although it's getting hard to defend 25 interceptions and counting.

I think I just got caught up like most fans, believing Cutler was the final piece to the Bears Super Bowl puzzle. This team has a laundry list of issues to deal with this offseason. Lovie Smith and the coaching staff is a major part of the problem. I think you will see the team bring in a new offensive coordinator that will devise a game plan that best suits Jays game. That person must also not be afraid of getting into Jays face when he has mechanics or decision making problems. Jerry Angelo has his work cut out for him trying to find the right players to handle the safety position. He needs to also re-tool the offensive line and find a solid 2 running back that compliments Matt Forte. Lovie's job status took a huge step backwards, following their 4th loss of the year by 20 points, in Baltimore. I know the Bears owe him 11 million over the next two seasons, but there doesn't seem to be improvement from week to week, or season to season.

2) CSNChicago.com: Its been rumored that youve been to the Wrigley Field bleachers many, many times in your lifetime. Theres no doubt its one of the best experiences in all of sports. Tell us your favorite bleachers memory or a particular game in the bleachers that stands out to you most?

Boyle: It's hard to single out my favorite Wrigley bleacher moment. It truly speaks to the magic of the park when you can have fond memories, even when the team was struggling. The summer of 1997 seems to stick out in my mind, not because the Cubs were winning, rather I was between jobs and spent half of my unemployment checks at the Friendly Confines. That was the year I learned what the cup game was all about. A betting game that wagers on things like will the ball end up on the mound between innings and will Sammy do his sign to the right field bleachers? It was only fitting that the guy who had no job ended up losing most of the money. My favorite recent memory was sitting in the bleachers for the comeback against the Rockies in 2008. The Cubs trailed 9-1 in the 6th and rallied to win thanks to a Mark DeRosa game-winning homer. The place went absolutely nuts and I was happy I didn't leave when they were down by eight runs.

3) CSNChicago.com: The Tiger Woods sex scandal story will continue to have legs for quite a while, especially leading up to his big return to the PGA Tour. As a sports news journalist, does it make you cringe when you have to report on non-playing, personal stories such as this or is it just par for the course in your job (no pun intended)?

Boyle: It makes me cringe a bit. From our perspective on SportsNite, we stick to the facts like there was a car accident outside his Orlando home or report that Tiger admitted to "transgressions" on his web site. We don't get into 4 said this or 10 worked at Hooters, we leave that stuff to TMZ.com and Inside Edition."

4) CSNChicago.com: With Christmas Day almost upon us, whats the best present you ever received as a child?

Boyle: This is going to date myself, but long before X-Box and Wii, there were video game consoles called Atari and Intellivision. It was the early 80's, I was probably 11 or 12 and Santa brought me Intellivision. I would play the game so long that you could literally fry an egg on the console when I was done.

5) CSNChicago.com: Tell us one thing about your SportsNite partner Mark Schanowski that you most admire and the one thing that makes him kind of annoying? NOTE: the same question will be posed to Schanowski about you in next weeks 5 Questions with!

Boyle: I admire Mark's professionalism and his preparation each and every day. You don't have a career like his in Chicago unless you are good at what you do and well respected by others. It's been an amazing experience to work with him the last few years. As for the annoying part, I would have to say it's his last name. When you think of how many shows we do together each week and how many times I bang S-C-H-A-N-O-W-S-K-I into my keyboard, you can understand the carpal tunnel issues I have with my fingers. I may call him when I am 65 to complain, if I can pick up the phone.

Boyle LINKS:

Comcast SportsNetSportsNite page

Boyles Boyle-ing Point blog on CSNChicago.com

Follow Pat Boyle on Twitter

Don Cooper remembers what made Mark Buehrle so special 

Don Cooper remembers what made Mark Buehrle so special 

Mark Buehrle didn’t have the kind of attributes found in most of the dominant pitchers of the post-steroid era. He was a 38th-round draft pick with a fastball that, on a good day, would scrap the upper 80’s. 

On Saturday, Buehrle will become the third pitcher to have his number retired in White Sox history, joining Ted Lyons (No. 16) and Billy Pierce (No. 19). For Don Cooper, who was Buehrle’s pitching coach from 2002-2011, it’s not hard to see why the St. Charles, Mo. native’s name will forever be a part of White Sox history. 

“Reliable, consistent, dependable, winner, good guy, unflappable, these are words that come to mind when I think about him,” Cooper said. 

Cooper was flooded with plenty of memories of Buehrle during the dozen minutes he spent chatting with the media on Friday. He said he learned a lot from working with Buehrle, watching him fill up the strike zone and induce early, weak contact while working at a brisk pace. One of Cooper's memories that stood out was this one:

“I can remember in the bullpen, he’d be warming up, he’d throw about 10 pitches,” Cooper said. “He’d look at me, I’d look at him. He wasn’t throwing very good. He turned to me and said, ‘Come on, let’s go, this isn’t going to get me any better.’”

But that was Buehrle — “In many ways, you could just wind him up and you’re throwing him out there every five days,” Cooper said. He battled through days where he didn’t have his best stuff — not that his stuff was electric to begin with — and turned in 14 consecutive years with 200 or more innings. 

Buehrle, of course, threw a no-hitter in 2007 and a perfect game in 2009, and along with save in Game 3 of the World Series represent some of the crowning achievements of his career. Cooper was happy to have been a part of it from his perch on the White Sox bench. 

“I think he was blessed,” Cooper said. “He was given a lot of gifts. The sinking fastball, the changeup, the cutter. His curveball, by scouts’ assessments, would probably be rated an average curveball. But as time went and as his stuff went down, we started to use that more. When he was at his best, we would throw about 8-10 of those. But as he started losing his stuff we had to mix more of those in. And listen, the career he had, his number being retired, the kids, his family — blessed. He’s been a blessed guy.” 

Cubs' bats go silent in shutout loss to Marlins

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USA TODAY

Cubs' bats go silent in shutout loss to Marlins

MIAMI – This is a 37-36 team dealing with injuries near the front of the rotation (Kyle Hendricks), the middle of the lineup (Ben Zobrist) and the heart of the defense (Jason Heyward) while a World Series legend (Kyle Schwarber) gets a few days to clear his head before reporting to Triple-A Iowa.

The Cubs are the defending champs, but they really don’t have much of an identity beyond that, unsure what they’re going to get from one night to the next and still searching for that sense of rhythm 45 percent into the season.

Friday’s 2-0 loss to the Miami Marlins followed a familiar pattern for a team that’s been at the .500 mark at 15 different points this season and has been shut out six times already. 

Pitching and defense became the backbone for a World Series team, but the Marlins needed only three hits to score two runs (one earned). John Lackey gave up his 21st home run – he allowed 23 in almost 190 innings last year – in the third inning when Giancarlo Stanton launched an 83-mph pitch 458 feet beyond Marlins Park’s garish pink-flamingos-and-palm-trees sculpture.   

The night after blitzing Miami and scoring 11 runs, the Cubs managed only six hits against right-hander Jose Urena and three different relievers.