Chicago Cubs

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

With or without Justin Verlander, Jake Arrieta expects Cubs to stay in first place: ‘We have the pieces’

With or without Justin Verlander, Jake Arrieta expects Cubs to stay in first place: ‘We have the pieces’

The Cubs already have a Cy Young Award winner, someone who was transforming into the hottest pitcher on the planet around this time in 2015, and then beat the Cleveland Indians twice on the road in last year’s World Series.

So the Cubs can keep discussing Justin Verlander and trying to figure out the price point where it makes sense, what caliber prospects they would have to give up and how much money the Detroit Tigers would have to kick in to cover a bill that could soar toward $90 million. 

But Jake Arrieta showed why the Cubs might finally start to run away from the division and become a very dangerous team in October, dominating the White Sox on Wednesday night at Guaranteed Rate Field during an 8-3 win that vaulted them into first place in the National League Central.          

“We expect to remain in first place,” Arrieta said. “We know it’s going to be a tough task, but that’s kind of what you deal with at the highest level of sports. You expect to have really good competition from teams that are either equal with you or close behind.

“We feel like we have the group to separate ourselves at this point in time and remain in first place for the remainder of the way.”

The Cubs probably don’t have the blue-chip prospects – and the appetite to raid their farm system again – to blow away the Oakland A’s and win a bidding war for Sonny Gray. The Cubs kick the tires on everything, but Yu Darvish would be a rental and the Texas Rangers are torn over what to do with their Japanese star. 

This is another reason why the Cubs are focusing on adding a veteran backup catcher and strengthening the bullpen before the July 31 trade deadline: Arrieta Watch is back, taking a no-hitter into the fifth inning in front of a sellout crowd of 38,517 before Omar Narvaez drilled a ground-rule double into the right-center field seats.  

The Cubs are 10-2 since trading for Jose Quintana during the All-Star break, erasing a 5.5-game deficit against the Milwaukee Brewers heading into this weekend’s showdown at Miller Park. At 53-47, the Cubs are a season-high six games over .500, and it all starts with pitching.  

“I think we’ve got the pieces to get it done,” Arrieta said. “If there’s a situation where we can get another guy and not lose any key players, it might work in our favor.

“Obviously, when we traded for Quintana, that’s a huge addition to our ballclub. This guy’s really good. He works his butt off. And just seeing how he carries himself in between starts is a really great sign. To have a guy like that who works extremely hard and cares about the team winning ballgames – you can’t replace that.

“That trade right there in itself is one that’s going to pay huge dividends for this ballclub, not only for this year, but for the next couple years. But we’re a great team right now, and I think we have the pieces to get it done.”  

Arrieta was on cruise control until Yoan Moncada launched his 98th and final pitch – an 0-2 curveball – 409 feet over the center-field wall with two outs in the seventh inning. Arrieta only allowed those two hits, giving up two runs and finishing with five strikeouts against two walks, continuing the correction super-agent Scott Boras predicted when the Chicago media and Cubs fans wondered about his flashes of diminished velocity and spikes in hard contact during a free-agency push.

Arrieta has methodically put together 10 wins and three straight quality starts after the All-Star break, chopping his ERA down from 5.44 in the middle of May to 4.03. Ricky Renteria’s White Sox are obviously tanking for the future and there are a lot of conditions attached to this statement: 

But if Arrieta pitches like this, Jon Lester continues to be one of the best big-game pitchers of his generation, Quintana excels in a pennant race and Kyle Hendricks regains his feel and rhythm after six-plus weeks on the disabled list, then the Cubs might have a better playoff rotation than the one that ended the 108-year drought.     

“We’re feelin’ it,” Arrieta said, thinking back to last summer, when Theo Epstein’s front office added 100-mph closer Aroldis Chapman to a team with close to a 99-percent chance of making the playoffs. “I remember last year we were in this clubhouse around this same time, and it’s no different.” 

Look at the competition: The Washington Nationals might be forced into adding a frontline starter now that Stephen Strasburg is headed to the 10-day disabled list with a nerve impingement in his right forearm. The Los Angeles Dodgers are hoping a strained lower back won’t stop Clayton Kershaw from making a few tune-up starts in September before becoming their Game 1 starter in October.

With or without Verlander, the Cubs are ramping up to defend their title.

“I’m going to continue to get stronger as the year progresses,” Arrieta said. “I feel like my best baseball, my best pitching, is still ahead of me. And I’m ready for it.”

Wake-up Call: Cubs best Sox in Game 3; Fox, Pace feeling the heat?

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USA TODAY

Wake-up Call: Cubs best Sox in Game 3; Fox, Pace feeling the heat?

With or without Justin Verlander, Jake Arrieta expects Cubs to stay in first place: ‘We have the pieces’

Are Ryan Pace and John Fox feeling pressure to win in Year 3?

In midst of breakout season, Avisail Garcia sent to DL with right thumb strain

How the Bears view Mike Glennon, Mitch Trubisky and their QBs heading into training camp

Pernell McPhee placed on PUP list to start Bears training camp for second straight year

Yoan Moncada predicts home run is 'first one of many that are coming'

Why this year feels different to Bears head coach John Fox: 'There's a lot of optimism'

How Addison Russell saved the Cubs' season...for now

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