Chicago Cubs

5 Questions with...The Score's Matt Spiegel

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5 Questions with...The Score's Matt Spiegel

Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2010

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 weekly 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 guestone of the top on-air talents in Chicago sports radio today whose love of sports and music is second to nonehe can be heard weekdays from 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM on 670 The Score who more often than not, lets say, has some spirited disagreements with his on-air partner Dan McNeil on The Danny Mac Showyou can also catch this guy on stage throughout Chicagoland as the front man for everyones favorite tribute band Tributosaurushere are 5 Questions withMATT SPIEGEL!

BIO: Matt Spiegel is the co-host of The Danny Mac Show featuring Chicago sports radio veteran Dan McNeil on 670 The Score (weekdays from 9:00 AM -1:00 PM on WSCR AM 670). For the last decade, Spiegel has been a nationally syndicated talk show host on Sporting News Radio Network, hosting The Matt Spiegel Show. The show, a platform for his immense knowledge of sports history, as well as his uniquely entertaining perspective, was heard on more than 100 affiliates and on XM satellite radio.

For seven years before joining Sporting News Radio, Matt was a host, producer, and reporter for WSCR. While there, he had a chance to cover Mike Ditkas final days with the Bears, and the entire second three-peat for Michael Jordans great Chicago Bulls teams.

Matts first job in sports media was as an intern for Major League Baseball Productions, where he worked on This Week in Baseball for Mel Allens final 2 years with the show. Matt fetched Mel coffee and lunch every Thursday for 2 summers. While matriculating at Emerson College in Boston, Matt won several sportscasting awards, and went to Fenway 30 times a season.

Through the years, Matt has interviewed the biggest names in the business, including Joe Torre, Manny Ramirez, David Stern, Charles Barkley, Bob Costas, Wayne Gretzky, and countless more. NFL stars and coaches Matt has interviewed live include Joe Montana, Deion Sanders, Mike Ditka, Marshall Faulk, Warren Sapp, Andy Reid, Donovan McNabb, Jeff Fisher, Michael Irvin, Emmit Smith, Dick Vermeil, Eric Dickerson, Warren Moon, and Tony Dungy.

Matt was the founding producer of Sound Opinions, the worlds only Rock and Roll talk show, hosted by Jim DeRogatis of the Sun Times and Greg Kot of the Tribune. He produced their 2 years of television on WTTW-11 as well. Matt also was a DJ at WXRT-FM.

Matt is the founder and lead singer of Tributosaurus, one of Chicagos hottest musical acts, becoming a different band every month at Martyrs on the north side since 2002. His singing talents have been heard on numerous commercial jingles through the years, including Feldco, several car dealerships & casinos.

1) CSNChicago.com: Matt, since you came back to Chicago to team with Danny Mac on The Score, the two of you have an interesting chemistry that is definitely paying off for both the station and your listeners. The two of you also have no problem ripping into each other if one thinks the other is absolutely out of their mind. Some entertaining stuff for sure. Why do you think the McNeilSpiegel combo works so well and are there ever times off the air that your on-air disagreements continue?
Spiegel: Our disagreements, and agreements, do indeed continue off the air, but so does our ability to laugh at ourselves and each other. We're really good about just tossing something aside and moving on...though also never afraid to talk about things later if we need to. I'm a very lucky man...I think I got Dan McNeil as a radio partner at exactly the right time, for both of us. He chose me, in part I think, because he knows he needs to be challenged, to be poked at. I love to poke the bear, because it's real, and because he invariably rises to the challenge of having to defend a viewpoint, or admit something about himself. Mac is real...that's him you hear. This is me, too...one of our main mantras is "be who you are." People are going to dislike you for something all the time anyway...it might as well be for what you actually think. It's cleaner that way.

I had told Mac before we started that I was going to come on strong as hell. I'd never been a sidekick, and didn't want to be Ed McMahon anyway. Fortunately, that's not what he wanted. By the way, I got some amazing advice from my old friend Buzz Kilman, which I won't share with you...it's for 2nd chair radio guys only...we have secret meetings.

One of the reasons our show works so well is that we balance each others interests. He's Big Chief MacHawk after all, and I love hoops and the Bulls. He's a football man to the core, and to me, Baseball Is Life. He loves his Stones and ACDC (which I dig too), but he has not flinched (much) when we fire bands at him like Wilco, Spoon, The Secret Machines, Replacements, Phish, Yo La Tengo, Dawes, and others. Here's the big key: we both love learning things. We like asking for answers, then chasing them down. That means we can talk about anything.

I love our give and take, and he makes me better at radio, every day. For instance, he loves to work without a net, just letting it fly without much structure sometimes. That used to make me crazy (WHAT ARE WE DOING NEXT!), but I'm getting a lot more comfortable, knowing that eventually over 4 hours, we're gonna get everywhere. I admire his calm within chaos.

2) CSNChicago.com: With a new Bears season is upon us and even with a surprising 2-0 start, a good majority of fans and critics are still pretty much unsure of exactly what kind of team theyll wind up like this season. In your opinion, name three key elements to this season that need to occur in order for the Bears to make the playoffs.

Spiegel:

1) Cutler must keep the picks at around 15, total. I thought he was about 90 brilliant in Week 1, and a lot further along in the offense than I'd expected. Then, Week 2 makes you think he might actually be finally maturing right before our eyes. There will be interceptions simply as a result of what Mike Martz does, but Jay can not compound it with careless throws. If he mixes in some efficiency with the expected explosiveness, watch out.

2) Health and productivity down the middle of the D. Tommie Harris has to be active and smart every week, Urlacher's presence is obviously enormous, and somebody needs to step up at safety. I'm more scared about safety than I am any position on the field, including tackle. Urlacher, by the way, has circled back around to being underrated now...he's a beast.

3) Far and away the biggest key is that Mike Tice and Martz must figure out some way to keep the QB upright. If you can't block teams straight up, then chip block. I loved the quick hitting pass plays they ran against Dallas when the rush got out of control. Make the defense pay for blitzing...that's always been the Martz way.

3) CSNChicago.com: Was there a specific moment in your life that triggered your interest in getting into the radio biz and, a follow-up questionwho do you consider to be The Scores most underrated on-air superstar?

Spiegel: Ah, the specific moment. Yes, yes there was. Growing up in central New Jersey, I used to listen to WABC 710 AM out of New York sometimes, and at night, they had a great sports talk show hosted by Art Rust, Jr. It was free form, caller-driven sports talk, way before WFAN and The Score. By the way, I was always excited to hear his great NFL guest on Monday nights, the knowledgeable Hub Arkush.

So one night I called in, towards the end of the 1984 baseball season. Everyone was talking up Willie Hernandez, the Tigers closer, as an MVP candidate, and I made a case for one of my favorite players, the Red Sox' Dwight Evans. Dewey after all had a .295 average, higher than anybody in the league with as many as his 32 home runs. Afterwards, the next caller said "that was a nice kid." Thus began a life of wanting people to say, publicly, "that was a nice kid." A window perhaps to my wiring, as a performer. On a related psychological note, I was the youngest of 5, craving attention at the dinner table.

Most underrated on air talent, eh? Hmmmm. Well, if I can't say me (punch me, please), then a few other people come to mind. What Hanley does in the morning is kind of remarkable, in a similar role to me. Laurence Holmes can do absolutely anything on the station, and excels at all of it. My guy Barry Rozner was a revelation to me doing Hit and Run...deep knowledge, a properly fun disposition, and he's good talking other sports too. I'll end up on Jason Goff though, with his fearlessness and edge. When we do 4 hours together, it feels like it lasts 10 minutes. Partnered correctly, he'll be great at this.

4) CSNChicago.com: On to musicyour standout tribute band, Tributosaurus, has been entertaining audiences for quite a while now. Who would you say is your favorite band that you and your bandmates transformed into so far?and what band in your repertoire are you currently practicing that you hope to share with your fans in the near future?

Spiegel: We've become more than 80 bands since August of 2002...kind of staggering, even to us. Steely Dan was the first incredibly difficulty one we attempted, and it was gratifying to do it well. Michael Jackson utilized 30 musicians, with the flat out best singers in town. The soul ones, like Stevie Wonder, James Brown, or Otis Redding, always feel like a memorable party. I loved when we became The Band...some of my personal favorite music.

The one dominating our consciousness these days is The Beatles, which we finally started tackling last December. We started with their first singles, and we're going to perform every song they ever recorded, chronologically. Every 6 months we move forward from where we left off, so this December we get to do Help! and Rubber Soul. That was the elephant in the musical room, and I like how we're dealing with it.

5) CSNChicago.com: Name the five most embarrassing songs on your iPod that you hate to admit that you absolutely love. Its OKwe promise we wont tell anyone.

Spiegel: See here's the thing. I have a very particular, strong, annoying sense of what is good music, and what is not. If it's good, it's good. Other people's opinions will not derail me. So, I won't think the following songs are "embarrassing," per se, but maybe you will. You're so judgmental.

Hall & Oates, She's Gone
George Michael, Freedom 90
Madonna, Express Yourself
America, Ventura Highway
Tears For Fears, Head Over Heels

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Anything you would like to promote Matt? Tell us, we want to hear about it

Spiegel: Barry Rozner and I come back for two more Hit and Run shows, wrapping up the baseball season on the next two Sunday mornings from 9 to noon on The Score. We will rage against the dying of the light that is the baseball season, with football stepping to the forefront too quickly for my taste.

Also, this just became official: Tributosaurus is going to become The Rolling Stones on New Years Eve (and December 30th) at Martyrs on Lincoln Avenue! Can't wait...we'll be joined by Bobby Keyes, the Stones' saxophone player for years and years. Bobby once told me a story about him, Keith Richards, Greg Gumbel, and former Bear Keith Van Horne riding around Lower Wacker Drive in someone's RV late at night. There were more details, but I'm not telling.

Spiegel LINKS:

670 The ScoreThe Danny Mac Show home page

Tributosaurus official website

Matt Spiegel on Facebook

Matt Spiegel on Twitter

The Streak ends as Cubs watch Wade Davis finally blow a save: ‘It’s definitely on me’

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USA TODAY

The Streak ends as Cubs watch Wade Davis finally blow a save: ‘It’s definitely on me’

MILWAUKEE – The efficient, emotionless way Wade Davis did his job helped the Cubs stay afloat during the disappointing first half of this season, a time when late-inning losses could have really damaged the clubhouse and the defending World Series champs might have collapsed.  

Standing at his locker, Davis had the same stone-faced expression on his bearded face after Saturday afternoon’s 4-3 walk-off loss, the third straight 10-inning game the Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers have played at Miller Park. Because Davis had been 32-for-32 in save chances this year, the Cubs could appreciate all the heart-pounding action and how this compared to October.  

“We 100 percent won that game today, it seemed like,” Davis said in his monotone voice. “The offense and everything was incredible, coming back twice. It’s definitely on me.”

It was jarring to watch Travis Shaw drive a hanging curveball over the fence in left-center field and into the Milwaukee bullpen. Teammates waited for Shaw at home plate with Gatorade buckets after that game-winning two-run homer, showering him and tearing his jersey apart amid the mosh pit, the Brewers still clinging to their hopes in the National League wild-card race.

The perfect season already ended for Davis in the ninth inning, when Orlando Arcia hammered a misplaced 92-mph fastball that stayed just inside the left-field foul pole and landed in the second deck.

The crowd of 44,067 watched Davis blow his first save since Sept. 2, 2016, which also happened to be his first game back in the Kansas City Royals bullpen after spending more than a month on the disabled list with a flexor strain in his right elbow.

“There’s nothing to lament right there,” manager Joe Maddon said. “Another intensely good baseball game. And they got us at the end. But there’s no way, shape or form to point a finger at Wade.”

Davis wasn’t pointing a finger at Maddon and doing an Aroldis Chapman impression, but the All-Star closer did admit: “My arm was dragging a little bit.”

The Cubs had used Davis five times within the last eight days, including a back-to-back-to-back last weekend against the St. Louis Cardinals and then asking him to get five outs in Thursday night’s 10-inning comeback win over Milwaukee. Until Saturday’s comeback, the Brewers had been 0-54 when trailing after eight innings.  

“I just made a lot of bad pitches,” Davis said, who had converted his last 38 save chances and set a new franchise record to begin his Cubs career/set him up for a big contract this winter as a free agent.

Maddon, who will face another round of bullpen-management questions when the playoffs begin, had Hector Rondon warming up in the 10th inning, but the right-hander threw a scoreless inning on Friday night, his first appearance since Sept. 8 after getting treated for a sore elbow.

“If we did not score when we scored, I would have brought Rondon into the game,” Maddon said. “But once we scored, I put him back out there. It was a pretty easy equation.

“He’s your best guy. There’s no second-guessing whatsoever. He was fine to go back out there.”

What did The Streak mean to you?

“Not much,” Davis said. “I obviously wanted to win today’s game and put us in a better position than we were yesterday. So it kind of stinks, but, you know, move on from it.”

That summed up the entire mood inside the visiting clubhouse, the Cubs pointing to a dominant Kyle Hendricks start (one run in six innings), Justin Wilson auditioning for a trusted role out of the playoff bullpen (four outs) and a resourceful lineup that manufactured offense without hitting home runs.  

“It’s been a hell of a series so far,” Hendricks said.

The magic number to eliminate the Brewers from the division race remains four, while the Cardinals were at five heading into their Saturday night game against the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs can’t wait to unleash Davis in October.

“There’s no difference between these three games and the games that are going to occur the next month,” Maddon said. “They were absolutely that intense.”

White Sox not exactly sure what’s up with Carlos Rodon, but he’s confident he’ll be back for 2018

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USA TODAY

White Sox not exactly sure what’s up with Carlos Rodon, but he’s confident he’ll be back for 2018

It’s been more than two weeks since Carlos Rodon was shut down for the season, one day after he was scratched from a start with shoulder inflammation.

And while we know Rodon won’t pitch again in 2017 — a season with just a little more than a week remaining for the rebuilding White Sox — the team still doesn’t know, or still isn’t ready to say, exactly what’s wrong with the former first-round draft pick.

“We’re just trying to get it right,” Rodon said before Saturday night’s game against the visiting Kansas City Royals. “Still trying to figure everything out and take everything we can and put it all together to get the most information and do what’s best for me and for this team.”

That kind of non-update might raise some red flags in the minds of White Sox fans, curious as to what is the latest ailment for a pitcher who missed three months this season while recovering from biceps bursitis.

Rodon was slated to get reevaluated shortly after that early September injury. He was, but no news came of it, at least not yet.

“Pretty similar to what our doc said,” Rodon said of that follow-up evaluation. “Like I said, we’re trying to still gather all the information and figure out what we’re going to do from there.”

Rodon ended his third season in the bigs with a 4.15 ERA in 69.1 innings of work. And while the White Sox still believe he’ll be a huge part of their starting staff moving forward, it’s plenty acceptable to wonder what kind of effects this season of injuries will have on Rodon as the franchise’s rebuild chugs along.

“He continues to be a big part of what we believe is the future of the organization,” manager Rick Renteria said after explaining several times that the team is still trying to figure out what’s wrong with Rodon. “Unfortunately, this year he's been down quite a bit. So assuming he comes back in a good situation and is healthy and is capable of going out and performing, he fits into one of the five guys that are going to be out there for us next season.”

For his part, Rodon is 100-percent confident he’ll be good to go for next year’s campaign.

“I just know that I’ll be ready for next season,” Rodon said. “The goal is to be ready for next year and be healthy through all of next season.”

That, though, will be the million-dollar question as the White Sox starting rotation of the future begins to take shape. Lucas Giolito and Reynaldo Lopez are already penciled in for 2018, and Michael Kopech’s 2017 campaign in the minors was so sensational, he could potentially pitch himself into that starting five, too. With younger names like Alec Hansen and Dane Dunning also doing work in the minors, someone’s going to be the odd man out.

Rodon still has the confidence of his organization. But will he have the health to make that confidence pay off?