5 Questions with...The Score's Brian Hanley

156081.jpg

5 Questions with...The Score's Brian Hanley

By Jeff NuichCSN Chicago Senior Director of CommunicationsCSNChicago.com Contributor
April 21, 2010
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...

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 week veteran sportswriter who has covered just about everything for the Chicago Sun-Times over the past quarter century he can be heard with his partner Mike Mulligan weekdays from 5:00-9:00 a.m. on WSCR AM 670 The Score as co-host of the popular Mully and Hanley Show here are 5 Questions with...BRIAN HANLEY!

BIO: (from the very words of Brian Hanley himself): I was born in 1960 on the west side of Chicago at the venerable St. Annes Hospital. My late, great dad, Bernard, and beautiful and selfless mom, Suzanne, raised nine children. My five brothers, three sisters and I grew up in Oak Park and River Forest, where I attended St. Lukes grammar school. My first newspaper job was an afternoon paper route delivering the late, great Chicago Daily News. My love of journalism grew while at Fenwick High School (Oak Park), from where I was graduated in 1978 as an Illinois State Scholar.

While at Marquette University, from where I was graduated with a journalism major and broadcast minor in 1982, I was an intern for the late, great Tim Weigel at WLS-TV. With Tims letter of recommendation, I was able to gain acceptance to the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, where I did graduate work.

I began my career at the Chicago Sun-Times in 1984, as a part-time editorial assistant, while also attending Medill. My first full-time beat came in 1988, when I was assigned to cover Illinois and the Big Ten. I was fortunate to chronicle the 1989 "Flying Illini" basketball team under coach Lou Henson, a Final Four squad. In my 24 years at the Sun-Times, my beats have spanned the Sox, Cubs, Blackhawks, Northwestern, and the Bulls.

Thanks to Seth Mason, Ron Gleason, and then-owner Dan Lee -- with a tip of the hat to sports talk radio pioneer Chet Coppock -- my Score career began with the stations creation. I shared afternoon drive duties with Terry Boers, the quickest wit I have known, and Dan McNeil.

My broadcast career was reignited in 2005 under the Score brain trust of Rod Zimmerman, Paul Agase and Mitch Rosen, all of whom has taken the station to its greatest heights. From the midday show to our move to morning drive, I have enjoyed great success due to the talents of my broadcast partner Mike Mulligan, executive producer Dustin Rhoades, and sound surgeons Rock Mamola and Chris Collins, now Score sports director. Of course, the constant that has continued to amaze me throughout these many years has been the loyalty, creativity, and absolute intelligence of our listeners who are the pillars of the Score.

1) CSNChicago.com: Brian, it's the busiest time of year for all of us in our biz, especially with BOTH the Blackhawks and the Bulls in the playoffs. Tell us specifically what you think each of these two teams needs to do to really make an impact against their first-round opponents?

Hanley: Let's deal with the Hawks first since they, unlike the Bulls, will actually be advancing to the second round. Now, I wasn't thinking this while I was sitting at the United Center frustrated with 22,000 other fans Friday watching Game 1, that third-period collapse and overall subpar performance was a great education for Coach Q's team. Nothing comes easy in the NHL playoffs. The performance Sunday showed the Hawks were a quick study. The Hawks were stronger on the puck, in the net and fought for space on the ice which is the golden ticket to advancing in the NHL postseason. Great move by Coach Q to reunite his blue-line pairing of Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith. This is no time to experiment. Go with what helped get you here: quality defense. The wild card from here out remains goalie Annti Niemi. Is the rookie going to be good enough to have the Hawks hoisting their first Stanley Cup since I was a 1-year-old? The guess here is -- say it with me Hawk -- "Yessss!"

As for the Bulls, head to the nearest church and light a candle. Even if you are not Catholic. Not the 50-cent candle either. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Throw a fiver in the money box and fire up the biggest ball of wax there. Or, better yet, send your money to the Berto Center to help pay Chris Bosh's max contract come July 1.

2) CSNChicago.com: Regarding the Bears, how much will having virtually no presence in the upcoming NFL Draft hurt this team going forward or do you think theyre fine with the moves they had to make last year to get their star QB?

Hanley: The Bears like to think they are a draft-driven team. I like to think I'm as good-looking as Brad Pitt. As my pic on this page proves, I am as delusional as Jerry Angelo, who still thinks using a second-round draft pick in 2007 on defensive end Dan Bazuin was a good idea. Look up Bazuin's statistics on nfl.com and you find this: This player does not have any statistics. No picks in the first two rounds only ensures less Bears big-money busts. As for Jay Cutler, he has to be better than last year. Then again, when I look in the mirror I now see George Clooney looking back at me.

3) CSNChicago.com: Chicago has some of the best sports bars in the nation. Tell us about your favorite local hangouts?

Hanley: I'm sure our city has a number of great sports watering holes. However, I have spent much of the last three decades traveling while covering the Cubs, Sox, Bears, Hawks, and Bulls and colleges. So if you are looking for places to bend an elbow from Vancouver to New York, Toronto to Phoenix, I got you covered.

Given my age -- the big 5-0 next month -- and my 2:30 a.m. wake-up each weekday, the closest I get to Chicago wee-hour nightlife is driving through River North on my way to the Score. Then again, you can often find Mully, me and our crack production staff sharing an end-of-the-work-week double-cheeseburger and a beer or three at the Billy Goat with fellow Chicago third-shifters around 10 a.m. on a Friday.

4) CSNChicago.com: As you well know, there is plenty of competition in morning radio in Chicago, but you and your partner Mike Mulligan continue to hold your own by delivering a solid show to Chicago sports fans each weekday morning. Outside of having a sports format, what do you think differentiates you and Mully from the rest of the pack out there?

Hanley: It starts with us being born and raised here. I truly believe in Chicago fans talking Chicago sports. We won't waste your time with why Rutgers football team is struggling. And while Mike squared down the dial are killing time wondering what Golic should give up for lent (just a thought: radio), my guy, Mike Mulligan, is taking our listeners behind the Halas Hall curtain.

Mully and I have a combined 50 years logged on different sports beats for the Sun-Times, the best sports section in town. We can put stories in context given the players, coaches and front-office types we have covered and share some humorous stories from those beats along the way.

Our executive producer Dustin Rhoades, who joined the team last summer, has elevated the show to new heights with great guests and segment ideas. He is simply the best in the business. Add in the smart and creative listeners we have come to know both on the air and in person at our Boys Nights and Days Out events and it is a winning, and fun, formula.

5) CSNChicago.com: Speaking of your partner, hes a Sox fan and youre a Cubs fan any wagers planned between you two once the crosstown series takes place this summer?

Hanley: Given the two teams' starts this season, we have decided to take that money and use it for group therapy sessions.

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Anything you want to promote Brian? Lets hear about it

Hanley: We would love to see everyone Friday, May 7, at Carmichael's Steak House, 1052 W. Monroe here in Chicago. We'll be hosting our third-annual Boys Night Out for the Kids. All proceeds benefit the great work being done at The Chicago Children's Advocacy Center and the dedicated people working to protect abused children. There will be sports stars from around town and great live and silent auction items, including tickets to Cubs and Sox games and plenty of sports memorabilia. You also might find me and fellow Cubs sicko Dustin Rhoades at The Cell this weekend heckling head case Milton Bradley, just for old times sake.

Hanley LINKS:

WSCR AM 670"Mully and Hanley" home page

E-mail "Mully and Hanley" at The SCORE

John Goossens' return could be key for the Fire

John Goossens' return could be key for the Fire

For much of this season the Chicago Fire have struggled not just to score goals, but to create chances.

The Fire moved out of last place in Major League Soccer in goals scored after putting in three in a loss at Philadelphia last week, but are still last place in total shots (157) and shots on target (43). For context, the team just above the Fire in shots on target is San Jose with 60 and Vancouver leads the league with 109.

In Tuesday's U.S. Open Cup victory against Columbus there was a welcome face starting in the midfield for the first time since April 16: John Goossens. Goossens made his return from a sprained LCL in Philadelphia, but came off the bench in that match.

Goossens' impact against the Crew was immediately seen in his assist to David Accam on the opening goal in the seventh minute. Goossens got control of the ball in his own half and was able to dribble forward into Columbus' third. When the defense finally closed him down, Goossens was able to weave through a pair of defenders and hit Accam with a pass. Accam did the rest of the work with an impressive finish, but it's reasonable to think no other player on the Fire is able to get the ball to Accam in that spot, at least not in the same way.

“I think he’s calm and comfortable on the ball,” Fire coach Veljko Paunovic said of Goossens. “He has actually very good offensive perception of the game.

“He was relief for us when we were building out of the back. In the moments when we had to win and have a progression in our build up he showed up and that’s very important and positive for the team.”

Goossens had a number of opportunities with the ball and the Fire’s pair of speedy forwards, Accam and Kennedy Igboananike, running in front of him.

“It was really easy for me once I get the ball behind their midfield, between their midfield and defensive line,” Goossens said. “I had all the time to turn and to look for those two fast guys. They scored two amazing goals.”

Goossens subbed out of the game after 60 minutes, which was expected given it was his first start in more than two months.

The problem so far is that Goossens hasn't been able to stay healthy this season. He hasn't played a full 90 minutes yet this season and has only made seven appearances this season.

That said, when Goossens has played he has made a difference. The assist to Accam was his third of the season. In addition, the team has performed its best with Goossens on the field. Even before Tuesday's 2-1 win, Goossens had the best plus-minus, to borrow a hockey stat, on the Fire.

When Goossens has been on the field in MLS play, the Fire have a plus-two goal differential. Of course there are a lot of factors that go into that with 11 players on the field, but plus-two is a notable difference from the Fire's overall goal differential of minus-six. The only other player on the team with a positive plus-minus is Arturo Alvarez at plus-one.

“We missed him,” Accam said. “He is one of our creative players and I’m really happy we have him back on the pitch. If we get Arturo back then we are perfect for us strikers because we need the midfielders to feed us good balls and today Goossens did that. Hopefully that will continue.”

Cubs win wild 15-inning thriller over Reds

Cubs win wild 15-inning thriller over Reds

CINCINNATI (AP) — Kris Bryant singled home the tiebreaking run in the 15th inning and the Chicago Cubs used three pitchers in left field while beating the Cincinnati Reds 7-2 on Tuesday night in the longest game of the season for both teams.

With the Cubs out of position players, relievers Travis Wood and Spencer Patton (1-0) alternated between left field and the mound in the 14th inning, which ended with Patton getting the final out. Wood then finished it off with reliever Pedro Stropin left.

Bryant's only hit on Tuesday - a single off J.J. Hoover (1-2) - snapped the tie. Javier Baez added a grand slam in the 15th, the sixth career allowed by Hoover, which is a Reds record.

The National League's top team went 1-6 last week but has pulled out of the downturn by winning the first two games of a series against the Reds. The Cubs hit five homers - three by Bryant - while taking the opener 11-8.

Eugenio Suarez singled home the tying run with two outs in the ninth off Hector Rondon, his third blown save in 16 chances, setting the game on its meandering course.

Ben Zobrist led off the game with a homer off left-hander John Lamb. Left-hander Jon Lester singled home another run and allowed only one hit until the eighth inning, when Billy Hamilton homered. The Cubs' closer couldn't hold on.

A lot of the focus Tuesday was on Bryant, who was coming off a historic performance.

Bryant became the first major league player to hit three homers and two doubles in a game on Monday night. He set a Cubs record with 16 total bases and became the youngest Cubs player to hit three homers in a game since Ernie Banks did it in 1955, also at the age of 24.

Bryant broke his three-homer bat the first time up on Tuesday, cracking it on a groundout. The bat boy retrieved it and took it to the Major League Baseball authenticator, who labeled the bat and safely stored it. Bryant flied out, walked twice, fouled out with two runners aboard for the final out in the 10th, and struck out in the 13th before driving in the go-ahead run.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Reds: RHP Homer Bailey felt fine a day after throwing an inning in his first rehab start. Bailey, who is recovering from Tommy John surgery 13 months ago, is expected to pitch again on Saturday ... 2B Brandon Phillips fouled a ball off the inside of his left foot in the first inning. He fouled another pitch off the same foot in his next at-bat and got hit in the left side by a pitch from Rondon in the ninth.

UP NEXT

Cubs: Kyle Hendricks (5-6, 2.76) is 1-5 with a 3.79 ERA in seven road starts this season. He's 4-1 with a 1.93 ERA in seven home games.

Reds: Cody Reed (0-1, 6.75) makes his third career start. In his first appearance at Great American Ball Park last Friday, he gave up five runs in five innings of a 13-4 loss to the Padres.

White Sox offense struggles in front of Quintana in shutout loss to Twins

White Sox offense struggles in front of Quintana in shutout loss to Twins

The White Sox haven’t had many big hits in their last dozen games.

The White Sox never seem to deliver any timely knocks in Jose Quintana starts.

Those two forces collided in a 4-0 loss to the Minnesota Twins on Tuesday night in front of 22,072 at U.S. Cellular Field.

Quintana allowed two Brian Dozier home runs, including a decisive three-run shot in the sixth inning, and dropped a seventh straight decision. His offense finished 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position as Kyle Gibson twirled seven scoreless innings.

Outfielder Melky Cabrera also left the game early with a sore left wrist.

“We didn’t do nothing as hitters,” third baseman Todd Frazier said. “We have to find a way. We had an off day. Everybody was nice and relaxed coming back. We’re professionals here as hitters. We have to find ways to get guys in.”

The White Sox didn’t have many shots against Gibson.

They butchered those that they did.

No opportunity was bigger than the third inning, which began with singles by J.B. Shuck and Tim Anderson in front of the team’s 2-3-4 hitters. But Gibson delivered and the White Sox failed yet again.

Down 1-0, Adam Eaton couldn’t move the runners over as he flew out to center. Jose Abreu followed suit and flew out to center before Cabrera — who left in the top of the seventh and is listed as day-to-day — popped out to second.

One inning earlier, Brett Lawrie was stranded in scoring position when Gibson got Avisail Garcia to chase a two-strike pitch off the plate and in the dirt. It was more of the same in the fifth when Eaton flew out to center with a man on second. And again in the seventh when Shuck flew out and Anderson grounded into a fielder’s choice with two aboard.

“It started out well,” manager Robin Ventura said. “You get them on there. Any time we seemed to get something going against Gibson, he just really started going soft and using your aggressiveness against you. I think that's part of what played into it. He had a very good changeup, he used his curve when he had to. He went a little bit backwards. Any time we got into an aggressive count, he just took a little off. We couldn't get anything going against him.”

The team’s effort was the continuance of a nasty trend.

The White Sox are 12-for-98 (.122) with runners in scoring position in their last 12 games. The lengthy slump dropped them from hitting a formidable .260 with RISP, which ranked in the top half of the league, to below .240, which ranks in the bottom third.

That the performance arrived with Quintana on the mound should come as no surprise.

Whereas the White Sox scored 25 runs in Quintana’s first seven starts, they’ve relapsed into their old non-scoring selves whenever he takes the hill. Over his last nine starts, Quintana has had nine runs of support.

The left-hander said the lack of support isn’t something he focuses on because it’s out of his hands.

“I don’t have control on the runs,” Quintana said. “I say the same every time. But I don’t have control, man. I try to keep going. I try to be better next time and keep going. Next time be better out there, better outing and better everything.

“I never think about that. I just try to pay attention and do my job, focusing on throwing the ball well and that’s it.”

Quintana made two mistakes in seven otherwise solid innings.

Dozier’s solo homer to leadoff the second inning gave the Twins, who improved to 25-51, a one-run lead.

Eduardo Nunez then led off the sixth inning with a single and stole second base. He advanced to third on a passed ball. Quintana then walked Joe Mauer and Dozier made him pay when he got enough of a 2-1 curveball low and in to drive it out for a three-run homer and a 4-0 lead.

Quintana — who is 5-8 despite a 3.18 ERA — allowed six hits, walked one and struck out eight.

“I’m sure inside he’s frustrated,” Frazier said. “I would be too. He’s a competitor, gives it his all. One bad pitch.”