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

Why Cubs are excited for pitching prospect Dylan Cease: He's 'throwing lightning bolts'

Why Cubs are excited for pitching prospect Dylan Cease: He's 'throwing lightning bolts'

Theo Epstein's front office is heading into Year 6 with the Cubs and they're finally talking about a pitcher as one of the organization's most exciting prospects.

That's how senior vice president of scouting and player development Jason McLeod framed his Dylan Cease report to fans at the Cubs Convention at the Sheraton Grand Chicago last weekend.

It was a tongue-in-cheek summation from McLeod after he spent the previous few minutes fawning over Cease, the Cubs' sixth round pick in 2014.

Of course, McLeod and the Cubs can poke fun at the lack of impact pitching the farm system has developed when the homegrown position players like Kris Bryant and Kyle Schwarber just helped lead the franchise to its first World Series championship in over a century.

Cease, however, has been one of the more intriguing Cubs prospects for years — a right-handed pitcher capable of touching 101 mph on the radar gun.

"This guy is throwing lightning bolts out of his arm," McLeod said. "It's really exciting. But we also understaned he's only in Low-A this year, so he's far away."

The Cubs expect Cease to pitch for Class-A South Bend in 2017 after spending last season pitching for short-season Eugene and the 2015 campaign working in the rookie league in Arizona.

Cease — who just turned 21 in late December — put up some impressive numbers at both stops in the Cubs system, posting a 2.36 ERA and 1.165 WHIP to go along with a whopping 91 strikeouts in 68.2 innings. He also only surrendered one homer and walked more batters (41) than reached via a basehit (39).

Control is obviously an issue for Cease, but the upside is evident.

"He's so far away," McLeod said. "He's gonna go into 2017 as a starter. As with a lot of young guys, it's gonna come down to command and depend on that third pitch and the ability to land them for strikes.

"It's a special arm. He can pitch 95-100 mph with a big power curveball. He's unlike anyone else we have in our system since we've been here in terms of pure stuff."

[SHOP CUBS: Get your Cubs gear right here]

One fan compared Cease to Carl Edwards Jr. in terms of their lanky build and high velocity, setting McLeod up for a layup joke.

"Well, Dylan is much stronger physically than CJ is...as is everybody in this room," McLeod said as the ballroom filled with laugher. "Don't tell [CJ] I said that. 

"They have different body types, obviously. Carl is long and lanky and Dylan has probably put on 20 pounds since we drafted him, so he's more like 6-foot-2, 190."

By comparison, Edwards — who goes by "The String Bean Slinger" for his slight build — is listed at 6-foot-3, 170 pounds.

Edwards was drafted in the 48th round in 2011 and spent his whole minor-league career as a starting pitcher until the Cubs converted him to a reliever in 2015.

Cease may eventually go down the same path, but the Cubs are going to give him every opportunity to make it as a starter first.

Cease was one of the top pitchers available in the 2014 draft, but his stock took a hit when he was forced to undergo Tommy John surgery on his pitching elbow while at Milton High School in Georgia.

That scared off a lot of teams — as did the potential signability issues with college offers looming — but the Cubs took a chance and have now watched Cease soar to a top prospect in the system (No. 4 by Baseball America; No. 7 by FanGraphs and Baseball Prospectus) despite the cautious approach and lack of innings in professional ball.

"We have to thank Kyle Schwarber, actually, as one of the main reasons we got to sign Dylan Cease," McLeod said. "Because we took Kyle fourth overall, we were able to save money on the selection with him, which gave us the resources to go get Dylan Cease.

"He was a Top 10 pick in the draft — a high school arm that got hurt, fell down to the fifth round and he had a commitment to Vanderbilt, I think it was, and we were able to use the money we saved from Kyle.

"Just another reason to love Kyle Schwarber."

Could the Bulls go after Chris Bosh for next season?

Could the Bulls go after Chris Bosh for next season?

The basketball world woke up Friday morning to a report from ESPN senior writer Marc Stein saying the Bulls may go after Chris Bosh for the 2017-18 NBA season.

It's surprising and intriguing for multiple reasons: 

1) Bosh was believed to have played his last days in the NBA due to blod clot issues.

2) The Bulls are at something of a franchise crossroads, sitting as the No. 8 seed in the Eastern Conference following Thursday's games and still determining what the right step is for the near future and the long term. 

3) Bosh will be 33 in March and hasn't played in an NBA game in nearly a year (last appeared with the Heat Feb. 9, 2016).

But Stein said the Heat are not planning on waiving Bosh before March 1, so he wouldn't be eligible to join the roster of a playoff contender.

Stein then says: If Bosh does return to the hardwood, "word is that the Chicago Bulls are already plotting a run and will be at the front of the line to try to sign him."

Bosh is an 11-time All-Star who has averaged 19.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game throughout his career. He helped the Heat win several titles as part of the Big Three with Dwyane Wade and LeBron James.

Bosh was also just in Chicago visiting Wade earlier this month:

Could he form another Big Three with Wade and Jimmy Butler, this time in Chicago?

It's worth noting Wade just turned 35 earlier this week and will be in his 14th NBA season next year.