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5 Questions with...The Score's Dan Bernstein

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5 Questions with...The Score's Dan Bernstein

Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2011

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 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 most popular sports talk radio personalities in Chicago todayoften controversial, but always witty, knowledgeable and downright hilarious, you can hear this guy weekday afternoons with his partner Terry Boers from 1:00-6:00 PM on WSCR 670 The Scorehold on to your seat, here are 5 Questions withDAN BERNSTEIN!

BIO: Dan Bernstein has been the co-host of the Boers and Bernstein show on WSCR AM 670 The Score since 1999. He joined the station as a reporteranchor in 1995.

Named Best Sports Talker by Chicago Magazine, he is the citys only three-category winner of the Achievement in Radio Award (Best Reporter, Best Play-by-Play and Best Talk Show).

His play-by-play experience includes five years calling DePaul basketball, and both radio and TV for the Arena Football Leagues Chicago Rush. He has appeared as a guest on MSNBC, CNN and other national television networks.

Before joining WSCR, he broadcast games for minor-league affiliates of the Kansas City Royals and Chicago Cubs, as well as the Raleigh Bullfrogs of the Global Basketball Association and the Rockford Lightning of the Continental Basketball Association.

Bernstein interned in the news department at WBBM-TV in Chicago and in the sports department of WTVD-TV in RaleighDurham, NC.

He is a Deerfield native and an honors graduate of Duke University, where he did four years of play-by-play for basketball and football and anchored Duke SportsCenter on Cable 13 TV.

He lives on the northwest side of Chicago with his wife and two children, and is actively involved in fundraising for such charities as Childrens Oncology Services, The Michael Rolfe Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research, Blind Services Association and many others.

1) CSNChicago.com: Dan, it is a fact that the Boers & Bernstein show is now the longest-running local sports talk radio show in Chicago (since 99). Twelve years is an eternity in the ever-changing on-air talent landscape. Are you ever surprised with the success of your show and, a follow-up questionhow do you, Terry and your team plan on sustaining that success for at least another 12 years?

Bernstein: I'm thankful and bemused. We just do what we do, and what we have done -- minimal prep, keeping the on-air product real and fresh, and responding to what's going on in Chicago sports and beyond. Countless radio execs have overseen our station and our show, and they all have said pretty much the same thing, which is "Whatever the hell it is you're doing, keep doing it. Just don't get us sued or fined." That kind of confidence and trust is what separates us from other brands that manage from a position of fear.

We are trusted to be edgy and provocative because we work hard to keep up on the specifics of FCC regulations and civil law. We know how to say what we want to say, and our intelligent audience knows how to listen between the words.

Regarding the future, it's encouraging that our listeners have gotten younger as we have gotten older -- dramatically so when we compare today's demo with that of the early years. It must be due to the fact that we are irretrievably immature.

2) CSNChicago.com: Naturally, it comes with the territory of being a sports talk radio host that fans will not only disagree with the things you say, but are often flat-out outraged by your comments. How do you handle the hate phone callse-mails you receivedo you ignore them, respond to them, a little of each? Do tell.

Bernstein: We are a mean show, so it would be silly and hypersensitive to be offended regularly by equally mean blowback. We can't be dish-it-out-can't-take-it guys, and the skirmishing is part of the entertainment for everybody.

But any direct, actionable threats are forwarded immediately through CBS Security and the proper law-enforcement channels, and we have found that authorities on all corporate, local and federal levels have acted with speed and real concern when anything has become serious.

When I have responded directly to a textere-mailertweeter, the response back is usually something like "Sorry for calling you a @. Love your show!"

3) CSNChicago.com: Whos had a tougher year in your opinion: Jim Hendry or Adam Dunn?

Bernstein: Neither. It is I, for trumpeting Dunn's projectable metrics and pining for his acquisition.

Seriously, Hendry had a good run as one of the last old-guard baseball execs. He'll be properly put out to pasture as a chief scout, having presided over a memorable era for a heritage MLB franchise, though haunted by failure to win as the game passed him by. He needs to go, and is going.

Dunn is having one of the worst seasons ever, by anybody, given the plate-appearances to do so. We'll see if an increased commitment to the game salvages his career.

4) CSNChicago.com: As a parent with two kids, what are your personal thoughts on Mayor Emanuels pursuit of having longer school days for CPS studentsa valiant effort to further encouragepromote the importance of education or a no-win scenario with the teachers union that could have negative ramifications for the students even if it does pass?

Bernstein: The longer school-day is cosmetic. A longer day with a bad teacher in a bad school is bad, but a longer day with a good teacher in a good school is good. My experience with two kids in neighborhood CPS is this: the quality of the teaching is determined by the quality of the parenting. If parents are involved -- truly so -- in fundraising, management and oversight, the education will reflect that.

We as parents must do our part in the home to accelerate education, challenging our kids to reach the best of their abilities, and we must monitor and manage teachers. Good teachers stay, while the lazy idiots must go, union notwithstanding.

Local CPS schools are as good as we want them to be, as good as we will work for them to be, as good as we insist they must be.

But it begins with our parenting, and, more significantly, our resources.

It's our kids' future: money talks and BS walks. Something the mayor understands.

5) CSNChicago.com: This final question is probably the most important one in this interview: Do you think Jay Cutler will be tuning in to Dancing with the Stars this season to watch his ex-fiance do the Cha-Cha on live television?

Bernstein: Haall I care about is whatever makes him complete passes.

BONUS QUESTIONCSNChicago.com: Anything youd like to promote Bernsie? Tell us, CSNChicago.com readers want to hear about it

Bernstein: If you want to help kids with cancer and leukemia, visit www.onestepcamp.org to see all our great programs. Even small donations add up to provide opportunities and experiences for kids who would never otherwise have the chance. Thanks for anything you can do.

Bernstein LINKS:

WSCR 670 The Score official website

Dan Bernstein official blog home page

Dan Bernstein on Twitter

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

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AP

Capitals' Devante Smith-Pelly speaks out about 'racially charged chanting' at United Center

After being on the receiving end of some racist taunts while he was in the penalty box during Saturday's game against the Blackhawks, Capitals winger Devante Smith-Pelly spoke publicly about the incident.

Smith-Pelly, a 25-year-old Canadian, reacted to the fans while he was in the box, going up to them from the other side of the glass. He addressed questions from the media about the incident on Sunday.

"I just heard some chanting, some, I guess, racially charged chanting," Smith-Pelly said. "You can tell by my reaction that I got pretty upset.

"What was said this time around crossed the line."

The Capitals released a statement about the incident:

"The Washington Capitals are extremely disappointed by the intolerant behavior extended toward Devante Smith-Pelly by a select group of fans during Saturday night's game against the Chicago Blackhawks at United Center. The Capitals organization strives to be inclusive and has zero tolerance concerning any form of racism. Such behavior is unacceptable and has no place in hockey or society. As such, it is crucial to confront such appalling conduct, and the Capitals extend their appreciation to the Blackhawks organization and United Center security for swiftly removing the fans from the game."

The Blackhawks released a statement after the game with a similar tone.

Smith-Pelly said this has happened previously in his career.

"It's sad that in 2018 we're still talking about the same thing over and over," Smith-Pelly said. "It's sad that athletes like myself 30, 40 years ago were standing in the same spot saying the same thing. You'd think there'd be some sort of change or progression, but we're still working towards it I guess and we're going to keep working towards it."

The Capitals released the full interview.

Ben Zobrist knows reality of Cubs' crowded lineup: 'There are going to be good players that have to sit on the bench'

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USA TODAY

Ben Zobrist knows reality of Cubs' crowded lineup: 'There are going to be good players that have to sit on the bench'

MESA, Ariz. — Ben Zobrist has long been known for his versatility on the field. But it might take a new kind of versatility to get through what’s facing him for the 2018 season, being versatile when it comes to simply being on the field.

Zobrist was among several notable Cubs hitters who had a rough go of things at the plate in the follow-up campaign to 2016’s World Series run. He dealt with injuries, including a particularly bothersome one to his wrist, and finished with a career-worst .232/.318/.375 slash line.

And so, with younger guys like Javy Baez, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. forcing their way into Joe Maddon’s lineup, it’s a perfectly valid question to ask: Has the 36-year-old Zobrist — just 15 months removed from being named the World Series MVP — been relegated to part-time status for this championship-contending club?

Obviously that remains to be seen. Joe Maddon has a way of mixing and matching players so often that it makes it seem like this team has at least 12 different “starting” position players. But Zobrist, ever the picture of versatility, seems ready for whatever is coming his way.

“I’m prepared for that, if that’s what it comes to. I told him, whatever they need me to do,” Zobrist said Sunday, asked if he’d be OK with being in a platoon situation. “You’ll see me at some different positions. As far as at-bats, though, I’ve got to be healthy. That was the biggest thing last year that kept me from getting at-bats and being productive. So if I can be healthy, I think I can play the way that I’m capable of, and the discussion then at that point will be, ‘How much can you play before we push you too far?’

“We’ve got a lot of great players, and there are going to be good players that have to sit on the bench on our team at times. But no one ever rusts because you know how Joe uses everybody. You’re still going to play. Even if you don’t start, you’re probably going to play later in the game. It’s just part of the National League and the way Joe Maddon manages.”

It’s no secret, of course, that when Zobrist is on, he’s the kind of player you want in the lineup as much as possible. It was just two seasons ago that he posted a .386 on-base percentage, banged out 31 doubles, smacked 18 home runs and was a starter for the team that won the World Series.

But he also admitted that last year’s injury fights were extremely tough: “Last year was one of the most difficult seasons I’ve ever had as a player.” Zobrist said that while he’s feeling good and ready to go in 2018, with his recent physical ailments and his advancing age, he’s in a different stage in his career.

“At this point in my career, I’m not going to play 158 games or whatever. I’m going to have to manage and figure out how to play great for 130,” he said. “And I think that would be a good thing to shoot for, if I was healthy, is playing 130 games of nine innings would be great. And then you’re talking about postseason, too, when you add the games on top of that, and well, you need to play for the team in the postseason, you’ve got to be ready for that, too.

“From my standpoint, from their standpoint, it’s about managing, managing my performance and my physical body and making sure I can do all that at the highest level, keep it at the highest level I can.”

Maddon’s managerial style means that Zobrist, even if he’s not technically a part of the everyday starting eight, will still get the opportunity to hit on a regular basis, get a chance to play on a regular basis. Baez figures to be locked in as the team’s No. 1 second baseman, but he’ll need days off. Maddon mentioned Sunday that Zobrist, along with Happ, have been practicing at first base in an effort to be able to spell Anthony Rizzo. It’s the crowded outfield where Zobrist could potentially see the most time. He’ll be a piece of that tricky daily puzzle along with Kyle Schwarber, Jason Heyward and the aforementioned Almora and Happ.

Unsurprisingly, in the end that versatility, combined with how Zobrist has recovered physically and whether he can get back to how he’s produced in the past, will determine how much he will play, according to the guy writing out the lineups.

“I think he’s going to dictate that to us based on how he feels,” Maddon said. “Listen, you’re always better off when Ben Zobrist is in your lineup. He’s a little bit older than he had been, obviously, like we all are. I’ve got to be mindful of that, but he’s in great shape. Let’s just see what it looks like. Go out there and play, and we’ll try to figure it out as the season begins to unwind because who knows, he might have an epiphany and turn back the clock a little bit, he looks that good. I want to keep an open mind.

“I want to make sure that he understands we’re going to need him to play a variety of different positions. He’s ready to do it, he’s eager, he’s really ready. He was not pleased with his year last year, took time to reflect upon it and now he’s really been refreshed. So I think you’re going to see the best form of Ben Zobrist right now.”

Two years ago, Zobrist played a big enough role to go to the All-Star Game and get named the MVP of the World Series. In the present, that role might be much, much smaller. But Zobrist said he’s OK with anything, admitting it’s about the number of rings on the fingers and not the number of days in the starting lineup.

“I’m 36 as a player, so I’m just trying to win championships at this point. It’s not really about what I’m trying to accomplish as an individual,” Zobrist said. “Everybody wants to have great seasons, but I’ve told (Maddon), ‘Wherever you need me, I’m ready.’ Just going to prepare to fill the spots that need to be filled and be a great complement to what’s going on.”