White Sox

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

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

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USA TODAY

It's only one start, but that's the Lucas Giolito that White Sox fans expected to see this season

The preseason expectations and the results have been drastically different for Lucas Giolito.

Expected to be the best pitcher on the White Sox starting staff, Giolito hasn’t come too close to that title, instead heading into Friday’s doubleheader with the most earned runs allowed of any pitcher in baseball. His walk total has been among the highest in the game all year long, too. And the calls from social media to send him down to Triple-A haven’t been at all infrequent.

But Friday, White Sox fans got a glimpse at what they expected, a look at the guy who earned so much hype with a strong September last season and a dominant spring training.

It wasn’t a performance that would make any reasonable baseball person’s jaw drop. But it was the best Giolito has looked this season. He still allowed four runs on seven hits — as mentioned, not a Cy Young type outing — but he struck out a season-high eight batters. Prior to giving up the back-to-back singles to start the eighth inning that brought an end to his evening, he’d surrendered just two runs.

Most importantly he walked just two guys and didn’t seem to struggle with his command at all. That’s a big deal for a pitcher who had 45 walks to his name prior to Friday.

“You know it was a tough eighth inning, but throughout the whole game, I felt in sync,” Giolito said. “(Catcher Omar Narvaez) and I were working really well, finally commanding the fastball the way I should. Definitely the best I felt out there this year, for sure. Velocity was up a tick. Just felt right, felt in sync. Just competed from there.”

Confidence has never left Giolito throughout the poor results, and he’s talked after every start about getting back on the horse and giving it another try. Consistently working in between starts, things finally seemed to click Friday night.

“It all worked today,” manager Rick Renteria said. “(Pitching coach Don Cooper) says that every bullpen has gotten better, from the beginning to this point. He sees progress. The velocity that he showed today was something that Coop was seeing in his work. You can see that his delivery is continuing to improve. He was trusting himself, really attacking the strike zone, trusted his breaking ball today when he need to and just tried to command as much as he could. Did a nice job.”

Giolito went through this kind of thing last year, when he started off poorly at Triple-A Charlotte with a 5.40 ERA through his first 16 starts. But then things got better, with Giolito posting a 2.78 ERA over his final eight starts with the Knights before getting called up to the big leagues.

This was just one start, of course, but perhaps he can follow a similar formula this year, too, going from a rough beginning to figuring things out.

“I’m not trying to tinker or think about mechanics anymore,” he said. “It’s about flow, getting out there and making pitches. We were able to do that for the most part.

“I’ll watch video and see certain things, and I have little cues here and there. But I’m not going to go and overanalyze things and nitpick at certain stuff anymore. It’s about going there and having fun and competing.”

Maybe that’s the secret. Or maybe this is simply a brief flash of brilliance in the middle of a tough first full season in the bigs.

Whatever it was, it was the best we’ve seen of Giolito during the 2018 campaign. And it was far more like what was expected back before that campaign got going.

Draft night highlighted the unfulfilling feeling of this past Bulls season

Draft night highlighted the unfulfilling feeling of this past Bulls season

The door has officially been closed on the 2017-18 season for the Chicago Bulls, and the word that most comes to mind is “unfulfilling.”

Or maybe even “indistinguishable.”

Draft night was supposed to be a culmination of a painful seven-month stretch that only had occasional yet costly moments of light.

Death lineup? Meet Death March. And Death April, while we’re at it.

The Bulls brass sold everyone on a full rebuild after trading Jimmy Butler one year ago, with an unspoken promise that this draft would bear franchise-changing fruit—hence the general feeling of angst or even indifference with the solid selection of Wendell Carter Jr. and their not-so-secret affection of Chandler Hutchison.

It was why fans believe the Bulls got cold feet about trading to move up, and why they believe the Bulls weren’t being pragmatic in staying away from Michael Porter Jr.

Porter, some believe, has star written all over him given his prep ranking this time last year and the Bulls were in position to speed up this process without having to go into a painful Process.

They were desperate for a star, believing the tankathon had produced so much suffering it had to be something on the back end.

There was the fight (or the punch).

The aftermath.

The miserable 3-20 start.

The 14-7 streak that produced the audacity of hope.

The reality that 14-7 was damaging enough to the lottery chances that a 3-11 finish couldn’t rectify.

And finally, the coin flip that cost them five spots in the lottery one month ago.

So that empty feeling has less to do with Carter and Hutchison, who’ve done nothing to earn the “blah” reaction from the fan base and some media. It has everything to do with the unanswered questions over the last 82 games and lack of clarity over the three hauls from draft night last year.

It’s not that Zach LaVine, Lauri Markkanen and Kris Dunn underperformed individually last season, but the lack of cohesiveness due to injuries and circumstances has led to the varying thoughts.

LaVine is approaching restricted free agency and by all accounts is taking his continuing rehab in Washington very seriously.  Markkanen has added plenty of muscle since the offseason began, appearing as if he can play Michael B. Jordan’s in-ring foil in the next installation of “Creed” as Ivan Drago’s long lost son.

And despite the report about Dunn not working as hard on the floor this offseason, that would be more of a concern if this were late August, not June.

The last time they were seen together on the floor, they looked no closer to a pecking order than the day they arrived.

What we know is that they’re productive NBA players, capable of putting an individual tattoo on a game at a moment’s notice, skillful enough to take your breath away.

And for whatever reason, the expectations changed once the three displayed they could be dynamic on their own—a star needed to be anointed and groomed to go with the star they believed was coming their way after the season.

Management is fully behind Markkanen, but Paxson’s strong words about LaVine at the season-ending news conference illustrated how much it feels LaVine has to prove next season.

With his restricted free agency status looming, the Bulls’ initial offer will show how much they value him until and if he gets a better deal on the market.

And the fact the Bulls weren’t afraid to draft Trae Young while having a healthy debate about Collin Sexton on draft night has to show they have at least some skepticism about the future at point guard.

But stars—developing stars, acquired stars, drafted stars—have to do it on their own. No amount of promotion or prodding from management will validate their faith, if that’s the route the Bulls choose to go.

This has to be a meritocracy or it won’t work and, honestly, it’s time for a reality check.

All the worry about the Bulls getting back to title contention sooner rather than later seems like folks getting ahead of themselves.

The front office has taken its share of shots from media and fans, so some questioning is earned but they’re right about one thing. Rebuilds aren’t completed in a day or 12 months.

Expecting some magic potion to arrive in the form of a top draft pick isn’t going to cure what ills this roster, and it doesn’t seem likely all the cap space will result in a free agent choosing the Bulls over the usual suspects.

However, methodical building can look like complacency if not done with a sense of urgency.

And with urgency in mind, this past season was unsatisfying to say the least—heading into the next phase with two more young pieces to develop while the first three are still in the evaluation stage.