David Kaplan Discussing the Biggest Issues facing the Chicago Cubs

David Kaplan Discussing the Biggest Issues facing the Chicago Cubs

David Kaplan is certainly a local sports media figure who truly needs no introduction.

He's a columnist, radio and television personality who hosts The David Kaplan Show on WGN Radio (weekdays 7 to midnight) and Sports Talk Live, a daily sports roundtable discussion show on Comcast SportsNet in Chicago (Monday-Friday from 5:30-6:30 p.m.) He also co-authored the award winning Around Town column in the Chicago Tribune with Fred Mitchell from 2009-2011.

David Kaplan is also the pre and postgame host for CSN's Chicago Cubs broadcasts where he partners with former Chicago Cubs outfielder and 1996 National League Rookie of the Year Todd Hollandsworth.

Kaplan grew up in Skokie and is a graduate of Hamline University. He formerly was a basketball coach at Northern Illinois University, and a scout for two NBA teams: the Indiana Pacers and the Seattle SuperSonics. Kaplan worked at WMVP-AM before joining WGN's sports staff as a reporter in 1995.

In part one of this three part series, The Kapman and I discuss the biggest trending Cubs topics right now. Off the heels of the annual Cubs Convention, there are some important Cubs topics making the news. Look for part two next week discussing: media, media criticism, balancing being a journalist and being a fan, and how players and coaches react to criticism.

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Kaplan broadcasted his show this past Friday night live from the Cubs Convention. We heard Cubs 1B Anthony Rizzo joke about scoping out hot babes in the stands with infielder Darwin Barney, as well as front office big wigs Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer make wisecracks about the fatalism of Cubs Nation.

David Kaplan: "I thought we asked some pretty tough questions to Theo and he met them head on."

Paul M. Banks: Is Rizzo really the star of this team? Who are their true star players?

David Kaplan: "among the position players, probably him or Castro. Now best personality wise, among the position players I would probably have to tell you it's Darwin Barney."


Paul M. Banks: What did you think of how the new manager Rick Renteria was received? And how his personality gels with Cubs fans?

David Kaplan: "We had the chance to talk to him on my show. Then I did a one-on-one with him for Comcast that we ran Friday night. I don't know him at all other than the little interaction I've had with him. I was not the biggest Dale Sveum guy, from day one. There was no charisma there and I wanted a leader to exude charisma. I didn't like Dale, he wasn't my cup of tea. I like Rick Renteria. He's positive and fiery and it seems like he's going to be positive with his players."

Paul M. Banks: Why was Clark the mascot such a huge national story for the whole week preceding CubsCon? It's  just a mascot for kids, and little kids at that. Why the backlash, it's just a mascot.

David Kaplan: "I don't understand why it was such a big story, I think they should have just unveiled him organically. By that I mean just have the bear show up at the hospital with little kids and then people would ask 'who's that? It's our kids' ambassador.' Instead of trumpeting in a press release while you're coming off a 66 win season and you've made really no move of consequence in the off-season."

"I have no problem with Clark, if there's a five-year-old and he becomes a fan of the team because he likes Clark then I think it's a good thing for the kid and for the team."


Paul M. Banks: Cubs President Crane Kenny held a Cubs Con panel on Saturday that was truly the grown up segment of Cubs Convention. This session with Crane Kenney discussed the media rights deals in play, the conflict with the Wrigleyville rooftops, the stadium renovations, business issues, it was the panel for critical thinkers.

David Kaplan: "There's a lot going on. If you look at it from just a business perspective, they've got the second smallest stadium behind Boston, the fewest signs, the fewest skyboxes, one of the smallest local tv deals of the major market teams. So there's a lot going on that's tied into their future. Theo wants more money to spend, they want to get the renovations done, WGN Radio are they going to stick around? I don't know. Are they still going to be on WGN TV? I don't know. Is Fox going to come in with a new deal? I don't know. Is Comcast going to get a second channel? I don't know. 

So there's a lot of questions, plus the whole rooftops issue, there's a lot to discuss. I get why people were caught up in that."


Paul M. Banks: Did you catch the advance screening of the Wrigley 100 film? (my review of it here)

David Kaplan: No, I did not. I heard it's pretty good.

Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An MBA and Fulbright scholar in media studies, he’s also an analyst for multiple news talk radio stations across the country; with regular weekly segments on NBC and Fox Sports Radio. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks)

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