You may know him as the Comcast SportsNet Chicago anchor and reporter for the Cubs and Blackhawks, or maybe the host of Gas Money, but do you really know Luke Stuckmeyer?
A local guy who grew up rooting for the Cubs, Blackhawks, Bulls and Bears, Stuckmeyer once said that if he could have been a groundskeeper for the Cubs, that would have been fine with him. But bearing proof positive that time, patience and hard work can get you to where you want to go, Luke now works in what is not only his own dream job, but that of many of us.
For anyone who has connected with him on Twitter (@LukeStuckmeyer), he's also a guy who enjoys chatting with the fans, even those of us who have made him the target of good-natured ribbing.
So now get to know Luke, his Wrigley dreams, Lottery-winning goals, top bands, his hardest interview and the Nebraska days. And no interview would feel local without Bozo, Wizzo and Marla Collins, would it?
What was your first memory of Wrigley Field?
I was born and raised a Cubs fan. I can't make this up... My first memory at Wrigley came in the late 1970s. I was stung by a bee on the way into the ballpark before the Cubs hosted the Montreal Expos. After the game a seagull dropped a "gift" on my brand new little league cap. I guess God was warning me?
Which had/has the bigger roar: United Center or Chicago Stadium?
Chicago Stadium was pretty quiet for some of those games before Michael Jordan arrived, and the United Center certainly rocks now when the Blackhawks and Bulls are rolling. However, at their peak I'd have to say old Chicago Stadium. The old barn was the loudest place I've ever witnessed a game. I remember buying standing room only tickets to see the Bulls. Even in the very last row you could feel the sound waves moving through your body when MJ was introduced. Truth.
What was the worst story you ever covered in your small-market days?
You don't have enough room for this answer. I had to start my career as a news reporter, so any town meeting I covered in Michigan's Upper Peninsula qualifies. I'll go with the Outhouse Races in Ontonagon, MI. They were the "turd" annual, eh.
Your first big assignment was a Nebraska football game. What was it like, and do you still root for the Huskers?
I was working in Lincoln when Nebraska was on a run of three National Championships in four years. On game day, Memorial Stadium in Lincoln is the third-largest town in Nebraska. The entire state is obsessed. It's similar to the state of Wisconsin's passion for the Packers.
I'll say this, I've never seen a fan base that shows better sportsmanship. I watched the entire crowd give Ricky Williams a standing ovation after Texas beat Nebraska—in Lincoln. They won me over.
The hardest? That would have to be four-plus years of interviewing Gregg Popovich on a nearly daily basis. Pop makes you work. After that, it's all cake. The best? I hope the best is yet to come.
What advice would you give students trying to get into broadcasting?
No, I'd just suggest that most students major in something else and minor in broadcasting. I've worked with too many friends who wanted to leave the television business and didn't know what else to do. You have to love more than sports. It's a great job, but the hours and schedules aren't for everyone. If you love it...stick with it.
What will be the pinnacle of your career?
You mean after hosting "Beer Money?" I got into the business to hopefully someday cover sports in Chicago and, more specifically, the Cubs in the World Series. Yes, even after the bee sting and the bird droppings.
When do the Cubs win the World Series and how will it happen?
I envision Marla Collins bringing a fresh ball out to the umpire. Javier Baez pointing to Ronnie Woo Woo in the bleachers. A white glow comes down on Woo Woo's head from a stormy sky. Baez hits a walk-off grand slam on the next pitch, and Steve Bartman catches it. Game over.
Top three bands on your iPod?
Tom Petty, Foo Fighters and The Freddy Jones Band. I like almost everything.
You win the lottery and are granted permission to buy a minor league baseball team. Where is your team located and what do you name it?
I'm thinking the Cubs need a farm team in Maui. The travel will kill their opponents. "The Maui Mai Tai"...aloha means goodbye.
I look over and say, "Look at these three clowns." I drop the mic and walk out.
Nailed it, man.
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