Whither Dan McNeil?

Whither Dan McNeil?

During the radio broadcasts of White Sox games, you can still Dan McNeil saying that if you want to talk about White Sox his show and the Score got you covered.  Of course if you've been listening to the 670 the Score lately, you know of course that Dan McNeil has not been on the radio for about a month.  This isn't a big surprise, McNeil has had other extended periods off of the air during his tenure at the station.  In every case, especially the previous spells for drug addiction and depression, I support his absences, addiction and depression are a pretty potent combination and kudos to McNeil to dealing so openly with his demons.

I don't fault him for the current absence either.  He is in contract negotiations for a new deal.  I'm sure some people feel McNeil is being greedy, ungrateful, stubborn.  Maybe on the last point, I'm not at the bargaining table.  The other two ideas, sorry, I've got no problem with someone getting the best deal they can each time contract time comes up.

I'll admit, when McNeil came back to the airwaves after his departure from ESPN, I followed along.  I wasn't the biggest Mac, Jurko and Harry fan, but the morning line up at the time at WMVP wasn't doing much for me, so why not?  For awhile, McNeil was into it, glad to be back on the radio.  I was curious about his new partner, Matt Spiegel too.  He seemed thoughtful, funny, if a little green compared to Mac's years of experience.  Spiegel definitely held his own and his spars with Dan Bernstein in transition have become legendary.  When the name of the show changed from "The Danny Mac Show" to "Mac and Spiegs" it was more than warranted.

As the vacations and long leaves of absence piled up two things became apparent.  First, Matt Spiegel is capable of carrying and piloting a show.  The various co-hosts who have strolled through the booth haven't phased Spiegs and if there was anybody that he couldn't work with, it didn't show.  Second, every time McNeil came back, he seemed less and less into it.  While Mac has never been one to shy from his love of the Bears and pretty much leave everything else as a distant second, it got to the point that if you wanted to hear anything about basketball or baseball, you had to wait for another show.  Even if the biggest story of the day was in a non-football sport, McNeil was checked out.  He might discuss a little hockey, but rarely during the regular season and once the Blackhawks were out of the playoffs, it was pretty much dead air.

According to a recent report from Robert Feder, McNeil is looking for raise to $500K and a move to afternoon drive.  Taking the extended leaves out of the equation, I can't imagine WSCR would make that kind of commitment, let alone mess with the success of Boers and Bernstein, to a guy who, even when he's there, isn't there.  What's more, compared with many of the hosts at the Score, McNeil just doesn't fit.  He's reluctant to discuss anything besides the Bears (despite still calling himself a White Sox fan) has a limited view of just about anything else (as evidenced by his pride in not liking any music past 1980) and often comes across as out of step and behind the times.

In short, McNeil is a perfect fit for ESPN and the booyahs.  If that doesn't work 87.7 The Game would make a good landing spot for him.  Thus far in my few trips to The Game, I've heard a host call Tommy Boy the best movie ever, and another show have a segment with Mr. Skin, the guy who catalogs all female nude scenes in movies.  High brow, it ain't.  If Danny Mac can be bothered, he would fit right in.

Update: Dan NcNeil and The Score have decided to part ways.  No word on what McNeil's next move is, but I'm sure it will be news.  Also no word on what happens to Matt Spiegel and his show.  Here's hoping he stays and a strong partner is found.

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