The Cubs season opener Monday night brought with it the debut of WSCR's pre- and postgame shows with Mark Grote and a new theme song to mark the team's affiliation with a new radio home.
The 30-minute pregame show was fast pace and featured segments with analyst Ron Coomer (whom Grote introduced as "freshly manicured'' because he got a haircut), Len Kasper (with pitching coach Chris Bosio), baseball insider Bruce Levine and Cubs manager Joe Maddon. There was also a Cubs conversation with Kyle Schwarber, an injury update and scores from games played earlier in the day.
Gone is "Go Cubs Go,'' the longtime theme song associated with WGN replaced by a new tune that sounded like it was sung by midday host Matt Spiegel ("This is what you came here for, You've got the Cubs game on the Score''). It may take some getting used to but it is a catchy tune.
Levine broke the news of Theo Epstein's imminent contract extension in a short segment. In fact that's the one criticism of have of the pregame everything, including the Schwarber interview and Levine's report, is so short there is no depth on any subject. I guess that's the nature of the beast but it would be nice if Grote would devote more time to some segments when warranted.
At approximately 12:20 a.m. Tuesday the postgame show came on after the Cubs' resounding win over the Angels. Grote announced that callers would be "welcome and wanted,'' and at about 12:35 the first caller got through (he was worried about Jon Lester and Jason Heyward living up to their contracts).
I have a slight problem with Grote's attempts at humor which often come off as forced and unfunny. He continued with the chat about Coomer's haircut on the postgame and throws in lines like "Tell the bus to wait for me!! Pat Hughes and Ron Coomer have left the building.'' I wish he would knock off some of this shtick but it seems to be his style -- trying to be hip, I guess.
There was also a brief Farm Report and an Inside the Numbers segment plus presumably, scores from around MLB, but I was not awake for that. Around 1 AM I drifted off around the time the postgame was ending. Overall an enjoyable, informative wrap despite Grote's somewhat lame sense of humor.