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September 1, 2017
Earlier this week, Chicago’s very own Mike North, one of the original 670 the Score (although they weren’t on that frequency when it started) personalities announced his retirement from sports talk radio. Although I think the prime of his career is long past, it felt nostalgic to think about North no longer offering his brand of “tawk” to the Chicago sports media landscape. While I don’t consider him the funniest of the original Score folks, that honor goes to Terry Boers, (also recently retired) and I don’t consider him the best of the original Score folks, that would go to Dan McNeil, I do consider him the most original. For those new to his story, you can read it, here, here and here.
North wasn’t like the others, he wasn’t a journalist, he didn’t go to broadcasting school. North’s style was of a quick-witted street kid who keeps the conversation and the laughs moving at a pace that often tongue tied the most learned scribes. That’s why he was unique. He WAS the everyman, but he was out there talking on the radio. I don’t mean to be too grandiose with this proclamation, but North was the forefather of what we have today, where EVERYONE gets a voice and EVERYONE can put out videos (they don’t have to be in a hot tub) and articles and tweets and get their thoughts out there to the other people that are interested in such things. This is not to say that I agreed with everything or even a majority of the things he said. I often thought some of North’s takes were a little ridiculous, but thats not why you kept listening. You kept listening because it was honest and he entertained you even when you didn’t agree.
North’s influence on this 108er is two fold…….
Honesty – North’s brand of sports talk is often explained as “shooting from the hip“. I always just considered his brand of “tawk” as Honest. You could tell he was out frequenting the establishments he was referencing in a story in his show. You knew he ACTUALLY had conversations with folks he claimed. It was real. This is 100% the way we do this blog. Whether it is doing a Sunday Soak video or writing a blog post or tweeting from the ballpark…..whether we are making a thoughtful point or making up some crazy thought experiment or joking around……the 108ers are giving you an honest take of what we are out there living every day. During the Sunday Soak, we aren’t faking a weekend full of boozing that culminates in our drunken thoughts in a hot tub. That is what actually happens. We are pretty much drinking booze off camera until we hit the air. When we write an article, there is usually some sort of actual event that spurs it, or some crazy thought related to conversations we’ve had together that brings the things to life. None of us went to school to write. We are just fans who happen to do that when we have something to talk about.
Interaction with Other Fans – The old way the Score used to be, back when North was a main part of it, was to have fans, like you and me, call in and have a conversation about sports. This is the way 99% of us like to enjoy sports. This is why Twitter is so popular with regards to sports. I can speak 100% for Chorizy-E and MySoxSummer, the most fun for us in all of this is meeting all of you who we interact with on twitter and who read our posts. Of course it was fun to run a “mustache promotion” with Tyler Saladino or to have Todd Frazier wear the “jersey demolition shirt” or to catch Yolmer Sanchez home run ball, but that’s not why we do this. Nothing was more fun than the week we just had where we met a bunch of you throughout the week, culminated with meeting folks at the Friday Baderbrau/108 tailgate as well as at Star Wars night on Saturday. We love meeting other White Sox fans and talking White Sox baseball (and obviously “other bullshit as well”). This was something that North always got right. It was always interacting with the fans. It is why people still call the Score looking for him even though it has been a decade since he hosted a show there.
So Mike, I know you don’t drink anymore, but let me raise a glass to you anyhow (it happens to be wine tonight). Cheers to a great career and to influencing a generation of fans that want to get their “voice” out there to the people.