Pat and Ron Show
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The Pat and Ron Show was the nickname of the Chicago Cubs' radio broadcasts on WGN Radio 720 AM and the Cubs Radio Network from 1996 through 2010. Named after the main broadcasters Pat Hughes and Ron Santo, the show ended with Santo's death on December 3, 2010, during the Major League Baseball offseason.
After the pregame show, which started 35 minutes before each game, a rock version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" would be played. After an introduction, Hughes would say "Chicago Cubs baseball is on the air", before proceeding with the regular game broadcast. Hughes would take a break in the fifth inning, with Judd Sirott taking over on play-by-play until Hughes returned in the sixth. Afterward Hughes and Santo would name the Chevy Player of the Game, and the broadcast would close with the same rendition of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" heard during the opening.
After his Major League career, Ron Santo became the Cubs radio color commentator in 1990. Pat Hughes would join later in 1996 after leaving the Milwaukee Brewers radio team. From 1998 to 2006, Andy Masur served as the back-up broadcaster. Replacing Masur after he left was Cory Provus in 2007 and 2008. He left prior to the 2009 season to join the Brewers radio broadcasts, and was replaced by Judd Sirott, the nephew of WGN radio host Bob Sirott. Matt Boltz is currently the producer/engineer in charge. In 2009, Pat Hughes was named the 2009 Illinois Sportscaster of the Year by the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association. He had previously won the award in 1996, 1999, 2006, and 2007 in Illinois, and in 1990, 1991, and 1992 in Wisconsin. The Pat and Ron Show ended with Ron's passing on December 3, 2010. Keith Moreland took over as the Cubs' radio analyst beginning in the 2011 season.
They would often make jokes in between the action of the ballgame. They will usually have a couple of jokes every game so at 11:30pm on Sunday night, during The Nick Digilio Show, they will have The Pat and Ron Highlight Reel Show. During the show, they will play highlights submitted by listeners via Email and will be voted on by the People in the studio. A long running set of jokes is about Matt Boltz and drinking. One example of a Matt Boltz drinking joke came in the middle of a game in July of the 2008 season. Boltz had asked Pat to mention a friend who had celebrated a birthday that day. After Pat was done, Ron responded, "She must be a bartender." Ron also makes sport at "...that ugly sweater" that Pat allegedly wears at games on occasion.Pat also makes Ron giggle as he impersonates official scorer Bob Rosenberg's "wild pitch" call.
TV and radio
Unlike the Cubs TV, the Pat and Ron Show aired all regular and postseason games. During the postseason and regular games on national television, neutral broadcasters are used. Sometimes fans find that the neutral broadcasters might be biased. When the broadcasters appear to be biased against the Cubs, some fans will mute the TV and turn on the radio. Most of the TV broadcasts are slightly delayed.
It might not have been a Cubs historic moment, but Ron's hairpiece incident was a big event in the booth. During a broadcast at Shea Stadium, Ron was standing in the booth when the overhead heater burned his hairpiece. That incident added to Ron's dislike of Shea Stadium. Pat and Ron were in the booth on September 14, 2008 during Carlos Zambrano's no-hitter against the Astros. On the following Friday, the game was rebroadcast in its complete form.
- "That ball's got a chaaaaaance, gone!"
- "Get out the tape measure, LONG gone!"
- "(Winning pitcher) is the pitcher of record for the positive side, and (Losing pitcher) the other."
- "Save some (runs) for tomorrow."
- "Listen to this (Wrigley Field) crowd!"
- "Can you believe it?"
- "Fasten those seat belts...We have reached the moment of truth."
- "Heeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee's got it (fly ball or pop fly)."
- "The game totals, for the victorious Chicago Cubs."
- "Hang in there!" (during rain delays)
- "Thanks for asking."
- "OOOOOhhhhhh NNNNNNoooooooo!!!!!"
- "How about that?"
- "Gee whiz!"
- "Man oh man!"
- "...big boy."
- "Yes sir!"
- "I know it."
- "Very definitely"
- "Hang in there!" (mocking Pat's voice)
- "Absolutely Pat"!
If someone just tuned in, they could sometimes tell how the game was being played from a Cubs fan's standpoint by the attitude of Ron Santo. He would often get upset about fans disrupting a broadcast or bad calls unless the Cubs had a very big lead. One example of a fan disruption came in July of the 2008 season. The Cubs were on the road playing the Houston Astros. In the 6th inning of the game, Ron was reading an e-mail to Pat. While he was reading the note, he heard an Astros fan screaming "Let's go 'Stros!". After hearing this Ron then reported,"...and there's somebody screaming down there. They ought to shoot him." Everyone in the booth bursted out laughing. Ron would also get very excited when the Cubs were doing well. He also would often contribute information that he learned as a player.
There will also be contests that go along with the game. The Binny's Beverage Depot Attendance Game is when Pat and Keith (in place of Ron) guess the attendance at that game. Fans enter via mail in hopes that they can win of a pair Cubs tickets to an upcoming game and to be entered in the grand prize drawing for $10,000. It used to be that the fan would guess whether Pat or Ron would be the closest to the actual attendance. It is currently played by Pat and Keith agreeing on an amount and if they are within 2,000 of the actual attendance, the person who enters wins. Another game is the Back-to-Back Jacks Contest. It is entered by listening to the pregame show and being the seventh caller. If the Cubs hit back-to-back home runs, the person who entered will win $1,000 or $7,000 if the homers take place in the seventh inning.
As a part of the broadcast, several charities still receive money when the Cubs do certain things on the field. This feature is ubiquitous in MLB local broadcasts, and has continued after Santo's death (with the same charities). As Santo was a type 1 diabetic, the beneficiaries tend to be charities related to his condition—namely hospitals and most notably the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. For example, for any Cubs player that draws a base on balls, Walgreens still donates money to JDRF.
- "WGN Radio's Pat Hughes named 2009 Illinois Sportscaster of the Year". wgnradio.com. January 13, 2010. Archived from the original on February 22, 2012.