What was your reaction when you found out you had the Cubs' radio job? It was surreal. It's sort of a weird feeling... such an icon as Ron Santo, a friend who I've known a long time. He was a friend to so many people. I can't replace him, I can only be me. It's an amazing opportunity.
You did a few broadcasts filling in for Ron last year. How helpful will that be in terms of getting settled? The powers that be had an opportunity to hear Pat [Hughes] and me together. Pat is the best in the business, and because of that he made me so comfortable. I think that was a huge part of me having the opportunity to get the job.
Where did your nickname "Zonk" come from? A lot of folks from the early '70s remember Miami's running back Larry Csonka. When I was in the minors, we were at a swimming pool with a volleyball net that had come down, so we just started playing football. No one could bring me down or get me underwater, so they nicknamed me Zonk and it kind of stuck.
Did you have any superstitions when you were playing? A bunch of us in '84 got T-shirts from Huey Lewis and the News. I saved mine, and whenever anyone needed to pitch well or have a big game, we'd give them the Huey Lewis shirt and that was for good luck. Baseball players on the whole are very superstitious.
What's the funniest prank you were ever involved with? Rick Sutcliffe had just come over to the Cubs in a big trade. It was a hot day in late June and I was playing pretty well. I had made a nice catch and came off the field. He handed me a cup of red Gatorade. I didn't know he'd punched a hole in the bottom and was holding his finger over it, and when I got through drinking it I had it all down the front of my uniform. Everyone thought it was funny. I did too, but I had to go change my shirt. Also, Ryne Sandberg was the king of the hot foot.
Cleverest heckle you received? After a rain delay one time. We were playing the Astros, and it was quiet with very few people left. Someone in the back screamed I was so ugly that my mom had to put a pork chop around my neck just to get the dog to play with me. Everyone could hear it. It was pretty comical.
Len Kasper and Bob Brenly have the Len and Bob Band ... will you and Pat be doing any musical collaborations? I'm not very musically inclined. Pat is a very talented guy, so I don't know if he has any ideas, but I don't think I'll be doing anything with music.
Speaking of music, are you prepared for increased 7th inning stretch duties? It's the scariest thing there is to do in the world. When you're not a singer and all those people are looking at you ... it's much easier to broadcast than sing. I can tell you that for sure.