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“What’s up, Sparkles?”

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The articulation comes booming from the shadows, abounding of energy.

“Are you accessible for this?”

It’s a admonishing about as abundant as a question.

David Kaplan ducks beneath his half-opened barn aperture and struts into his driveway, bonds into his morning like a puppy let off the bridle at the beach. He can’t adjournment to get going.

Just like that, he is in the driver’s bench of his atramentous Range Rover, headed downtown. Naturally, the Kapman’s basal is on the accelerator.

He twists accessible a canteen of blush juice: Bai Antioxidant Infusion, kula watermelon flavor. This, he announces, is his circadian tonic.

He tells a quick adventure — aloft because — this one about the time he abiding Patrick Ewing to assurance a trading-card accord with Star Pics.

Kaplan cruises bottomward the Edens Expressway and turns bottomward the radio. Arguably the best arresting articulation in Chicago sports broadcasting, he repeats his circadian mantra.

“You’ve got to adulation the process,” Kaplan says. “Love the process. Bodies about me will apprehend that all the time. Love. The. Process. Every day. To me, it’s all about aggravating to be bigger tomorrow than I was today. That drives me.”

Already, the Kapman is at abounding tilt.

“It’s blah to some people. But it’s the way I do my shows and it’s the way I try to alive my life. Adulation the process.”

It’s 4:26 a.m.

So area in the apple is this joyride headed? At the moment, 91 annual afore sunrise, Kaplan is headed for the 200 block of West Chicago Avenue. He will burn his day at Hardpressed, a River North gym in which trainer Mike McClain will bullwork the 56-year-old Kaplan through an acute 30-minute strength-training session. Eighteen exercises, little blow amid each.

Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune

David Kaplan, center, works out with trainer Michael McClain at Hardpressed in Chicago on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017.

David Kaplan, center, works out with trainer Michael McClain at Hardpressed in Chicago on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017.

In abounding ways, it’s a apple of Kaplan’s existence.

From the time Kaplan leaves his Riverwoods home on this mid-August Tuesday until the time he pulls aback into his driveway, 19 hours and 27 annual pass. In that time, Kaplan supplements the conditioning at Hardpressed with two abstracted cardio sessions at the East Bank Club.

He eats his breakfast — egg whites (extra able-bodied done), avocado and a bake-apple cup — during a assembly affair at ESPN Radio and his banquet — a loaded alloyed greens bloom from 3 Greens Market — while watching the Cubs-Reds d in the blooming allowance at Comcast SportsNet.

Throughout the day he sprinkles in belief of claimed encounters with Michael Jordan and Barack Obama, Mike Tyson, Bob Knight and Johnnie Cochran.

He hosts his circadian three-hour “Kap and Co.” radio appearance — 9 until apex on WMVP-AM 1000.

“Shot or no shot: Jon Jay will alpha added playoff amateur for the Cubs than Kyle Schwarber?”

In the evening, he drives the chat as the host of CSN’s “SportsTalk Live.”

“Do you anticipate Trubisky starts Bold 1?”

He punctuates the Cubs’ 2-1 accident with annotation and assay on CSN’s “Cubs Postgame Live.”

And afore he leaves the Merchandise Mart for the night, aloft afore 11 p.m., Kaplan takes a minute, sits advanced in a atramentous covering recliner and explains how, afterwards such a continued day, he’s assuming few signs of fatigue.

All these roles. All this talking.

“If you get up every distinct day and you adulation what you’re about to commence on,” he says, “the canicule don’t get long. You don’t get tired. And you absolutely don’t assignment for a living.”

Kaplan is appreciative to accept such a arresting articulation in this city’s sports conversation. He is assertive his thoughts matter.

He is somehow a bodies actuality who leaves so abounding with differing reactions.

Kaplan is broadly admired for his bound affection and accompanying abhorred for, well, that aforementioned over-the-top exuberance. His action is construed as either awful absorbing or annoyingly bombastic.

Is he absolutely this animated? Always? How did he become this way?

Within his hyper-speed existence, Kaplan acknowledges he has been shaped by the armament of fate, ancestors and fandom in means outsiders don’t absolutely know.


Maybe you didn’t apperceive Kaplan was comatose once. Or at atomic that’s the way he frames it. He was alone 31, on an operating table at St. Mary’s Hospital in Roer, Minn., ability an beginning action to get his affection alive properly.

Eleven months earlier, on New Year’s Eve 1990, Kaplan bankrupt his appropriate abate arena auto basketball alone to ascertain at the hospital that the accelerated affection amount and conciseness of animation he was experiencing were actuality acquired by a attenuate anatomy of ventricular tachycardia.

The aboriginal attempts to adapt his affection accent accepted somewhat successful. But, at the advancement of his adolescent brother Bruce, Kaplan approved a added abiding solution.

Photos of Chicago sportscaster David Kaplan.

Bruce, an eye surgeon, happened to be training at the Mayo Clinic at the time.

Through connections, Bruce abiding for his brother to be evaluated and treated. Over a five-day amount aloft afore Christmas 1991, Kaplan underwent assorted procedures to re-establish a accustomed affection rhythm.

And aback it came time for Kaplan to cycle into the operating room, he didn’t feel the aforementioned all-overs his parents and brother did.

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“I’m not the best religious guy,” Kaplan said. “I apperceive who I am and I’m appreciative of my heritage. But it’s not like I go to temple every week. That’s aloft not who I am. But I accept consistently believed that there is a plan. And if the plan is that the car I’m benumbed in assault up, afresh that’s the way I was declared to go. That’s it. That’s the plan.”

During his aboriginal operation, doctors threaded seven catheters into his affection to accomplish an ablation in an accomplishment to reboot the electrical system.

During the additional procedure, with bogus adrenaline actuality pumped into his body, Kaplan veered into ventricular fibrillation, a potentially baleful action that appropriate cardiologist Doug Packer to briefly stop Kaplan’s affection afore animating it with a shock.

That, Kaplan says, is aback he anesthetized on, aback he saw a glimpse of the added side.

There wasn’t, he says, the warm, adorable ablaze so generally described. Instead, he acquainted breathless.

“I acquainted like my affection could jump to Cleveland,” Kaplan says. “And the aing affair I apperceive I am aerial through alien space. I’m cogent you a actor afar per hour would be slow. I was aerial through alien space! Aloft absolutely out of control!”

Until he wasn’t.

Kaplan awoke in the accretion allowance with his cardiac issues bound and an abiding aplomb that his actuality actuality was alone the alpha of article bigger.

It’s too acute to say the affliction afflicted who he was. From a adolescent age Kaplan had consistently been active and attainable with an appetite to dream big. But undoubtedly, Kaplan says, he became acutely acquainted of his mortality.

“That absolutely crystallized it,” he says. “That you could be gone. Like that.”


A laminated craven agenda sits on the bend of Kaplan’s board at ESPN 1000. The appellation is underlined: “Kap’s Circadian Comedy Sheet.”

The aboriginal band is typed in d: “Play With Affection and ALWAYS #LOVETHEPROCESS.” The aftermost band was added to the basal in Sharpie: “NEVER CONFORM! Be U!!”

In amid are 17 added circadian instructions — to body in time for sleep, to breach organized, to “be relentless.”

Shocking, right? The Kapman subscribes to a bullet-pointed motivational doctrine.

Not coincidentally, there’s additionally a admonition to apprehend consistently from “The Secret,” Rhonda Byrne’s 2006 book, which has become Kaplan’s assumption on the ability of absolute energy.

On the central cover, he has inscribed eight rules for himself.

Kaplan wants his circadian actuality to be abounding with chat and stimulation.

Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune

David Kaplan looks over his circadian comedy sheet, which he does every day, as he arrives to his appointment at ESPN 1000 in Chicago on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017.

David Kaplan looks over his circadian comedy sheet, which he does every day, as he arrives to his appointment at ESPN 1000 in Chicago on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017.

He makes added accomplishment to antipodal with aloft about anyone who crosses his aisle —his locker mates at the East Bank Club; the parking barn accessory on Lake Street; the architecture artisan at Comcast. And aback he’s working, he hopes, his positivity becomes infectious.

“I’m consistently on,” he says. “Always up.”

Those aing to Kaplan in the business — producers, aloft co-hosts, approved guests on his appearance — all highlight the aforementioned quality. His passion.

Damn, is Kaplan passionate.

About bistro appropriate and blockage healthy. About creating aggressive debate. About annihilation and aggregate involving Chicago sports.

All. The. Time.

Longtime Chicago radio controlling Jimmy de Castro, who was Kaplan’s bang-up as the admiral of WGN Radio, has consistently accepted Kaplan’s gusto. That, de Castro believes, was the rocket ammunition that launched Kaplan adjoin the top of his profession. Kap knows sports. He knows people. And he has connections. Everywhere.

Combine Kaplan’s abyss of knowledge, de Castro says, with his admiration to accept fun and it’s accessible to see why he has such acute aplomb in conversation.

“He absolutely enjoys what he does.” de Castro says. “That’s why he works so abounding jobs. That’s why he has so abundant energy.”

Tom Waddle, whose springboard into sports radio came alongside Kaplan at WGN in the backward 1990s, consistently accepted Kaplan’s tone-setting ambition.

And all this cutting vivacity? “What you see is what you get with that dude,” Waddle says. “Kap loves life. Genuinely. And he’s aggravating to leave his mark every distinct day.”

But if the Kapman’s pep isn’t an act, conceivably it has been adequate by added factors.


Kaplan vividly remembers the alarm from his aboriginal wife aback the assay became official. Spring of 1997. He was at Sunset Valley Golf Advance in Highland Park, advancing up the 18th fairway with aloft Bears bound end James Thornton.

“I can acquaint you about to the brand of grass area I was standing,” he says. “I’d aloft hit a acceptable drive. I’m continuing at the bend of the bend left, cerebration about authoritative birdie. Buzz rings.”

He answered, heard his wife’s ache and acquainted his abdomen drop.

Their 3-year-old son had brittle X syndrome. Appropriate needs.

With one hand, Kaplan swatted his brawl into the copse to his left, affective his golf bag and larboard the course.

“That’s the day,” he says, “my action afflicted dramatically.”

Brett Michael Kaplan was built-in May 11, 1994. And from the time he was an infant, his parents knew article wasn’t right. Brett was developmentally challenged from the get-go. Delayed in talking. Delayed walking.

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Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune

While watching a Cubs d in the blooming allowance of the CSN studios in Chicago, David Kaplan checks on a poll he acquaint on his Twitter annual on Tuesday, Aug 15, 2017.

While watching a Cubs d in the blooming allowance of the CSN studios in Chicago, David Kaplan checks on a poll he acquaint on his Twitter annual on Tuesday, Aug 15, 2017.

Fragile X, Kaplan would learn, is a chromosomal ataxia that causes cerebral crime and behavioral setbacks.

Nothing prepares a ancestor for that detour.

On the day of that diagnosis, Kaplan anon acquainted himself in a rip current, ambit from afraid to abashed to depressed. His fears for Brett were pronounced.

Will he be greatly disabled? Is he action to die young?

Kaplan’s self-pity sucker-punched him.

What does this beggarly for my life? What am I action to do afterwards a accustomed kid?

Kaplan had consistently capital to be a dad. He had dreamed of apprenticeship his son in Little Alliance and seeing area his able-bodied accomplishment could booty him. Baseball. Soccer. Basketball. Football.

“I was never beneath a apparition that he was action to be a able athlete,” Kaplan says. “But I capital to be that dad who was about all the time, arena sports with him, apprenticeship him, adequate that experience.

“And all of a sudden, that was all aloft ripped away. Not alone from me. But from him.”

Still, as Kaplan larboard the golf advance that afternoon and reconnected with his then-wife, he fabricated one vow.

“We can cry for 24 hours,” he said. “Then we charge to amount out what the hell we’re action to do about this.”

Ever since, Kaplan has approved his edest to blanket his accoutrements about Brett and his academician about the assured struggles.

It would accept been accessible to become bedridden by Brett’s condition. Or alike worse, bitter. But that, Kaplan says, would accept been a miscalculation, a aberration from the befalling he has been accustomed to apprentice from Brett’s journey.

“Were there times I acquainted like I was cheated?” Kaplan asks “Absolutely. No catechism about it.”

But, according to those aing to him, Kaplan summoned aberrant backbone to acceleration through the afflicted process, to advance a effective access to his new world.

He rarely spent time allurement “Why me?” He encouraged Brett through amaranthine trips to accent assay and anatomic therapy.

To this day, Brett’s limitations persist. He frequently repeats himself. He struggles to read.

When his accepted gets disrupted, he can bound unravel.

Brett has an all-embracing ability of Cubs statistics, addition aback years but doesn’t do able-bodied with basal math.

Still, Kaplan has two words for all those frustrations: So what?

“He has this backbone to him,” his accepted wife Mindy says of Kaplan. “And it’s an abundantly admiring patience.”

Adds Kaplan: “God gives kids like him to bodies who can handle it.”

Brett is 23 now and, aloft like a Kaplan should, he holds two jobs. He sorts mail at Trustmark in Lake Forest and works at Michael’s Chicago Appearance Red Hots in Highland Park.

Kaplan appreciates how artlessly absolute Brett is. He action at how berserk articulate Brett has become and how he roots for the Cubs like annihilation abroad matters. Like father, like son.

Says Kaplan’s brother Bruce: “(David) is appreciative of Brett and holds him up as a animated archetype that, if you actualize a loving, adorning environment, how abundant a special-needs adolescent can develop. And he has never harbored any array of annoyance or backbiting appear those of us who accept accouchement who do not accept appropriate needs.”

On a contempo summer evening, Kaplan and Brett took over Lanes 21 and 22 at the Brunswick Zone in Deerfield — bowling buddies, advancing for their abatement alliance with the Square Accord Shoes team.

Chris Sweda / Chicago Tribune

David Kaplan and his son, Brett, 23, relax afterwards bowling at Brunswick Zone in Deerfield on Tuesday, August 22, 2017.

David Kaplan and his son, Brett, 23, relax afterwards bowling at Brunswick Zone in Deerfield on Tuesday, August 22, 2017.

Brett, himself a sports junkie, apparent a way to blemish his aggressive while accessory Deerfield Aerial School, aing the Deerfield-Highland Esplanade JV bowling team. He additionally capital time to convenance with his dad.

Naturally, Kaplan has accepted that connection.

As Brett finishes off a additional on his way to a 146 game, Kaplan extends an auspicious anchor bump.

“That one was good, right?” Brett says. “That one was good, right?”

Their alliance starts afresh soon, active on Sundays, September through April. Aforementioned accepted anniversary week. They’ll basin three games. Home to accomplish omelettes. Afresh NFL amateur on the couch all afternoon. Together.


Kaplan’s appearance isn’t for anybody and never will be. To advanced portions of his audience, there aren’t abundant eye-roll emojis in the apple for how cartoonish his antics generally seem.

Those gigantic bogus Hulk fists he has acclimated on the air at CSN to bless Cubs victories? What a best Kap prop, a bruised and colossal gimmick that has been baffled into the ground.

His admired word: “phenomenal”? Does it accept to administer to aggregate — his best contempo banquet at Chicago Cut; his appraisal of Bears accepted administrator Ryan Pace; his MyPillow?

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Was he absolutely aloft on the air with LaVar Brawl arguing over which of them is the bigger basketball coach. “LaVar!” Kaplan yells. “I would whip your ass. Every distinct day of the anniversary and alert on Sunday!”

To many, alike aural Chicago sports media, Kaplan is perceived as a burlesque or alike worse, a b.s. artist. The absolutely biased, homeriffic Cubs cool fandom continued ago became overdone, a damage to his credibility.

He has been declared as self-aggrandizing, as pompous.

De Castro, Kaplan’s bang-up as the admiral of WGN Radio, has consistently accepted Kaplan’s verve. But he has heard the complaints and understands why some of that criticism exists.

Says de Castro: “There’s a little bit of hot dog in my man Kap.”

Through two-plus decades as a radio aide and aing friend, Waddle has been a VIP bedfellow in the David Kaplan action esplanade and acreage on this blunt conclusion.

“Simply put,” Waddle says, “Kap loves him some Kap.”

Plaster that five-word appraisal on a artery advance and all of Chicago would drive by nodding. But it’s important to accept Waddle’s interpretation.

“I beggarly that in the best way possible,” he explains. “Kap absolutely loves his platform. He loves actuality able to allege to the Chicago sports fans. He loves aggregate about this alcove that he has congenital for himself.”

Waddle appreciates Kaplan’s all-inclusive arrangement about the sports world, how he has trust-built relationships that accumulate him affiliated and informed. His affirmation that “Kap loves him some Kap” is not a beating but an ascertainment of apparent pride.

“And he should be appreciative of what he’s accomplished,” Waddle says. “To me that’s not an abhorrent characteristic. It’s about endearing.”

Kaplan insists that what abounding outsiders may apperceive as showmanship, as bogus blitheness is absolutely aloft the action encoded in his DNA.

“I’m not for everyone,” he says. “I apperceive that. … I apperceive there are affluence of bodies out there who don’t like me and there consistently will be,” he says. “I aloft appetite them to apperceive that I put as abundant accomplishment into what I do as I possibly can. I don’t feel like I can assignment any harder.”

Kaplan has acutely accustomed this affluence of though. It has been one way of agglomeration his skin.

“I don’t affliction if you abhorrence me because of my opinions, if you abhorrence me because I’m a Cubs fan,” he says. “None of that bothers me. The one affair that bothers me is aback bodies who accept never met me don’t accept that I am who I am. That I’m consistently energetic, that I’m approachable, that I’m an accessible guy to allocution to. Aback addition says I’m a jerk or a phony, that really, absolutely bothers me.”


There’s not abundant ink or air time or, for that matter, Internet amplitude to abbreviate the above of Kaplan’s sports opinions. But at atomic we can analyze the extremes. The two abstracts who alert his best agitable reactions? Secretariat and Jay Cutler.

Friends aboveboard apish Kaplan’s attraction with the 1973 Triple Crown winner. Aback he declared on the air afresh that he would rather booty Secretariat out than absorb time with addition of his celebrity crushes, “Good Morning America’s” Lara Spencer, his colleagues laughed.

Dude! You’re fantasizing about a banquet date with a horse!

Kaplan clarifies he didn’t appetite to eat with Secretariat, aloft that he’d adore dining in the stable. As if that is somehow better.

“There’s aloft article about that horse,” he says, a blink in his eye.

Kaplan was 12 aback Secretariat won the Belmont Stakes by a almanac 31 lengths. Like abundant of the country, he was captivated by that Triple Crown assertion point. He accepted the thoroughbred’s backbone and adroitness and aggressive spirit. Plus, adjournment for it …

“I apperceive this is action to complete funny aback I say it out loud,” he says. “But that horse was accepted for actuality abundant with people. I admired that about him. A lot of horses could be ornery and active about people. Secretariat had a acceptability for actuality abundant at demography pictures with strangers and consistently accepting this affable demeanor.”

Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune

David Kaplan on the set of “Sports Allocution Live” at the CSN studios in Chicago on Tuesday, Aug 15, 2017.

David Kaplan on the set of “Sports Allocution Live” at the CSN studios in Chicago on Tuesday, Aug 15, 2017.

To this day, the alone allotment of sports art Kaplan displays alfresco his man cavern is a Secetariat bite that hangs amid his kitchen and active room.

“I’m cogent you, that was the coolest, kindest, gentlest horse there was.”

And Cutler? Able-bodied don’t get Kaplan started. He was agnostic about the quarterback the day the Bears traded for him. He had been warned by bodies he trusted that Cutler’s annoying personality could counterbalance an absolute alignment down.

Eight years later, afterwards Cutler larboard Chicago with alone one playoff victory, Kaplan’s affliction charcoal as acute as ever.

Cutler, he insists with a attitude billowing from his temple, was advertised to be article he wasn’t.

But it’s way added than Cutler’s win-loss almanac or interception absolute that has consistently annoyed Kaplan. It was his aloft personality.

Take a footfall back, Kaplan says. Apprehend that the Chicago Bears aloft had the aforementioned starting quarterback for eight seasons and that starting quarterback had little absorption in anytime accomplishing endorsements or accessible appearances.

The quarterback. Of the Chicago Bears.

“Forget the money allotment of it,” Kaplan says. “I aloft can’t accept addition could be accustomed the allowance to airing through this abundant burghal as the face of that abundant authorization and not aloft get off on authoritative bodies happy. He could actually accept endemic this town. But he aloft didn’t accept any admiration to. Man. He and I are about as radically altered as bodies can be.”

So, yes. It’s easier to accept what Kaplan gravitates adjoin or abroad from.

“It’s me and the horse at the one end,” he says, “and Jay at the other.”


Maybe now it’s account advertence the abstract Kaplan has gotten from his additional wife, Mindy. Anniversary No. 13 was in June.

Kaplan doesn’t allocution abundant about what went amiss in his aboriginal marriage. Aloft that he and his ex-wife were altered bodies with actual altered philosophies on careers and parenting and the means to alive life. “We were aloft a bad mix,” he says.

For best of that eight-year marriage, he acquainted black and burdened. He knows he didn’t acquaint well.

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During his time hosting “Sports Central” on WGN in the mid- to backward 1990s, Kaplan would get off the air at 9 p.m. and generally accomplish one stop on the way home. At the Dominick’s on US-41 and Esplanade Avenue in Highland Park.

“Literally every night,” he says.

Sometimes Kaplan would buy a snack. Maybe a few groceries. Sometimes he wouldn’t buy annihilation at all. But he’d consistently airing the aisles.

“Just killing time,” he says, “hoping that aback I got home my wife was comatose so I could aloft watch TV and not accept to interact.”

When eight years canyon with that akin of disconnect, it’s accessible to accept why a man would appear apprenticed aloft acuteness to accompany added accomplishment — in his career, in his interests, in his relationships.

Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune

David Kaplan action during the advertisement of ESPN 1000’s “Kap & Co” appearance in Chicago on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017.

David Kaplan action during the advertisement of ESPN 1000’s “Kap & Co” appearance in Chicago on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017.

He met Mindy in 1998, abundantly in a Wrigley Field skybox, acting as an agent to calm an altercation amid this appealing red-headed drifter and his aing friend, Kevin O’Neill.

O’Neill had fabricated his access that night with panache, absolution Mindy apperceive that, yes, he was the arch drillmaster of the Northwestern basketball team. “Northwestern has a basketball team?” she cracked.

If that badinage lit the acerbity central O’Neill, the smoke began cloudburst out his aerial with the follow-up.

“Oh, that’s right,” Mindy added. “You’re the ones who barber points.”

A abundance of four-letter words erupted.

Kaplan, accession backward from the pregame show, had to calm the tensions, afresh alien himself.

He and Mindy affiliated and their band grew over a summer-long bet — on whether the 1998 Cubs would accomplishment aloft .500. (You can assumption which ancillary Kap took.)

Mindy enjoyed the debris talk, the banter, the action of their interplay. All these years later, that atom remains.

Now the business administrator at Lou Malnati’s, Mindy not alone admires her husband’s drive, she encourages it. She shares his Type-A appetite and believes in what Kaplan is after.

“He wants to accept a articulation in the Chicago sports landscape,” she says. “He wants his articulation to matter. And you may not accede with him. But he wants to be the articulation that’s actuality heard. And on as big a calibration as possible.”

Mindy’s abutment and companionship, O’Neill knows, has been a agitator to Kaplan.

“Kappy’s a blessed guy,” O’Neill says. “I’m blessed he begin addition like her who can bout his action and action and the blazon of attitude he has. Anybody needs that.”

Perhaps best of all for Kaplan, Mindy has three boys from her antecedent marriage.

When Kaplan absolutely entered the picture, in 2000, Nick was 9, Alex was 7, Garret was 5.

Kaplan accomplished Alex’s Little Alliance teams. He was a approved at Nick’s aerial academy basketball games. During Garret’s four years arena bouncer for the Illinois Wesleyan football team, Kaplan absent alone one d — home or away.

“Did that ample a aperture for me?” Kaplan says. “One hundred percent.”


Kaplan is acquainted of his imperfections and personality quirks. Sure, he concedes, it’s odd he feels accountable to get his car done every day.

And yes, he’s so obsessively adherent to bistro advantageous that he packs himself a freezer bag of broiled craven every Christmas Eve to booty to his sister-in-law’s for his own dinner.

He believes he’s a amazing multitasker. But his wife and colleagues anticipate he may accept absorption arrears disorder. How abroad do you explain the times — yes, plural — that Kaplan has become absent by his buzz and larboard the abode with the refrigerator aperture open?

At the studio, Kaplan will be affianced in conversation. Afresh an attention-grabbing cheep comes across.

“It’s like a brawl rolling above the attic in advanced of a puppy,” ESPN 1000 ambassador Danny Zederman says. “Well, there goes Kap.”

Kaplan additionally has an bent for those with accustomed assignment ethics. If they’re not action to “love the process” afresh what’s the point? And aback he makes admirable demands of his producers, he can’t angle aback they’re calmly beat by rejection. “Don’t acquaint me how bouldered the baptize is!” Kaplan will command. “Just berth the freaking boat!”

Just about aggregate Kaplan has done in his action has appear with a advance to accomplish his parents proud.

Kaplan’s 84-year-old mother, Lila, still tells the adventure of 45 or 50 years ago aback she took David and Bruce burghal on the train. They stepped out into the city, into a sea of fleet dejected apparel and biscuit arroyo coats and wing-tipped shoes. There was an action to the accomplished scene. There was action and hustle and order. But to Kaplan, celebratory that affectionate of routine, that rhythm, that back-up acquainted like a glimpse into hell. He angry to his mom. “I don’t anytime appetite to be one of them,” he declared.

Now Kaplan thinks aback to his graduation from Hamline University with a amount in English. He thinks aback to his law academy appliance to Lewis University and the suit-and-tie, 9-to-5 approaching that seemed to be ahead. He’s aloft beholden he veered to chase his gut, to accomplish sports the hub of his world.

Kaplan didn’t affliction about salaries and wasn’t abashed by paths beneath traveled. He aloft kept exploring, authoritative connections, abacus action adventures to his resume.

Assistant basketball drillmaster at Northern Illinois. NBA advance with the Pacers and SuperSonics.

Jose M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune

David Kaplan walks to his car afterward a cardio conditioning at the East Bank Club in Chicago on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017.

David Kaplan walks to his car afterward a cardio conditioning at the East Bank Club in Chicago on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017.

He a ran a aerial academy basketball aloof account — “The Windy Burghal Roundball Review” — afresh took his assay to the airwaves and eventually barged into sports broadcasting, his better breach advancing aback he landed the “Sports Central” job at WGN in 1995.

Waddle, his co-host there for 10 years, anon admired the accepted Kaplan set.

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Says Waddle: “Based on the archetype his parents set, for Kap it’s consistently ‘If I’m action to accomplish myself to something, I’m action to be all in.’ That’s aloft his approach. He doesn’t apperceive how to do things halfway. It’s pride. He’s a hustler. He sees what his adamantine assignment has created. And I anticipate that’s apparently the greatest analeptic in the world.”


On Nov. 7 of aftermost year, at dawn, Kaplan collection to Arlington Heights to allocution to his dad, Marshall. This was bristles mornings afterwards Kaplan had watched the Cubs win the Apple Series — on a three-second adjournment on the CSN set alfresco Progressive Field in Cleveland.

The affecting aerial he was on was akin in acuteness alone by the affliction he’d acquainted 16 years, seven months and six canicule earlier, aback at 68, Marshall died of a affection attack.

Like he consistently does on trips to the Shalom Memorial Park, Kaplan bought his dad a approved coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts, agitated it into the cemetery and set it beside the headstone.

Then he began talking, out loud, beck of alertness for 15 minutes. About the Cubs season, about the Apple Series, about that ballsy Bold 7.

“And I apperceive he’s dead. I apperceive he’s not there,” Kaplan says. “But added than ever, it acquainted like I was talking to him.”

Marshall was his son’s everything, the advocate with an active assignment ethic, inherent affection and a adulation of sports that was absurd to top.

He alien his sons to DePaul basketball — division tickets to Alumni Hall. He angry the banquet table into a nightly roundtable on the Chicago sports scene.

Most of all, Marshall admired baseball. And he consistently encouraged his sons to acclamation for both Chicago ballclubs. (That’s one allotment of admonition David didn’t heed.)

On that morning in the cemetery, Kaplan assuredly exhaled and approved to acquaint his dad aggregate about the final night of the 2016 season. About the stakes and the accent and the Dexter Fowler leadoff home run. About the aboriginal advance and the abscess anticipation.

Yes, alike about freaking Rajai Davis and that aperture he acquainted in his abdomen aback Davis’ band drive into the left-field seats abandoned the aftermost of what had already been a four-run Cubs lead.

As Davis circled the bases, Kaplan had taken the baby aureate gavel agreeableness he keeps on a chaplet — the one his mother had accustomed his dad aback they got affianced — and awkward it.

“Just like ‘C’mon, Dad. It can’t be this cruel,'” Kaplan says. “It can’t be. Not again.”

For years, CSN analyst Todd Hollandsworth had bankrupt Kaplan’s chops about his boundless Cubs allegiance. Hollandsworth played 12 seasons in the majors, including two with the Cubs, and still begin it aloft antic how accursed up Kaplan got afterwards wins and how beat he’d be afterwards losses.

Yet as he sat at Kaplan’s ancillary for the absoluteness of Bold 7, it all assuredly fabricated sense.

Hollandsworth saw the way Kaplan was suffocated by his all-overs and his achievement and the eighth-inning despair. “Kap isn’t a guy who carries accent about for too long. He aloft doesn’t accept time for it,” Hollandsworth says. “So to see that in him so acutely that night … It was adamantine for me to attestant the affliction he was experiencing. And how adamantine he was aggravating to squelch it and put it abroad and get it off of him.”

Hollandsworth heard Kaplan talking out loud to his dad.

C’mon, Dad. It can’t be this cruel.

“You apprehend how generational it is,” Hollandsworth says.

And at continued last, it wasn’t that cruel.

When the Cubs’ extra-inning assemblage and celebration was complete, Kaplan acicular skyward, afresh heard the articulation in his ear acquaint him his postgame appearance was about to start. Kaplan knew instantly his aing cemetery appointment would be overwhelming.

Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune

David Kaplan action in the blooming allowance of the CSN studios in Chicago on Tuesday, Aug 15, 2017.

David Kaplan action in the blooming allowance of the CSN studios in Chicago on Tuesday, Aug 15, 2017.

When that befalling came, Kaplan’s thoughts flowed faster than the words. The realizations cascaded over him.

Kaplan anticipation about all the time he’d invested into this accurate Cubs team, how he had become bound with aboriginal baseman Anthony Rizzo; how he was autograph a book about the admirable championship adapt of Theo Epstein; how he admired the adroitness of Kris Bryant and the ability of Javy Baez.

And afresh he accepted this abysmal adapter he acquainted to the 2016 Cubs had so little to do with those figures. “It could accept been 40 added guys,” he says. “Any 40 guys.”

He reflected on his aboriginal cruise central Wrigley Field, at his dad’s hip as he came up the stairs larboard of home plate, bagged by the view.

Kaplan anticipation of himself as a boy arena “Strikeout” adjoin the brick bank at Middleton Academy in Skokie. He’d angle as Fergie Jenkins and bat as Billy Williams and admire aggregate about Ron Santo.

This was about 50 years of investment, of suffering, of loyalty, of aggregate adventures with so abounding added Cubs fans, including the ones he admired most.

He anticipation about his life’s best memorable moments and how his dad had been a allotment of about all of them. Now the Cubs had won the Apple Series.

“He’s been gone 17 years,” Kaplan says. “I aloft so ambition he could accept been there for that.”

As he sat with his dad, carrying a new Apple Series champions hat and gluing a 2016 Apple Series champions pin to the headstone, Kaplan acquainted an aura. He took a 360-degree attending around. In every direction, there were “W” flags. Bouquets of blue-and-red flowers.

“Just like, ‘Oh, my God. There are added bodies actuality accomplishing what I’m doing,'” he says.

Kaplan told his dad about the account he had in accomplishing the actual aboriginal postgame appearance with the Cubs as Apple Series champions. In that moment he acquainted it all — the affliction that had been consistently convalescent and the affliction that never will be.

This was it. The ability of sports in its purest form. Kaplan’s adolescence dreams and career aspirations had intersected. As always, he had to allocution about it.

“I bare him to apperceive that we won,” Kaplan says, through tears. “And that I apperceive he would accept been appreciative of how I handled that show. He would accept admired it. That was it.

“He would accept watched every second.”

[email protected]

Twitter @danwiederer

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