Chances are if you’re into sports — like, so into them you listen to sports radio — you probably have 96.3FM programmed in. And you’ve more than likely heard Jeff Schools and Matt Boutwell on The Weekend Warm-up. If not, I ask, what are you waiting for? Every Saturday from 8 to 11 a.m. this duo talk sports, and sometimes things get a bit more than warmed up. Like any true sports fan, these guys are passionate about positions, coaching, bad calls, unbelievable plays, and they want to talk about it all with you.

Job: Jeff: Co-host of The Weekend Warm-Up 96.3 The Big Jab Portland; producer and co-host of The Sports Vortex; associate editor of the Central Maine Sports Blog

Matt: Publisher CMSB Media and producer and co-host of The Big Jab 96.3 Portland

Age: Jeff 40, Matt 31

Jeff, I remember the heartbreak of Superbowl XX. It was the day I solidified my faithful fanhood of the Patriots. Had the Patriots won that game, would things be different for you now? For me, it would have been career makers for my early childhood football heroes — Steve Nelson, John Hannah and Steve Grogan. Andre Tippett would have made the Hall of Fame much earlier. It would have brought all of us that sat on the cold metal benches at Sullivan Stadium recognition far sooner then the Drew Bledsoe/Tom Brady-era Patriots did.

Is professional wrestling, such as the WWE, a real sport? Jeff: No! The last time I cared about pro wrestling was the Closed Circuit broadcast for Wrestle Mania I. Are they athletes? Of course. You can’t be put through the night-in-night-out rigors that wrestlers go through without having athletic skill. But a real sport, NO WAY!

Matt: Although it is sports entertainment and scripted, the things many
pro-wrestlers do in the ring are quite amazing, and you have to be an
athlete to do those things. I respect them as much as I respect any
athlete, as their travel schedules are more rigorous than any sport.

If you could play any sport, any position, what would it be? Jeff: Basketball. While my basketball body left me 10 years ago, I never had as much fun doing anything athletic than playing basketball. The team play followed by individual skills offers the best of all worlds when it comes to satisfaction.

Matt: Defensive back for the Patriots. I always had an unhealthy obsession
with cornerbacks growing up, like Ty Law and Deion Sanders, and
because I have the exact opposite body type and talent needed to be an
NFL-caliber defensive back, that is naturally what I would love to do
most.

Any predictions for the Maine Red Claws? Matt: I think
they are going to be really fun to watch. Jon Jennings and Austin Ainge
seem to be on the same page, and I expect them to play good defense and
have a fast pace to the offense. I have no idea how many games they
will win, but if they are fun to watch, people will line up to see them play.

Are there any drawbacks to what you do on-air? Jeff: Sure, I open myself up to criticism. No one likes to be criticized, but that is part of the deal. The thing we have going for us is that we are not faking what we do. Everything is genuine and how we feel. No made-up disagreements to get people to call. That, in my opinion, makes the criticism much easier to take.

If made to choose, which one sport would you continue to provide commentary on? Jeff: Baseball. It allows opinion more than any other sport. Real, honest conversations can take place between the right baseball broadcasters.

Matt: Baseball. The action is not as quick and free flowing, so there is time
in between plays to tell stories and talk about the atmosphere. Vin
Scully, who is the play-by-play guy for the LA Dodgers, is able to to
do the play-by-play and tell stories in between plays, and he does that
by himself. That couldn’t be done in any other sport.

What is the best part about covering sports both on-air and on the CMSB blog? Matt:
The fact that I am actually covering the games is probably the best
part. It’s also extremely nice to watch a game or be going to a game
and tell my lovely and understanding wife that “I can’t help it, I have
to work.” The free food is a great perk, too. OK, in all honesty, maybe
the free food is the best part.

Who, in your opinion, has been the most influential pro football player in the last 10 years? Jeff: Tom Brady. While the Patriots were the ultimate team, Tom Brady put the face on a franchise that was this close to moving to St. Louis. He picked it up by the boot straps when Drew Bledsoe was knocked out. Everyone in New England thought the season, and quite possibly the next two or three seasons, were down the drain when Bledsoe got hurt. Tom Brady changed all that. By the way, is it wrong to still grin from ear to ear that the New York Jets are indirectly responsible for the New England Patriots’ success as a franchise? Nope!

If you could have any athlete call in during the Weekend Warm-up, who would it be and why? Jeff: Larry Bird, hands down. Larry Bird gave New Englanders sports hope when none of the other teams came close. No one ever worked harder, no one ever got more out of less physical skill than Larry Bird, plus he is just a hair crazy and just may say something that would make news — that wouldn’t hurt.

Matt: That’s a tough one. A lot of athletes that are (big) names are horrific
interviews, but a lot of the guys who aren’t (big) names are really, really
good interviews. I think the guy I would want to interview most is
former Baltimore Colts receiver and New England Patriots head coach
Raymond Berry, because he made some of the dumbest decisions in the
history of pro football, and I would love to know exactly what he was
thinking all those years.

Visit Jeff and Matt at http://www.thecmsb.com, http://www.thebigjab.com or tune in at 96.3FM on your radio.


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