WBEZ | Chicago Bears http://www.wbez.org/tags/chicago-bears Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: Legendary Merry Prankster teams up with band for album, Chicago shows http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-03-13/morning-shift-legendary-merry-prankster-teams-chicago-band-111695 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/SurFeRGiRL30.jpg" style="width: 620px; height: 827px;" title="Flickr/SurFeRGiRL30" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/195691017&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Update on BP strike</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">A tentative agreement has been reached that could end a nationwide strike for oil refinery workers. Now, the pressure is on local refineries and unions to reach a deal. Talks are expected to resume Friday between striking workers in Northwest Indiana and oil giant BP. It&rsquo;s been more than a month since workers walked off the job at the Whiting refinery.Union workers say the main sticking point isn&rsquo;t over money - but safety. WBEZ&rsquo;s Michael Puente reports.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/mikepuentenews">Michael Puente</a> is WBEZ&#39;s Northwest Indiana reporter.&nbsp;</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/195691013&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Woman in Indiana faces feticide charge</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">Back in 2013, Purvi Patel went to a South Bend, Indiana, hospital with what seemed like a miscarriage. Upon further examination a doctor there found something even more serious. Patel later she admitted she had given birth, but disposed of the fetus near her family&rsquo;s restaurant. Now she&rsquo;s facing a possibility of 70 years in prison. As part of a <a href="http://www.pri.org/verticals/across-womens-lives">series</a>&nbsp;for PRI&rsquo;s &ldquo;The World&rdquo; examining reproductive rights around the globe, Amy Gastelum has been reporting the story and she joins us now.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em>Amy Gastelum is a registered nurse and reporter with <a href="https://twitter.com/PRI">Public Radio International</a>.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/195691010&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Marshall out, Cutler stays - what&#39;s next for Bears</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">The new men in charge of the Bears have had a busy week. Not busy enough for some, as quarterback Jay Cutler will continue to take snaps during the 2015 season. We find out who&rsquo;s in and who&rsquo;s out at Halas Hall, and why the much-maligned Cutler appears to be staying in place with Jim Coffman of The Beachwood Reporter.&nbsp;</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em>Jim Coffman is a reporter with&nbsp;</em><a href="https://twitter.com/BeachwoodReport"><em>The Beachwood Reporter.</em></a></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/195691005&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Legendary Merry Prankster teams up with band for album, Chicago shows</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">You can&rsquo;t say that Ken Babbs invented the &lsquo;60s. But you can say that he and his best friend Ken Kesey, along with their crew of Merry Pranksters, helped pull the country out of its Eisenhower-induced cultural slumber and wake us up to new and different levels of consciousness as far as what we can be individually and as Americans. The &ldquo;Intrepid Traveler&rdquo; novelist, and raconteur joins Morning Shift before performing Saturday with Thrill Jockey Record&#39;s Heat Leisure at Thalia Hall as part of <a href="http://www.austinpsychfest.com/levitation-chicago/">Levitation Chicago</a>.</p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest:&nbsp;</strong><em><a href="https://www.facebook.com/ken.babbs.1">Ken Babbs</a> is a Merry Prankster, writer and Ranconteur.</em></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/195691002&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_comments=true&amp;show_user=true&amp;show_reposts=false&amp;show_artwork=false" width="100%"></iframe></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><span style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: inherit; font-size: 24px; font-style: inherit; font-variant: inherit; font-weight: inherit; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Morning Shift prepares for St. Patrick&#39;s Day with Irish songs and stories</span></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);">On St. Patrick&rsquo;s Day, everyone is Irish. Or so the saying goes. In Chicago, where Irish-Americans make up the largest single ethnic group, many in the community continue to celebrate their heritage by downplaying the drunken revelry of St. Patty&rsquo;s Day and highlighting important Irish contributions to Western culture like prose, poetry, music, and storytelling. Megon McDonough and Susan O&rsquo;Halloran give us a bit of the latter two categories-a preview of their show <a href="http://evanstonspace.com/shows/?event_id=5580035">&quot;Pot of Gold: Irish Stories and Songs.&quot;</a></p><p style="margin: 0px 0px 18px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-family: Arial, sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-stretch: inherit; line-height: 22px; vertical-align: baseline; color: rgb(51, 51, 51);"><strong style="margin: 0px; padding: 0px; border: 0px; font-stretch: inherit; vertical-align: baseline;">Guest: </strong><em><a href="https://twitter.com/megonmcdonough">Megon McDonough</a> is a folk singer based in suburban Chicago.</em></p></p> Fri, 13 Mar 2015 08:01:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift/2015-03-13/morning-shift-legendary-merry-prankster-teams-chicago-band-111695 Are you ready for some football, in Northwest Indiana? http://www.wbez.org/news/are-you-ready-some-football-northwest-indiana-111377 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/NWI Football.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Chicago Bears may have hired a general manager, but they&rsquo;re still looking for a new coach to turn things around. Since the team failed to make the postseason &mdash; again &mdash; Bears fans have to get their playoff fix elsewhere.</p><p>But what if there was another team to root for...in the Chicago market?</p><p>Indiana state Rep. Earl Harris (D-East Chicago) plans to introduce a bill in the Indiana General Assembly to lure a new NFL team to Northwest Indiana to spark development.</p><p>Call it Harris&rsquo; version of fantasy football.</p><p>&ldquo;I want to talk about it. I want to create enthusiasm. I want to get some of the people that I call shakers and movers involved in it and we&rsquo;ll see where it goes,&rdquo; Harris said. &ldquo;The idea of having three football teams, I think it would work. I think it would be an economic boon especially in Northwest Indiana.&rdquo;</p><p>Northwest Indiana resident Tom Byelick says even though he&rsquo;s a Bears fan, he could root for another team that plays in his backyard.</p><p>&ldquo;I think it&rsquo;s a great idea,&rdquo; Byelick said at Rodney&rsquo;s Sports Bar in Highland, Indiana. &ldquo;Look at it this way, at least 70,000 people coming in here six or eight weekends out of the year bringing in a lot of money, buying tickets and souvenirs and drinks things like that. I don&rsquo;t think there&rsquo;s any way to lose.&rdquo;</p><p>As it turns out, this wouldn&rsquo;t be Northwest Indiana&rsquo;s first football team.</p><p>Nearly a century ago, the Hammond Pros played for six seasons during the early days of the NFL.</p><p>Coach Fritz Pollard would later become the first black coach in the NFL. And future Bears owner George Halas was originally a wide receiver for the Pros, whose &ldquo;home&rdquo; games were played at Wrigley Field.</p><p>But before you get too excited, here&rsquo;s where fantasy meets reality.</p><p>&ldquo;Never say never but there&rsquo;s almost no chance there&rsquo;s an NFL team relocating to northern Indiana,&rdquo; said Daniel Kaplan, a writer for the Sports Business Journal. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s no way [the Bears] would stand for a team there. And secondly, the NFL doesn&rsquo;t have any interest in relocating there.&rdquo;</p><p>Of course, 20 years ago it was the Bears who considered relocating to Northwest Indiana.&nbsp;</p><p>The team flirted with the idea of building a new stadium in Gary as a way to get Chicago to renovate Soldier Field. The proposed stadium was called Planet Park &mdash; and featured a futuristic, space-ship-looking design.</p><p>Sound familiar?</p><p>Speros Batistatos, head of the South Shore Convention &amp; Visitors Authority, says Northwest Indiana needs to give visitors more reasons to pull off the expressways.</p><p>&ldquo;If we&rsquo;re going to compete in the global marketplace, we&rsquo;ve got to start spending some money creating venues that people are going to want to go to,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;I don&rsquo;t think it should be limited to just the chase of an NFL team.&rdquo;</p><p>Tom Byelick believes an NFL team is worth chasing, but first residents have to believe in themselves.</p><p>&ldquo;Northwest Indiana in particular got some what of an inferiority complex,&quot; Byelick said. &quot;We&rsquo;re that part of the state that Indiana doesn&rsquo;t really want and Chicago doesn&rsquo;t really claim us either. We have a tendency to kind of downplay our own virtues. I mean why not aim high?&rdquo;</p><p>Especially after a season that had Bears fans feeling so low.</p></p> Fri, 09 Jan 2015 15:57:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/are-you-ready-some-football-northwest-indiana-111377 Bears fire GM Phil Emery, coach Marc Trestman http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/bears-fire-gm-phil-emery-coach-marc-trestman-111301 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/14732463489_37a7948514_z.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>LAKE FOREST, Ill. &mdash;&nbsp;The Chicago Bears fired general manager Phil Emery and coach Marc Trestman on Monday, making sweeping changes after missing the playoffs for the seventh time in eight years.</p><p>Trestman is out after going 13-19 in two seasons while Emery lasted just three years. The Bears went 5-11 in a mostly miserable season, never challenging for the NFC North lead after the first few weeks as quarterback Jay Cutler and the rest of the offense struggled mightily.</p><p>&quot;This job was an opportunity of a lifetime. My only regret is that we didn&#39;t win enough games for that opportunity to continue,&quot; Emery said in a brief session with reporters.</p><p>He also thanked the organization and borrowed a lyric from singer Carrie Newcomer, saying, &quot;We stand breathless on the clean edge of change. It&#39;s time to change and move forward.&quot;</p><p>Emery did not take questions from reporters.</p><p>Trestman, in a statement issued through the team, thanked the team-owning McCaskey family for the opportunity to coach the Bears.</p><p>&quot;I also want to thank all the coaches and players who gave us everything we asked over the past two years,&quot; he said. &quot;I have tremendous respect for this organization.&quot;</p><p>The new GM and coach could have a big decision to make with quarterback Jay Cutler. He tied Philip Rivers for the league lead with 18 interceptions after signing a huge, seven-year contract at the end of last season.</p><p>The house cleaning was certainly not what the Bears envisioned with a prolific offense returning intact and a rebuilt defense in tow. But little went right for Chicago this season.</p><p>There were distractions throughout the year, whether it was linebacker Lance Briggs being allowed to miss practice to open a restaurant in California the week of the opener or offensive coordinator Aaron Kromer admitting he was the NFL Network&#39;s source behind a critical report of Cutler late in the season.</p><p>Trestman, who was hired to get the most out of Cutler, benched the highly paid quarterback in favor of Jimmy Clausen for the second-to-last game of the season against Detroit. Cutler wound up starting the final game after Clausen suffered a concussion against the Lions, adding another chapter to a season-long soap opera.</p><p>Trestman also surprised some by allowing star receiver Brandon Marshall to fly to New York on a weekly basis to record Showtime&#39;s &quot;Inside the NFL.&quot; Marshall, who is open about his struggles with borderline personality disorder, had an off year and at one point gave a rambling news conference over past allegations of domestic abuse. He also challenged a Detroit fan on Twitter to a boxing match for charity, and reporters standing in the hallway overheard him screaming in the locker room after a loss to Miami at Soldier Field in October that raised all sorts of questions about where the team was headed.</p><p>The answers came right after that.</p><p>The Bears joined the 1923 Rochester Jeffersons as the only teams to give up 50 or more points in back-to-back games while dropping the next two at New England and Green Bay. Trestman&#39;s meek response after defensive end Lamarr Houston suffered a season-ending knee injury celebrating a late sack against the Patriots &mdash; &quot;I&#39;m disappointed for Lamarr,&quot; he said twice &mdash; only fueled doubts about his leadership.</p><p>In recent weeks, it was clear changes were coming. The question was how far up the ladder they would go.</p><p>&quot;At the end of the day, we didn&#39;t get the job done,&quot; tight end Martellus Bennett said. &quot;It&#39;s not just coaches. It&#39;s everybody. We didn&#39;t have a successful year as players. So the coaches didn&#39;t have a successful year. I think everybody has their hand in the pot. And the gumbo doesn&#39;t taste that great when everybody&#39;s hand is in the pot.&quot;</p><p>Emery, who replaced the fired Jerry Angelo, was hired with a mandate to work with former coach Lovie Smith for at least one season. He fired Smith after the Bears missed the playoffs despite a 10-6 record in 2012, ending a nine-year run that produced three playoff appearances and a trip to the Super Bowl.</p><p>Since, then, the team has been in decline.</p><p>Trestman led the CFL&#39;s Montreal Alouettes to two championships in five years but had never been a head coach in the NFL and at times seemed overmatched by the job. Along with the distractions, the offense took a huge step back: Chicago went from second in scoring to 23rd this year despite having all its starters back.</p><p>Giving Cutler a big contract after last season when the franchise player tag was an option is looking like another mistake. Emery did have success rebuilding the offensive line before the 2013 season, drafting Kyle Long and bringing in Jermon Bushrod and Matt Slauson.</p><p>But the makeover he gave the defense last offseason did not pay off. Chicago continued to rank among the league&#39;s worst in that area under Mel Tucker, with Jared Allen struggling and fellow newcomer Houston getting injured on that ill-advised sack celebration. Only the Saints and Falcons gave up more yards per game than the Bears.</p><p>Just like his predecessor, Emery also had a spotty draft record, with some hits such as Long and Alshon Jeffery and a big miss in Shea McClellin.</p><p>&quot;Something has to change,&quot; veteran cornerback Tim Jennings said. &quot;I&#39;m not surprised by it. I mean, hopefully it will be a good one this time.&quot;</p></p> Mon, 29 Dec 2014 13:07:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/bears-fire-gm-phil-emery-coach-marc-trestman-111301 Morning Shift: The big personalities and big wins of the 1985 Chicago Bears http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-28/morning-shift-big-personalities-and-big-wins-1985 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/bears Flickr The Downstairs Lounge.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We talk with Rich Cohen about his new book on the Chicago Bears&#39; magical 1985 season. We also hear reactions to the long-awaited Lake Shore Drive extension and delve into the complications that come with labeling sexuality.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-43/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-43.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-43" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: The big personalities and big wins of the 1985 Chicago Bears" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 28 Oct 2013 08:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-10-28/morning-shift-big-personalities-and-big-wins-1985 Bears fans react to debate over concussions http://www.wbez.org/news/bears-fans-react-debate-over-concussions-108905 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/flickr_mikemorbeck.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>A senior football player at Lane Tech high school <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-10-10/news/chi-injured-lane-tech-players-family-to-attend-game-20131010_1_waiting-game-sister-critical-condition">remains in critical condition today</a> after suffering a severe head injury at last Friday&rsquo;s game.</p><p>It&rsquo;s the latest, and perhaps most local, in a string of news stories about football-related brain injuries.</p><p>On Tuesday, PBS FRONTLINE began airing a much-anticipated documentary, called<em> <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/league-of-denial/">League of Denial</a></em>, based on a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/League-Denial-Concussions-Battle-Truth-ebook/dp/B00DXKJ6IQ">book</a> by the same name, about football&rsquo;s connection to long-term brain damage.</p><p><a href="http://www.nj.com/giants/index.ssf/2013/10/league_of_denial_documentary_is_a_cautionary_tale_for_every_parent_and_should_give_pause_to_every_nf.html">Some</a> <a href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1803918-league-of-denial-strikes-at-the-heart-of-the-nfl-and-football-as-we-know-it">say</a> the documentary, and the companion book by Steve Fainaru and Mark Fainaru-Wada, could fundamentally change how people view the game of football.</p><p>WBEZ wondered what kind of impact the overall debate has had on local football fans. We headed to Soldier Field two hours before kick-off Thursday night to find out.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s what a few Bears fans had to say:</p><blockquote><p>&ldquo;(The NFL is) doing a lot to improve the game, but it&rsquo;s a little too late for the guys that have been playing for 20, 30 years.&rdquo; - Paul Loftus</p><p>&ldquo;It changed the perspective a little bit, but we love football. We&rsquo;re a football family.&rdquo; - Chris French</p><p>&ldquo;I think everybody, before they get into high-level football, should be aware of the risks. But I think, everything in life is kind of a risk-reward decision. So (players) should be aware of the risk before they make their decision, because I feel like up to this point, it&rsquo;s been a lot of, we don&rsquo;t really know how bad concussions are, but now they know.&rdquo; - Val Pinskiy</p><p>&ldquo;If I had a son, I would look at the way, they play football. But as far as watching a game, that&rsquo;s what you pay for. They&rsquo;re kind of like gladiators.&rdquo; - Kurt Schlickman</p></blockquote><p>What do you think about the link between football and long-term brain damage? Has it changed how you view professional football? College? High school? Pop Warner?</p><p>Have you seen the PBS FRONTLINE documentary? What did you think? Note: League of Denial: The NFL&rsquo;s Concussion Crisis airs again tonight, Friday, Oct. 11 at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m. on WTTW. Find other local times <a href="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/local-schedule/">here</a>.</p><p><em>Share your thoughts in the comment section below or e-mail WBEZ producer Becky Vevea at <a href="mailto:bvevea@wbez.org">bvevea@wbez.org</a>.</em></p><p><em>Monica Eng contributed to reporting. Becky Vevea is a producer for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="https://twitter.com/WBEZeducation">@WBEZeducation</a>.</em></p></p> Fri, 11 Oct 2013 15:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/bears-fans-react-debate-over-concussions-108905 Does Marc Trestman hold the Bears' Golden Ticket? http://www.wbez.org/news/does-marc-trestman-hold-bears-golden-ticket-108783 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Trestman AP Photo_Don Wright.jpg" alt="" /><p><p dir="ltr" id="docs-internal-guid-7fcd7129-5c84-6b53-f704-d4025a62f3f1">Marc Trestman is a former college quarterback who was certainly known in and around football. He had 17 years of experience in the NFL with eight different organizations. He worked as a running backs&rsquo; coach, a quarterbacks&rsquo; coach and an offensive coordinator; he coached college ball too. He was a football savant but rubbed people the wrong way. And then...he disappeared.</p><p dir="ltr">The football world knew he was in Canada but didn&rsquo;t pay too much attention to that, according to Yahoo! Sports writer <a href="http://sports.yahoo.com/news/football-thursday--bears-coach-marc-trestman-needed-exile-in-canada-to-overcome--doesn-t-relate-well--reputation-174051955.html">Les Carpenter</a>. Trestman had spent the last five years in Montreal coaching the Alouettes; he led the team to back-to-back Grey Cup championships, that&rsquo;s Canada&rsquo;s version of the Super Bowl. He was the CFL&rsquo;s Coach of the Year in 2009.</p><p dir="ltr">So what changed? Why after years of being bounced around the NFL was he suddenly this successful head coach? Carpenter traveled to Canada to find out.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think he went up there and he realized, &lsquo;I need to understand people. I need to deal with football players as people--not as names on a roster sheet or numbers in front of me on jerseys.&rsquo; And I think a lot of the players really embraced that. They felt, &lsquo;gosh, this is a guy who really cares about me,&rsquo;&rdquo; Carpenter explained.</p><p dir="ltr">That&rsquo;s certainly how Alouette wide receiver Brandon London felt&hellip;eventually.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I didn&rsquo;t think that we were going to get along...because I was thinking in my head, here&rsquo;s a coach that&rsquo;s going to try and change me. But after that three years of being together, Coach Trestman&rsquo;s become a really good friend of mine, (a) really good mentor of mine,&rdquo; London said.</p><p dir="ltr">And London&rsquo;s not starving for football mentors. His father&rsquo;s Mike London, a former NFL player and the current head coach at the University of Virginia.</p><p dir="ltr">But, London said Trestman made him think about football in a very different, very detailed way. Or as he put it, &ldquo;obsessive.&rdquo; And Carpenter concurred.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;He wants things to be very meticulous...almost to the point where there can&rsquo;t be typos in the schedule that they put out every day for the things that they&rsquo;re going to do,&rdquo; Carpenter explained.</p><p dir="ltr">Trestman&rsquo;s current players had even more to say about his character.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I always say Coach Trestman reminds me of the first Willy Wonka...not the Johnny Depp one, the Johnny Depp one&rsquo;s really cool...but the first one. Cause if you really look at coach, he&rsquo;s a genius...I thought Willy Wonka was brilliant,&rdquo; tight end Martellus Bennett said recently.</p><p dir="ltr">And, the candy man, like Trestman, for those who don&rsquo;t remember, had an eye for detail.</p><p dir="ltr">It makes sense that Trestman is a meticulous guy. He is, after all, an attorney. He got his law degree while working as an assistant coach under Jimmy Johnson at the University of Miami. &nbsp;Between NFL gigs in the &lsquo;90s, Trestman also spent a few years working as a stockbroker, selling municipal bonds and managing investment portfolios.</p><p dir="ltr">Oh...and he <a href="http://www.coachmarctrestman.com/">wrote a book</a> about perseverance and leadership and he is frequently referred to as a genius. But Carpenter said that Trestman&rsquo;s smarts often rubbed people the wrong way.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;I think it was some of the bookish look, the lawyerish look as somebody described it to me...I think some of it was that idea that he wasn&rsquo;t going to come out drinking, he wasn&rsquo;t going to hang out in bars with other coaches,&rdquo; Carpenter surmised.</p><p dir="ltr">That seemed to be something Trestman was able to work through in Montreal. Because London called him a friend and Bears tight end Martellus Bennett now says the Bears look at their coach as one of the players.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;He&rsquo;s just like of the guys out there...he&rsquo;s like a teammate to us, he&rsquo;s not just a coach...he&rsquo;s part of this team,&rdquo; Bennett explained.</p><p dir="ltr">WBEZ sports contributor Cheryl Raye-Stout has covered the Monsters of the Midway for the better part of three decades. She wasn&rsquo;t sold on the Wonka analogy but said, &ldquo;If they [the Bears] could make the playoffs, then the Golden Ticket I think would be punched then.&rdquo;</p><p dir="ltr">She said the surest way to do that is to get Jay Cutler to buy in--and that shouldn&rsquo;t be too difficult for Trestman. He coached some of the NFL&rsquo;s best quarterbacks. He coached Steve Young and Rich Gannon; Gannon won the NFL MVP during Trestman&rsquo;s time with the Oakland Raiders.</p><p dir="ltr">And, Raye-Stout said, Trestman has already put in extra time with Cutler.</p><p dir="ltr">&ldquo;Trestman took all of every negative play that Cutler had last year...all the sacks, all the interceptions, all the bad plays and showed it to him. To kind of show him, this is what we&rsquo;re gonna work on. Jay was taken aback at first and then realized, he was dealing with someone that was not just on his level but above his level,&rdquo; Raye-Stout recalled.</p><p dir="ltr">At the end of the day, Bears fans won&rsquo;t care if Trestman is Willy Wonka, a lawyer, a quarterbacks coach, a stockbroker or a genius...so long as he&rsquo;s a winner.</p><p>Katie O&rsquo;Brien is a WBEZ reporter and producer. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/katieobez">@katieobez.</a></p></p> Thu, 26 Sep 2013 18:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/does-marc-trestman-hold-bears-golden-ticket-108783 Morning Shift: The music of Curtis Mayfield http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-26/morning-shift-music-curtis-mayfield-108776 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/vinyl music thursday Flickr by Peter Organisciak.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Tony Sarabia and Richard Steele welcome Reggie Torian to talk abou the soulful, complex sounds of Curtis Mayfield. We also hear about Bears head coach, Marc Trestman, and check in with an organizer of the world&#39;s second oldest LGBT film fest.</p></p> Thu, 26 Sep 2013 12:53:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-26/morning-shift-music-curtis-mayfield-108776 Chicago film pioneer Ronn Pitts dies http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-09/chicago-film-pioneer-ronn-pitts-dies-108745 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6674_121115-Ron-Pitts2_0.jpg" style="height: 260px; width: 350px; float: left;" title="File: Filmmaker Ronn Pitts at his Columbia College Chicago office in 2012. (WBEZ/Alison Cuddy)" /><a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6YCTALHzoeg">Ronn Pitts</a> was such a popular and beloved teacher at Columbia College Chicago, some of his students created a <a href="https://www.facebook.com/groups/66576121688/">Facebook page</a> praising his &ldquo;cool&rdquo;.</div><p>Pitts, a native of Bronzeville, died yesterday at the age of 76. He lived a remarkable and adventurous life, including breaking the color barrier in Chicago filmmaking and academic circles.</p><p>But his biggest impact may well be as a teacher and mentor, a man committed to community and social activism.</p><p>Pitts was both cool and warm. When I met him in late 2012, I felt as if I&rsquo;d immediately made a lifelong friend. I&rsquo;ve yet to meet a faculty member or student at Columbia who doesn&rsquo;t remember him fondly.</p><p>Jerry Blumenthal of Kartemquin Films met Pitts when, with Margaret Caples, they set up the <a href="http://www.cfwchicago.org/">Community Film Workshop</a> at the &ldquo;old&rdquo; Columbia College (then located at 540 Lake Shore Drive).</p><p>&ldquo;He made you feel very good and very happy about being a member of the film community,&rdquo; said Blumenthal. &ldquo;He was a great comrade, extremely friendly and funny and warm.&rdquo;</p><p>Like many others, Blumenthal says Pitts was also humble and never got the recognition he deserved.</p><p>Pitts led a life with Zelig-like qualities: He found himself in the midst of history-making events time and time again.</p><p>He was the first African-American hired to teach film at Columbia College and was still teaching there at the time of his death. He also broke color barriers as a filmmaker. Pitts and Joe Stratton, the man he called &nbsp;&ldquo;my best friend of all friends,&rdquo; were hired by George Halas in the 1960s to shoot film for the Chicago Bears.</p><p>&ldquo;We were the first blacks to shoot for any professional football team ever,&rdquo; Pitts said in a 2012 interview.</p><p>He also recounted adventures like filming during the 1965 march to Selma, Ala., and being &ldquo;kidnapped&rdquo; by Muhammad Ali to document the boxer as he prepared for his big fight against George Foreman in 1974.</p><p>Pitts got into film by working as a shipping clerk at a camera rental company, a job his mother got him (before that he was a bookie placing bets on horses). But shooting film was a major struggle.</p><p>&ldquo;There were no blacks shooting (news) cameras until 1973,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;There were no women, no blacks, nothing but white males.&rdquo;</p><p>In our 2012 interview, Pitts told me his own students got the same treatment when he sent them out to cover news, including fires or speeches by the mayor.</p><p>&ldquo;That was a great experience, because then I recognized what prejudice truly was,&rdquo; Pitts said. &ldquo;Those old men, they would cut their cords,&rdquo; and challenged him for training minorities.</p><p>Pitts eventually left Chicago, settling in San Francisco for 17 years. While there, he captured the death of gay rights pioneer Harvey Milk on film. He was in the Audubon Ballroom in Harlem the night Malcolm X was assassinated (Pitts said his footage was seized by police). And, he was behind the camera the day <strike>Chicago Bears</strike>&nbsp;Detroit Lions wide receiver Chuck Hughes died of a heart attack on the Tiger Stadium field, during a game against the Chicago Bears. Pitts said those moments were the &ldquo;shocking things&rdquo; about filmmaking. &ldquo;You can&rsquo;t take it back,&quot; he said. &quot;And you sleep with that at night, knowing that you captured death in your lens.&quot;</p><p>Pitts received his share of accolades &ndash; there&rsquo;s a <a href="http://www.colum.edu/Student_Financial_Services/create-a-plan/scholarships/ronn-pitts.php">scholarship in his name</a> at Columbia and he&rsquo;s been recognized by other film organizations. &nbsp;October 10 was declared Ronn Pitts day in Chicago, and Charles Celander, the Operations Manager in Columbia&rsquo;s Cinema Art and Science program, says they always celebrate with cake and good cheer.</p><p>That&rsquo;s a fitting tribute for Pitts, who despite some truly heavy experiences, remained a light and joyful spirit. &nbsp;When we spoke, Pitts said he considered himself a real live servant, a mission he encouraged others to accept.</p><p>&ldquo;We are here on this planet to take care of each other,&rdquo; said Pitts. &ldquo;And that&rsquo;s it.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Alison Cuddy is WBEZ&rsquo;s Arts and Culture reporter and co-hosts the WBEZ podcasts <a href="https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/wbezs-changing-channels/id669715774?mt=2">Changing Channels</a> and <a href="https://soundcloud.com/strangebrews">Strange Brews</a>. Follow her on<a href="https://twitter.com/wbezacuddy"> Twitter</a>,<a href="https://www.facebook.com/cuddyalison?ref=tn_tnmn"> Facebook</a> and<a href="http://instagram.com/cuddyreport"> Instagram</a></em></p></p> Mon, 23 Sep 2013 16:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/alison-cuddy/2013-09/chicago-film-pioneer-ronn-pitts-dies-108745 Morning Shift: Car-free and gravity-free http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-23/morning-shift-car-free-and-gravity-free-108739 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Spacewalker Flickr by Luke Bryant.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Andy and Alden from the Better Government Association give us the nitty gritty on lawsuits and the city. We also hear from a man who&#39;s walked in space-a lot! Retired astronaut Jerry Ross.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-130923/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-130923.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-130923" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Car-free and gravity-free" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 23 Sep 2013 08:36:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-23/morning-shift-car-free-and-gravity-free-108739 The origins of Chicago's sports mascots http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/origins-chicagos-sports-mascots-108693 <p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F111260692" width="100%"></iframe></p><div class="image-insert-image ">Craig Scanlon from Chicago&#39;s Ravenswood neighborhood noticed something odd about a couple of the city&#39;s sports teams. One: The Bears and the Cubs are awfully similar mascots. Two: Are there even any bears in Chicago? Seeking some clarity, he asked Curious City this question:</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div style="text-align: center;"><em>What are the origins of Chicago&rsquo;s professional sports mascots?</em></div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>In the true spirit of sportsmanship, we asked a team of WBEZ producers to take on Craig&#39;s question. And we start with Benny the Bull.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Bulls</strong>&nbsp;<strong>mascot - Benny the Bull</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Benny%20the%20Bull%20original1.jpg" title="Benny the Bull (AP/File)" /></div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><br />Despite becoming one of the league&rsquo;s most successful franchises, the Chicago Bulls took some time&mdash;and some sweet talk&mdash;to get running.<br /><br />The Bulls were the fourth attempt to establish an NBA team in Chicago. First there was the Stags&hellip;then, if you can believe it, the Chicago Packers and lastly, and ever-so-briefly, the Chicago Zephyrs. According to Bulls lore (and The Chicago Bulls Encyclopedia), the club&rsquo;s first owner, Richard Klein, wanted the team&rsquo;s name to reflect strength and power and the city&rsquo;s reputation as Hog Butcher for the World.<br /><br />&ldquo;At first,&rdquo; Klein explained at the time, &ldquo;I was thinking of names like Matadors or Toreadors, but if you think about it, no team with as many as three syllables in its nickname has ever had much success except for the Canadians. I was sitting around the house, kicking these names around with my wife and three sons, when my little son Mark said, &lsquo;Dad, that&rsquo;s a bunch of bull!&rsquo; I said, &lsquo;That&rsquo;s it! We&rsquo;ll call them the Bulls!&rsquo; And that&rsquo;s how the team got its nickname.&rdquo;<br /><br />The team&rsquo;s mascot required more hot air than that. After the few other failed attempts to bring pro basketball to Chicago, the city&rsquo;s sports fans&mdash;and writers&mdash;weren&rsquo;t interested. So the Bulls brought on a former big-time fight announcer to be the team&rsquo;s public relations man. Ben Bentley, affectionately known to the boxing world and beyond as &ldquo;Benny,&rdquo; said he used to struggle to give tickets away in the early days; he used to turn up daily at Chicago&rsquo;s four newspapers to talk up the team and hand out tickets. His thought was, if he got them in the seats, he&rsquo;d make sure they had a reason to come back for more. One time, he wrestled a bear at half time to get people talking!<br /><br />And so, the team&rsquo;s original hype man lives on in its luv-a-bull mascot, Benny the Bull.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>-Katie O&#39;Brien</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Blackhawks</strong>&nbsp;<strong>mascot - Tommy Hawk</strong><br />&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Tommyhawk1.jpg" style="height: 300px; width: 450px; float: right;" title="Tommyhawk (AP/File)" />The Blackhawks are named so in honor of a the 19th-century Sauk Indian warrior, Black Hawk. His tribe made their home along Illinois&rsquo;s Rock River. He began his quest to keep that land for his people as a teenager&mdash;and did so well into his 60s. After tribes in the region signed over lands east of the Mississippi River to the federal government, Black Hawk led a rebellion. He and some 1,500 followers&mdash;500 warriors and 1,000 women and children&mdash;on a 15-week campaign which caused panic in the area. Ultimately, Black Hawk was captured and most of his followers were killed. &nbsp; &nbsp;</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><br />It was his captors that turned him into a mascot of sorts. He was taken to Washington, where he met with President Andrew Jackson. Black Hawk became a media sensation, the symbol of resistance and rebellion, strength and resilience.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;<br /><br />When the team&rsquo;s founder, Major Frederic McLaughlin, he drew inspiration from his time serving as an Army commander in WWI. His division called themselves the Black Hawks in honor of the warrior.<br /><br />Beth Carvey, directs the museum at Black Hawk State Historic Site in Rock Island. She said Black Hawk believed in fighting for his people and doing what was right by his people, even if it was a lost cause.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">The Blackhawks introduced Tommy Hawk, a hawk clad in a Blackhawk&#39;s jersey and pants and sporting the four feathers of the logo on his head, in the 2001-2002 season.&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><em>-Katie O&#39;Brien</em></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><strong>Bears mascot - Staley</strong></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Bears%20mascot1.jpg" style="height: 311px; width: 210px; float: left;" title="Staley (AP/File)" /></div><p>George Halas, one of the founding fathers of the NFL, didn&rsquo;t first start with the name Bears for his original franchise. The team began playing in 1919 in Decatur, Illinois and was known as the Decatur Staleys since it was a owned by the A.E. Staley food starch company.&nbsp;</p><p>Halas took over the club in 1920 and moved the team to Chicago in 1921. According to the present team chairman, George McCaskey (and Halas grandson), the team had to keep the name Staleys for one year after they moved to Chicago, while they played at Wrigley Field.&nbsp; Halas thought about naming his Chicago team, the Cubs, but thought football players were tougher and decided to anoint them as the Chicago Bears.</p><p>The team in recent years has had a kid-friendly team mascot that is a huge, almost cuddly bear, named Staley. His name was to honor the original team&#39;s name and also the hope that the name may inspire children to seek the history.</p><p><em>-Cheryl Raye-Stout</em></p><p><strong>White Sox mascot - Southpaw</strong></p><p>The Chicago White Sox installed &ldquo;Southpaw&rdquo; as their U.S. Cellular Field mascot in 2002. The green, lizard-like character&rsquo;s name references left-handed pitchers and the ball club&#39;s location on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side. But you have to go back decades to get a taste of some of the mascot controversy that has embroiled the White Sox over the years . Andy the Clown was Andy Rozdilsky dressed in clown makeup, a bowler hat, glasses and a ruffled collared polka-dotted costume. For over 20 year he would run around the park inciting shouts of &ldquo;Gooooo yooooouuuuu White Sox&rdquo; from children and adults alike as the unofficial mascot of the Chicago White Sox. Rozdilsky clowned around Comiskey Park from 1961-1981, until Jerry Reinsdorf&rsquo;s ownership group bought the team.</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/South Paw.jpg" style="float: right; height: 405px; width: 300px;" title="South Paw " /></p><p>Reinsdorf hired a design firm to come up with a new mascot for the White Sox in an effort to keep up with the times, and plushy dinosaurs, chickens and other assorted abstract animals were all the rage.</p><p>White Sox management introduced Ribbie and Roobarb, two almost inexplicably strange characters in 1981, but they were instantly unpopular as fans overwhelmingly rebelled against them, hurling insults, mock fighting and spitting on the duo. Fans waged a phone-in campaign to have the White Sox reinstate Andy, who had been banned from the park (while wearing his costume). Eventually the club compromised, saying Rozdilsky could continue to perform in the upper decks only, but fans would go out of their way to sneak Andy into the lower grandstands.</p><p>When the Sox moved to the new Comiskey Park, the White Sox officially retired Andy the Clown, and Rozdilsky retired from clowning (in costume) a few short years before he passed away in 1995.</p><p><em>-Justin Kaufmann</em></p><p><strong>Chicago Cardinals - Pom-Pon Girls, Cardettes and Gary Mann</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="Cardinals &quot;Pom Pon&quot; Girls (Photo Courtesy of Chicago History Museum)" chicago="" class="image-original_image" courtesy="" girls="" history="" of="" photo="" pom="" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Cardinals%20Pom%20Pon%20Girls1.jpg" style="float: left; height: 353px; width: 400px;" title="Cardinals &quot;Pom Pon&quot; Girls (Photo Courtesy of Chicago History Museum)" /></div><p>Chicago&rsquo;s pro-football stepchild, the Chicago Cardinals, which became the St. Louis Cardinals, which became the Arizona Cardinals, didn&rsquo;t have an official mascot, according to sources with the team as well as at the Pro Football Hall of Fame and the Chicago History Museum, but in the 1940s &amp; 50s they had the &quot;Pom-Pon Girls,&rdquo; the team&rsquo;s &quot;official vocalist, Gary Mann&quot; who sang the National Anthem, and the Cardettes, a &quot; 30-girl twirling and precision group.&quot;</p><p>The Cardinals played in Chicago until 1960, when for the sake of its financial survival, the team moved to St. Louis.<br /><br />The team&rsquo;s origins go back to 1898 when owner Chris O&#39;Brien formed the Morgan Athletic Club. Some years later, he bought used jerseys from the University of Chicago. Because the jerseys were old and used, they lacked the University&rsquo;s deep maroon color and were a strange faded red. O&rsquo;Brien decided the jerseys were &ldquo;Cardinal Red&rdquo;. The new &ldquo;Cardinals&rdquo; started playing their games on Chicago&rsquo;s South Side at 61st and Racine. They were known then as the &ldquo;Racine Street Cardinals&rdquo;.<br /><br /><em>Special thanks to Jon Kendle of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Lesley Martin of the Chicago History Museum and Allison LeClair of the NFL&#39;s Arizona Cardinals.</em></p><p><em>-Steve Bynum</em></p><p><strong>Chicago Cubs - No Mascot</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/cubs%20logo.jpg" title="(Logan Jaffe)" /></div><p>The Chicago Cubs are one of four teams (Angels, Cubs, Yankees and Dodgers) with no official mascot. However, with the new 5-year, $300 million expansion plan for Wrigley Field, the club has reportedly partnered with Northwestern University to conduct a poll about what kid-friendly experiences to add to the ballpark. Among those items discussed, an official mascot, according to the <a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2013-03-09/sports/ct-spt-0310-cubs-spring-training-chicago--20130310_1_new-mascots-sox-fans-tommy-hawk">Chicago Tribune</a>.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Chicago Fire - Sparky</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Sparky1.jpg" title="Sparky (AP/File)" /></div><p>The official mascot for the Chicago Fire is Sparky, who resembles an upright Dalmatian. The mascot generally wears a Fire jersey, but it can often be seen entering Toyota Park in fireman attire. The Chicago Fire made Sparky the official mascot in 1998.&nbsp;</p><p><strong>Chicago Sky - Sky Guy</strong></p><div class="image-insert-image " style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Sky%20Guy1.jpg" title="(Courtesy of WBEZ's Jennifer Brandel)" /></div><p>Sky Guy is a yellow and blue-suited sky diver with a jet pack. Sky Guy has been the official mascot since the Chicago Sky became an offiicial WNBA team in 2006.</p><p><em>-Tim Akimoff</em></p></p> Tue, 17 Sep 2013 09:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/origins-chicagos-sports-mascots-108693