WBEZ | Wrigley Field http://www.wbez.org/tags/wrigley-field Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The design of the Wrigley Scoreboard: Revolutionary, retro or both? http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/design-wrigley-scoreboard-revolutionary-retro-or-both-112916 <p><p>Wrigley Field got a lot of press last spring when it debuted the much-anticipated (or much-dreaded) mammoth-sized video board. On opening day, Cubs fans &mdash; some grinning, some grunting &mdash; feasted their eyes on 39,000 square-feet of instant replays, player stats, and pitch speeds. In other words, the works.</p><p>But if you do the math, this Jumbotron and its right-field counterpart (a smaller screen that lists each team&#39;s batting lineup) didn&rsquo;t add up to two ways to track games at Wrigley Field. It made three.</p><p>Because, tucked in the back of the center field bleachers, sits the same, rinkydink hand-operated scoreboard that&rsquo;s sat there for 78 years. And, amid Wrigley&rsquo;s newfound displays of digital data, that old, middle board still makes an impression.</p><p>&ldquo;I was more struck by the scoreboard than the action on the field, to be honest with you,&rdquo; says Tom Foust, whose Curious City question was inspired by his first and only Chicago Cubs game last season.</p><p>Tom says he found himself lost in a daygame daydream, imagining what impressions that board must have left on Cubs fans in 1937, the year it debuted. And he asked us this:</p><p dir="ltr" style="text-align: center;"><em>Was the Wrigley Field scoreboard a revolution in information design for 193</em>7?</p><p>Assessing whether a new technology amounts to a revolution is tricky. The cotton gin revolutionized agriculture, and television forever changed the way we consume entertainment.</p><p>But what&rsquo;s a <em>scoreboard</em> ever done? Or, as Tom wants to know, should <em>this </em>scoreboard join the ranks of the pie chart and the emoticon as a revolutionary piece of visual communication.</p><p>For an answer, we delve into how the board was shaped, and we evaluate whether the design holds up today. And we get some extra-inning goodness: Regardless of its innovations (or lack thereof), the board tests the idea that everything old can indeed become new again.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">The crafting and cobbling together of &lsquo;beautiful&rsquo; Wrigley Field</span></p><p>The story of the Wrigley Field scoreboard starts with a vision for the entire stadium.</p><p>Philip Knight Wrigley inherited the Cubs from his father, the chewing gum magnate who ran the team as a hobby. PK Wrigley promised to keep the Cubs in the family business, though, and was intrigued with the idea of filling seats more than actually running the team.</p><p>In fact, PK Wrigley didn&rsquo;t even like baseball.</p><p>&ldquo;He loved art. He loved flowers,&rdquo; says Stuart Shea, who wrote a book about Wrigley Field&rsquo;s history. &ldquo;He was a tinkerer, an idea guy. Not a great people person. A strange bird.&rdquo;</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/AP_770412037.jpg" style="height: 241px; width: 320px; float: right;" title="Philip K. Wrigley, left, poses with Charles Grimm at the Chicago Cubs training camp on Catalina Island, California in 1934. (AP Photo)" /></div><p>But being a man of marketing and aesthetics, Wrigley set out to expand Wrigley Field&rsquo;s audience. In a redesign he first considered for the 1937 season, he wanted to attract new fans: women, children, and men more like himself. And the way to do it, he thought, was to make the place irresistible.</p><p>&ldquo;One of PK Wrigley&rsquo;s most brilliant thoughts was this idea of you can&rsquo;t guarantee whether a team will win or lose, but you can guarantee whether the park is going to be clean, and the food is going to be good and the facilities are going to be adequate,&rdquo; Shea says. &ldquo;He said, &lsquo;I&rsquo;m going to pour my money into making this a place where people want to spend the day.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Wrigley branded the place &lsquo;Beautiful Wrigley Field.&rsquo; He advertised it all over radio stations and newspapers well before anyone ever set foot in the place before the 1937 opening day.</p><p>He hired Otis Shepard, the famous corporate artist behind the success of Wrigley Gum, to reimagine the place with a soft, Art Deco flair. Together, they established the forest green and off-white color palette you see today, which was inspired by Wrigley Gum products and the baseball diamond itself.</p><p>The outside marquee, the ticket booths, the concession stands were designed with noticeable intention. The scoreboard was to be the crown jewel that tied it all together.</p><p><iframe frameborder="0" height="300" scrolling="no" src="http://archives.chicagotribune.com/1937/09/12/page/39/article/new-wrigley-field-blooms-in-scenic-beauty-and-scoffers-rush-to-apologize" width="620"></iframe></p><p>(Interestingly, the board was one of the last things to come together, and it barely met the opening day deadline. For details see <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OZQRb1eh9lE&amp;feature=youtu.be">here&rsquo;s Bill Veeck&rsquo;s account</a>. <em>Know though, that this man was known to exaggerate!</em>) &nbsp;</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">Putting the scoreboard to the 1937 (beta) test</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/today.jpg" style="height: 433px; width: 620px;" title="(Flickr/Antonio Delgado)" /></p><p>Remember that Tom Foust wants to know whether the board was revolutionary, not majestic. With the backstory in hand, here&rsquo;s the board, followed by an inventory of the information fans were confronted with on opening day:</p><ul><li><strong>The left and right sides:</strong> The board displays scores from concurrent games running across the National and American leagues. While today it&rsquo;s expected to be able to access the scores of games across the country (there are even dozens of baseball apps to choose from), Tom wondered if having all of that information accessible and displayed in 1937 was particularly revolutionary. Shea says &hellip; nope. Most big-league baseball scoreboards did have that information. Why? Baseball fans or not, people liked to gamble, and scoreboards that showed simultaneous games not only offered more options for where to place your bets, but also drew more people into ballparks.&nbsp;<em>Verdict: This content was expected. Not revolutionary.</em></li></ul><ul dir="ltr"><li><em>​</em><strong>The middle:</strong> The number of balls, scores, and outs (as well as other other doodads like the uniform number of the batters and umpires) are all displayed in the middle of the scoreboard. It&rsquo;s run on a system of electromagnetic relays that control grids of small, painted eyelets (think of them as physical, manual pixels), that flip to form the numbers you see on the board. Relay technology was nothing new in 1937, but it hadn&rsquo;t been applied to scoreboards before. As a result, though, the middle numbers are actually bigger than the manually-operated numbers displayed on the left or right, because the simpler technology worked with the push of a lever &mdash; not the work of, say, three men updating scores by hand. The larger numbers made the game easier to follow for new baseball fans. <em>Verdict: The mechanisms are neat, but were actually common. Larger numbers are an improvement in user-experience, but not enough to make it revolutionary.</em></li></ul><ul dir="ltr"><li><strong>Overall layout:</strong> Wrigley and Veeck were on to something when they decided to rethink the board&#39;s layout for the 1937 season. Most scoreboards at the time were either narrow and vertical, or narrow and horizontal. Veeck&rsquo;s design arranged all of the scores in a large, rectangular shape and placed it above eye-level in the centerfield bleachers. Most other scoreboards were located at ground level near the infield, where not everyone could see it. <em>Verdict: The new format was an improvement in designing a point of entry. At least it was at eye level and graspable at a quick glance.</em></li></ul><p>​What to make of it all? Here&rsquo;s where we come down on it: In 1937, the Wrigley Field scoreboard was a hands-down improvement of the user experience, but, even with all of its improvements considered together, the board fell short of being revolutionary.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">But if it&rsquo;s not revolutionary, what is it?</span></p><p>The board&rsquo;s survived several rounds of technological progress, including the streamlining of all-electric scoreboards during the 1950s. For that, it deserves some applause. But how does it hold up by today&rsquo;s standards of technological interfaces?</p><p>Marie Hicks, who teaches the history of technology at the Illinois Institute of Technology, is willingto provide her first impression: the classic Wrigley Field scoreboard is a mess.</p><p>There&rsquo;s just too much information, she says. It&rsquo;s not user-friendly. There&rsquo;s not a single point of entry.</p><p>She&rsquo;s confident that board wasn&rsquo;t revolutionary, but not for the reasons you might think.</p><p>Hicks says that for something to be revolutionary, it&rsquo;s got to make a fundamental change in the way people do things from that point on. If it were revolutionary, the Wrigley scoreboard would have inspired copycats across the country. And in a broad movement towards mainstream replication, Hicks says, the original (the one at Wrigley) would lose value. It just wouldn&rsquo;t be that special anymore.</p><p>&ldquo;If it were revolutionary then everything after it would have been just like it and there would have been less of a reason to keep it around,&rdquo; she says.</p><p>That&rsquo;s not the case with Wrigley Field&rsquo;s old scoreboard. In fact, the thing was special enough to receive landmark status from the City of Chicago in 2014. Which means, not only was the scoreboard decidedly worth historic preservation, it was also worth keeping up and running. Why? People love it.</p><p>&ldquo;In a strange way the love that a lot of people have for the scoreboard is another hint that it wasn&rsquo;t really revolutionary,&rdquo; Hicks says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s both foreign and completely familiar. It&rsquo;s representing all the stuff you expect to see in a modern scoreboard but in a sort of janky, simpler way that makes us nostalgic.&rdquo;</p><p>Even though the scoreboard was built in an era very different from our own, it&rsquo;s still relatable. And Hicks says that relatability is key to understanding why the board was not so much revolutionary as it was a harbinger of an increasingly data-driven and information-rich society. One in which numbers pervade daily life and even entertainment.</p><p>&ldquo;The technology that for a while was developed for business or defense are now seeping into our lives in all sorts of ways,&rdquo; Hicks says, citing the popularity of fitbits and algorithm-driven entertainment like Netflix or Spotify. &ldquo;The way that technology has changed our view of how to entertain ourselves and be in the world in off hours has so much more to do with quantification.&rdquo;</p><p>The Wrigley Field scoreboard, Hicks says, is one beautiful example of an early shift towards an world more like our own. That part where we see ourselves in the past ... That&rsquo;s what nostalgia&rsquo;s made of.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">In with the new, but make it look old</span></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Wrigley_Field_Panorama.png" style="height: 351px; width: 620px;" title="A panorama of Wrigley Field taken August 8, 2015, shows the three boards Cubs fan can use to follow the game. (Photo By TaylorSteiner (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons) " /></p><p>Nostalgia, it turns out, can be quite the utility. Today, as Wrigley Field&rsquo;s newly-installed Jumbotron hovers over left field, it could be flashing animated letters that tell you when to cheer, when to do the wave or when to kiss the stranger next to you.</p><p>Instead, between the instant replays and inning wrap-ups, you see digitized films of Harry Caray at Wrigley Field singing &ldquo;Take me out to the ball game,&rdquo; or bits of Cubs history trivia &mdash; all digitally designed with the same, deep-forest green and off-white art deco details Cubs fans have enjoyed for decades. It&rsquo;s as if the new video boards had the same art director as the old scoreboard.</p><p>Although that old scoreboard ages by the day, it stays trapped in a twisted time warp, somewhere between old and new. A radical, retroactive anti-revolution.</p><p><span style="font-size:24px;">About our questioner</span></p><p>Tom Foust says when he sat in the Wrigley Field bleachers for the first time, his level of nerd-dom became utterly clear to him.</p><p>&ldquo;I am decidedly not a baseball guy, but I am a bit of an information nerd,&rdquo; he says, adding that the Cubs game itself became kind of secondary.</p><p>He says he had even ventured an answer to his own question about the board&rsquo;s status as revolutionary: &ldquo;I would probably guess, Yes, this was something that was really unique and encouraged the growth of even more.&rdquo;</p><p>Tom has been spot-on when it comes to one observation: Yes, the Wrigley Field scoreboard is unique. But he was spot-wrong in the part about the Wrigley scoreboard encouraging the growth of more like it. In fact, learned that the Wrigley scoreboard is one of a kind, and that&rsquo;s exactly what makes it decidedly non-revolutionary. &nbsp;</p><p>But as a middle school music and technology teacher, he&rsquo;s come up a follow-up question: How would a modern professional of information design create the same scoreboard using the technology of 1930?</p><p>Well, Tom, we&rsquo;ll leave that to your students to take up!</p><p><em>Logan Jaffe is Curious City&#39;s web producer. Follow her on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/loganjaffe">@loganjaffe</a>.&nbsp;</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 11 Sep 2015 17:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/design-wrigley-scoreboard-revolutionary-retro-or-both-112916 Morning Shift: Deaths in Illinois prisons reveal cracks in the system http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-07-10/morning-shift-deaths-illinois-prisons-reveal-cracks <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/mikecogh.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We talk about the latest plans to renovate Wrigley Field and why some area residents don&#39;t like what they see. And, we take a closer look at health care in Illinois prisons. Later, we take a sneak peek at Chicago Comedy Expo 2014.</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-deaths-in-illinois-prisons-reveals-a/embed?header=false&amp;border=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-deaths-in-illinois-prisons-reveals-a.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-deaths-in-illinois-prisons-reveals-a" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Deaths in Illinois prisons reveal cracks in the system " on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Thu, 10 Jul 2014 08:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-07-10/morning-shift-deaths-illinois-prisons-reveal-cracks Morning Shift: Wrigley Field officially providing 100 years of memories http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-23/morning-shift-wrigley-field-officially-providing-100 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/by PhineasX.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The Friendly Confines turns 100 on Wednesday, and we want to hear your memories of the ballpark. Maybe it was your first game, or a ritual you established there with someone special. Wrigley historian Stuart Shea helps guide us through 100 years.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-wrigley-field-officially-providing-1/embed?header=false&border=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-wrigley-field-officially-providing-1.js?header=false&border=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-wrigley-field-officially-providing-1" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Wrigley Field officially providing 100 years of memories" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Wed, 23 Apr 2014 08:42:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2014-04-23/morning-shift-wrigley-field-officially-providing-100 40 reasons I love being a Chicagoan in 2013 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-06/40-reasons-i-love-being-chicagoan-2013-107509 <p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Chicago.Flickr.10.2012.jpg" title="(Flickr: PageDooley)" /></p><p><span style="text-align: left;">Last year I wrote an article for </span><em style="text-align: left;">The Huffington Post</em><span style="text-align: left;"> on reasons I </span><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/nico-lang/40-reasons-i-love-being-a_b_1523254.html" style="text-align: left;" target="_blank">love being a Chicagoan</a><span style="text-align: left;">. But why should 2012 have all the fun? Here&#39;s 40 reasons I&#39;m looking forward to another year in the city of wind and <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/leah-pickett/2013-06/chicagos-unwritten-rules-107481" target="_blank">LeBron hatred</a>.</span></p><p><strong>1. The endless opportunities to bash Rahm.</strong> His recent decisions suggest that he&rsquo;s running for re-election as the mayor of Hell. At this point, I think more Chicagoans approve of herpes than his job in office.</p><p><strong>2. Getting to ride the lakefront trail in the summer. </strong>After the longest winter in recorded history (which may not ever end), there&rsquo;s no better way to celebrate than a long ride down Lake Michigan at night.</p><p><strong>3. The Morse Stop. </strong>Rogers Park, where have you been all my life? The Morse stop is my newest obsession because of its proximity to the ever delicious Heartland Cafe, Mayne Stage, Sidecar and Devon Avenue. It&rsquo;s so tucked away that on those days you want to get away, it&rsquo;s like you&rsquo;re not even in Chicago.</p><p><strong>4. Our obscene amount of beaches. </strong>Insider knowledge: Check out the cafe at Berger Park. The service is so bad it&rsquo;s out of a Kafka novel, but it&rsquo;s right by Ratigan Beach and sits on the lake. On a hot day, the wind from the shore makes you forget you haven&rsquo;t seen your server in 10 years.</p><p><strong>5. Lectures at the University of Chicago. </strong>Their guest speaker department needs a raise. Between Angela Davis and Jeffrey Eugenides, there&rsquo;s always someone interesting to meet at U of C. Now if they could just fix Hyde Park&rsquo;s public transportation issues, I could actually get there.</p><p><strong>6. Playing arcade games...in a bar. </strong>I&rsquo;m not usually into the vintage fad, but Emporium in Wicker Park and Replay in Lakeview are getting it right. I will go to any bar with a pinball machine, stat.</p><p><strong>7. The drive thru at Big Star. </strong>Can&rsquo;t get a spot on <a href="http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-05/5-ways-big-star-shows-why-chicago-americas-best-food-city-107126" target="_blank">those crowded weekends</a>? Grab a taco and go to the park. It&rsquo;s gorgeous outside. Who needs a table?</p><p><strong>8. Printer&rsquo;s Row Lit Fest.</strong> For book nerds of all ages, this is by far the best of the city&rsquo;s summer street festivals, offering a great mix of your favorite bestsellers and hidden gems. Pro-tip: Take a limited amount of cash. If not, you may end up selling your house for that first edition Proust. Know your limits and your bank balance before you go to there.</p><p><strong>9. The ongoing North Side v. South Side v. West Side debate. </strong>Neighborhood pride is something to behold in Chicago, even if that neighborhood happens to be Lincoln Park. Whatever. Someone has to like it. I personally want to hear people arguing for the East Side. Those lake creatures are so underrepresented.</p><p><strong>10. Getting to pretend I know about local sports. </strong>There are so many sports teams around that statistically I&rsquo;m going to know something that&rsquo;s happening. Fact: The first time I saw Fukudome&rsquo;s name on the back of a fan&rsquo;s jersey, I thought the shirt was instructing me to have sex with it. The vulgarity of those Cubs!</p><p><strong>11. Gossiping about local celebrities. </strong>Almost everyone has a Cusack, Rick Bayless or a Steadman story, and sometimes I gaze out the window of my coffee shop, hoping that Ira Glass will come back to me. One day he will hear my heartsong.</p><p><strong>12. Acting like I&rsquo;ve been to The Girl and the Goat. </strong>For all I know, those are the only two things they serve. It&rsquo;s four star cannibalism...with a side of kale.</p><p><strong>13. Never going on the Yellow Line.</strong> I still don&rsquo;t understand what I&rsquo;m supposed to do in Skokie. Just because you build it doesn&rsquo;t mean I&rsquo;ll come.</p><p><strong>14. Tim Curry.</strong> Tim Curry isn&rsquo;t just a beloved actor anymore. He also now shares a name with one of Wormhole&rsquo;s recent weekly drinks, which blended Indian spices with iced espresso to create heaven. I never thought about putting curry in my coffee, but now I can&rsquo;t get enough of it. My life has been changed.</p><p><strong>15. The refurbished Logan and New 400 Theatres. </strong>Along with midnight shows, Chicago&rsquo;s hottest cinema trend is the movie theatre bar, which rejuvenated these crumbling theatres. For just $6, you can get a nice Long Island at the New 400 while you check out the latest Hollywood has to offer. If it&rsquo;s <em>After Earth</em>, you will need every drop.</p><p><strong>16. Having an opportunity to wear everything in your closet. </strong>Chicago is one of the few cities that actually offers all four seasons. You might even get them on the same day. Don&rsquo;t like the weather? Fret not. It will change in a couple hours.</p><p><strong>17.&nbsp;<em>The Book of Mormon</em>, which I always forget to go to. </strong>By now, everyone and their grandma has seen it. This proves that 99 percent of grandmothers are cooler than I am. They do love <em>NCIS</em>. What&rsquo;s more badass than Mark Harmon?</p><p><strong>18. Collectively cringing every time a Vince Vaughn movie comes out. </strong>We all want him to make good and show us again the guy who make <em>Swingers</em>. We have hope, because we stick by our own. But like fetch, it&rsquo;s never going to happen. Never forget <em>Fred Claus</em>.</p><p><strong>19. Having an excuse to call a cab when it rains for no reason. </strong>Oh, darn, I guess I&rsquo;ll have to have this magic chariot take me right to my door instead of sitting next to the Phil Spector look-a-like on the bus. But if you live in Andersonville and you&rsquo;re coming all the way from Pilsen or Bronzeville, it&rsquo;s another story entirely. That story costs you $30.</p><p><strong>20. Not getting a <em>Real Housewives</em> spinoff. </strong>Every day that a certain Bravo series doesn&rsquo;t desecrate our city is another day we all breathe easier. Besides, we already have <em>Mob Wives </em>to make us look bad.</p><p><strong>21. The cafe gems of the South Side. </strong>Although the Northside gets most of the credit (because who doesn&rsquo;t love Metropolis?), the South Side has a wealth of pleasures for coffee lovers, including Bridgeport Coffee Company, Overflow Coffee Bar, Little Branch, Istria and Robust Coffee Lounge. If you happen all the way down to Beverly, the neighborhood&rsquo;s Beverly Bakery is an absolute must.</p><p><strong>22. Not having to deal with the Olympics.</strong> Because did you really want to hear about it for the next 10 years?</p><p><strong>23. The amount of crap to go to. </strong>I often hear people complain that there&rsquo;s nothing to do in this city. WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? I need about seven clones to go to all the things going on, or a helicopter that makes getting to Logan Square easier. Fullerton bus, you need to get your act together.</p><p><strong>24. The Western bus. </strong>Now here&rsquo;s a great bus line&mdash;in my opinion, the best in the city. You rarely wait more than 10 minutes for a bus, and sometimes a nice bus stack means you get a bus all to yourself. You&rsquo;ll never be able to say that about the Lincoln bus.</p><p><strong>25. Never having to go to Clarke&rsquo;s. </strong>The city has an astounding amount of great diners, from the Pick Me Up Cafe to Lou Mitchell&rsquo;s, Stella&rsquo;s and Glenn&rsquo;s. I&rsquo;m also partial to Nookie&rsquo;s, but not for the eating. No one goes there for the food, even though it&rsquo;s perfectly decent. You go because the waiters are insanely hot. I&rsquo;m there for the service.</p><p><strong>26. The flowering of gay bars and queer nights outside of Boystown. </strong>Don&rsquo;t want to brave the B-Town crowd? The city is your oyster, young queer. Check out FKA at Big Chicks, SloMo at The Whistler, Northern Lights and Heavy Rotation at Parlour, Salonathon at Beauty Bar, Chances at The Hideout and Subject to Change at The Burlington. For our leather daddies in the audience, there&rsquo;s always Touche. Swords not included.</p><p><strong>27. The best/worst drag show of all time. </strong>Have you ever been to the drag show at Jackhammer at midnight on Monday nights? Did you even know it existed? Get ready to have your life changed. Spoiler: Some of the queens don&rsquo;t even dress in drag.</p><p><strong>28. Pride month.</strong> Gay Pride gets the press, but the great thing about pride is that it&rsquo;s everywhere, not just in Lakeview. The city&rsquo;s Black Prides, United Latino Pride, Disability Pride and TGIF prove why pride is a whole month long. There&#39;s room to celebrate everyone.</p><p><strong>29. Knowing that no one else gets what Kristin Cavallari sees in Jay Cutler either.</strong> Does she have a rare &ldquo;No Chin&rdquo; fetish? Is she attracted to interceptions? It defies logic.</p><p><strong>30. A great summer for indie films. </strong>This year, we&rsquo;ve got Sofia Coppola&rsquo;s <em>The Bling Ring</em>, <em>The Spectacular Now</em>, <em>Ain&rsquo;t Them Bodies Saints</em>, <em>Fruitvale Station</em>, Joe Swanberg&rsquo;s<em> Drinking Buddies</em>, Woody Allen&rsquo;s <em>Blue Jasmine </em>and <em>The Way, Way Back</em>, which really wants to be this year&rsquo;s <em>Little Miss Sunshine</em>. Add that to the already released <em>Frances Ha</em> and <em>Before Midnight</em>, which I plan on seeing twenty times, and you might not leave the movie theatre this summer. If you do, there&rsquo;s always Movies in the Park, the summer&rsquo;s best excuse to get secretly drunk in public.</p><p><strong>31. Pitchbjork. </strong>I know Lolla has New Order, The Postal Service, The Cure and Kendrick Lamar. Riot Fest has Dinosaur Jr., Surfer Blood and Against Me! (which I&rsquo;m dying for already), but there&rsquo;s no show I&rsquo;m more intrigued by than Bjork&rsquo;s set at Pitchfork. I hope she eats her sweater on stage.</p><p><strong>32. Enjoying the last year of my U-Pass</strong>. I&rsquo;m finished with grad school after December, and after that, it&rsquo;s Ventra city. I will cherish every glorious day until that time.</p><p><strong>33. Making fun of John Barleycorn</strong>. Does anyone you know actually go there? If so, you should stop knowing them.</p><p><strong>34. The yearly Tracy Letts film adaptation.</strong> Last year it was Killer Joe, which was so violent it made me regret having eyes. This time around Julia Roberts tries to make Meryl Streep eat her fish in <em>August: Osage County</em>. As long as Matthew McConaughey doesn&rsquo;t make a surprise appearance with a chicken leg, I&rsquo;m fine.</p><p><strong>35. The Old Navy preacher. </strong>Sure, he&rsquo;s old, deluded and filled with hate, but he&rsquo;s a Chicago staple, like the Red Line guy who hands out his resumes and the Greenpeace canvassers we all avoid. What would Chicago be without them? It&rsquo;s good to have things you can count on.</p><p><strong>36. Knowing that the Marilyn Monroe statue is gone, never to have her undercarriage oogled again. </strong>Whose bright idea was that thing anyway?</p><p><strong>37. The Edgewater Trader Joe&rsquo;s.</strong> I know it&rsquo;s not real and was the meanest April Fools&rsquo; prank of all time, but I can pretend. I want to believe that my love for Trader Joe&#39;s transcends reality.</p><p><strong>38. Making up excuses not to go to the Taste of Chicago.</strong> &ldquo;I&rsquo;m sorry. I seem to have developed an allergic reaction to sunshine...and tourists.&rdquo;</p><p><strong>39. Getting to use the website crash as an excuse not to sign up for the marathon.</strong> Clearly Jesus didn&rsquo;t want me to run 26.2 miles. And by Jesus, I mean me. I didn&rsquo;t want to run 26.2 miles.</p><p><strong>40. Chicagoans fight back.&nbsp;</strong>In the wake of our historic school closings, I&rsquo;m always inspired to see the number of people standing together, those who refuse to take our city&rsquo;s culture of systemic segregation lying down. When I see a sea of people in red shirts holding our city accountable to its messes, I&rsquo;m proud to see neighbors, friends and the guy I stood next to on the train. When I see people huddled in the rain protesting our state&#39;s inability to pass marriage equality, it reminds me why I&rsquo;m here: because our city is worth fighting for.</p><p><em>Nico Lang writes about LGBTQ issues in Chicago. You can find Nico on <a href="http://achatwithnicolang.tumblr.com" target="_blank">Tumblr</a>, <a href="http://www.twitter.com/nico_lang" target="_blank">Twitter</a> or <a href="http://www.facebook.com/nicorlang" target="_blank">Facebook</a>.</em></p></p> Mon, 03 Jun 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/nico-lang/2013-06/40-reasons-i-love-being-chicagoan-2013-107509 Cubs chairman threatens to move team from Wrigley http://www.wbez.org/news/cubs-chairman-threatens-move-team-wrigley-106922 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/AP812306419229.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The owner of the Chicago Cubs publicly threatened for the first time Wednesday to move the team out of Wrigley Field if his plans for a big, new video screen are blocked, saying he needs millions of dollars in ad revenue to help bankroll the renovation of the storied ballpark.</p><p>&quot;The fact is that if we don&#39;t have the ability to generate revenue in our own outfield, we&#39;ll have to take a look at moving &mdash; no question,&quot; Cubs Chairman Tom Ricketts told reporters after a speech to Chicago business leaders outlining plans for a $500 million renovation of the 99-year-old stadium.</p><p>It was the first time during months of contentious negotiations over the Wrigley Field renovation plans that Ricketts threatened to move the team out of the lively North Side neighborhood of bars and restaurants that adds to the historic park&#39;s allure with tourists and baseball fans.</p><p>By far the thorniest issue is the plan for a 6,000-square-foot video screen over left field, like those in most ballparks. The difference in Chicago is that the stadium &mdash; the second oldest in Major League Baseball behind Fenway Park in Boston &mdash; is surrounded by privately owned clubs that have built rooftop bleachers and object to any changes to the park that could block their bird&#39;s-eye views.</p><p>Because they have a contract in which they share 17 percent of their revenue with the Cubs, the rooftop businesses feel they should have a seat at the bargaining table and legal action is a possibility. They have been left out of the talks.</p><p>Ricketts presented an architectural rendering of the video screen during his speech to the City Club of Chicago and insisted it would have minimal if any impact on the views. He said without such signage, the team was losing out on $20 million a year in ad revenue &mdash; essential for helping fund extensive renovations without dipping into taxpayer funds.</p><p>&quot;All we really need is to be able to run our business like a business and not a museum,&quot; Ricketts told the audience.</p><p>One of the rooftop owners, Beth Murphy, sat in on the speech and told reporters afterward that it was the first time she&#39;d seen any drawings of the screen and that she and other owners would have a lot of vetting to do before determining if the proposal works.</p><p>&quot;It looked big to me and it looked like it blocked out the neighborhood,&quot; she said.</p><p>The rooftop owners have previously threatened legal action, and Murphy said she was confident their contract would hold up and protect their businesses.</p><p>Ricketts said the team formally filed its renovation proposal with the city of Chicago on Wednesday. The plan must get approval from city planners and the City Council. There will also be public hearings on the plan.</p></p> Wed, 01 May 2013 08:49:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/cubs-chairman-threatens-move-team-wrigley-106922 Is found headless goat related to Wrigley? http://www.wbez.org/news/found-headless-goat-related-wrigley-106664 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/RS3393_5538675918_b3ccf86e2a (1).jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Authorities are investigating whether the body of a decapitated goat found at a golf course has anything to do with the goat head delivered last week to Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs.</p><p>Cook County Forest Preserve Police contacted Chicago Police about the strange find Monday.</p><p>The headless white goat was found at the base of a tree at Indian Boundary Golf Course. The body of a plucked, disfigured chicken was found nearby.</p><p>Indian Boundary Assistant Manager Dan Stein says a golfer reported finding the goat&#39;s body. The golfer said he thought he&#39;d found the goat from Wrigley.</p><p>A goat&#39;s severed head was found outside Wrigley Field last week, leading to speculation it was meant as a reference to the alleged &quot;goat curse&quot; placed on the Cubs in 1945.</p></p> Tue, 16 Apr 2013 09:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/found-headless-goat-related-wrigley-106664 With no rules of the road, Chicago’s pedicabs thrive http://www.wbez.org/news/no-rules-road-chicago%E2%80%99s-pedicabs-thrive-106557 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/Screen Shot 2013-04-09 at 8.37.11 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p>As winter slowly melts into spring, you&#39;ll see them around Chicago with greater frequency. Hanging around after Bulls games and theater performances, armed with heated blankets and bicycle bells. More than a few showed up outside Wrigley Field at the Cubs home opener on Monday. With warm weather on the way, not to mention baseball games and endless music festivals, Chicago&rsquo;s pedicabs are ready to take over the streets again.</p><p>The giant tricycles with room for two in the back, have become a fixture in Chicago over the last few summers. It&rsquo;s not just the flat terrain and lazy tourists. Unlike other major metropolises, Chicago has yet to pass any ordinance regulating pedicabs. That means there are no rules on the books about where they can go, what they can charge, or how to make them safe.</p><p>Those non-existent rules are a mixed bag according to the pedicabbers themselves. Some worry it could lead to lax safety standards and inconsistent fare pricing, which only hurts their reputation. Yet that same freedom from regulation, others argue, is why the industry is doing so well in Chicago.</p><p>To learn what this means for pedicabs and passengers alike, I decided to go for a ride. Darren Hilton, who has been a bike messenger and pedicab driver for fifteen years, picked me up one recent afternoon in his yellow pedicab at Navy Pier. Except, he couldn&rsquo;t actually pick me up on the pier where WBEZ is located. Apparently, pedicabs aren&rsquo;t allowed there according to the Chicago Parks District. It&rsquo;s one of the few hard and fast rules for pedicabs in Chicago.</p><p>Darren, who has long dreads, and wore a black silk shirt with a red dragon on the back, knows those rules (or lack thereof) better than most. He also has a keen appreciation for his pedicabs&rsquo; origins.</p><p>&ldquo;I like rickshaw, because of the ethnic connotation,&rdquo; Darren told me, &ldquo;Rickshaw is Japanese from jinrikisha which means human power. So a ballpoint pen is a jinrikisha. A hairbrush is a jinrikisha. Human powered.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>My human-powered transportation first headed north toward Water Tower Place and the Magnificent Mile, a typical route for the tourists who make up the majority of the pedicab driver&rsquo;s customer base. Pedicabs are perfect for short distance trips, like moving party goers from bar to bar. But Darren has hopes that one day, pedicabs will be seen less as a tourist activity and more as a viable industry. But for that to happen, he says, there have to be regulations, especially when it comes to price.</p><p>Because there are no rules regulating what pedicab drivers can charge, it&rsquo;s much easier to gouge prices in Chicago than in other cities. Pedicabbers who live in the city say some out-of-towners come to Chicago&nbsp; for the summer months and charge exorbitant prices and give the industry a bad name. And even well-meaning drivers say their rates can change based on weather, terrain, and the weight of the load - not to mention, how much they like the customer. In New York, pedicabbers charge by the minute. Darren says having regulations in place would help make the industry more reliable, and therefore more vibrant.</p><p>Chicago has had two shots at a pedicab ordinance before, neither of which made it through City Council. The biggest point of contention for the pro-pedicab interests was a restriction that would prevent pedicabs from operating in the Loop during rush hour. Some say the cabs contribute to gridlock, but Darren says especially with the help of protected bike lanes, pedicabs actually move faster than cars and can help commuters get to their destination more directly. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s all about maneuverability,&rdquo; he says.</p><p>But as we headed south over the Michigan Avenue bridge, where honking cars and speeding busses grew increasingly closer, I asked Darren how he was sure that we were safe.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not been an industry that&rsquo;s been as internally regulated as it could have been,&rdquo; he said, &ldquo;As a customer, you don&rsquo;t know the difference between something that looks sound, and something that is.&rdquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Most garages that rent pedicabs require insurance that protects passengers, but it&rsquo;s not mandated citywide, and the drivers are rarely protected. Darren says he&rsquo;s only ever heard of one pedicab injury in which a car was involved, and the Chicago Police Department say they don&rsquo;t keep a record of pedicab related accidents.</p><p>The police and pedicabbers primarily interact &mdash; and clash &mdash; over traffic laws. There are a lot of laws that are hard to enforce for pedicabs, which tends to make for fractious relationships, says Darren. &ldquo;They just make it up. They&rsquo;re not bad guys, but there&rsquo;s no book. That&rsquo;s the thing. And they&rsquo;re responsible for their beat. But they can&rsquo;t enforce something that just doesn&rsquo;t exist.&rdquo;</p><p>Natalie Moberg is a bike messenger and pedicab driver who loves the freedom of being an independent contractor. During the summer, she and her fellow cab drivers make most of their money picking up Cubs fans after games at Wrigley Field.</p><p>&ldquo;Most officers like us. We get&nbsp; the drunk people out of the stadium area. We get &lsquo;em gone,&rdquo; says Moberg.</p><p>But one day last August, Natalie learned what happens when the rules are left up in the air. She says she was waiting with other pedicabbers outside Wrigley Field, when a police officer drove up and confronted them.</p><p>&ldquo;Officer Healy drives up, he gets out of his vehicle and says we can&rsquo;t be on the street there, and I say, well, where would you like us to go, and he says, on the sidewalk.&rdquo;</p><p>Natalie says that didn&rsquo;t make any sense, since not even bicycles are allowed on sidewalks.</p><p>&ldquo;So, he&rsquo;s starts spouting out how like it&rsquo;s all listed at the police station and I interrupted him and, I asked wait wait, there&rsquo;s regulations? There&rsquo;s no regulations in the city of Chicago.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p><p>Natalie says that, although she was arrested, the charges were dropped when the officer failed to appear in court. The judge, she added, was confused about whether it was a car or a bike that had been impounded. Natalie is waiting until she gets a drivers license to return to pedicabbing, which is something the garage she leases from wants her to have for insurance purposes.</p><p>Despite her run-in with the cops, Natalie isn&rsquo;t ready to support certain regulations. &ldquo;I think that would kill the spirit of the industry in Chicago. We&rsquo;re the Wild West, and overall,&rdquo; she says, &ldquo;it seems like more of a headache.&rdquo;</p><p>But Chicago transit experts say, while regulations might be a pain, they&rsquo;re important to help build a diverse transit system in which people have options for how to get around. Joe Schwietermann, director of the Chaddick Institute for Metropolitan Development at DePaul, says pedicabs are, &ldquo;part of the explosion of innovation we&#39;re seeing in transportation, a lot of creative solutions to get people around.&rdquo; He says pedicabs are an especially promising solution for traveling short-to-medium distances in dense urban environments.</p><p>But Schwietermann also has concerns about over-regulating the budding pedicab industry.</p><p>&quot;It&rsquo;s interesting how when things sound really good in Chicago you put it in the meat grinder of city hall, and something else come out,&quot; he says, &quot;and I think that&rsquo;s the big risk here.&rdquo;</p><p>Schwietermann points to last year&rsquo;s food truck ordinance as an example. He believes the City Council&#39;s regulations for mobile food vendors were too strict and thus hurt the growth of an industry that has flourished in other cities. (Check out WBEZ&#39;s coverage of the food truck regulations <a href="http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/are-new-regulations-helping-or-hurting-city%E2%80%99s-food-truck-industry-105265" target="_blank">here</a>.)</p><p>As for the pedicabs, City Hall says there are a number of interested parties &mdash; pedicab garage owners, motor vehicle cab owners, aldermen, and more &mdash; at work on an ordinance, but nobody could say for sure what it might include, or when it will be announced. So for now, pedicabbers like Darren Hilton are making it up as they go along.</p><p>&quot;We&rsquo;re not bad people, we&rsquo;re young. We&rsquo;re 5 year-old dictators. Whatever we say goes. We don&rsquo;t realize the repercussions of our actions,&quot; Darren says. But in terms of building a long-term, stable industry with a reputation as fair business operators, he adds, &quot;It always comes back to us, whatever we&rsquo;ve done.&quot;</p><p>As we headed back toward Navy Pier from Ogilvie Station, we breezed by cars and taxi cabs stuck in rush hour traffic, most of whom were presumably trying to get onto trains and out of the city. Darren says it&#39;s a prime example of a profitable niche that pedicabs could fill.</p><p>&quot;All these people you see right here are potential customers, but the cabs are full. You can&rsquo;t get a cab coming this way. And then if you get in a cab, you&rsquo;re sitting there,&quot; he says. &quot;It&rsquo;s not the same as being where you want to be. You need maneuverability.&quot;</p><p>If some of the aldermen who want to restrict Darren&#39;s ability to do business in the Loop during rush hour and in other areas of the city succeed, however, that maneuverability is going to be seriously restricted. As we rolled up to Navy Pier, I realized just how big a change that would be for the city&#39;s rickshaw cowboys.</p><p>&quot;Now this is like halfway legal in a manner of speaking,&quot; said Darren, as he tried to sneak me down the pier to the front door of WBEZ. But just as he spoke, a security guard blocked our path and turned us back around with a stern warning: &quot;These carts are not allowed!&quot;</p><p>Sooner or later, there will probably be no such thing as &lsquo;halfway legal&rsquo; for the pedicabbers of Chicago &mdash; only legal and illegal. Whether the industry can thrive, or just survive, remains to be seen.</p></p> Tue, 09 Apr 2013 08:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/no-rules-road-chicago%E2%80%99s-pedicabs-thrive-106557 Wrigley Opening Day http://www.wbez.org/blogs/photo-day/2013-04/wrigley-opening-day-2013-106552 <p><p><object height="300" width="400"><param name="flashvars" value="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633196220259%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633196220259%2F&amp;set_id=72157633196220259&amp;jump_to=" /><param name="movie" value="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" /><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true" /><embed allowfullscreen="true" flashvars="offsite=true&amp;lang=en-us&amp;page_show_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633196220259%2Fshow%2F&amp;page_show_back_url=%2Fphotos%2Fchicagopublicradio%2Fsets%2F72157633196220259%2F&amp;set_id=72157633196220259&amp;jump_to=" height="300" src="http://www.flickr.com/apps/slideshow/show.swf?v=124984" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" width="400"></embed></object></p><p><a href="http://www.wbez.org/users/takimoff" rel="author">Tim Akimoff</a> is the digital content editor at WBEZ. You can follow him on <a href="https://twitter.com/timakimoff"> Twitter </a> and <a href="https://www.facebook.com/timakimoff"> Facebook </a></p></p> Mon, 08 Apr 2013 19:15:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/photo-day/2013-04/wrigley-opening-day-2013-106552 Wrigley Field-Chicago's gem needs some polish http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/wrigley-field-chicagos-gem-needs-some-polish-106527 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//main-images/rsz_wrigley_nam_y_huh_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>All the chatter surrounding the future of Wrigley Field is almost smothering&nbsp;Opening Day and the ballpark. Let the politicians, the Ricketts family and the neighborhood slug it out and figure the steps of what will happen to this iconic stadium next.</p><p>After this year the face lift will begin in earnest. It is needed and will be welcomed by players, managers and the media. There have been some subtle changes as the park nears its 100<sup>th</sup> year, but it is still a place where the Cubs and the fans celebrate the game of baseball.</p><p>When the Chicago Tribune bought the team thirty years ago from the Wrigley family, they had a huge obstacle to face with their plans for the park. After a long, losing history, the Cubs made the 1984 playoffs, but the lack of lights became a rallying cry by team ownership. Major league baseball penalized the Cubs post season schedule against the San Diego Padres because they couldn&#39;t play night games. After the Illinois legislature finally gave the green light to the team, Wrigley Field finally turned on the lights in August, 1988. The first scheduled lit game was supposed to be August 8, 1988, but Mother Nature had her own idea, and rain postponed the game, so the actual first game under the lights was the next night, August 9th.</p><p>The uniqueness of this old ballpark is what makes it special to baseball fans, not just Cub fans. Boston&rsquo;s Fenway Park is the only baseball stadium that shares similar feelings for its field, structure and surroundings. Having been to both venues, the &ldquo;Friendly Confines&rdquo; gets the nod from me. But only to watch the game, the amenities need to be replaced and upgraded. The very small locker room for both the home team and visitors is one of the toughest to navigate. A bad rain can cascade into the dugouts and into the Cubs locker room. The media room for interview sessions behind the dugout is very cramped. It was priceless when former Cub Lou Pinella stepped into the room for his first press conference there, he couldn&rsquo;t believe it was that small. It was just one of many aspects of the old park he discovered would be an adjustment for him and any manager before and after.</p><p>Do you ever wonder why the managers are perched by the steps in the dugout? Their vision of the field is limited because of the deepness of the dugout.</p><p>The press box and broadcast booths are the smallest in all of the Major Leagues. It is always fun to hear the New York Yankee contingent come to Wrigley Field and complain about the working conditions and their seats. From their broadcasters to the working media, they gripe from the time they get there until the time they leave. Somehow they fault the Cubs staff for the conditions, and they think they can magically fix it.</p><p>These are some of the negative issues about Wrigley and there are more, but let&rsquo;s not dwell on it.</p><p>Here are some of the positives, the big manual scoreboard,&nbsp;the green ivy on the brick wall and the closeness to the field. If you are lucky enough to sit in the first row near the bullpens or near the on-deck circle, you can have conversations with the players and the sometimes the manager. It is Gary Pressey playing the organ and the celebrity-led 7<sup>th</sup> inning stretch (In my opinion, should be retired).</p><p>The bleachers are a special place in the ballpark and probably the most famous, as well as the&nbsp;favorite place for fans. You can rub elbows with regulars that have sat there for decades. Legendary broadcaster Harry Caray would broadcast from there. That area and the people that inhabited those seats were immortalized in the 1977 play, <em>Bleacher Bums. </em>Chicago native actor Joe Mantegna hatched the idea for the play and starred in the original production with another Chicagoan, Dennis Farina. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;The Cub teams that have played year in and year out have not had the ultimate success at Wrigley. The last time they played in a World Series was 1945, and they lost, of course, to the Detroit Tigers. The famed 1969 team thrilled the Cub faithful throughout that year, only to fade at the end. Four members of that team made the Hall of Fame - Ernie Banks, Billy Williams, Fergie Jenkins and Ron Santo. There were several other players that enjoyed great careers at Wrigley, most recently, Ryne Sandberg,Andre Dawson and Sammy Sosa come to mind. There hasn&#39;t been much of a post season throughout the last few decades, the 2003 season being the closest the team has come recently. Five outs away and the world stood still as a foul ball changed the complexion of that playoff series. Wrigley Field never felt so down.</p><p>Even after losing 100 games last season, the park is still a place for baseball fans to congregate. My dear friend, Sue, lives in England, and when she makes her way &ldquo;over the pond,&quot; Wrigley Field is a coveted stop no matter how the team in playing.</p><p>Years ago I brought my favorite uncle to a game. I surprised him with a chance to go on the field and have his picture taken by team photographer Steve Green. Wrigley is one of the only places that can make grown people cry. My uncle certainly did that day.</p><p>It&#39;s Opening Day at Wrigley, with the Cubs and Milwaukee Brewers facing off this afternoon. I&#39;ll be there along with thousands of others.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Sun, 07 Apr 2013 15:22:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/wrigley-field-chicagos-gem-needs-some-polish-106527 Chicago White Sox and Cubs start strong, Bulls and Blackhawks wind down http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/chicago-white-sox-and-cubs-start-strong-bulls-and-blackhawks-wind <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/rsz_sox_4-3_charles_rex_arbogast.jpg" style="height: 198px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="US Cellular had lots of empty seats for the first 2013 series. (AP)" /><strong>Sox starters shine</strong></div><p dir="ltr">The first week of the season is peppered with mostly day games because of the time of year. The White Sox opening day was a sell-out and the seats were filled despite the frigid temperatures.</p><p dir="ltr">The next two games, both played in the afternoon, had sparse crowds. The Sox won the first two games against Kansas City with solid starting pitching (and the long ball) in that series. Yesterday they dropped the series finale 3-1 to the Royals. Sox starter Gavin Floyd gave up three runs. One was unearned. The offense was pretty much handcuffed by Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie and the bullpen.</p><p dir="ltr">Sox starters Chris Sale, Jake Peavy and Floyd had good outings. Tyler Flowers boasted the game winning solo homer in the opener and another home run in game 2. Sox fans will be following Flowers progress since he replaced AJ Pierzynski. The Sox defense was a bit shoddy the past two games. The weather may get the blame for now. Tonight the Southsiders host the Seattle Mariners, the first of three games at U.S. Cellular Field.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Cubs&rsquo; cold offense</strong></p><p dir="ltr">There were a ton of empty seats in Pittsburgh, where the Cubs had success against the Pirates. They took two out of three, including a 3-2 win in yesterday afternoon&rsquo;s series finale. Cubs lefty Travis Wood had a nice outing for his first start of the year. Wood shut out the Pirates for six innings and gave up just one hit before turning the game over to the bullpen.</p><p dir="ltr">The question was on the back end, as Carlos Marmol almost squandered away a 3-0 lead and was aided by a double play to end the game. Just like the weather, the offense was cold for both teams.</p><p dir="ltr">After a weekend series in Atlanta, the Cubs will have their home opener Monday afternoon against the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field. The <a href="http://www.suntimes.com/sports/19279481-418/long-awaited-wrigley-field-rehab-deal-expected-by-mondays-opener.html">Chicago Sun Times is reporting</a> a deal has been worked out for the rehabbing of the ballpark with the city, team and neighborhood. According to the report, the agreement will be announced on Monday. Nothing is for certain until the i&rsquo;s are dotted and the t&rsquo;s are crossed.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Bulls beat Nets</strong></p><p dir="ltr">What can you say about the Bulls? They came back to beat the Nets in Brooklyn 92-90? Carlos Boozer put the depleted Bulls team on his back and scored 29 points and grabbed 18 rebounds. It was an incredible effort considering Taj Gibson re-injured his knee and joins the long list of injured players on this Bulls squad.</p><p dir="ltr">Tom Thibodeau&rsquo;s team had to claw and scratch to dig out of a 16 point deficit and held on to beat a team they may meet in the playoffs. After the win, the Bulls climbed up to the fifth spot in the Eastern Conference. The Nets are in the fourth spot. The standings are still fluid with a handful of games left. Tomorrow the Bulls return to the United Center to play the Orlando Magic.</p><p dir="ltr"><strong>Blackhawks lose to Blues</strong></p><p dir="ltr">Last night at the United Center, the Blackhawks lost in a shoot-out to the St. Louis Blues 4-3. The Hawks did pick up a point and remain on top of the NHL with 58 total points this season.</p><p dir="ltr">The Hawks may be concerned with giving up a leads in the third period. They had a 2-1 advantage going into the final period and the Blues were able to score twice against Corey Crawford. With less than five minutes left, Viktor Stalberg tied up the game for the Hawks with his seventh goal of the season. However, in the shoot-out the Blues outscored the Hawks 4-3.</p><p dir="ltr">There are only a dozen regular season games left on the schedule the Blackhawks. Thoughts of the playoffs are getting closer and at least Marian Hossa returned from his injury and Patrick Sharp is expected back soon. Next up, an away and home series against Nashville this weekend.</p><p dir="ltr"><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout">@CRayeStout</a> and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame </a></em></p></p> Fri, 05 Apr 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/chicago-white-sox-and-cubs-start-strong-bulls-and-blackhawks-wind