WBEZ | bears http://www.wbez.org/tags/bears Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Morning Shift: Healthy - and tasty - eating in Chicago Public Schools http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-30/morning-shift-healthy-and-tasty-eating-chicago-public <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/fruit photo.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>We talk about whether consumer boycotts yield any results in light of the Barilla controversy and recap the Bears game against the Lions. Later, we discuss what CPS is doing with its empty schools and ways chefs are helping CPS eat healthier.</p><div class="storify"><iframe src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-9-30/embed?header=false" width="100%" height=750 frameborder=no allowtransparency=true></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-9-30.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-9-30" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Healthy - and tasty - eating in Chicago Public Schools" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 30 Sep 2013 09:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-30/morning-shift-healthy-and-tasty-eating-chicago-public 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: Reinterpreting Beethoven's compositions http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-09/morning-shift-reinterpreting-beethovens-compositions <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Piano 2 - Flickr- Cameron.T.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Beethoven has been an inspiration for musicians from many genres. A festival taking place in Chicago this week features the famous composer&#39;s work re-imagined and re-purposed. We hear some of those interpretations.&nbsp;</p><div class="storify"><iframe allowtransparency="true" frameborder="no" height="750" src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-60/embed?header=false" width="100%"></iframe><script src="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-60.js?header=false"></script><noscript>[<a href="//storify.com/WBEZ/morning-shift-60" target="_blank">View the story "Morning Shift: Reinterpreting Beethoven's compositions" on Storify</a>]</noscript></div></p> Mon, 09 Sep 2013 08:28:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/programs/morning-shift-tony-sarabia/2013-09-09/morning-shift-reinterpreting-beethovens-compositions Chicago has the Stanley Cup, now what? http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-06/after-hockey-celebration-now-what-107891 <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_cub_fans_nam_y_huh.jpg" style="float: right; height: 198px; width: 300px;" title="Chicago fans will have a tough summer with hockey done. (AP Photo/Nam Y.Huh)" /><strong>What&#39;s next for the Blackhawks</strong></div><p>Now that the hockey season is over, the Blackhawks have to deal with their free agents and the draft. The team traded Dave Bolland to the Toronto Maple Leafs for three draft picks. They also sent Michael Frolik to the Winnipeg Jets for addition draft selections.</p><p>These moves allowed the team to re-sign&nbsp;Bryan Bickell to a four year deal. The salary cap forced changes again with the roster, but not ones as difficult as the 2010 changes.&nbsp;Still, it is hard for the fans to see&nbsp;Bolland, known as &quot;the Rat,&quot; leave after scoring the winning goal for the title.&nbsp;</p><p>Frolik had a big role&nbsp;with the team&#39;s penalty&nbsp;kill unit.&nbsp;Restricted free agent Nick Leddy said he also wants to remain a Hawk. General Manager Stan Bowman said he is more than likely to match any offer. The one free agent who seems to be leaving is Viktor Stalberg. The Swedish winger showed emotion when I asked him about his situation. He thought his lack of playing time put him in a difficult spot.</p><p>&ldquo;It was one of the toughest things to go through,&rdquo; he said. He also said he doesn&rsquo;t want to play the same role again. Expect him to play somewhere else.</p><p><strong>Chicago baseball update</strong></p><p>It is almost gratifying to realize the hockey has overshadowed a very bad baseball season. Both teams have languished in the bottom of their divisions. The Cubs&nbsp;continue their rebuilding effort and&nbsp;the Sox are a very flat team.&nbsp;It appears the most interesting news for the Cubs and White Sox is who will get traded at the deadline the end of next month. With scouts lining up to watch Matt Garza pitch yesterday, he is a strong candidate for another team. The right hander&rsquo;s health is the biggest concern for a trading partner. Scott Feldman has pitched well enough to get a look by teams. The Cubs best hurler has been Travis Wood. He should be a keeper at this point.&nbsp;</p><p>The White Sox have to figure out if it is time to wave the &ldquo;white flag&rdquo; on a team that has underperformed and has looked bad on offense and horrible on defense. There are not many commodities to make deals. Jake Peavy is still nursing a broken rib. The Sox pitcher is expected to return after the All-Star break. Another player that may draw interest is Alex Rios.&nbsp; The Sox outfielder has been the most consistent hitter on the club. The best player that will be made available is Jesse Crain.&nbsp;So the&nbsp;most exciting day for baseball may be July 31: the trading deadline.</p><p><strong>Bears training camp in sight</strong></p><p>Bears fans can circle July 26 for a chance to see the team in action for the first time since Marc Trestman took over as head coach. That first practice in Bourbonnais will not be with pads. Those workouts start July 28. After attending the Bears OTA&rsquo;s and mini-camps, fans will have plenty to watch.</p><p><strong>New Bulls in the fold</strong></p><p>On Thursday night the Chicago Bulls took a guard/small forward Tony Snell from New Mexico in the first round of the NBA draft. He is considered a good shooter and is best in the &ldquo;catch and shoot&rdquo; role. Defense is also considered an asset. When you take the 20th selection, who knows. The team did do well with Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson in the range of the first round. The took Erik Murphy a 6&#39;10&quot; forward from University of Florida in the second round.</p><p><strong>Chicago Sky and Fire</strong></p><p>The WNBA&#39;s Chicago Sky hopes to make the playoffs this year. They may have some of the pieces in place. Rookie Elena Delle Donne with veterans Sylvia Fowles and Epiphanny Prince have a winning record at 7-3 and a post-season appearance would help this franchise get legitimate interest.</p><p>The Chicago Fire has rebounded from a slow start this season. The MLS soccer team is 5-1-2 since their last loss on May 18. Right now the Fire is 5-7-3 overall.</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout" target="_blank">@CRayeStout</a> and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame" target="_blank">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</a></em></p></p> Fri, 28 Jun 2013 18:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-06/after-hockey-celebration-now-what-107891 Bears go Long, Bulls hang on, Baseball W's and Blackhawks finishing up http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/bears-go-long-bulls-hang-baseball-ws-and-blackhawks-finishing-106851 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rsz_kyle_long_ross_franklin.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><strong>Bears go Long</strong></p><p>And the 20th pick in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft the Bears selected...</p><p>Kyle Long, an offensive guard from Oregon.&nbsp;</p><p>Bears Phil Emery was unable to trade down and told the media that Long was the player the team had targeted. Many draft experts had Long going later in the draft as late as the third round.</p><p>He is 6&rsquo;7,&rdquo; 313lbs and the Bears believe he has the capability to also play at tackle. If the last name rings a bell. it should. He is the brother of Rams defensive end Chris Long and the son of Hall of Famer Howie Long.</p><p>There is some baggage for the new Bears player. He had some off the field issues at Florida State where he played baseball, went to a community college to play football and wound up at Oregon.</p><p>Long played in 11 games last year and started in five, so he has a limited resume on the Division I level.</p><p>You can look at it two ways:</p><ol><li>He doesn&rsquo;t have the wear and tear players have coming into the league.</li><li>But, he is a player with limited experience and will have to digest the game fast.</li></ol><p>Emery expects Kyle Long to make an impact sooner than later. And if the football thing doesn&rsquo;t work out, he probably could try baseball. No joke.</p><p>Long was drafted by the White Sox out of high school in the 23<sup>rd</sup> round.</p><p>The NFL draft continues today with the second and third round. The final rounds 4-7 are tomorrow.</p><p><strong>Bulls hang on to win at the UC</strong></p><p>It sure wasn&#39;t pretty last night, but the Bulls will take the 79-76 win over the Brooklyn Nets.</p><p>It started really ugly for the Bulls when they allowed Deron Williams to get his team going and built a 17-5 lead, and that was all Tom Thibodeau needed to get mad.</p><p>He regrouped his team and they came back with a sense of purpose and used their defense like a vice around the throat of the Nets. Forcing turnovers and getting easy baskets is the staple of this Bulls team. The Nets missed 25 of 26 shots during a stretch from the second through the third quarter.</p><p>It was a similar blueprint as the second game on Monday. Carlos Boozer had 22 points and 16 rebounds and Luol Deng had 21 points and ten boards. The Nets did make a run at the end of the game and had a chance to tie it but CJ Watson missed a three pointer. Brook Lopez was the Nets high point man with 22 points and Williams contributed 18 in the losing effort.</p><p>Although it was a huge win and the Bulls are up 2 games to 1, they realize the task at hand is to win two more and they expect Brooklyn will not roll over. &nbsp;There is little time to rest since the game four will be tomorrow at 1 p.m. at the United Center.</p><p><strong>Yes, baseball is in full swing</strong></p><p>Guess it was a triple header of Chicago wins last night. Besides the Bulls, the White Sox beat Tampa 5-2 and the Cubs were able to a &ldquo;W&rdquo; in Miami 4-3 &mdash; in case you were interested.</p><p><strong>The Blackhawks nearing the finish line</strong></p><p>The last unimportant home game for the Blackhawks is tonight when they host the Calgary Flames and it will be the first chance for the fans to applaud the winners of the President&#39;s Trophy. The honor goes to the hockey team with the most points for the regular season.</p><p>The Hawks have proven they have been the best team in the league with their torrid opening streak.</p><p>The team now has the luxury the final two games to back off some minutes on players. It looks like they will have to wait until the final game to figure out who they will be hosting in the first round beginning early next week.</p><p>Of course, the Blackhawks want a little bit more than the President&#39;s Trophy. It&#39;s the Stanley Cup that they have been striving for the year. Odds are that they have a terrific chance to be dancing with that Cup sometime on June.</p><p>Okay, maybe that is too cocky &ndash; but this team is very impressive.</p><p><em>&mdash;Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout">@CRayeStout</a>&nbsp;and<a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame"> Facebook Cheryl Raye Stout</a> #AtTheGame&nbsp;</em></p></p> Fri, 26 Apr 2013 00:19:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/bears-go-long-bulls-hang-baseball-ws-and-blackhawks-finishing-106851 What Phil Emery needs to get the Chicago Bears in the draft http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/what-phil-emery-needs-get-chicago-bears-draft-106790 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_phil_emery_pre-draft_jim_prisching.jpg" style="float: right; height: 222px; width: 300px;" title="Phil Emery addresses the media before the draft. (AP/File)" />Thursday is every holiday rolled up into one for Chicago Bears General Manager Phil Emery: the start of the NFL draft.</p><p>Several free agent signings in recent months have peppered this team with some needed help.</p><p>But the loss of some players to free agency and the decision to go in an alternative direction has re-shaped the Bears. There is also the desire to find replacements for woeful players.</p><p>Emery is talking all calls to move out of the first round with the team&rsquo;s 20th pick for the right deal. If the Bears GM could grab two more selections and fill positions like offensive guard and linebacker, a trade would be welcome.</p><p>This will be the first draft in a long time without Lovie Smith involved. Emery now has his handpicked head coach Marc Trestman.</p><p>There is no doubt Emery is focused on what this team needs.&nbsp;</p><p>When former number one draft pick Gabe Carimi is moved from tackle to guard and still has to compete with new free agent signee former Jets guard Matt Slauson and second year player (undrafted) James Brown you know the Bears feel that position may still be inadequate.</p><p>Offensive coordinator coaching guru Aaron Cromer says he doesn&#39;t care where a player is drafted. He will start the best five to protect the quarterback.</p><p>The only returning starting linebacker is 32-year-old Lance Briggs. Brian Urlacher is still waiting by the phone for a NFL roster spot. Nick Roach signed with Oakland.</p><p>Emery didn&rsquo;t hesitate to sign a couple of linebackers to one year deals: former Denver bronco D.J. Williams and former Carolina Panther James Anderson. Williams has a checkered past. Maybe a new team will help him settle down.</p><p>You can&rsquo;t forget last year the Bears dealt two third round draft picks for troubled Brandon Marshall. That deal not only worked out, it showed the Emery has guts.</p><p>The Bears have a couple of back-up quarterbacks on their roster: Josh McCown and Matt Blanchard. Neither is the future (or the present).</p><p>Jay Cutler will likely enter the season in the final year of his deal without a contract extension and the Bears would love for him to have a monster year.</p><p>The Super Bowl Champions in Baltimore had the same scenario last year with Joe Flacco. They are paying Flacco a ton of money now and their salary cap was decimated. But they will get their championship rings in a few months.</p><p>Sometimes you have to gamble and gladly win in the end.</p><p>The Bears should look for a quarterback in the draft. Seattle found Russell Wilson in the third round last year. Maybe there is another gem hidden in the middle rounds.</p><p>Emery addressed the offensive line&rsquo;s biggest need by signing left tackle Jermon Bushrod.</p><p>Getting tight end Martellus Bennett adds another weapon for Cutler. But if another quality tight end is available the Bears would likely make that selection.</p><p>The Bears may need to look for some youth at cornerback. Charles Tillman is 32 and injuries are a factor. Both starters Tillman and Tim Jennings were Pro Bowlers last season, but the league is full of talented and big wide receivers. Another cornerback could be necessary.</p><p>After the draft, the Bears will likely continue to fill out the roster with undrafted players, free agents and unsigned veterans.</p><p>One Bear who is still sitting waiting for a team is defensive lineman Israel Idonije. The NFL salary cap has hampered most teams. Veterans like him will either take a big pay cut or may be forced into retirement. Urlacher is in the same boat.</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> Wed, 24 Apr 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/what-phil-emery-needs-get-chicago-bears-draft-106790 Bulls, Bears, Blackhawks and a spicy ex-Sox player in Chicago http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/bulls-bears-blackhawks-and-spicy-ex-sox-player-chicago-106736 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/rsz_taj_lu_jo_john_raoux.jpg" style="height: 219px; width: 300px; float: right;" title="Bulls need to stay healthy for the playoffs. (AP/File)" />Two Brooklyn natives on the Bulls team look forward to opening the postseason with the Nets on Saturday night.</p><p>Taj Gibson said he will be all business going home and is still trying to get used to the brace on his ailing knee.&nbsp;At Friday&rsquo;s practice, Noah admitted a reoccurrence of his foot injury and said he will not start and is likely unable to play.&nbsp;Now the work load at center will fall on Nazr Mohammed.</p><p>Coach Tom Thibodeau will almost have a full roster when this banged up crew opens the playoffs. Although the door hasn&#39;t been closed, Derrick Rose is still not expected to play.</p><p>With or without Rose, the Bulls have reasonable expectations to beat the Nets. They won three of the four regular season meetings. Noah and Gibson will be important to handle Nets center Brook Lopez.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The regular season and all the Bulls injuries allowed second year player Jimmy Butler to show his abilities. He has taken advantage of the opportunities and has given the Bulls a great option on the court. Butler is expected to continue as the team&rsquo;s starting two-guard. The Bulls offense (which can be dreadful) will likely run through Carlos Boozer. He needs to get touches early and often to get his game going.</p><h2><strong>Bears meet and greet new coach</strong></h2><p>&nbsp;</p><p>The Bears new head man Marc Trestman just finished three days of voluntary workouts. It was fast paced, with over 200 plays/concepts practiced. It was interesting watching Devin Hester only doing special team work, after yesterday&rsquo;s practice he seemed to be fine with his concentrated role.</p><p>In six days, the NFL draft will begin and after a few days the Bears GM Phil Emery will collect some new players to add to the mix. This summer training camp will be extremely competitive for several starting jobs. Trestman would like the jobs locked when they break camp. Somehow I get the feeling there will be large, curious crowds this summer down in Bourbonnais.</p><p>Last night the new Bears coach found out he will make his NFL coaching debut September 8 against the Cincinnati Bengals at Soldier Field. The Bears will have four prime time games and they end the regular season at home on December 29 against Green Bay. It has been nine years since the Bears have had such a transformation as a team. Every move they make and every game they play will be highly scrutinized.</p><h2><strong>Double feature for Blackhawks</strong></h2><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Blackhawks fans have a double treat this weekend: Friday they host Nashville and Saturday face Phoenix at the United Center. With home ice advantage for the postseason in their back pocket, the Blackhawks can use these final games to tune-up for the playoffs.</p><p>What a pleasant dilemma for coach Joel Quenneville in net: Corey Crawford or Ray Emery? Both have been terrific this season and both are deserving of their starts, but the playoffs are usually where a coach goes with just one. Who would question what Coach Q has done this season? He has changed lines and mixed younger players with the veterans. There is a very strong belief that this team is on a course to hoist the Stanley Cup in June.</p><p>That&rsquo;s right, June. Thanks to the lock out the hockey finale will be this summer in the middle of baseball season. Maybe not a bad idea after all.</p><h2><strong>Sox and Cubs</strong></h2><p>&nbsp;</p><p>It has been a rough few weeks for baseball with rough weather and small crowds.&nbsp; But leave it to former White Sox player A.J. Pierzynski to make things lively. He returned to Chicago at Wrigley Field to face the Cubs this week.</p><p>Before the series opener, the Texas Ranger catcher sat down with the media and immediately noticed a change on a building on Sheffield: the Latin sign that says &ldquo;<a href="http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-03-23/sports/ct-talk-eamus-catuli-sign-0323-20120323_1_ricketts-family-president-theo-epstein-lakeview-baseball-club" target="_blank">Eamus Catuli</a>&rdquo; is back.</p><p>&ldquo;It was my favorite sign. I am glad they put it back,&rdquo; he said with his Dennis the Menace look.</p><p>He loved reminding the media crowd that it&rsquo;s been 104 years since the Cubs won a World Series. The Cubs-Sox series won&rsquo;t be the same without him.</p><p>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout" target="_blank">@CRayeStout </a>and Facebook <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame" target="_blank">Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</a></p></p> Fri, 19 Apr 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-04/bulls-bears-blackhawks-and-spicy-ex-sox-player-chicago-106736 Urlacher joins an unwanted club http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/urlacher-joins-unwanted-club-106249 <p><p>Brian Urlacher gets to join a club with Michael Jordan and Carlton Fisk-elite&nbsp;players with unpleasant departures from Chicago sports teams. Since the negotiations for the former Bear ended last week, Urlacher has not been shy about talking to several media outlets. Maybe it is the shock after playing his entire thirteen year career with the Bears that it&rsquo;s over. Brian&rsquo;s version of the contract talks doesn&rsquo;t paint a pretty picture of how he perceived it was handled. Because the Bears have not addressed the process, the only account comes from Urlacher. So it&rsquo;s best to leave it to Urlacher to throw the stones. &nbsp;No matter what, it was going to be a no-win situation for the team. Getting rid of a future Hall-of-Famer has historically been a public relations nightmare. Generally, it takes a while before the player and team will reconcile, if they ever do.</p><p>It has to be difficult for a player that at one time was an elite player to make an honest account of their skills and ultimately their worth. When the team is forced to make the decision to go in a different direction, it is awkward and difficult.</p><p>Twenty years ago, the White Sox had a situation that is similar to this one. The Sox had a future Hall-of-Famer behind the plate, Carlton Fisk, with diminishing skills, was a prideful man, not the easiest of baseball personalities. However, we had a terrific rapport during his tenure on the south side. Fisk and the team were not in sync in 1993, he believed he could still contribute, the Sox felt otherwise. On June 28, 1993, Fisk broke Bob Boone&rsquo;s mark for most games behind the plate (2,226) and the club had a nice celebration to honor him. The highlight was watching Bo Jackson ride a Harley Davidson motorcycle from the bullpen to home plate. Despite the gifts and the recognition of the feat, the underlying feeling was Fisk&rsquo;s days were numbered, six days to be exact. After that homestand, the White Sox went to Cleveland and Fisk was released by the team over the phone. &nbsp;Imagine how humiliating that had to be for Fisk. (He also had to make his own travel arrangements) Adding insult to injury, when the White Sox were in the playoffs that fall, Carlton Fisk was refused admittance to the clubhouse by security. He did reconcile with the White Sox several years later and has been involved with the team since then. They even erected a statue honoring Fisk on the US Cellular outfield concourse.</p><p>Michael Jordan&rsquo;s decision to leave the Bulls&nbsp;for the&nbsp;second time was another ugly split. The Bulls had just won their sixth title (1998) and the team was dismantled. Blame was all directed at General Manager Jerry Krause and owner Jerry Reinsdorf. Scottie Pippen, Dennis Rodman and Coach Phil Jackson all departed and the NBA had a prolonged lockout. Jordan announced his retirement in January &lsquo;99, his second departure from the Bulls. MJ never resisted the opportunity to tweak his former team. He unretired again in 2001 and sadly played two seasons for the Washington Wizards. It didn&rsquo;t tarnish his whole career, but he was clearly not the same player.</p><p>Urlacher saw his former teammate Pro-Bowler Olin Kreutz leave the Bears a couple of years ago. Kreutz was unhappy with his contract offer and hooked up with New Orleans, until he retired midseason. Urlacher has been fortunate that he has never had to go through free agency, until now, and that reality must be unsettlingly. Finding out if you have any value on the football field with another NFL team can be unnerving, especially approaching his 35<sup>th</sup> birthday and having some injury questions. Salary caps in football, hockey and basketball make teams wary of keeping veteran players unless they have some sound belief that the player can contribute. So Urlacher may have to decide to either take a contract for less money, just to prove to the Bears they made a mistake. Or retire, since Urlacher said he turned down the Bears one year-two million dollar deal because it isn&rsquo;t worth putting his body through game preparation for those dollars.</p><p>Urlacher&#39;s future is still undetemined, but the Bears have moved on after signing Denver free agent linebacker D.J. Williams. Everyone is replaceable, even Brian Urlacher.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter </em><a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout"><em>@CRayeStout</em></a><em> and Facebook </em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame"><em>Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</em></a></p></p> Wed, 27 Mar 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/urlacher-joins-unwanted-club-106249 Hoops, hockey and new Bears http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/hoops-hockey-and-new-bears-106261 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/rsz_david_j_phillips_illinois-miami_0.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It was oh-so close for the only Illinois men&rsquo;s team in the NCAA tourney last night. The #7 Fighting Illini was eliminated by #2 University of Miami 63-59 in their NCAA tournament game Sunday night. With a 55-54 Illinois lead with 1:24 left, Hurricane guard Shane Larkin, hit a three pointer that gave Miami the lead for good. Larkin, son of baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, originally committed to DePaul. Illini senior guard Brandon Paul finished his career with a team-high 18 points.</p><p>It was one and done for DePaul&rsquo;s women in the NCAA tournament last night. The 10<sup>th</sup> seed Lady Demons lost 73-56 to #7 Oklahoma State in Durham, North Carolina.</p><p>Every time you feel like writing the Bulls off, especially with all the injuries, they make a comeback. It almost has the feel of a boxer on its last legs, bloodied and tired but not going down. On Saturday, they took down the Eastern Conference #2 seed Indiana 87-84 at the United Center. It was the Bulls first win against the Pacers this year. Besides Derrick Rose and Richard Hamilton sitting out Joakim Noah was missing this weekend with his sore foot.</p><p>On Sunday, the Bulls beat the Wolves in Minnesota 104-97, Marco Bellini joined the injured group with a strained abdomen.&nbsp; Jimmy Butler got the start for Bellini against the Wolves &nbsp;</p><p>How the Bulls were able to come out ahead with all the injuries is a testament to their dogged efforts to try to stay relevant. Kirk Hinrich is back, with limited minutes, and Taj Gibson is also playing as he nurses his sore knee. It just seemed like the Bulls were going to go down for the count.</p><p>They&rsquo;ll have to keep on fighting, especially this week. After a two-day rest, the NBA&rsquo;s heavyweight champion Miami Heat will be in town. They have only won <strong><em>26 straight</em></strong> games, and if Miami wins tonight in Orlando, the Bulls will be next up to try to stop that streak. Wouldn&rsquo;t it be interesting if the challenger could knock them out, despite a depleted roster? What a circus it is going to be at the United Center. The only thing that would amp it up more is a Derrick Rose return. Expect those rumors to make the rounds.</p><p>Before the Heat steamroll into the UC, the ice will the stage tonight and tomorrow for the Blackhawks. The defending champion LA Kings are in town for the Hawks after a three-day rest. Marion Hossa remains sidelined.</p><p>After yesterday&rsquo;s practice, players savored the rest. Viktor Stalberg said it was nice to not think about hockey, and Nick Leddy is enjoying a visitor, his mom. Leddy is getting some home cooking with salmon as his favorite main course. There will be plenty of home cooking for the Hawks, since they play ten of their next fourteen at the United Center.</p><p>One week from today, we can add another to the sports menu...Baseball&#39;s Opening Day. Now if only the weather will cooperate.</p><p><em>Follow Cheryl on Twitter </em><a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout"><em>@CRayeStout</em></a><em> and Facebook </em><a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame"><em>Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame</em></a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Mon, 25 Mar 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/hoops-hockey-and-new-bears-106261 Cubs may have leverage with the lure to Rosemont-it worked for others http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/cubs-may-have-leverage-lure-rosemont-it-worked-others-106200 <p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/wrigley_0.jpg" title="(AP/File)" /></p><p>Rosemont Cubbies.</p><p>It doesn&#39;t roll off the tongue very well.&nbsp;</p><p>But it has to be a consideration as Rosemont Mayor Brad Stephens is&nbsp;making a generous offer to the Cubs and its owner, Tom Ricketts, to acquire 25 acres of land.</p><p>The team should at the very least feign interest. Because it may bolster ongoing negotiations for Wrigley Field and the rooftop owners.</p><p>It is all politics. And all the fans can do is sit back and watch it unfold. It would not be the first time a Chicago team has tried and to some extent succeeded in using the suburbs and other locations to move.</p><p>Thirty-eight years ago, Bears owner, George Halas &ndash; unhappy with Soldier Field &ndash;&nbsp;allegedly had serious talks with Arlington Heights to move the team to the northwest suburbs.</p><p>The location near Arlington Park race track was more than appealing. With a train station and Route 53 at the doorstep, it was an idle location.&nbsp; A couple of obstacles killed the effort (high bond rate was one).</p><p>There was also the famous rant from Mayor Richard J. Daley, telling Halas the name Chicago would not be allowed for the Bears if they left the city.</p><p>It would be curious if the name topic has come up at City Hall about the Cubs. Would Mayor Rahm Emanuel make that same demand on if the Cubs took their bat and ball and move to Rosemont?</p><p>Papa Halas would threaten to move to South Bend, Ind., and Evanston before inking a long term leasing deal for Soldier Field.</p><p>As the years went by, the team was still not satisfied with their deal or the condition of the stadium. The public didn&rsquo;t see the huge cracks in the foundation and the other problems of the lake front venue. Picking up with where his grandfather left off, Bears owner President Michael McCaskey had a land option in Roselle and tried again in Arlington Heights.</p><p>Other locations included Hoffman Estates, Warrenville and near O&rsquo;Hare Airport. The zinger by Mayor Richard M. Daley was a good one: &ldquo;They can go to Alaska.&rdquo; Not having political allies thwarted those threats for the Bears. &nbsp;The team was rescued by Bears President Ted Phillips after he was able to hammer out a deal with the Chicago political forces that had eluded McCaskey, finally Soldier Field was renovated and reopened in 2003.</p><p>The team may well have earned political capital when they back-stepped from seeking city financing for Wrigley renovations.</p><p>However, their political fight is with&nbsp;44th Ward Ald. Tom Tunney &mdash; and wrangling with the rooftop owners is now the main event. Tunney suggested on Wednesday to get rid of Wrigley&rsquo;s scoreboard was one of the lamest ideas to date.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>On the South Side of Chicago, the White Sox threat to move to various locations was legendary, Milwaukee, Seattle and Addison. The one location that was minutes from actual coming to fruition was the move to Tampa-St. Petersburg, Florida. &nbsp;Many of us were hunkered down in the press box on June 30, 1988, waiting for the Illinois legislature to vote. The deadline was midnight, at 12:03 a.m., Gov. Jim Thompson strong armed enough votes to keep the Sox in Chicago and get a new stadium.</p><p>There is no doubt the man that can come to the rescue for the Cubs is Mayor Rahm Emanuel, he could play the same role as Thompson did for the Sox.</p><p>Meanwhile, the Cubs should use the threat of a move to shake the reality of the situation to the city and the Wrigleyville neighborhood. Do the Cubs need the city and the nearly one hundred year old stadium to retain popularity? Or would a move to the &lsquo;burbs with a new stadium near a hub of expressways and public transportation with the opportunity to make millions more dollars in revenue be intoxicating to the Ricketts and the Cubs? &nbsp;</p><p>The team&rsquo;s deadline for a deal is coming soon-Opening Day-April 1<sup>st</sup> no fooling.</p><p>Follow Cheryl on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/Crayestout">@CRayeStout</a>&nbsp;and Facebook Cheryl Raye Stout #AtTheGame <a href="http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame">http://www.facebook.com/CherylAtTheGame</a></p></p> Fri, 22 Mar 2013 06:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/cheryl-raye-stout/2013-03/cubs-may-have-leverage-lure-rosemont-it-worked-others-106200