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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Friday, December 8

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Events Sun Mar 02 2014

Fallon Brings Star Power to 14th Annual Chicago Polar Plunge

For the 14th annual Chicago Polar Plunge, thousands took to North Avenue Beach to jump in the water, endure the freezing temperatures for moral support, and of course, to watch "Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon take on the Polar Plunge challenge.

Photo by Ashlee Rezin for Sun-Times Media

Conditions this morning were less than friendly. At the start of the festivities, the temperature recorded was 9° and felt like -8°. Jimmy picked a frigid season to take on a challenge in Chicago, but it didn't take away from the plunging spirit. More than 3,000 jumpers participated today, according to a Special Olympics Chicago organizer. Despite the freezing weather, there were no signs of negativity on the lakefront. If anything, Fallon's participation in the plunge caused an abundance of excitement, as the crowd broke through the barricade set up on the lake when Jimmy took his dip.

Continue reading this entry »

Rima Mandwee

Bears Tue Oct 08 2013

Rereading Duerson eBook On Eve Of PBS Documentary

Duerson: Triumph, Trauma and Tragedy in the NFL The National Football League has become such a massive, multi-billion dollar marketing freight train over the last decade that none of the other stateside major sports come close. According to CNNMoney, the league is tops in revenue, tipping the scale at a modest $9.5 billion last year, all while showcasing household names like Cutler, Suh and Brady.

It's the sport mom never wanted you to play, worried that her little man would get dinged in the ear hole on a sweep to the right, all while trying to make the cut by making a name for himself. If you took a hard hit and lumbered toward the sideline, you were asked to "shake off the cobwebs" and to get back in the game.

As time went by and science began to catch up with the sport, many surrounding the game discovered that merely shaking off the cobwebs wasn't a cure that could be defined by the New England Journal of Medicine, and instead meant something was very, very wrong with the athlete who suddenly didn't know where he was. Tragically, some of those athletes never recovered after multiple blows to the head and ended up hurting themselves and the ones they loved. Dave Duerson was one of those former athletes.

Continue reading this entry »

Jim Crago

Baseball Thu Sep 26 2013

As The Ivy Fades In Wrigley So Does G. Heileman's Finest

As the long hot summer afternoons fade gently into the short crisp autumnal dusk, so goes the iconic ivy in Wrigley Field on Clark and Addison. What starts naked and vulnerable upon the red brick in the outfield, where the likes of Moreland, Pafko and Sosa once chased flies, slowly begins to turn to an effervescent green through the dog days, until finally a yellowish-red-brown combination, unfortunately not witnessed very often by the players or fans within the Friendly Confines.

This circle of life breeds optimism amongst the Cubbie faithful, lo these decades, with the metaphoric: there always will be baseball, just as the ivy will be reborn, grow and then die off with the season itself, only to return once again.

The same generations who shared the highs and lows of this merry-go-round also have done so with buying scorecards and Cracker Jacks for their sons and daughters, while enjoying an ice-cold beer and basking in the suns' rays. As the sweat begins to bead on your forehead, so forms the condensation on the outside of that 16-ounce cup and drips to the peanut shell-covered concrete.

Continue reading this entry »

Jim Crago

Bears Mon Sep 19 2011

Texas Fan Wins Cutler's Football & Country Raffle

Bears QB Jay Cutler's International Football & Country Raffle closed out at noon yesterday. Last night, the winner was announced during Fox's Final Word.

The winner the raffle is Jason M. Parrish of El Paso, Texas. Congratulations, Jason!

Thanks to all of the Bears (and other football) fans who purchased tickets for the Raffle.

The donations will benefit the Jay Cutler Foundation, which helps underprivileged children and children living with diabetes.

For further information about Cutler's Foundation, please visit the Jay Cutler official website.

Margaret Lovell

Basketball Tue Jun 08 2010

Best Case, Worst Case for the Thibodeau Era

While it is not official, all signs point to the Bulls signing Boston Celtics and long-time NBA assistant coach Tom Thibodeau. After the NBA Finals come to a close the announcement will become official and Thibodeau will become the replacement for ousted former Bulls head man Vinny Del Negro.

Much has been speculated regarding what this impending hire means for the other storylines surrounding the Bulls: How does this affect the LeBron James to the Bulls scenarios? Did Thibodeau's signing with CAA Sports influence the decision? Will the Bulls ever look at a candidate with real NBA head coaching experience?

These stories will be covered ad naseam in the next few weeks and months. Instead of speculating about the back page news, why not look at how the Thibodeau Era might play out on the court?

Continue reading this entry »

Glenn McBride / Comments (1)

Bulls Tue Jun 01 2010

[UPDATE] Pocket Guide to the Chicago Bulls Offseason

The Chicago Bulls have entered into a period in their franchise history that is full of two things: questions and potential.

If the cards land just right, the Bulls could become immediate NBA Championship contenders. On the flip side, a few missteps or mistakes could mire the team in another prolonged stretch of mediocrity.

To help you follow along with all of the questions, and subsequent answers, that will invariably come from the next few months, please follow along with this "Pocket Guide to the Chicago Bulls Offseason". Feel free to score along at home as each topic is addressed in real life. This document will be living and breathing with each additional update, so be sure to check back frequently.

1.) Will LeBron James be playing for the Bulls next year?

Current Status: Unknown

Rumors: Every new day seems to bring a new story about the insatiable chase to recruit LeBron James. There are even dedicated websites that push out information constantly. Even major news outlets cannot stop themselves from covering each angle. At this point, one cannot rely on any information until the man himself makes a statement.

(Update 06/08) James will be going on a free agent tour with stops in his potential next city. Chicago made the itinerary. Tom Thibodeau signed with the same agency as LeBron James (CAA Sports). James was interviewed by Larry King and said that Cleveland still has an edge to re-sign him. bought a billboard.

  • Best Guess as of June 1st, 2010: LeBron will remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers.
  • Best Guess as of June 8th, 2010: LeBron will remain with the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Continue reading this entry »

Glenn McBride / Comments (1)

Cubs Wed May 19 2010

Developers Moving in on Wrigleyville

By now just about everyone is aware of the proposed demolition/renovation on the east side of Clark between Addison and Cornelia. The plan to replace a series of bars and restaurants, as well as the iconic iO Theater (formerly Improv Olympic), with a new, modern and almost suburban looking structure has met a significant amount of public outcry over the last week and a half. This is largely due to the possible elimination of a few important Wrigleyville locales like the iO Theater and the Salt and Pepper diner, with its distinctive "EAT" sign. The plan to replace the strip with a hotel and condo structure that would, based on initial designs [PDF], be more suited for urban sprawl in the far northwest suburbs than the bustling corridor that is home to Wrigley Field. For fans of the neighborhood, the issue is further aggravated by news that the big box store Best Buy, the grocery chain Dominick's and CVS are already potential retailers slated for leases in the new building.

Improv Olympic co-founder Charna Halpern has been particularly outspoken about the ordeal given that she has a lot to lose should this project come into fruition. A staple of the neighborhood for almost 30 years, Improv Olympic has had comedic heroes like Tina Fey, Chris Farley and Andy Richter honor its stage. As well as providing cutting edge entertainment for years, it has contributed greatly to the culture and history of the neighborhood as Wrigleyville grew and changed into the entertainment district everyone knows today.

Continue reading this entry »

Rick Abplanalp / Comments (11)

News Wed Apr 28 2010

Hizzoner Wagers Half Acre Against Vancouver's Beer

***Update*** Following Mayor Daley's press conference today, The Trib's City Hall blog, Clout Street posted a whole rundown of the wager.

We here at Gapersblock love the Half Acre Beer. Those guys are the best, seriously. They have delicious weird beers (Ginger Twin, Invasion) and standard libations (lagers/pale ales, whatnot). So it should as no surprise that when Mayor Richard Daley wants to throw down with the Vancouver Canucks and the municipal governance of that Canadian city, that Daley goes to Half Acre for a wager.

Our city's Mayor, Mr. Richard Daley, has chosen Half Acre Beer Co to take part in a friendly wager with Vancouver, Canada on behalf of the Chicago Blackhawks. 1 case of 24/16oz of Daisy Cutter Pale Ale Cans & Gossamer Golden Ale Cans will go up for grabs as the Hawks face the Canucks in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Okay, 'Hawks, you're repping Chicago and now America against that Northern Menace. Do us proud and win some (hopefully) non-Molson for Daley to guzzle in his palatial manse. Of course, the last time an American leader challenged a Canadian leader in a hockey bet, it didn't work out. Well-played, America Jr.

Brian Lauvray

Bulls Wed Jan 27 2010

Two Point Diversion: Chicago's Young Talent Gets Showcased

Chicagocentric sports news that isn't necessarily late-breaking, more like irreverent or just as good the next day, like Thai leftovers...

Rose and Gibson Headed to Dallas
Second year point guard, Derrick Rose and rookie forward, Taj Gibson will be representing the Bulls in Dallas at the 2010 All-Star Weekend next month. They will be going head-to-head in the Rookie/Sophomore Challenge on Friday night as Rose quarterbacks the Sophomores against Gibson and the rest of his rookie running mates. Rose is joined by such standouts as Brook Lopez (New Jersey, center), Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City, guard) and Kevin Love (Minnesota, forward); while Gibson will be playing alongside first year standouts such as Brandon Jennings (Milwaukee, guard), Tyreke Evans (Sacramento, guard) and DeJuan Blair (San Antonio, forward/center).

Saturday night of ASW (that's All-Star Weekend, kids) Rose will be defending his 2009 All-Star Skill Challenge Title. The field is yet to be named.

Bears Knox Selected as Pro Bowler
Johnny Knox contributed immediately as a player for the Bears in his rookie season, he made Jay Cutler's first year in Chicago slighty more bearable (sorry) with his penchant for getting open and catching the ball, but Knox a Pro Bowler? Knox will be filling in for Percy Harvin this coming Sunday as a replacement kickoff specialist for the NFC Pro Bowl team which, well, good for Knox. Still the Pro Bowl has always been the most superfluous of all-star games and a replacement kickoff specialist? Knox should make it as wideout (hopefully with the Bears) in a few more seasons.

Brian Lauvray

News Sun Jan 10 2010

Bulls, Bears Lose Outside The Arena, Too.

s_monopoly-house-1.jpgIt's bad enough for some Bears and Bulls that they had or are having a less-than-stellar season. Seems as if they can't win outside of the playing arena either. Two Chicago athletes have taken a bit of a bath when it comes to the housing market. The Bulls Kirk Henrich took a more than $200,000 hit when he recently sold his Deerfield home, while Bears kicker Robbie Gould missed the uprights when he sold his Gurnee home for $100,000 less than he paid for it in 2006.

These are important things to know if you care about, you know, athletes and their housing conditions.

Ken Green

News Mon Jan 04 2010

Sit Down and Take A Bow

2010 ESPN Zone Chicago Ultimate Couch Potato WINNER - Jeff Miller 01.JPGAnd the winner is...

Jeff Miller, who pulled off the three-peat today and won the Chicago Ultimate Couch Potato championship at ESPN Zone. In winning his third straight UCP title, Miller outlasted three other local finalists (profiled here in Tailgate recently) and watched televised sports until 10 a.m. this morning to post a final time of exactly 72 hours and set a new UCP record and unofficially set a new Guiness World Record (the old record was 69 hours and 49 minutes set by Suresh Joachim in 2005). That's THREE FULL DAYS of watching televised sport, something that would test even the most die-hard of sports fans. We're talking obscure bowl games, inane interviews, blowhard "experts", minimal bathroom breaks. For three straight days. Jeff Miller, we salute you. Now get some sleep.

(Ed. Note: We apologize to readers for erroneously listing the incorrect starting time for the contest in our previous story. We trust that most of you were smart enough to log onto the official site from the link we provided and see the correct starting time. Again,we apologize for the error.)

Ken Green

White Sox Tue Dec 08 2009

Conventional Wisdom

The roster of White Sox players attending the team's annual convention has been expanded with stalwarts Mark Buerhle, Paul Konerko and Gordon Beckham joining Freddy Garcia, Jayson Nix, Jake Peavy, A.J. Pierzynski, Alexei Ramirez, Matt Thornton and newly signed Andruw Jones at SoxFest 2010, January 22-24 at the Palmer House Hilton.

Meanwhile, the Blackhawks have announced that ticket sales for their annual convention in 2010 will go on sale tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 a.m. The convention will kick off July 30 at the Hilton and feature Blackhawks Hall-of-Famers and Team Ambassadors Bobby Hull, Stan Mikita, Tony Esposito and Denis Savard, General Manager Stan Bowman along with head coach Joel Quenneville and players Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith and Patrick Kane.

Ken Green

News Mon Dec 07 2009

No Ad Venture for Bears, Hawks

The No Fun League strikes again. Chastized by fans and the press for their apparent lack of humor or desire to rid their league of all personality, the NFL struck again Monday when they shot down a planned series of commercials to cross promote the Bears and the Blackhawks.

The commercials, funded by the Blackhawks, were set to feature Bears players interacting with the young Hawks, a advertising venture desire to life the profile of the new breed hockey stars to an even higher level in the city. The series were to involve Bears Jay Cutler, Devin Hester, Greg Olsen, Robbie Gould and Lance Briggs to be paired, respectively, with Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Brian Campbell, Patrick Sharp and Brent Seabrook.

Well, all of that is for naught as the NFL but the brakes on the venture, citing a rule prohibits use of team marks and logos in connection with the promotion of other sports except by a three-quarters vote of the league's 32 clubs.

The ads, already shot, will now gather dust somewhere, becoming yet another sad note on a pretty sad Bears season.

Ken Green

News Wed Nov 11 2009

On Your Marks, Get Set...Sit

Rarely does practicing for a competition involve sitting for hours on end and working on controlling your bowel movements, but that's pretty much what it's going to take to win the eighth annual Ultimate Couch Potato Competition set for January 1, 2010 at ESPN Zone, 43 E. Ohio St.

Sure, it sounds simple on the surface: sitting in a recliner as watching sports for as long as your can. But last year's winner, Chicago real estate broker Jeff Miller, clocked in at 39 hours, two minutes and 25 seconds of non-stop sports watching, a daunting task no matter how good no matter how good of a bowl game you're watching. Granted, you get a bathroom break every eight hours but no sleeping allowed.

Survivors, er, winners get a recliner, free cable for a year and $1,000 toward the construction of a home theater system.

The competition is limited to four contestants chosen from essays received by December 9. Complete rules can be found here.

Ken Green

News Fri Oct 23 2009

Short Hops

Ken Green

Events Tue Oct 20 2009

Gale Sayers to be named Humanitarian of the Year

During his time as an NFL running back for the Chicago Bears (1965-1971), Gale Sayers broke records and collected numerous awards and achievements. Rookie of the Year (1965), All Star Game MVP (1967, 1968, 1970), to name a few. Now he can add one more achievement to the list: Humanitarian of the Year Award.

The Abraham Lincoln Centre (ALC) will honor Sayers for his outstanding commitment to helping children and youth. After he retired from football, Sayers founded Crest Computer Supply Company in 1984, and built it into a world-class provider of technology products. Sayers, along with his wife, also became an active philanthropist in Chicago. He supports the Cradle Foundation--an adoption organization in Evanston. More recently he founded the Gale Sayers Center in the neighborhood of Austin, which serves as an after-school program for children ages 8-12 from Chicago's west side and focuses on leadership, tutoring, and mentoring.

Gale Sayers has become a role model for children thanks to his successful NFL career, his professional achievements, and his work in the community. ALC believes his work greatly reflects its goals and commitment to provide promising futures for children and families in Chicago.

The Annual Dinner for Sayers will be held this Friday, October 23, at the Fairmont Hotel (200 N. Columbus Dr.)

Vanessa Day

Football Fri Oct 16 2009

Well, Cubs, We're Waiting...

Cheer up, Cubs fans, there's now proof that it has to end SOME time.

For 90 years, LaSalle-Peru High School in western Illinois has played Geneseo High School in football. And lost every single time. For 90 years, beginning in 1919. To put it in perspective, in 1919 Prohibition has just started, Mussolini formed the Fascist Party in Italy, President Woodrow Wilson suffered a stroke and some sort of kerfuffle involving the White Sox and the World Series occured.

Yeah, like we said, a long time ago.

So you can imagine the scene last Friday when LaSalle-Peru eked out a 38-36 victory over Geneseo ending 90 years of frustration. The victory came on a field goal with 7.4 seconds left. The expected unbridled jubilation ensued.

Ninty years. "It's Gonna Happen" indeed.
(via Deadspin)

Ken Green

News Thu Oct 01 2009

All In Favor, Say 'Aye'

OK, Chicago sports personalities, the vote for the host city for the 2016 Olympics is a few hours away. Show of hands: who's in favor of the games being held in Our Fair City? Lou Piniella? Check. Ozzie Guillen? Check. Derrick Rose? Gotcha. Jay Cutler and the rest of the Bears? Duly noted. Morten Anderson?....Wait, Morten Anderson? Um, okay. Michael Jordan? Yes, with an asterisk.

The vote will be announced on Friday just before noon and you're invited to hear the official announcement at a rally at Daley Center Plaza. We'll see then if those guys have any international sway. In the meantime, take a look at the possible things to come:

Ken Green

News Thu Sep 24 2009

Short Hops

  • Will he or won't he? President Obama may go pitch Chicago's bid for the 2016 Olympics afterall (with Arne Duncan in tow). But, as everyone knows, Oprah has the last word.
  • Whither goest thou, White Sox? Kenny Williams is trying to figure that out.
  • Milton Bradley says he's sorry. Does anyone care?
  • Cubs fans disillusioned by the outcome of this season can take a look back at the 1984 team. Not that the outcome then was any better, but still...
  • Seattle's T.J. Houshmandzadeh says he has something to prove when the Seahawks meet the Bears this Sunday. Meanwhile, the Bears seek to establish the running game. But if wide receiver Johnny Knox continues his ascent, we can wait a little while.
  • Mixed martial arts star Fedor Emelianenko is coming to Chicago in November. Take appropriate action.
  • And you find yourself...riding a bike down Michigan Ave. Musician David Byrne talks about his cycling fixation and cruising around Chicago.
  • Boxer David Diaz brings it back home this Saturday.
  • If you're participating in the sixth annual Salmon Classic this Sunday at Northerly Island, use this as inspiration.
  • The Chicago Fire prepare to honor another Chicago soccer team who weren't too shabby themselves in their day.
  • Late Chicago Olympian Willye White has a new park named in her honor.
  • The Big Ten football season kicks off this Saturday and while other teams discuss strategy for their upcoming opponents, Northwestern's gridiron gang has different concerns on their mind.
  • The Chicago Outfit close out their 2009 season this Saturday at the Windy City Fieldhouse. Get pumped up for the contest by checking out the cool video below.

The Chicago Outfit - The Latest Show Ever from Spencer M. Rohan on Vimeo.

Ken Green / Comments (1)

Bears Fri Sep 11 2009

Huddle Up!

Bear logo.jpgAre you ready for some...(eh, you know the rest).

Unless you've recently cancelled your newspaper and cable TV subscription, you know that Bears season kicks off this weekend. Sure, you can try and pace yourself to make it to Sunday night, but that jones for intense Bears talk should be kicking in just

So make the most of it at a special taping of the new season of The Chicago Huddle, WLS-TV/Ch. 7's weekly Bears show, today, 4 p.m. at ESPN Zone, 43 E. Ohio St. Bears tight end Desmond Clark and rookie receiver Johnny Knox will be the season's first guests on the show, taped before a live audience (um, that means you). Regular host Ryan Chiaverini will be joined by a rotating slate of Bears co-hosts including Clark, defensive tackle Anthony Adams and fullback Jason McKie.

The taping will feature live music from Chicago's Lee DeWyze Band, analysis by ESPN 1000 Bears reporter Jeff Dickerson and a local female audience liaison, selected after a month-long talent competition. Catch yourself in the studio audience when the show airs Sundays on ABC 7 at 10:30 a.m.

Face-painting, we assume, is optional.

Ken Green / Comments (1)

News Tue Sep 08 2009

PE Or Not PE

Sure dodgeball may still be a dark memory for some, but when it came to physical education in Chicago public schools, it was better than nothing. Which, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune, is pretty much where we are now. Reporter Monica Eng says that while the CPS recommends between 155 adn 225 mihutes of physical education per week for CPS students, more than a few schools reported only conducting gym class once a week. Combine that with the typical eating habits of kids (when given a choice, most of them aren't reaching for the broccoli) and activities that range from passive (playing video games) to downright lethargic (listening to music) and you've potentially got a bunch of overweight kids. In fact, Illinois has the fourth highest level of childhood obesity.

CPS have a variety of reasons why it hasn't placed a greater emphasis on gym class (not enough money, that it would cut into instructional time), but other school districts, faced with similar hurdles, have somehow found a way to make the adjustment.

As one CPS veteran says in the article, ""There are serious scheduling issues that would have to be considered, and we'd need to hire more gym teachers. It's a lot more complicated than people think. ... But if CPS really decided this was a priority, it would happen."

Ken Green

News Thu Aug 27 2009

Short Hops

  • The Hawks' Patrick Kane and his cousin plead guilty to a noncriminal charge in their incident with a Buffalo cab driver. While he breaths a sigh of relief, his teammate Jonathan Toews is a little nervous while practicing for the Canadian Olympic team.
  • The Cubs' Milton Bradley is not happy. So what else is new? Besides, he's now the Ricketts family's problem.
  • The White Sox have lost four in a row and five of their last six. The Bleacher Reporter ask if they're heading in the wrong direction. Hmmm...let me think about that one.
  • Don't let Jay Cutler's cool demeanor fool you. According to ESPN he's a little jittery about returning to Denver as a member of the Bears this Sunday. Elsewhere on the Bear beat, Matt Forte is looking for balance and Dusty Dvoracek is looking at a doctor this Friday.
  • As if running a triathlon (like the Chicago Triathlon this weekend) wasn't difficult, try throwing cold, rainy weather into the mix. Here at some tips for coping with that.
  • While the state debates video poker, the real thing is going on in a tournament in Arlington Heights tonight. Wanna play? Ante up here.
  • The Chicago Sky host a benefit this Friday to promote breast cancer awareness.
  • Chicago - home to the next generation of cricket superstars?
  • Chicago - home to the next generation of dodgeball superstars?
  • No matter what you think about the Lingerie Football League, one fact remains: It's football. Played in lingerie.
  • With their season unceremoniously over, the Chicago Bandits wave bye-bye to pitcher Kristina Thorson, who is leaving to play for an Italian pro softball team.

Ken Green

News Thu Jul 30 2009

Short Hops

  • Boy, you have one inter-team spat... Even though the Bears are denying any rift between Brian Urlacher and new QB Jay Cutler, USA Today has concluded that the team is the new Dallas Cowboys.
  • Can we leave the poor guy alone? A documentary is being planned on Steve Bartman and the "incident".
  • Speaking of the Cubs, the middle of their lineup (Alfonso Soriano, Derrek Lee, Aramis Ramirez and Milton Bradley) are heating up at just the right time.
  • If the Illini make it to the Rose Bowl again, they can thank... Donovan McNabb?
  • If you join up with the Fork In The Road biking and dining group, will you be having a well-rounded meal?
  • Not only are the Chicago Fire doing well in MSL action, but their developmental and Super-20 teams aren't doing too shabby either.
  • The Chicago Huddle, a weekly Bears preview and recap show, is looking for a spokesperson to open each program. Looking at the photo on the front of the video, I can't for the life of me figure out what they're looking for.
  • The Chicago Women In Baseball League and the Chicago Gems baseball club will take their skills to a bigger audience when they conduct and exhibition prior to the start of a Schaumburg Flyers game during Women In Baseball Day

Ken Green

News Mon Jul 27 2009

High Jumping

This weekend in Grant Park, Red Bull FMX rider Ronnie Renner broke his own Guinness World Record for quarterpipe air, setting the new height mark at 63' 5". It only took him three tries.

Andrew Huff

News Thu Jul 02 2009

Jay-Walking Back to Newspapers?

mariotti.jpgWhen he left (was pushed out of?) the Sun-Times sports department, controversial sports columnist Jay Mariotti declared that the future of sports writing was "sadly, not in newspapers."

So would it surprise anyone that the often-contrary Mariotti could be heading BACK to newspapers, specifically the Chicago Tribune?

Semi-satirical sports website Deadspin is reporting (with a humorous assortment of derogatory terms) that Mariotti is expected to join the Trib soon, adding that the paper has reportedly even mocked up a page with space for his column. The connection between his return and space being made at the Tribune is one Bill Adee, Mariotti's former editor at the Sun-Times, now doing the same job digital editor at the Trib, and the force behind ChicagoNow.

The reaction by local sports fans to the news may range from a collective yawn to an assortment of expletives (OK, maybe with a few claps of approval thrown in. He may have one or two fans, but websites like "Jay The Joke" and "Fire Jay Mariotti" seem to suggest there aren't too many of those.)

The sports newspaper war between the Sun-Times and Trib columnist will no doubt ramp up again, picking up where it left off as we reported here. Heck, even betting on an in-house battle between Mariotti and Tribune sports writers, whom he has also ripped in the past, would seem to be a sure thing.

So will he actually be required to venture into a clubhouse this time around to get his stories firsthand? Time will tell.

Ken Green

News Thu Jun 25 2009

Short Hops

  • The Chicago chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America is meeting tomorrow to figure out once and for all how they should regard players of the Steroid Era in their future Hall of Fame voting. One Delaware sports writer is urging them to "do the right thing."
  • When the dust clears after tonight's NBA draft, will Kirk Hinrich end up wearing a new uniform?
  • The White Sox youngsters Jayson Nix and Josh Fields made the most of their rare starting assignments.
  • Local Iowa State and Duke basketball fans might have something to do next January 6.
  • The Fire is gearing up for its next match in the Super Liga against fellow MLS club Chivas USA Tuesday at Toyota Park.
  • ChicagoNow blogger Matt Olsen lists 10 Chicago sports surprises that weren't really surprises. Personally, I'd add the continually rising cost projections for hosting the Olympics.
  • It'll be Mark Brown (no, not this Mark Brown) instead of Gonzalo Omar Basile who will take on Fres Oquendo at "Windy City Fight Night 3" this Friday at the UIC Pavilion. On the undercard, Rita "La Guera" Figueroa has a rematch with Tammie "The Tasmanian Devil" Johnson. Man, I love nicknames.
  • Weekend warriors, get caught up with the Chicago Open paintball tournament being held in Bollingbrook.
  • The Chicago Machine hope to end a three-game losing streak when they take on the Washington Bayhawks this Saturday at Toyota Park in Major League Lacrosse action.
  • If you just can't let go of the 1985 Bears, you might have a reason to watch the Cleveland Browns a bit closer this season.
  • The Lou Malnati's Pizza Bronco team does a worst-to-first run in the Wilmette House women's baseball league. Meanwhile, it's the Riveters versus the Skyline and the Comets versus the Turtle Rock in Chicago Gems Women's Baseball League action at Bedford Park Fields.

Ken Green

News Mon Jun 15 2009

What Do Chicago Sports Fans Look Like?

The Tribune published some interesting demographics comparing fans of Chicago's major league sports teams -- well, the Cubs, Sox, Bulls, Bears and Blackhawks, anyway. Hey Trib, why no Fire? Not to mention the Sky.


While the percentages of male fans may not be all that surprising, there are some unexpected stats in there -- which team's fans are the best paid and most educated, for instance.

Andrew Huff

News Wed Jun 10 2009

Short Hops

  • It was a rough start for the Chicago Sky in their season opener, but top rookie Kristi Toliver is taking it one game at a time.
  • ESPN Chicago muses on the White Sox young "saviors", recent call-ups Gordon Beckham and Aaron Poreda.
  • Meanwhile, the Sox newest draft picks still have that new car smell.
  • On the other side of town, the Cubs' top pick says he was hoping they would select him all along because he admires their history...
  • ...which, as a Tribune article states, has been well documented on film.
  • A golf foursome with Ben Roethlisberger, Justin Timberlake and Michael Jordan? Somebody pinch former Chicago cop Larry Giebelhausen, because he must be dreaming.
  • Chicago's long history of heavyweight boxing add another chapter as Frez Oquendo takes on Gonzalo Basile in a June 26 bout.
  • Fire fan favorite C.J. Brown looks back on 12 years with the team.
  • Add Mike Ditka to the Not-Crazy-About-Jay-Cutler (Anti)Fan Club. Did this guy kick a puppy or something?
  • It may be too late to register as an individual for the 2009 Chicago Marathon, but you can still get in under the wire by joining a team.
  • Finally, meet the man who motivated Michael Jordan to greatness (by beating him out for the last spot on their high school basketball team): Leroy Smith. (If he looks a little like Charlie Murphy, that's purely coincidental, we're sure.)

Ken Green

News Fri Jun 05 2009

Short Hops

Ken Green

News Mon Jun 01 2009

The 'Ultimate' Cop

There are probably plenty of jokes to be made about this, given the recent, er, physical encounters plainclothes Chicago cops have had with civilians. But none of them would probably be made to Officer Mike Russow's face, in or out of uniform.

Russow has just signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship in the heavyweight division, effectively putting an end to cop-and-donut remarks, at least in his presence. Amassing an 11-1 record in mostly regional bouts, Russow has not yet been confirmed as a fighter with the UFC, though several outlets are reporting his signing. The location of his premier bout with the organization has yet to be named. He previously competed in the PRIDE series (see clip below).

Russow is stationed in the Englewood district, a rough-and-tumble area which would seem to be appropriate for a guy with his talents. Englewood criminals would do well to learn his face and name. Submission would seem to be the best option when he's on the beat.

Ken Green

News Thu May 28 2009

Short Hops

  • Wipe your tears, Hawks fans. According to USA Today, the young team's gotta wear shades ('80s music reference).
  • Not only are Derrick Rose's academic endeavors at Memphis under scrutiny, but it looks like the grade hanky-panky extends back to high school.
  • So does this SAT probe mean anything for the next batch of NBA hopefuls, many of whom will be here in Chicago for the annual pre-draft camp?
  • Answering the cries of many Cubs fans, GM Jim Hendry says the trading of Mark De Rosa isn't the problem. Meanwhile, The Bleacher Reports thinks moving Alfonso Soriano to second is one of the answers. And if the sale of the team to the Ricketts family doesn't go through, Sam Zell says "don't worry".
  • So who's the most important Bear on the team right now? If you think the answer is obvious, think again.
  • Even with deep dish pizza and Italian beef sandwiches all over the place, Chicago is pretty average when it comes to fitness. We're 25th out of 50.
  • Someone found the Tampa Bay Rays 2008 AL Championship trophy in a thrift shop in Chicago. Well, not the ACTUAL trophy...
  • The Chicago Fire's Gonzalo Segares gets the "up-close-and-personal" treatment from
  • It sounds like a sweeps week "special report": Are playgrounds endangering our children? Watch "Not Just Fun and Games", a special investigative report...

Ken Green

News Fri May 15 2009

Short Hops

  • If you were looking for the results of today's Cubs-Astros game, forget it. Rain washed it out.
  • For his uncharacteristic helmet-throwing incident, the White Sox' Jermaine Dye gets suspended and fined, meaning he's going to miss most of their series against Toronto.
  • Speaking of Chicago vs. Toronto, the Fire travel to the Great White North to take on Toronto FC this weekend. Other Fire news: the team has qualified for the 2009 SuperLiga tournament and kick off their annual Community Soccer Series net week.
  • Meanwhile, Chicago's other pro soccer team, the Red Stars have a budding star with the free-spirited midfielder Megan Rapinoe. Elsewhere, ESPN shows the Red Stars some by singing out goaltender Caroline Jonsson as one of the standouts in the Women's Professional Soccer League's inaugural season.
  • Vancouver is still trying to hold its collective heads up high after being bounced by the Blackhawks. But at least they don't welch on a bet.
  • If you had a brand-new boat (and really, in this economy, who doesn't?), the Chicago Park District has given you two new harbors.
  • Yahoo! Sports has the Bears finishing 11-5 this season. Hmmm...what changed?
  • As long as the Arena Football League is gathering mothballs, former Rush coach Mike Hohensee figures he's better earn a buck somewhere else.
  • Tired of movie dates, candlelit dinners and walks along the beach? Try antigravity yoga (among other alternative and physical date ideas).
  • New video game upstart retail outlet Play N Trade opens a new store in the Chicago area.
  • Seeking to assert their masculine superiority, the baseball-playing Schaumburg Flyers will take on the Chicago Bandits, the 2008 National Pro Fastpitch champions, in a fastpitch softball game. Why am I temped to bet the house on the Bandits?
  • This song? Get used to it.

Ken Green

News Thu May 07 2009

Short Hops

  • It's do or (almost) die time tonight for the Blackhawks in their playoff series against the (boo) Vancouver Canucks.
  • Now that he's back in the fold, the White Sox' Scottie Pods wants his old number back. Meanwhile, manager Ozzie Guillen thinks the team has more pressing needs.
  • Speaking of the Sox, they hold their first Volunteer Day this Saturday. It's not too late to sign up for the event, inspired by their No. 1 fan.
  • Derrick Rose? Jay Cutler? Patrick Kane? Who's Chicago's most marketable athlete?
  • Handball fanatics, the place to be this weekend is Elgin. Yes, Elgin.
  • The Bulls' playoff run been berry berry good to Comcast Sports.
  • As if the Chicago Rush didn't have enough problems, what with their entire league collapsing, now they're accused of sticking it to one of their fans.
  • Yet another tribute to venerable Wrigley Field.
  • A website called "Ride The City" needs your help in mapping out Chicago's cycling routes.
  • From Lemont, Illinois to Venice, Italy: cyclist Christian Vande Velde has come a long way.
  • Walk with a purpose. The 10th Annual Breast Cancer Walk comes to the Beverly neighborhood.
  • Look out Robert Morris College: Roosevelt University is getting back into the intercollegiate athletics action.
  • Fresh off their victory over Kansas City, the Chicago Force take their undefeated record to Detroit to take on the Demolition in Women's Tackle Football action.
  • The equally unbeaten Chicago Fire, meanwhile, face the New England Revolution at Toyota Park.

Ken Green

News Wed Apr 15 2009

...And With Chet Walker Coming In Off the Bench...

It's no secret that boxers take quite a few shots to the head in their career and sometimes it shows. So could that be the excuse for Ray "Boom Boom" Mancini's gaffe on his show where he's improbably paired with Chet "Chit Chat" Coppock? Crain's Chicago Business' Ed Sherman explains...

Ken Green

News Mon Apr 13 2009

ESPNChicago Debuts

ESPNChicago, the sports network's first foray into localized news delivery, made its debut today. In addition to your favorite team news, it features blogs and columns by Gene Wojciechowski, Scoop Jackson, Wayne Drehs, Jon Greenberg, Bruce Levine, Jeff Dickerson, Nick Friedell, Tom Waddle, Chuck Swirsky and Al Cimaglia.

What do you think of it?

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

News Thu Apr 09 2009

Short Hops

  • The Great Dewayne Wise Experiment is over. Ozzie's going with Chris Getz in the leadoff spot for tonight's game. Getz says he's ready for the change.
  • Bears tracks: Orlando Pace says he came here to play with a winner; Will Cutler fit in with the Bears, and if so, will he be throwing to this guy?
  • ESPN's much-ballyhooed (never thought I'd write that word) Chicagocentric website debuts Monday.
  • If you like your sports bloody and brutal (other than badminton, I mean), you probably already have your tickets to the upcoming World Extreme Cagefighting match at Allstate Arena
  • A Pennsylvania man is biking 840 miles to Chicago to bring awareness to the fight against brain tumors and take part in a special 5K.
  • The Chicago area just missed out on another championship as the Chicago Mission lost in the title game of the USA Hockey Nationals.
  • The first-year Red Stars are looking to succeed where other Chicago soccer franchises have failed and their victory over St. Louis puts then on the right path. You can see for yourself at their home debut on April 19.
  • The Chicago Force kick off their 2009 season this Saturday, April 11, in Iowa vs. the Crush, before returing to North Park University for their home opener April 18 against the Wisconsin Warriors. You can hear head coach John Konecki discuss the upcoming season this Friday on AM 1240 (11 a.m.) and on WJJG-AM 1530 at 4:15 p.m.

    Ken Green

News Fri Mar 20 2009

Short Hops

  • There may not be a casino in Chicago (yet), but there is definitely some gambling going on. The city is now on the hook for $500 million to host the Olympics, part of the state's $750 million guarantee.
  • The Cubs want a new spring training facility in Mesa, or else they're walking. And Cubs fans want to end 100 years of misery or...they'll be back next year.
  • They may have been so-so as a team last season, but as humanitarians, the Bears might belong in the Super Bowl.
  • A unique local soccer tourney will pit the 10 best ethnic teams against each other.
  • Two coaches from the Chicago Force are probably glad the temperatures are going to be a bit warmer this weekend. They're getting their heads shaved for charity tomorrow. Meanwhile, the women'd pro full contact football team released their 2009 schedule.
  • The Windy City Rollers' home teams throw elbows in their next match this Saturday night at the UIC Pavillion.
  • Meanwhile, if you're up for a road trip, Chicago's other roller derby queens, The Outfit, have a bout-on-wheels near Grand Rapid, MIchigan.

Ken Green

News Thu Mar 05 2009

Short Hops

  • Now that Terrell Owens has been released by the Cowboys, would he be a good fit for the Bears? And how long before he brings Kyle Orton to tears?
  • Speaking of Bears quarterbacks, a Sporting News blog says that Rex Grossman's eminent departure is bad news for Chicago. And while he is visiting Cincinnati, Dallas seems more than eager to welcome him there.
  • Sure Blackhawks defenseman James Wisniewski was as fan favorite, but Daily Herald sports blogger Tim Sassone says give his replacement, Sami Pahlsson, a chance.
  • At the risk of being labeled a Cub-hater: Seriously, shouldn't there be a moratorium on these "Why The Cubs Will Win The World Series in (fill in the year)" stories that crop up at the start of every season?
  • Thornton High School rules the top spot in the Tribune's final boys high school basketball rankings. The highest Chicago school, De La Salle, finished third.
  • ESPN sheds more light on its new Chicago-specific sports website.
  • writer David Aldridge gives props to Norm Van Lier and Red Kerr.
  • To paraphrase Douglas MacArthur, displace cheerleaders never die, they just hook up with other sports teams.
  • Registation may be closed, but there's still plenty of action to be had on and off the course as the annual Chiditarod runs this Saturday. Shopping carts have never seen this much action.

Ken Green

News Fri Feb 20 2009

Short Hops

  • The latest to fill the economic pinch? The sports memorabilia business. Where have you gone, Joe DiMaggio autographed napkins?...
  • Never say Dye: The White Sox right fielder hopes to stay put.
  • When you have a half-ton bull step on your head and you don't quit, you've earned the right to be called tough. The Toughest Cowboy competition comes to Chicago.
  • One group is working to ensure that the potential 2016 Chicago Olympics Games are a winner for everyone.
  • Pay to play: School officials in Waukegan have raised high school sports fees.
  • Lisle may have lost the Bandits, but they've gained the Red Eleven (who used to be the Gales and are not to be confused with the Red Stars, even though the two are connected. Got all that?).
  • The local mixed martial arts center expands its range. Now there's something for everyone...who likes to punch other people in the face.
  • A new book examines the "holy" (or unholy, depending on where you stand) trinity of men, sports and beer.
  • He might have flew a bit under the radar on the local sports scene, but they'll no doubt be a tip of the cap in the press boxes to the one-of-a-kind Larry Gross, who is mourned here in Chicago and in his native New Jersey.

Ken Green

News Thu Feb 19 2009

I've Got Team Spirit

teamspirits.jpgClothing designer Novem has created the ultimate Chicago sports fan t-shirt.

Designed by Paul Deters, it features the mascots of every major league team in Chicago: a totem pole of White Sox, Cubs, Bulls, Bears and Blackhawks, with the Fire behind and Sky above.

It's available for $29 online or in their studio store at 1104 N. Ashland.

Andrew Huff / Comments (3)

News Fri Feb 13 2009

Shot Hops

  • No matter how this thing with John Paxson and the Bulls shakes out, he may not be to blame for their current state. Might it be this guy?
  • For years now, Cubs fans have been making an Iraq-like surge and turning Milwaukee's Miller Park into "Wrigley Field North". Now the Brew Crew and Amtrak are looking to return the favor.
  • One blogger sees something sinister in the fact that the Cubs' pitchers and catchers report for spring training today and the calendar reads "Friday the 13th".
  • Is Carlos Quentin really Floyd Robinson, V 2.0? The two San Diego natives and White Sox outfield stars, separated by 40 years, recently met and compared notes.
  • profiles the "father of black baseball", Negro League founder and Chicago American Giants owner Rube Foster.
  • It might be grabbing at straws, but a Tribune reporter says Favre's (possible) retirement will hurt the Bears. Yeah... that's it... that's what's hurting the Bears.
  • ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. sees the Bears going after Florida WR Percy Harvin... if they know what's good for them.
  • No Decepticons were in sight, but a Transformer IS making an appearance at the Chicago auto show.
  • Sorry, gamers. The Street Fighter IV arcade cabinet game isn't coming to Chicago.
  • Whitney Young, the top high school basketball team in the state, continues its quest for the city title with a quarterfinal game Sunday against CVS at the Pavilion.
  • National Girls and Women In Sports Day paid tribute to college-bound Chicago prep stars.
  • Soldier Field could play host to another World Cup qualifier.

Ken Green

News Thu Feb 05 2009

Short Hops

  • Chicago vs. Tokyo in the battle for the Olympics: Might TV have the final word? If not, maybe a mural will sway the Olympic Committee.
  • If the Bears actually signed everyone who reportedly has expressed an interest in playing for them, think of the team! For now, throw T.J. Houshmandzadeh and Simeon Rice on the pile.
  • Are the Orioles fleecing the Cubs? One blogger seems to think so.
  • There's a movie being made about the Cubs (and no, it's not a disaster flick) and you can be in it.
  • While Dewayne Wise fights for a roster spot with the White Sox, the coaching staff will be watching closely.
  • Meanwhile, Sox PR chief Brooks Boyer explains the Obama Effect on the team's merchandising.
  • Gamers, now you can play with Blagojevich on your iPhone.
  • Chicago-based Salukiheads, Feb. 21 is your day as SIU comes to Chicago for a hoops showdown with UIC.
  • So Bulls fans, you say you want a big man in the middle... how do you feel about Brad Miller?
  • While the Chicago Red Stars women's pro soccer franchise signs a pair of players from Sweden, the DePaul women's soccer team brings in three players from a little closer to home.
  • Lawyer by day, Windy City Roller by night. Sort of like Batman... girl... er, woman.

Ken Green

News Tue Feb 03 2009

Blago On Thin Ice

Sure, he's lined up to appear on Late Night with David Letterman tonight. But that doesn't mean that former Governor Rod Blagojevich is no longer the butt of a national joke. Of course, pretty much everyone knows of the shots taken at him by SNL. But now sports has gotten in on the act, namely a minor league hockey team in Las Vegas which recently held its "Gov. Rod Blagojevich Prison Jersey Night" in which the Las Vegas Wranglers donned old school black-and-white striped uniforms while their opponents, the Bakersfield Condors, wore the more modern orange jumpsuits (the refs naturally wore prison guard-styles outfits). While this all ignores the fact that Blago hasn't been on trial yet, let alone been send to prison (remember, we said "yet"), it proved to be pretty popular as these video clips show.

And if all of those reported book and TV show offers don't materialize, Blago can, if he so wishes, find himself surrounded by big, sweaty men (and, again, we're not talking about prison). He's been offered the job of temporary "chairman" of TNA Wrestling's Main Event Mafia, a collection of the organization's more popular characters that include Kurt Angle, Kevin Nash and Booker T. The organization will even give Rowdy Roddy the chance to sell a, not the senatorial kind, but the metal folding kind used to subdue opponents.

Ken Green / Comments (1)

News Fri Jan 30 2009

Short Hops

  • First, there was Barack Obama in the White House. Now there's Pat Quinn in the State House. Politically speaking, White Sox Nation just keeps getting bigger.

  • Speaking of the Sox, as SoxFest kicks off this weekend, Ozzie Guillen says the team will try "small ball"... again. And will Joe Crede join former Sox teammate Juan Uribe in Frisco? His potential replacement, Josh Fields, is wasting no time just in case he does.

  • Detroit WR Mike agent QB Chris Simms (son of Phil)...Super Bowl starter Kurt Warner...all rumored to be on the Bears radar. Really?

  • Does Richard Dent REALLY need someone to go to the NFL Hall of Fame committee and plead his case?

  • This is THE weekend for the Windy City Rollers, as they make their UIC Pavilion debut.

  • But don't forget to show some love to the city's other roller derby queens, The Outfit, as they host a benefit party tonight.

  • You'd think getting punched in the face and crotch, sometimes at the same time, would be high on the pain scale for a UFC star. But for one Hammond, Ind., there's something more painful: being a Cubs fan.

  • Speaking of the Cubs, they're reportedly still talking about dealing Rich Hill to the Orioles.

  • Unlike their Washington, D.C. counterparts, CPS phys ed students keep it going even in below-zero weather.

  • The Sky needs your help in sending some of their players to the Euroleague All-Star Game.

  • Wanna buy a toboggan?

Ken Green

News Fri Jan 23 2009

Short Hops

  • Trouble at local high school basketball games means new rules for fans and players
  • It's never to early to start thinking marathon
  • Try as they might, the Utah Jazz still can't get over the damage done to them by Michael Jordan and the Bulls
  • Step away from the italian beef: Chicago has a goal of going from the fattest to the fittest city in the country
  • No, smelt fishing doesn't involve taking a good, long whiff. It's a Chicago thing.
  • Taking a cue from their No. 1 Fan, the White Sox are issuing a call to social service
  • A Libertyville native gets a chance to play with (the) Fire.
  • That commercial with LeBron James dreaming of playing fo the Cleveland Browns? What if some of our local non-football athletes had the same dream?
  • A charity stair climbing event takes place this Sunday at the 80-floor Aon Center. Around floor 57, just keep telling yourself, "It's for the kids, it's for the kids..."

Ken Green

News Fri Jan 16 2009

Short Hops

  • Remember when the Chicago Cardinals were the toast of the town? Neither do we. Here's some footage to show you what the big deal was.
  • Barack Obama is a continuation in a long like of athletically-active presidents, although we're pretty sure that list doesn't include Taft. Wait, we take that back.
  • Albert Belle, Dennis Rodman, A.J. Pierzinski... we're fast becoming the home for athletes that rub everyone else the wrong way. So why NOT Terrell Owens?
  • Cubs pitcher Jeff Samardzija is getting used to sudden fame...
  • ...while fellow Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano nearly breaks a water cooler over the CTA fare increase (OK, not really).
  • Sox fans, the Twins are retooling for an AL Central title and just might used Joe Crede to do it.
  • Study of Sports analyzes the Sox-Bartolo Colon deal and raises the issue of the "S" word ("S" being steroids).
  • Bleacher Report lists the 10 most annoying type of fans. Did you make the cut?
  • Despite a struggling economy, the Chicago Red Stars have sold 1,000 season tickets for their inaugural women's professional soccer season. Granted, season tickets are only $99, but still...
  • Martin Luther Knig Holiday Weekend prep hoops action includes the High School Hoops Showdown and the MLK Dream Classic at Whitney Young, where you just might see some of the top 40 area players.
  • Winter cornhole league play kicks off at Joe's on Weeds Street, with proceeds benefitting the Chicago Cornhole Charity Initiatitve. Yeah, you read it right.
  • Like father, like... daughter? Brittney Payton, daughter of Walter, tries out for the Chicago Force.

Ken Green

News Sat Jan 10 2009

Short Hops

Ken Green / Comments (1)

Racing Thu Jan 08 2009

Goodbye, Sportsman's Park


Ex-Reader staffer and past GB contributor Ted McClelland penned a farewell to Sportsman's Park, the moribund horse and auto racing park in Cicero.

Of Chicago's three racetracks, Sportsman's best exemplified horse racing's seedy glamour. It was started as a dog track by Al Capone, who used to fix the races by feeding greasy hamburgers to every greyhound but the one he planned to bet on. Sportsman's sometimes held boxing matches between the races, up on the third floor. I used to see Moose Skowron in the grandstand, wearing a jacket advertising his after-the-races tavern, Call Me Moose. Racetrack Rosie, the veteran stripper known for her outlandish Derby Day hats, had her own day at Sportsman's. The track even put her picture on the program cover. My first gambling mentor, Johnny Goritz, taught me to read a horse's body language at Sportsman's. And I'll never forget watching a losing gambler race through the bleachers after a bad beat, wailing "I've never had any luck! Not once in 55 years!" Sportsman's was the mingled stench of cigarette smoke, horse manure and the newsprint of a fresh Daily Racing Form. But give Sportsman's some credit for class: it had the best food of any sporting venue in town. Can you get a salmon-and-fettucine blue plate special at the United Center?

Sportsman's ran its last race in 2002, and the city of Cicero bought the property in 2003. The grandstands are currently being torn down to make way for a shopping center. It's worth reading the whole piece.

Also worth checking out FoGB Katherine Hodges' photoset of the park on flickr.

[Image: mod as hell]

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

News Fri Dec 26 2008

Short Hops

A day late, but...

  • Does the idea of "Governor Ditka" appeal to you? If so, we have a website for you.
  • And while a sports guy gets pushed into the political arena, another politician looks to athletic endeavors for relief.
  • It's a lousy holiday season for the Chicago Rush.
  • A Colts fan is thankful he's not a Bears fan. Yeah, but you still have to live in Indiana.
  • The top Chicago sports story of the year? The Cubs and Sox making the playoffs. The worst? What happened after they made it...
  • Sosa's thinking about making a comeback. Pharmacists get their preseciption pads ready.
  • The Houston Texans are thinking "spoiler" for their game against the Bears this Sunday
  • Chicago in January might not seem like a tourist destination... unless you're the outdoorsy type.
  • As the Winter Classic nears, the Blackhawks are the toast of the NHL. Their East Coast affiliate... no so much.
  • Real Serious Sports (a satirical website) has Sarah Palin throwing out the first pitch at a Cubs game. You betcha.
  • White Sox/California Angels trade talks heat up, with Paul Konerko's name being mentioned.
  • But not to worry: there are top prospects waiting in the wings.
  • One high school hoops team finds a way to hold red hot North Chicago under 100 points. Boring, but effective
  • The holiday hoops tournament season heats up.

Ken Green

News Fri Dec 19 2008

Have Yourself An Air-ry Little Christmas...

airjordan-xx3.jpgFor fans of the iconic Air Jordan shoes, Christmas will come a couple of days early this year.

On December 23, 23 stores across the country will sell the 23rd edition of the Air Jordan shoe by Nike, for $230. In the world of the sneakerhead, this is big news, big enough that fans have camped out in front of the designated stores across the country, including our own Niketown on Michigan Ave. since the begnning of this week. Did I mention that the shoes don't go on sale until Dec. 23?

Did I also mention that each store will sell only 23 pairs of the shoes?

Continue reading this entry »

Ken Green

News Wed Dec 17 2008

Obama's Full Court Press

So now it's quite obvious what Barack Obama is doing with regards to assembling a Cabinet. Arne Duncan for education secretary? Gen. James Jones for national security advisor? Eric Holder for attorney general? Susan Rice for UN ambassador?

It's clear now. He's assembling the world's most powerful basketball team.

Continue reading this entry »

Ken Green

News Thu Dec 11 2008

Short Hops

  • A Las Vegas minor league hockey team joins the army of "jokesters" who are sticking it to Rod Blagojevich.
  • The Cubs dream of obtaining Jake Peavy is dead. So what better way to commemorate this non-event than...
  • The Cubs did however add to their roster. Just not with Peavy.
  • Do high school sports still matter? Sounds like a silly question, but...
  • A Chicago consulting firm looks at how avatars might help in winning at online poker.
  • In local soccer new, the Fire's Soccer Development Academy plays in three matches while the Storm slate their own holiday appearances in the coming days.
  • Soup's on...and it's paying dividends for the Blackhawks
  • A French newspaper seems to think that the election of Barack Obama means softball will be back in the Olympics. Huh?
  • Are Thursday NFL games a "recipe for disaster"? Depending on when you read this, you may already have the answer.

Ken Green

News Fri Nov 21 2008

United We Stand

arena_rose3.jpgChicago Magazine gives the feature article treatment to two denizens of the United Center: the Blackhawks' Rocky Wirtz and the Bulls' Derrick Rose (Photo from Chicago Magazine website).

Ken Green

News Thu Nov 20 2008

Short Hops

  • And the Cubs post-season post-mortem examination continues, with Lou Pinella blaming that old standby, the media, while Ryan Dempster says the team flatout wasn't ready. Hey guys, sorry, no do-overs.
  • Meanwhile, the White Sox, who seems to have come to grips with their playoff loss, work on keeping Bobby Jenks around. But did Nick Swisher phone it in for much of the season?
  • Four area college soccer teams have made it to the NCAA tournament.
  • It was bound to happen after that embarrassing loss to the Packers: The "Fire Lovie" talks are heating up. Here is one blogs' 10 reasons why he deserves the ax. Meanwhile, Fanhouse questions Lovie's assessment that the Bears receivers are "pretty good".
  • The Bulls' Derrick Rose sits atop most Sports Illustrated NBA writers' list of early top rookies. Naturally.
  • It's not the major draw it used to be, but prep football is still a big deal in Chicago. The Catholic League is gearing up for its title game, pitting Loyola Academy against De La Salle.
  • A disabled cyclist bikes 1,064 miles from Jacksonville, Fla. to Chicago. His final destination? Where else: Oprah.
  • The Chicagoland Bicycle Federation gets a new name.
  • The Chicago Outfit wants YOU... well, that is, if you're a female and don't mind getting knocked around a little. There's a recruitment Q&A tonight at 9:30
  • The Onion reports on an unusual source of nourishment for the BearsHungry-Bears-Defense-R.jpg and God's plans for the Cubs.
  • If you haven't had enough of cornhole, and really who has (OK, put your hands down), there's a Thanksgiving tournament coming up called the "Turkeyhole Classic" coming up here in Chicago. No, really.

Ken Green

News Thu Nov 06 2008

Short Hops

While some of you might be ODing on BO (that's Barack Obama), there are others who can't get enough. So for them...

  • ESPN's Lester Munson discusses the effect of Obama's election on the sports world...
  • ...while the New York Daily News does the same.
  • Fellow former South Sider Donovan McNabb can relate to Obama's Chicago experience.
  • Sox fans now have a friend in the White House.
  • Now that the campaigning is over, it's back to the gym for Obama.
  • Finally, the Trib's Mike Downey gives a glimpse of Obama's first 100 days.
  • DePaul offers a four-credit course on the Cubs. Wonder if it's Pass/Fail, Fail, Fail, Fail, Fail... (Sorry, couldn't help it.)
  • It looks like a long season for fans of UIC and Loyola men's hoops. One prediction has them finishing 6th and 7th, respectively, in the Horizon League.
  • The Chicago Slaughter indoor football team will host open tryouts this Sunday. The head coach? Steve "Mongo" McMichael.
  • OK, sorry, one more Obama item, this time a three-on-three game he took part in in Indiana. Gotta admit, for a chief executive, he's got some moves.:

Ken Green

News Mon Nov 03 2008

Meanwhile, Buddy Ryan Is Backing Lyndon LaRouche

A Hail Mary pass? Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin is hoping some last-minute campaigning with Mike Ditka will score her and running mate John McCain some votes in Ditka's homestate of Pennsylvania. Now all he has to do is tell her who he is and why he's famous. OK, I couldn't help it...

Ken Green / Comments (1)

News Thu Oct 30 2008

Short Hops

  • The Blackhawks keep getting kudos for their turnaround, if primarily on a marketing basis. The latest huzzah comes from Forbes magazine.
  • Derrick Rose has inked an endorsement deal with Wilson Sporting Gods. Take that, Nike.
  • A trio of British hockey stars recount their experience running the recent Chicago Marathon.
  • The Bulls' Luol Deng gets a bit of pub from the Telegraph of the UK. Deng has played with the Great Britain national team.
  • As if Cubs fans didn't have enough reasons to cry in their beer, this guy has given them one more: Philadelphia won it all.
  • That website that has political junkies all geeked up? It came from the mind of Chicago sports number-cruncher Nate Silver.
  • The Chicago Outfit, the city's other roller derby team, hold their Dia de los Muertos clash. It'll be the Sugar Skulls vs. the Zombies.
  • Pitcher Julio Castillo, the Peoria Chiefs player who hit a fan with a ball? He's been indicted. If you haven't see it, the video is below.

Ken Green

News Thu Oct 23 2008

Short Hops

  • Not a big fan of the ultimate fighting myself (Saturday nights in Wrigleyville about 10 years ago... Been there, done that). But for those who are, this is a big weekend in UFC-land, including a weight-in and Q&A open to the fans on Friday at the Chicago Theater. The main event, of course, is Saturday at the Allstate Arena.
  • If you think you want to give it a shot yourself, there are tryouts on Monday. Note: There will be blood.
  • Not to be outdone, UFC's bastard cousin, pro wrestling, has a bunch of events lined up in the coming days as well on the local level.
  • USA Today is as surprised at Kyle Orton as we are.
  • A Chicago woman is at the center of a controversy on how marathons are timed. The recent Chicago Marathon also has a mini-controversy base on the timing system.
  • Chicago State University has a new AD and a new conference.
  • A new fan joins Bear Nation...but hangs on to his Detroit Lion allegiance. Why?
  • Cool Hunting has a story on Chicago's new Dutch Bike shop.
  • The Windy City Rollers crack the seal on their new home, the UIC Pavilion, with a match against the Carolina Rollergirls. Oh, and there's supposed to be free beer!
  • The bye-week Bears talk about their scariest Halloween costumes. Probably not as scary as their game against Atlanta, but still...

Ken Green

News Fri Oct 17 2008

Reel Sports

KassimTheDream.jpgWhile you might think it's all angst-ridden, Ingmar Bergman-esque examinations of man's search for his place in the universe (and taking at least three hours to find it), the Chicago International Film Festival has something even sports fans might like. Several of the films at this year's festival use an athletic backdrop to tell stories of struggle and achievement. So consider giving the television remote a rest and checking out some of the following (all info taken from the official CIFF website):

Kassim The Dream
(Dir. - Kief Davidson)
Friday, Oct. 25, 5:50 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 25, 2 p.m.
River East 21 Theater (7)

Kidnapped by rebel soldiers at the age of six. A war-hardened veteran by 12. A boxing champion at 15. Kassim "The Dream" Ouma's extraordinary journey from Ugandan child solider to world-class athlete is a tale of survival and determination that turns tragedy into inspiration. 87 min.

Continue reading this entry »

Ken Green

News Fri Oct 17 2008

Short Hops

  • The Minnesota Vikings' Bernard Berrian expects boos when he returns to this old stomping grounds at Soldier Field this Sunday. C'mon Bears fans, don't let him down.
  • If his contract doesn't discourage the White Sox from resigning him, Ken Griffey Jr.'s recent knee surgery might.
  • Evanston remembers one of his favorite sons, former MLB pitcher Kevin Foster.
  • Speaking of favorite sons, new Wolves head coach Don Granato is happy to be back home as he prepared for the team's home opener Saturday night.
  • Remember the Cubs' "fan" who tried to auction off his loyalty on eBay? He may have found a buyer and a kindred spirit in the Boston Red Sox.
  • In the battle of sports radio on Chicago (well, it's actually just a two-horse race), WSCR-AM has taken the lead.
  • De La Salle's Mike Shaw is being touted by ESPN as the "next big thing" in Chicago high school basketball.
  • Even if you're not entered in this weekend Urbanathlon, you can still go down and enjoy the party.
  • The Windy City Rollers are holding tryouts. If you think you have what it takes (and can come up with a clever alias like "Val Capone" or "Lucy Furr"), come to a scrimmage preview on Monday. Incidentially, the WCR All-Stars made it to the national finals in Portland, Oregon.

Ken Green

News Wed Oct 15 2008

That's The Ticket... Or Not

cubsseatingchart.jpgIt doesn't help that the economy is currently in or headed directly for the proverbial crapper, but the price of tickets to sporting events show no sign of coming down to meet the slightly thinner pockets of the buying public, according to an article on "Medill Reports".

Currently, the average ticket to a Cubs' game rose to $42.49 in 2008, according to the report, a 42 percent increase from 2004. And that two-parents-two-kids-at-the-game measuring stick they're always using in the yearly reports on how much a day at the ballgame will cost (officially known as the Fan Cost Index)? This season it was $251.96 for a Cubs game. And it doesn't appear likely to come down even with the "occurances" of this past season.

The Bears were the most expensive ticket in town at an average price of $88.33. The White Sox were a better baseball bargain with an average ticket price of $30.28 and an FCI of $214.61. The Blackhawks were the city's best professional sports value at $34.88, although that could change next year if the team makes the progress everyone expects.

Ken Green

News Thu Oct 09 2008

Short Hops

  • OK, look, baseball in Chicago in 2008 is OVER. Can't we all just get along?
  • But before we go, a final look back...
  • OK, maybe one more look, from a fan trying to come to grips with his affliction.
  • The Sky re-signs Canty and Wyckoff.
  • Feeling down after recent sporting results in Chicago? The Daily Illini has the answer.
  • Got golf fever? Snow is for quitters.
  • When it comes to the Chicago Marathon, last year is, well, so last year.
  • And to get you in the mood...

Ken Green

News Thu Oct 02 2008

Short Hops

  • Eddie Vedder, Schmeddie Vedder. The Tampa Bay Rays have their own crooning fan in Kevin Costner.
  • Sure, they're involved in a heated playoff series. Doesn't mean that Derrek Lee and Mark DeRosa shouldn't think about their longterm future.
  • The Wrigley Field faithful aren't the only ones singing "Go, Cubs, Go". A "fan" in California wants them to win too, although for admittedly selfish reasons.
  • If the Twins had their way, it would have been double-or-nothing against the White Sox. (OK, not really, but...)
  • According to one writer, the Fire fans are some of the nicest around town.
  • Got an extra $90,000 or so lying around? You can sponsor your own triathlon.
  • Two more elite runners (PDF) announced for the Chicago Marathon field.
  • Now that Ben Gordon is back in the fold and Derrick Rose is in the lineup, the Bulls should be a front-runner in the NBA's Central Division, right? Not so fast...
  • Got crazy flipper fingers? A supple wrist? Check out the pinball expo.
  • The Chicago Outfit Roller Derby team host their last clash of the season when they take on the Hammer City Rollergirls of Hamilton, Ontario.

Ken Green

News Sat Sep 27 2008

Badminton for the Kids

The Chicago Park District is teaming up with World Sport Chicago to launch a children's badminton league. The 10-week program culminates with a championship tournament at the Mayor's Holiday Sports Festival December 27-29 at McCormick Place in Chicago.

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

News Thu Sep 25 2008

Short Hops

  • The White Sox ship may be sinking, but Juan Uribe is worried about a different boat.
  • Cubs' manager Lou Pinella talks about his future with the Cubs.
  • "Mr. Cub" Ernie Banks has added to this personal roster.
  • With talk of the sale of the Cubs heating up again, a YouTube video offers one possible outcome.
  • That All-Time Cubs/White Sox team has irked one fan... in Indianapolis.
  • The White Sox will take on the Reds in next year's Civil Rights Game.
  • Donovan McNabb says he's fired up to play against the Bears this Sunday. Great... just great.
  • An AIDS activist is running from New York City to Chicago to raise awareness of the disease's devastating affect in Africa
  • The Chicago Red Stars of the Women's Professional Soccer league obtained the rights to four international stars.
  • "Cicero Fury" comes to, well, Cicero in the form of an evening of boxing on October 17.
  • Brush up on your Big Wheel skills. The Urban Assault Ride is coming to Chicago this weekend.
  • More pedal-powered fun: bike polo.

Ken Green

News Tue Sep 23 2008

Where Not to Drink During the Playoffs

As previously mentioned in Merge, bars in Wrigleyville and US Cellularburg (US Cellstonia?) are being asked to voluntarily stop serving alcohol after the 7th inning of home playoff games wherein the Cubs or Sox could clinch a series. This is some hilarious quasi-fast pitch (pun intended) being called by Hizzoner and what should bars really do? Games get out at what? 11pm, CST? So, yeah, stop serving three hours early for the sake of what, families? children? Excuse me, but last time I checked, former frat boys, duuuuuuudes, and vapid women lived in Wrigleyville. Meanwhile, on the Southside, I'm pretty sure they have vastly more important things to worry about than curbing the amount of consumption and need to be vastly more aware of the clientele and actually exacting some sort of responsibility on the employees and customers of said speakeasy.

Back to the lecture at hand, what Daley is proposing is ludicrous and would amount to a much less safe and far less controlled environment wherein people would be, indeed, "gettin' their drank on!" The only comparable notion I can I think of is the current straits that many universities find themselves flummoxed by when confronted with the problem with under-agers drinking far too much in uncontrolled circumstances at off-campus house parties.

However, instead of realizing that people like to get drunk, down, fete, dirty, krunked, what-have-you, Daley, is of the belief that people are having too much in bars -- which, in many cases, I am sure they are. Yet, attempting to curb drinking through a 7th inning cut-off would merely exacerbate the drunken throngs by tempting them to raid their own pre-purchased stockades of liquor and beer that they (the drunken crowds) already are fantasizing about while drinking until the end of the games, bar time, whatever. Within the realms of a bar at least there exists the implied notion of control, versus the unchecked beer-swilling of a person in their own (or a friend's) home.

Brian Lauvray / Comments (4)

News Thu Sep 04 2008

Short Hops

  • The Chicago Sky go for their fourth win in a row, a franchise record, when they host the Seattle Storm tonight at the UIC Pavilion.
  • A Los Angeles resident tells about the great time he had seeing the Cubs at Wrigley Field recently. Of course, this was before their recent, ahem, troubles.
  • Despite their contract differences, a Sporting News writer thinks Ben Gordon and the Bulls are "destined" for each other.
  • The Bears' Kyle Orton says he's not the same QB he's been in the past. Thank God.
  • Meanwhile, another NFL quarterback with a Chicago connection, Donovan McNabb, tells of growing up a Chicago sports fan.
  • The next time your significant other complains about your obsession with sports, show them this.
  • Now that you've seen the commercials a bazillion times, you might as well go out and see that Red Bull Flugtag thing in person.
  • Got the need for speed? It's a big weekend for racing at Chicagoland Speedway.
  • Or if you like your racing a little more sedate, try model boat racing at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
  • And speaking of water (don't you love these segues?), the Big Shoulders Open Water Swim Classic is this Saturday at Ohio Street Beach.
  • Chicago has a champion on the diamond, thanks to the Chicago Maccabi softball team who took gold at the Maccabi Games.

Ken Green

News Wed Sep 03 2008

Drink Up, It's A Long Season

Thanks to all of the ups and downs, as well as the unpredictable twists of the current Chicago baseball season, well, it's enough to drive one to drink. A popular vodka company apparently knows that and will unveil new billboards to at least give fans an idea of WHAT to drink.

Effen Vodka is set to unveil new billboards on the south and north sides of the city to capitalize on the continuing (fingers crossed) good fortune of both the Cubs and White Sox. The Cubs-themed billboard will make reference to the supposed team curse, while the one located near U.S. Cellular field will simply bolster the South Side pride.

But when it comes to aligning themselves with a local sports team, the Bears would seem to be a natural fit for the Holland-based vodka company. After all, I can't count how many times I've heard someone yell, "Effen Rex Grossman" in the last couple of years.

Ken Green

News Thu Aug 28 2008

Short Hops

  • Stories That Will Not Die 1: Mariotti says he's not going to Boston, which leaves only five bazillion other cities for him to tell us where he's not going. Also, the Sun-Times takes a parting shot at their one-time star columnist.
  • Stories That Will Not Die 2: The Wall Street Journal says Barack Obama isn't the only one down on the Wrigley Field Experience. And Sports Illustrated jumps on the pile, too. But another website turns the other cheek and tries to link White Sox-lovin' Obama with the Cubs.
  • Stories That Will Not Die 3: Another week, another standing: Now, Chicago is supposedly the front runner for the 2016 Olympics.
  • The City of Chicago has a plan to make use the most bike-friendly place in the world.
  • Professional squash fever: Catch it! An international pro squash tournament is headed here.
  • A lesson in how not to write a press release, this one involving the Bears. My favorite sentence: "The Chicago Bears tickets have many sources of power that let the team to be so."
  • Among upcoming events at Soldier Field: the Chicago High School Kick Off Classic this weekend.

Ken Green

News Wed Aug 27 2008

The Man We Loved To Hate

Gotta say, the most interesting aspect of the whole Jay Mariotti resignation is the almost complete rejoicing by members of the reading public whose opinions on the former Sun-Times columnist range from vague indifference to his presence to outright revulsion and an unspoken desire to dance the electric slide on his grave.

How he remained here for more than 17 years with this kind of opinion swirling around outside of his workplace (and sometimes inside) is either a testament to his ability to generate interest of ANY kind or the Sun-Times' refusal to admit a mistake. Either way, he managed to irk nearly everyone on the Chicago sports scene, from local icon Mike Ditka to Ozzie Guillen, who Mariotti ripped so thoroughly that Guillen was reduced to referring to Mariotti with a homosexual slur, which I guess that counts for something.

Continue reading this entry »

Ken Green / Comments (1)

News Thu Aug 14 2008

Short Hops

  • It may not make it to the side of a milk carton, but the Chicago Fire fan club Section 8 is missing their banner.
  • Some people might have an opinion about who they are, but a new book of photos entitled "We Are Cubs Fans" seeks to define the loyalists visually. The obligatory Ronnie Woo Woo photo is included.
  • Speaking of the Cubs, Sports Illustrated joins the rest of the country in being amazed that they AND the White Sox are both in first place and may make the playoffs in the same season for the first time since 1906.
  • And speaking of the Sox, Fox Sports calls the acquisition of Carlos Quinten the steal of the century. OK, they call it the steal of the season. It just LOOKS like the steal of the century.
  • The Bears are set to unveil a major advertising blitz. Too bad they can advertise for a quarterback.
  • Tickets for the National Pro Fastpitch softball championships go on sale this Saturday at Judson Sports Complex in Elgin, home of the Chicago Bandits. The Bandits are one of the four teams who will be participating.
  • Now that the Blackhawks are enjoying a resurgence in popularity, new fans might want to read about one of the team's legends featured in a story from the Sports Illustrated vaults.
  • Mark them on your calendar: The Human Race, the cycling National Championships in Downers Grove, Chicago Gems women's baseball, Windy City Rollers action and gay rodeo.

Ken Green

Cycling Wed Aug 13 2008


Elsewhere on GB, Chris Brunn's described the new initiative by the Chicagoland Bike Federation, the Logan Square Neighborhood Association, Garfield Park Conservatory Alliance, and others to close 10 miles of Chicago streets on the Northwest and West sides to car traffic October 5th and 26th so that local residents can bike, run or walk without worry of cars.

Continue reading this entry »

Zach Thomas / Comments (1)

News Thu Aug 07 2008

Short Hops

  • Rex, Kyle...or even Chad Pennington. What difference does it make without an O line?
  • ..but at least we have a first-rate stadium.
  • He was much more than the guy who had the ball go between his legs in the 1984 NL Championship Series. The Indianapolis Star catches up with Cubs legend Leon Durham.
  • If you've been reading Tailgate's own Zach Thomas, you know that bike racing is booming in the Chicago area. The Chicago Tribune plays catch-up.
  • A South Side group is getting kids as young as eight into the challenging sport of triathlons...
  • ...while elsewhere on the South Side, another group is bringing the sport of rowing to a new, younger crowd.
  • The Urbanathalon is coming! Yes, it sounds like some B-movie monster, but actually it's a moderately strenuous 10-mile race, obstacle course thingy. Not too late to enter
  • Bring the pain: The UFC is coming to the Allstate Arena October 25. Top bout on the card is Anderson "The Spider" Silva vs. Patrick "The Predator" Cote. Anyone in UFC nicknamed "The Fluffy Bunny"?
  • Start saving your betting bucks now. The Arlington Million is this Saturday.
  • Twenty-five years ago, they installed lights in Wrigley Field. Purists howled. The world survived.

Ken Green

News Tue Jul 29 2008

It's Just A Game

While we here at Tailgate have been know to get a bit passionate about sports, be it baseball, football, soccer, cycling, etc., things like this serve to remind us it's all just a game.

Ken Green / Comments (1)

Baseball Fri Jul 25 2008

That's How They Play in Peoria

The Cubs' Peoria farm team, the Chiefs, got in a brawl with the Dayton Dragons Thursday evening — in the first inning! Both managers and 15 players were ejected from the game, and a spectator was taken to the hospital after getting hit by a baseball thrown at the Dragons' dugout by pitcher Julio Castillo (as Chicagoist said, guess we know why Castillo's still in the minors.) It was Castillo who instigated the fight, in fact, by retaliating for a hit batter by hitting not one but two batters, and threatening a third. That brought Dragons manager Donnie Scott down to talk with the umps, Chiefs manager Carmelo Martinez down to defend — and the rest is history. Here's some video:

The ejections were reversed by the league commissioner to avoid forcing the teams to use their bullpens to fill in the outfield.

You'll be able to catch the Chiefs in action -- well, playing baseball, at least -- next Tuesday when they play the Kane County Cougars at Wrigley. Tickets are still available.

Andrew Huff

News Thu Jul 24 2008

Short Hops

  • In case you’ve forgotten, the Chicago Force are going for the IWFL title this Saturday at North Park University’s Holmgren Athletic Complex. Cheer them on.
  • The White Sox’ Juan Uribe to the Red Sox? It might make a lot of people happy.
  • Cook County Commissioner Mike Quinn got a lot of Detroit Red Wings fans ticked off when he managed to skewer the team in his resolution celebrating the outdoor game against the Blackhawks at Wrigley Field...
  • ...But here’s guessing he’ll have an easier time getting tickets to the game than you do.
  • A half-game lead (as of Thursday afternoon)? Are the Cubs done for? One writer seems to think so (though he admits he’s a Sox fan but insists that has nothing to do with it… right.)...
  • ...But never fear Cubs fans, there are enough pro-Cubby blogs to ease the pain. In fact, there’s a whole army.
  • The need for (man-powered) speed: The Chicago Criterium is this weekend.
  • A Chicago hospital offers a free women’s sports injury prevention pamphlet
  • ...Which you might need if you attend tryouts for the Grand All Star League (GALS, get it?) women’s basketball tryouts for females 50 and over.

Ken Green

News Wed Jul 23 2008

An Offer He Can't Refuse?

On the one hand, you kinda want everyone to leave the poor guy alone. I mean, it was five years ago. And he wasn't the only guy reaching for that infamous foul ball, just the only one who actually touched it. And it's clear that the subsequent on-field incidents (a wild pitch, an error and flatout lousy pitching) had a lot more to do with the Cubs loss in the 2003 NL playoffs.

But $25,000 for one autograph? Steve Bartman, come on down.

That's what one sports collectible show is offering Bartman to sign one autograph, reportedly the most ever offered for a single signature, at their upcoming Rosemont memorabilia convention on July 31. Should he break his voluntary semi-seclusion, Bartman will be given a briefcase containing $25,000 (upon proof of identity) and the signed photograph will be auctioned to the highest bidder. The proceeds will be donated to a local charity.

You assume he's somewhere at least thinking about this. I mean, unless he enters the convention wearing a Cubs cap, Walkman and blue team sweatshirt, he should be able to walk into the place fairly safely. Heck, grow a beard and shave it off right there to assure up-to-the-minute anonymity.

We're talking 25 G's. You can buy a lot of Walkmen with that kind of money.

Ken Green

Baseball Mon Jul 21 2008

'Dean' of Local Baseball Writers Dies

Jerome Holtzman, the Hall of Fame baseball writer who is credited with created the "save" statistic, passed away over the weekend. Holtzman spent more than 40 years writing about the Cubs and White Sox, which some might say qualifies him for sainthood. In 1999, he was named baseball's official historial by Bud Selig. More on Holtzman here.

Ken Green

News Thu Jul 17 2008

Short Hops

  • The Windy City Rollers threw the smack down in their 138-19 trampling of the Tuscon Saddle Tramps in roller derby action.
  • The Blackhawks' Nikolai Khabibulin to the Ottawa Senators? Reports out of Canada say it's in the works.
  • Never let them see you sweat: Barack Obama is apparently a gym rat.
  • Women's Health Magazine is asking local female fitness buffs: "Are You Game?" (pdf)
  • The Chicago Bandits have a chance to move into first place in the NPF when they continued their four-game series against the league-leading Philadelphia Force tonight. The Bandits beat the Force 3-1 in the series opener on Wednesday.
  • The 2008 Aberdeen Street Dodgeball Ninjas will host their summer tournament this Saturday at Sheridan Park. If nothing else, it should provide some interesting photos.
  • The Chicago Cycling Club hosts a "Baseball Nostalgia Tour", which includes stops at 10 present and former ballparks and lunch at the Billy Goat Tavern.
  • And speaking of baseball, an all-Cubs channel? I thought we already had that...and referred to it as the local news (said the White Sox fan with the inferiority complex).

Ken Green

News Thu Jul 10 2008

Short Hops

  • The Chicago Force take another step toward the Independent Women’s Football League title when they take on the Pittsburgh Passion in a playoff contest this Saturday, 3 p.m. The Force are also getting national exposure thanks to a segement on the CBS Evening News with Katie Couric tonight at 5:30 p.m. A related Force segment may also run on The CBS Early Show this Friday morning.
  • Pro beach volleyball hits North Avenue Beach this weekend. See it on television or in person.
  • The Chicago Bandits kick off a four-game series against the Washington Glory at Judson University in Elgin.
  • Got the need for speed? NASCAR comes to the Chicagoland Motor Speedway this Friday and Saturday. The city already has a fan in racer Kurt Busch.
  • Ultimate fighting in Chicago that DOESN’T involve the City Council? It could happen.
  • The Windy City Rollers hit the hardwood against the Tuscon Saddle Tramps in Cicero on Saturday
  • Yet another Chicago Olympic rally/celebration has been slated, this time for Monday at Millennium Park.
  • Peyton. Butkus. Dent. … and now cornhole? The new drinking man’s favorite (ahem) sport has its second tournament at Soldier Field.

Ken Green

News Thu Jun 26 2008

Short Hops

  • Championship football in Chicago? In June? Yup, when the Chicago Force take on the Detroit Demolition in an Independent Women’s Football League playoff game this Saturday, 3 p.m., at North Park University’s Holmgren Athletic Complex, 3225 W. Foster Ave. Incidentially, two members of the Force also compete in the Chicago Gems Women’s Baseball League
  • …who are also involved in a playoff of sorts of its own, as they compete in the Can-Am Spirit of Sportsmanship Tournament in South Bend, Indiana, this Friday-Sunday. In addition to the Gems, women’s baseball teams from Canada and Australia, as well as elsewhere in the U.S., will compete. Meanwhile, action in the CWBL’s own league is on hold and will resume in Bedford Park, Ill. on July 12.
  • And speaking of Canada, the Chicago Bandits women’s fastpitch softball team (5-7) fell to the Great White North, posting a 1-3 record in their recent four-game series. The Bandits will try to do better against a southern foe, the Venezuelan National Team, in a similar four-game set beginning today (Thurday) at Bandits Stadium at Judson University in Elgin. Cubs pitcher Carlos Zambrano is slated to throw out the first pitch in today’s matchup and all games begin at 7:05 p.m.
  • Oil up those skates. The Windy City Rollers will hold tryouts this Saturday and Sunday, July 13. You need only attend one tryout. For exact time and location, contact the WCR. Also, the league will host their next All-Star Match-up on July 12 at The Stadium, 1909 S. Laramie in Cicero. This time, they take on the Tuscon Saddle Tramps.
  • Finally, North Avenue Beach Sports will host a one-day Dodgeball Tournament on July 12 at (where else?) North Avenue Beach. Go out and pound someone in the face with a.. I mean, go out and enjoy some fun, healthy competition. Contact NABS for details.

Ken Green

News Wed Jun 25 2008

North Gone South

Depending on whom you ask, this past week has either been dark days or breath of fresh air for Chicago radio.

Whether you appreciated his “everyman” approach to broadcasting or loathed him as a boorish oaf who had been given a bigger platform than he deserved, Mike North’s departure from morning sports radio was something of which to take note.

North, the morning man at WSCR-AM, reportedly called it quits this past Friday after he and the station couldn’t reach an agreement on a new contract. The station wanted to cut his $1.5 million contact in half, citing his declining rating numbers (According to the Tribune, North's ratings declined to 2.2 compared with 5.3 for his morning competitors, ESPN-1000's "Mike and Mike in the Morning". Way too many Mikes for me).

North, just as anyone else probably would who is used to the idea of pulling down a million dollar salary, rejected the move and has been off the air since, replaced by the journalistically-incestuous hosting duo of Sun-Times sports writers Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley (who also continue their afternoon show) until a permanent replacement can be named.

In almost any other situation, the “rags to riches” story of Mike North would be held up as an example for little sports reporters everywhere. His rise from owner of a hot dog stand to millionaire radio host was perfect for Chicago’s blue-collar work ethic and his ability to last 16 ½ years in the cut-throat, what-have-you-done-for-me-lately business of radio is something of a modern miracle.

Continue reading this entry »

Ken Green / Comments (4)

News Thu Jun 19 2008

Short Hops

  • A Major League Baseball story on the Cubs' days as a WEST Side ballclub includes some interesting bits of information, including the time in 1908 when a woman gave birth in the bleachers. Contrast that with today when...nah, too easy.
  • Belmont Harbor will be the launching site of a major international boating event when 84 boats from around the world compete in the 2008 Etchells World Championships. The weeklong event kicks off this Friday.
  • Another bout has been added to the boxing card at the Aragon Ballroom this Friday, which we told you about yesterday.
  • After a surprising and promising 2008 season for the Blackhawks, this weekend's NHL draft will be as important for the Hawks as the NBA draft will be for the Bulls. A hockey prospects resource site gives the lowdown.
  • He may not be in the Hall of Fame, but South Carolina residents are not forgetting their native son, White Sox legend Shoeless Joe Jackson and are building a museum in his honor. The organizers are hoping that the tribute helps the HOF committee forget about Jackson's role (or non-role) in the whole Black Sox scandal.

Ken Green

News Tue Jun 10 2008

S-T Water Cooler Rumble Gets More Notice

Seems like we here at Tailgate aren't the only ones to gain a little peverse interest in the inter-office sniping at the Sun-Times' sports department between columnist Jay Mariotti and, well, everyone else there. The Tribune's sports media writer Teddy Greenstein writes about the incestious squabbling and reports on the latest rift between Mariotti and fellow columnist Rick Telender in their ongoing fued. Considering the body blows Mariotti and the Sun-Times in general have given the Tribune over the years (over the potential name change of the Tribune-owned Wrigley Field, for instance), this must have been an easy column to write.

Ken Green

News Mon Jun 09 2008

City of Big Complexes

Admittedly, it's been a pretty strange past few days in Chicago sports. The Bulls' bait-and-switch on Doug Collins. Ozzie Guillen's most recent rant that included shots at Kenny Williams and batting coach Greg Walker (and if I hear the phrase "thrown under the bus" regarding this incident one more time...). The White Sox near-dismantling of the Minnesota Twins. The Cubs' Carlos Zambrano going ballistic in the dugout on national television on Saturday. Cedric Benson's apparent quest to drunk himself off the Bears roster. Big Brown finishing last in the Belmont Stakes (OK, that last story isn't a Chicago one, but I still can't get over it.)

So what has all that sports weirdness earned us? The title of Weirdest Sports Town by ESPN.

OK, before you start firing off those angry emails, know that the article was written by a current Chicago area resident who has strong ties to the city. So cut him some slack...

Ken Green

News Thu Jun 05 2008

Paintball Glory Awaits You

As a stress-reliever, it's a great way to let it all out. Taking aim and firing away at someone - harmlessly, of course. Maybe that's why paintball has grown over the years, giving weekend warriors a break from sitting behind a desk.

It's also become a professional event, as you can witness for yourself with the Chicago area plays host to the 2008 Chicago Open, June 25-29 at the Bolingbrook Recreation and Aquatic Center. The sponsors, Paintball Sports Promotions, has released the layout of the playing field. They expect more than 200 teams from around the world. In addition, the event will host one of the largest paintball tradeshows of the year.

For more information about the event or to register today please visit

Ken Green

News Wed Jun 04 2008

'Civil War' in Sun-Times' Sports Dept.?

Even though we have two long-standing, nationally-recognized newspapers in Chicago (a rarity these days),the presence of a good ol’ fashioned newspaper war is virtually non existent. Despite the competitive nature of the local mainstream press, there hasn’t really been the makings of a good newspaper war in this town since… I dunno, the local papers battled for the best Al Capone headline?

Oh, there have been skirmishes, such as in 1984 when Rupert Murdoch bought the Sun-Times, causing legendary columnist Mike Royko to flee to the Tribune and lob verbal hand grenades on an almost-daily basis. And every now and then the Sun-Times tries to tweak the Trib on new owner Sam Zell’s threats to change the name of Wrigley Field, but the Tribune response is basically to ignore the taunts. Heck, the Trib even scored points by having one of their own win the Sun-Times’ anti-Sam Zell song contest.

But other than the recent Red Eye vs. (now defunct) Red Streak battle, it’s been pretty quiet. I mean, the battle for control of the self-absorbed hipster market isn’t that compelling.

Continue reading this entry »

Ken Green

News Tue May 27 2008

Second-Hand Games

To some it may seem like a great example of recycling, but there's something unseemly about being offered a leftover stadium to use should Chicago win its bid for the 2016 Olympics. But there stands London offering to give the city the bulk of the stadium they plan on using for their own 2012 Olympics. The plan calls for London to give at least 55,000 seats from the eventual 80,000-seat stadium to Chicago to be used in Washington Park.

It sounds like something Mayor Daley and the rest of the Chicago Olympic committee would definitely be intersted in, given that their ever-inflating estimates for the games are a continual source of scrutiny. Anything they can use to show that the games won't cause the city any further financial hardship will be held aloft for all to see like the baby Kunta Kinte in Roots. But a second-hand stadium that's supposed to hold 55,000 people transported across the ocean? Is that even safe? And would the haughty International Olympic Committee look down their collective noses at this hand-me-down gesture?

Anybody want to buy a slightly used Olympic flame?

Ken Green

Basketball Wed May 21 2008

Spike & Mike Team up for Documentary

Pals since the old "Mars Blackman/Air Jordan" days, director Spike Lee and The-Greatest-Chicago-Bull-Ever Michael Jordan have teamed up for a documentary on Jordan, aka The Man Who Put Nike On The Map. The documentary, set to debut at Cannes next year, will reportedly feature exclusive footage from Jordan's later playing career with the (yawn) Washington Wizards. Not to question Spike's film rebel nature, but since the flick is being financed by the NBA, should we expect a PR job free of the stickier issues such as his gambling forays, among other things?

Ken Green / Comments (1)

Racing Mon Apr 21 2008

Danica Patrick Wins Her First IRL Race

Danica Patrick won the Japan 300 over the weekend, marking her first major win and the first win by a female driver in IndyCar history. Family and friends in downstate Roscoe, IL were ecstatic after her win. Hopefully this puts to rest the belief by some that women can't and shouldn't compete with men in sports — although you know there are some guys out there who are fuming right now that their favorite racer got beat by a hottie.

Andrew Huff / Comments (1)

Basketball Fri Apr 11 2008

Wrigley Land-marked Up?

To some, it’s probably akin to spray-painting your name on The Vatican. That’s the high regard that some baseball purists, and even casual fans, have regarding Wrigley Field. Words like “shrine” and “temple” are often bandied about when talk about Wrigley in the context of ballpark esthetics comes up. Even when Cubs teams throughout the years stank up the joint something fierce, there was always those appealing bricks and ivy to make stench palatable. Even quite a few White Sox fans have had to admit that in the era of whiz-bang, high-tech, Corporate-Name-Of-The-Month ballparks, Wrigley is a gem. Well, except for Ozzie.

So it’s not without a little bit of consternation that Chicago Tribune architecture critic Blair Kamin questions the latest addition to the ballpark: the letters “CBOE” painted on in bright yellow letters on a new section of ground-level seats that the Chicago Board Options Exchange is sponsoring this year.

The lettering, located on the wall between the Cubs’ dugout and the left field bullpen, raises the question of whether this bit of advertising violates City of Chicago landmark ordinance.

Continue reading this entry »

Ken Green

Blackhawks Tue Apr 01 2008

A New Era

In a historic announcement this afternoon, the Blackhawks made official plans to broadcast their entire 82-game schedule, as well as playoff games, including all home games from the United Center.

And no, despite the date, this is not an April Fool's joke. Believe it, people. The Blackhawks are on TV, every game!

Combining with the team's current agreement with Comcast Sportsnet, the Hawks announced a three-year deal with WGN Television that will see the station broadcast up to 20 games per year in HD, with Comcast televising the remaining contests.

The agreement reestablishes a link between 'GN and the franchise from the '60s and '70s, when the station was the home of the Blackhawks. In fact, WGN broadcast the clinching game of the Hawks' last Stanley Cup, way back in 1961.

It's Christmas on April Fool's day for Blackhawks fans.

In other news, this year's squad is still harboring playoff aspirations, sitting four points out of the final spot with three games remaining, including tomorrow's home game against the rival Red Wings. A loss tomorrow will end the team's hopes; in fact, it can't afford to lose any of its games. But meaningful hockey in April is a rare sight, and a successful finish will help the young team carry over into next year's TV-laden season.

Jeremy Piniak

News Tue Apr 01 2008

Help Wanted

We're looking for a few good writers to help make Tailgate the best place on the web to talk about Chicago sports -- all of them, in once place. Might that be you?

The ideal candidate(s) would have a passion for Chicago sports big and small, from the majors right down to the corner bar's billiards league and everything in between. You don't have to have encyclopedic knowledge of the inner workings of your favorite team, but it would help. We're in particular need of people to cover the Bulls, White Sox and Sky, but any sport is welcome, as are generalists. UPDATE: Sox covered! And how about Cubs?

Writers will be expected to post at least twice a week -- that shouldn't be too hard for a sports nut, right? Although it's not a paid position, we'll do our best to get you a press pass, and you'll have access to all sorts of events -- curling matches, anyone? Throw your hat in the ring by emailing

Andrew Huff

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