Chicago White Sox: Chicago Bulls
The day I decide not to go to see the Cubs is the day they decide to ball.
But when one has choices as one has today...
Option 1: Cubs vs. Reds
Option 2: Fire vs. FC (Toronto)
Option 3: White Sox vs. Mariners
Option 4: Wolves vs. Rampage
Option 5: Rush vs. Mustangs
Option 6: Bulls vs. Mavericks
Option 7: Blackhawks vs. Coyotes. Game 5
I don’t know if any other city in America can claim days like this on the calendar when it comes to professional sports. Seven teams all in action on one day.
So try doing this: Wake up at 5 a.m. to take youngest son to school on a Saturday because he’s in the band and the band is in a competition that starts at 7 a.m. Go back home. Take other son to driver’s education at another school at 10 a.m. Turn on WGN at noon to see what Cubs team is going to show up. Leave in the middle of the first inning to pick up kids. Return home, Cubs are winning 5-1. Find the Fire/Toronto match on TV. Scream “Goal!!!!!” 25 seconds into the match when the Fire score. Turn to White Sox game. Phil Humber looks good early. Go to get oil changed in the car. Come back, Humber still looks good. Leave home, head to United Center. Word is Derrick Rose might play. Get to UC, hear two words: Perfect game! Find out Rose is playing. Watch Bulls starting lineup start a game together for only the 13th time all season. Leave at halftime. Get home just in time for Game 5 puck drop. My son screams downstairs, “The Bulls are up by 10!” Go online to see Humber highlights. Text Kenny Williams. Check CN100 for Wolves update. They won. Eat dinner. Immerse myself into overtime No. 5. Goal! Text Blackhawks media relations coordinator for possible credentials to Game 6. Begin to write blog you are currently reading. Get response from Blackhawks: “See You Monday!”
The ability to watch, pay attention to or get locked into six professional games all in the same day? Unheard of. The chances of being a part of a day where the city you live in goes 7-0? Incredible. And, in the middle of it all, the 21st perfect game pitched in Major League history? Priceless.
We live for days like this. We live in Chicago because of days like this.
ESPNChicago.com writer Scoop Jackson is spending this week trying to prove that when it comes to sports, there is no city like Chicago.
Day 3: Wednesday
Got the GQ with him gracing the cover. Read through it first thing in the morning.
1. "This life doesn't fit my personality."
Now, I love Derrick Rose. Heavy emphasis on the word, "love." Been knowing him since his sophomore year at Simeon, been knowing about him since 7th grade. Love Pooh to the point that there may not be any objectivity. When it comes to him I can't be objective. He's one of those players/people where the job becomes secondary to our relationship.
That said, after reading Will Leitch's GQ interview, this is all I could think: How can Rose say that fame doesn't fit his personality, but agree to be on the cover of one of the top magazines in the world?
I wanted to call him and just say, "Fame, you can't have it both ways."
He can't say that he "hates" the attention, but contribute to the public exposure. It's not about being a recluse, but the Catch-22 here can't be contradictory.
2. The clothes they styled him in for the spread.
That was someone else in those photos, not Pooh.
A stripped tank top and white skinny jeans again? (In a photo shoot for the January, 2010 issue of GQ, Rose was given similar attire to pose in.) The real Derrick Rose rocks Gucci and Fashion Geek Clothing. Shops at Leaders 1354 and drops into Neiman's. Rocks imported Y-3‘s, not deck shoes.
The real Derrick Rose has his own flavor and uber-style, his own fashion sense of who he is. One that he's never been ashamed of.
I happened to be with White Sox GM Kenny Williams when he made the almost stealth-like move to get Jake Peavy. But since that day over 2 1/2 seasons ago, I had yet to see Peavy up close and personal on the mound.
Part my fault, mostly his. It's not like, due to injuries, he's given us a lot of opportunities.
So Wednesday night at The Cell was my chance.
I watched his first two innings from the press box, talking to some of the people who have seen and criticized him over the years. I listened to how most of them felt (believed) that he was as close to the Peavy who won the Cy Young (2007) in San Diego as he's ever been.
I had to get into scout mode in the third inning. From behind home plate I watched Peavy put on a show. Between the third and sixth innings I was able to watch him like I was going to report intel back to a GM. From eye-level it is very hard to pick up on his pitches, it's easier to see what they do on TV or Jumbotron -- or from a center field camera angle.
The movement of all of his pitches is subtle, but he throws hard every rip. A pitching coach once told me that what a pitcher needs to remain un-hittable is control and confidence. Peavy seemed to be bathing in both. He kept the Orioles' batters guessing like befuddled Jeopardy guests.
Eight strikeouts for the second game in a row. Both wins. An ERA of 2.75. This is what the Sox paid for. Now I can tell my kids I saw the real Jake Peavy in a White Sox uniform. Figuring years from now that may actually mean something.
Afterwards Peavy used the word "blessed" to describe his life in baseball right now. After seeing what I saw, I'm thinking blessed may be an understatement.
Monday: I wake up at 6:30 a.m. and the first thing I hear is the voice of Jessica D'Onofiro on Channel 7 talking about the mayor's mission to possibly turn Wrigley Field into Fenway Park. I relive the story on the cover of the Sun-Times.
This is not the way to begin one of the best weeks in Chicago sports.
But this is Chicago. At some point politics are going to get involved. Church and state may be separate, but not politics and sports.
Meaningless night games are on tap for the Bulls and the White Sox. Both are home, so there's an opportunity to see one and miss the other. Stay South or go West? Gotta make a choice. When the news breaks that Derrick Rose and Luol Deng won't be playing, I figure watching the Sox at the Cell is the better option. South Side wins. Got to the Cell late, right after A.J. Pierzynski homered in the second inning to give the Sox the lead. The temperature was steadily dropping, making a brotha think thrice. Plus listening to Chuck Swirsky call the Bulls game on the radio while driving didn't help.
If you watch “Boardwalk Empire” you know Al Capone knew what he was doing when he got here, and you also know that not much has changed. Of all the cities in the country, none has a bar culture -- especially when it comes to bars that understand sports as a religion -- like Chi. Bar none. While most people flock to Rocky's or Cork & Kerry's (or now the new Taj Mahal of sports bars: Baccardi at the Park) to watch White Sox games, the real W-Sox spot is away from the Cell on Halsted: Mitchell's Tap. Legendary. Old school like Vrdolyak.
While the Sox maintained a comfortable 4-2 lead, the regulars at Mitchell's couldn't believe what was happening to the Bulls. "Yous better not (expletive) lose this game," one man yelled at one of the flat screens hanging on the wall as the Bulls played the worst team defense they've played all season. They were losing to a team that's vying to get Anthony Davis with the first pick in the NBA draft.
I tapped out at the beginning of the ninth inning, figuring I'd beat the traffic. As I'm driving past Grandstand on 35th Street (without a doubt one of the best team-themed neighborhood sports stores in the country), I have to stop to cop a hard-to-find Sox fitted hat for comedian Craig Robinson. By the time I get back in the car, the O's tie the game.
"Here we go," I say out loud to myself. No mangy rescue dog shows up with a Bud Light in his mouth. This is real.
Sox lose 10-6.
How the Sox could have a worse meltdown than the Bulls against another team from the D.C. area on the same night, I have no idea.
And this is just the first day of the week.
"Years later, I was so proud that Jackie Robinson played for my team," Reinsdorf said. "But when I was at that game, I didn't realize how momentous it was because I went to school with a lot of black kids. What I saw two years later had more of an impact on me."
It was then, while changing trains in San Antonio on a trip with his mother, brother and sister to visit an aunt in Mexico City that the 13-year-old saw signs that read "Colored" water fountain and "White" restroom.
"I had never seen anything like that," Reinsdorf said. "It actually stunned me and obviously affected me. I never understood why the color of a person's skin should mean anything. I just always felt it was your brain, not the color of your skin."
Some 60 years later, the chairman of the White Sox and Bulls is regularly recognized as one of the leading examples in sports in the areas of minority hiring and programs dedicated to helping inner-city youth. Last June, Reinsdorf was one of 13 recipients of the 2011 Jefferson Awards, considered the Nobel Prize for public service, and in August was given the Barnes and Thornburg Jackie Robinson Award for diversity in the workplace.
Read the entire column.
Many of the busts on our list are easy. But a glance around Chicago sports today brings up several debatable cases with money and expectations playing major roles in determining whether they are busts. Here's a look at a few:
The recipients of the 2011 Jefferson Awards will accept their honors Tuesday evening at the National Building Museum in Washington and Wednesday in New York City. The recipients of most of the 18 awards, dubbed a "Nobel Prize" for public service, are not celebrities. They include the founder of a nonprofit that works to end childhood hunger and a brother and sister who have distributed phone cards to U.S. troops overseas.
Read the entire story.
Guillen was fined and ordered to undergo sensitivity training for using a similar slur in 2006 while referring to former Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti.
Calling it "a mistake you regret," Guillen also said that the person who irritated Noah in the first place should be investigated.
Read the entire story.
“It should be Bulls-Celtics,” Guillen said about the key NBA game at the United Center on Thursday evening.
Then call the White Sox’s afternoon matchup with the Tampa Bay Rays the warm up to the main event. Not to be a party pooper, but Guillen can do without the pomp and circumstance.
“Opening Day is always a pain in the butt,” Guillen said. “There’s always stuff around there. It’s almost the most overrated thing. But it’s always nice for the fans. This day is for the fans. To me it’s just another game, just thank God you have another year in the big leagues. But I think the fans should be excited. I really like this ballclub. I think the fans out there they should like this ballclub.”
After eight previous seasons in the major leagues, Edwin Jackson said this will be the first home opener he’s ever started. Jackson (1-0, 3.00 ERA) will square off against the Rays’ David Price (0-1, 5.14).
“When you start the season on the road, it’s like Opening Day all over again [at home], first game in front of the home crowd,” Jackson said. “It’s a lot of excitement, a lot of adrenalin going throughout the stands. It’s always great to be able to take the field for the first time in front of the home crowd.”
The biggest cheers were expected to be reserved for Mark Buehrle, Paul Konerko and Adam Dunn. But after Dunn went through an appendectomy late Tuesday night, he won’t be playing and it isn’t known if he will be on the field for player introductions.
As late as November of last year, Konerko didn’t even know if he would be there either. He received a rousing sendoff last season before heading into free agency then signed a three-year $37.5 million deal with the White Sox in December.
“Thinking back to last year, I didn’t know where I’d be, and I didn’t necessarily think I wouldn’t be there,” Konerko said. “I just didn’t know. So you definitely remember and cherish them but it is just another game and the best thing we can do is show up 3-2 tomorrow. So let’s try to get this one today.’’
Konerko is a little more sentimental than Guillen when it comes to the home opener.
“Home openers are always special,” Konerko said. “You remember every Opening Day, you remember every home opener, at least I do from every year. Other than getting to the playoffs, that will be the only time all year that it has that feel.”
White Sox legend Minnie Minoso will throw out the first pitch while Grammy nominee and CMT Music Award winner Chris Young will sing the National Anthem.
So when all the noise and pageantry of the White Sox game is done, Guillen is certain to show up at the United Center, right?
"They asked me to go to the game and I said ‘No,'" Guillen said. "I don’t want to be around people when the season starts. I’m rooting for the Bulls big time. It’s a good ballclub, but I’d rather sit home and relax. As soon as the [White Sox] games start I don’t like to do stuff."
Championship trophies from the 1985 Bears, the '90s Bulls, the 2009-10 Blackhawks and the White Sox’s own 2005 hardware, were all on display during a “Gathering of Champions” ceremony. Richard Dent represented the Bears, Mark Buehrle was there for the White Sox and Joel Quenneville was on hand for the Blackhawks.
Scottie Pippen was supposed to be the Bulls’ representative, but he was late leaving those duties to chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. Pippen was later spotted on the suite level just as the game was starting.
The Yankees might have their 27 World Series trophies, including their most recent in 2009, but no city can stake a claim to a title in each of the four major sports in the past 25 years.