We’re now at 100-Eve at Wrigley Field. Tomorrow, the Cubs will celebrate the 100th birthday of the old ballpark. Theo Epstein was on the field this evening (and it’s really cold here), and he was asked about 100 years and no world championships being celebrated here by the Cubs.
“I don’t think I really need that kind of reminder,” he said. “That’s not what I’m thinking about when I think about tomorrow. When it comes to the 100th anniversary, for me, I think of just Wrigley as the epicenter of fans’ connection to the Cubs represents something so important to this franchise and the fans that not only connects the fans to the team but also generations of fans to one another, fathers to sons, grandfathers to grandsons, mothers to daughters, mothers to sons.
The Bulls have scheduled a news conference for 4 p.m. on Monday. All signs point to Joakim Noah getting the NBA Defensive Player of the Year Award.
Once the Pacers and center Roy Hibbert went into a late-season tailspin, it was clear Noah would win this award with ease and it obviously didn't take long for the league office to count the ballots. Noah will be handed the trophy before Tuesday's Game 2 vs. Washington at the United Center.
Noah will be the second Bulls player to win the award, following Michael Jordan in 1987-88.
Happy Easter to all as we present another Sunday brunch blog. For those in the Chicago area, I can recommend some evening TV after you finish your Easter dinner. WGN-TV in Chicago will present “Wrigley 100: A Century Celebration” tonight at 7 Chicago time. WGN America will air the program on April 26, also at 7 Central.
WGN’s Bob Vorwald was kind enough to give me an advance copy, and I can tell you that some of the film and video highlights from over the years will stir memories. Full disclosure: I was interviewed for the program and appear in a few spots as does my Daily Herald colleague Barry Rozner, who was our beat writer from 1990-97. Despite our appearances, it’s still a great show!
A few clouds have moved in over Wrigley Field on this cool Saturday, but it was all sunshine in the Cubs dugout this morning as manager Rick Renteria was back to his old positive self.
“Today’s a new day, a beautiful day, actually,” Renteria said, one day after having to address his team following a sloppy 4-1 loss to the Reds. For whatever reason Friday, Renteria didn’t even want to acknowledge that he had a team meeting. He only alluded to being upset with some poor play. He expanded on that a bit this morning.
It’s back at Wrigley Field, where the wind is blowing in hard and cold from the north. That should benefit the starting pitchers today, the Cubs’ Jeff Samardzija and the Reds’ Alfredo Simon. We talked in Friday’s paper about the Cubs and Reds having trouble getting on base in certain situations. The Cubs enter today ranked 14th in on-base percentage, 15th in slugging, 13th in walks and 14th in runs scored. With runners in scoring position, the Cubs are batting .195 (22-for-113).
They’re coming off a 1-4 road trip, including being shut out in both games of a day-night doubleheader at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday.
Through the first weeks of the season, Paul Konerko has kept a very low profile.
That’s understandable, considering the White Sox only faced two left-handed starting pitchers through their first 15 games. Konerko started only one of those games, but he’s in the lineup tonight vs. Boston lefty Jon Lester.
Konerko is actually starting at first base in place of the slumping Jose Abreu, who has 1 hit in his last 20 at-bats.
The Sox’ captain seemed to talk before just about every game when he was a regular player, and he held court again on Thursday.
Here are some highlights:
On the difficultly of going from full-time to part-time play:
Only two of the eight first-round NBA playoff matchups are settled heading into the final night of the regular season. But the league did announce some of the starting times for Game 1.
The Bulls will host either Brooklyn or Washington on Sunday at 6 p.m., on TNT and Comcast Sports Net.
The full Sunday lineup is at San Antonio at noon (TNT), at Miami at 2:30 (ABC), with Portland at Houston the nightcap at 8:30 (TNT).
The Saturday lineup will include Atlanta at Indiana; along with games at Toronto, Oklahoma City and the L.A. Clippers.
More details will be available later tonight.
Brooklyn had a chance to clinch the No. 5 seed on Tuesday at home against New York, but missed badly. Despite starting most of their regulars, the Nets lost 109-98 in a game that wasn’t very close in the second half.
The Bulls’ first-round playoff opponent remains in doubt heading into Wednesday’s final night of the regular season, but a scenario where the Bulls are No. 4 and Washington moves up to No. 5 has become more realistic.
If Brooklyn loses on Wednesday at Cleveland and the Wizards win at Boston, then Washington
will be No. 5, while the Nets drop to No. 6. There’s a good chance Brooklyn rests many of its regulars against the Cavs and coach Jason Kidd didn’t place much importance on the outcome when speaking to reporters after Tuesday’s game.
It's cold, 37 degrees about an hour from first pitch, but there's no rain (or snow), so the White Sox and Red Sox are going to play ball tonight at U.S. Cellular Field.
Lot of stuff happening:
-It's Jackie Robinson Day, marking the 67th anniversary of the former Brooklyn Dodgers great breaking baseball's color barrier. Players on both teams will wear Robinson's No. 42 tonight.
-Two familiar faces are in Boston's clubhouse.
Former White Sox starter Jake Peavy gets the start for the Red Sox tonight, and popular catcher A.J. Pierzynski will be behind the plate for Boston.
This video of Joakim Noah learning about the snowfall after Monday's win over Orlando is getting a lot of play nationally. Some strange reporter comments put a little bit of a damper on the moment. I astutely kept my mouth shut while this was going on. Sometimes, you should just sit back and let things happen.