Chicago's Inside Pitch

Baseball from Hockeytown

Posted by Bruce on Fri, 05/23/2008 - 17:31
No, the Cubs aren't in Detroit. They're in Pittsburgh, which is gaga over its Penguins, and rightly so. They're in the Stanley Cup Finals against the Red Wings. They had a downtown (pronounced "dahn-tahn" by the Pittsburghers) rally for the Pens here today. The streets are festooned (I always wanted to use "festooned" in a sentence) with Penguins banners. And on every street, people are walking around with Penguins jerseys, even those retro light blue ones. But these aren't the Penguins of Ron Schock, Ken Schinkel and Les Binkley. Heck they aren't even the Penguins of Mario Lemieux (on the ice anyway). I saw about 25 "Crosby" jerseys and a few "Malkin" jerseys. Wonder if it'll ever get this crazy about hockey in Chicago.

Suburban Political Recount

Robos against Bean

Posted by JP on Fri, 05/23/2008 - 14:22
Just got a robo call featuring a "U.S. soldier" calling into question Congress adjourning without funding soldiers pay. The call urged me to call Congresswoman Melissa Bean to voice my displeasure. Someone must be going to great lengths to target Bean since the Springfield office has a 217 area code phone number and there's not a single 217 number in her district.

Suburban Political Recount

Old way vs. new technology (updated: texting allowed again)

Posted by JP on Fri, 05/23/2008 - 13:27

Here's something new.
Doormen for a Senate committee are telling reporters they can't text message on cell phones during committee hearings under the general rule of electronic devices not being allowed.

They've always made way for cameras and tape recorders (now digital recorders) but looks like the Blackberries and texting faces a battle.

The reasoning given was the noise is distracting to others in the committee.

****UPDATE****
The Senate Democrats spokeswoman came by to say she was checking into this situation. A bit later she came back to say the texting ban was "done in error and changed as of now."

Chicago's Inside Pitch

How good is the Sox' bullpen? Don't ask

Posted by scotgreg on Thu, 05/22/2008 - 22:53
Back in Baltimore last month, Boone Logan and Bobby Jenks blew a game against the Orioles. Afterward, Logan took his share of the blame and then wondered why relief pitchers only see reporters after bad outings. It was a legitimate question. And in the spirit of the inquiry, let's just say White Sox relievers haven't been asked too much lately. If there has big one huge difference between this season and last, OK, there's also Carlos Quentin, it's the Sox' bullpen. In the three-game sweep over the Indians, White Sox relievers pitched a combined 7 innings and allowed zero runs on 3 hits. That's about as good as it gets, and Scott Linebrink and Bobby Jenks have been particularly lethal in the eighth and ninth innings.

Suburban Political Recount

GOP Senators storm out of budget committee

Posted by JP on Thu, 05/22/2008 - 20:41

Angered by the treatment they’d received from the majority Democratic lawmakers, Senate Republicans stormed out of a Revenue Committee meeting Thursday evening that'd been called to debate and vote on a massive pension borrowing scheme Senate Democrats and Gov. Rod Blagojevich hope to use to balance the budget.

The state owes itself billions in pension payments that have been skipped over the years. It’s kinda like skipping your kid’s college fund payments, the longer you let it go and more you skip, the more it’s gonna cost down the road. Imagine skipping billions in payments ... for years.

But it’s “soft” debt, money the state owes itself so it’s often overlooked.

Widescreen

Say it ain't so

Posted by Sean Stangland on Thu, 05/22/2008 - 17:22

It's about 14 hours since the credits rolled on "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull," and I'm still trying to convince myself that Steven Spielberg did not direct it.

"Crystal Skull" plays, more or less, like a cheap imitation of an "Indiana Jones" movie. Everything about it just seems...off. I knew we were in trouble when the film's very first shot was of a CGI gopher poking its head out of the dirt. The movie betrays, again and again, a year's worth of interviews with Spielberg in which he said he would do everything possible to not make this film a digital effects extravaganza. There are digital effects -- and shoddy ones, at that -- in every corner of this movie, from the sets, to the "matte paintings," to the characters ... there's one scene in which I'm fairly certain Indy's torch flame has been added in post with computer graphics.

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Too slow for you?

Posted by Bruce on Wed, 05/21/2008 - 20:16
Cubs GM Jim Hendry and bench coach Alan Trammell took part in a Major League Baseball conference call today to talk about the pace of games. Apparently MLB feels the pace is slowing too much. If Cubs games are taking longer this year, it's because their batters are working counts and taking walks. Manager Lou Piniella put the blame on television. Monday night's game (3 hours, 19 minutes) was televised by ESPN, who crammed in more commercial time between innings. For that reason, Piniella had pitcher Ted Lilly stay back in the dugout a little longer between innings. "The biggest thing is television with their commercials," Piniella said.

Chicago's Inside Pitch

Fisk lovefest continues

Posted by scotgreg on Wed, 05/21/2008 - 19:13
They've retired his uniform number. They honored him with a statue. And then, the White Sox stood on the sidelines while Carlton Fisk entered the Hall of Fame wearing a Boston Red Sox cap. Now, the White Sox are preparing to honor Fisk again, this time with an on-field tribute before Thursday night's game against the Cleveland Indians. Am I missing something here? Isn't this the same Carlton Fisk who has never had the time to come to spring training and give something back to the franchise that keeps showering him with gifts and tributes _ including a 2005 World Series ring? Isn't this the same Carlton Fisk that came out and said he wanted to manage the White Sox just before Terry Bevington was fired in 2007, even though he had zero coaching experience?

Suburban Political Recount

Three seconds in the lane (updated w/shortest reporter in the world photo)

Posted by JP on Wed, 05/21/2008 - 14:55

Former Bulls center Bill Cartwright was in Springfield today lobbying on behalf of the Allendale Association, a Lake Villa-based group with a long history of working with children with emotional and mental illness. Cartwright is on the association's board.

Cartwright visited the House floor and a long line of lamwakers seeking pictures and autographs quickly formed even as debate continued on how billions of tax dollars should be spent. House Republican leader Tom Cross of Oswego finally asked if the House could take a quick break, which was granted.

After lawmakers, Cartwright took some pictures with reporters and did his best to swat away Bulls questions from Daily Herald reporter Nick Shields.

Shields: Rose or Beasley?
Cartwright: What do you think?

Suburban Political Recount

Meet me at the mansion

Posted by JP on Wed, 05/21/2008 - 10:19

Invites have apparently been distributed to groups of lawmakers for meetings with Gov. Rod Blagojevich in an effort to try to set aside harsh feelings, mistrust and all the other ill will that members have had toward the administration. The intent is to try to win lawmakers over to the governor's side for budget debates.

Will it work? Similar meetings in past years didn’t exactly smooth the political pavement. But hope always springs eternal at the Illinois Capitol.

The best defense …