Archive for April, 2009

Are you ready for some football?!?!

Saturday, April 25th, 2009

Today, I caught the Northwestern football spring game at Ryan Field in Evanston, IL. The historic stadium (formerly known as Dyche Stadium) opened in 1926 and was once considered for the home of the Chicago Bears after they moved out of Wrigley Field. That was nearly 40 years ago! The fact that the stadium is still home of the Wildcats is rather amazing. As wealthy of a school as Northwestern, you would think that the team would have moved into a new, fancy stadium with state of the art amenities. The current stadium is small with cracks in the concrete and a serious need of a paint job. Perhaps, the school is a bit sentimental. And that is not a bad thing. Not at all.

For the most part, a spring game is really a practice open to the public. Sure, the players run plays but it’s hard to determine how their performances will translate to an actual game. It’s more for the fans and getting them excited about the upcoming season. And with the aid of the band, cheerleaders, and purple clad fans, it accomplished that with me. Hey, it might not be the Tigers or SEC football, but it’s still college football!

Ryan field is not located on campus. Instead, it resides right in a neighborhood. I love that! If one day the Wildcats do decide to leave Ryan Field, I hope the stadium will still be used for years to come. Perhaps, high school football championships?

Below, you can see the stadium at the end of the residential street:

However, I’m hoping the move never happens. I say let the tradition continue!

Photo set here.

He works hard for his money…

Friday, April 24th, 2009

Sometimes, you work a job and a thought comes over you, “Wow, I’m getting paid for this!” That’s sort of how I felt after I was standing a foot away from Derek Rose as he received his Rookie of the Year award. You see, last night I was at the United Center working with TNT/NBA for the Chicago Bulls/Boston Celtics playoff game. Our job was to get a feel for the game which was easy when during the game, you were stationed right on the court. Check out my vantage point:

At one point during the first half, the Celtics’ Rajon Rondo fell right on top of my cameraman, Steve. Both Rondo and the Steve were a bit banged up but it was Rondo who got it worse, bashing his head against the camera’s lens. He looked straight at me like saying, “Man, that hurt!” I heard the collapse got mentioned during the game coverage.

However, the best look I got was from the man himself, Mr. Derek Rose. I know it sounds silly, but I swear that during the game when he was a few feet from me, he looked straight down at me, and then over at my shirt. I was wearing a University of Memphis shirt!

During the half, we interviewed John Calipari about his thoughts on Rose. He didn’t notice my Tigers shirt but it was a bit hidden by my Media Pass. We were having audio frequency issues at the time, so I had to hard wire the microphone for the interview. If I hadn’t been stressed at the moment, I probably would have enjoyed the experience more. I do remember him saying that his favorite Rose moment as a Tiger was during the Michigan State game in the `07 NCAA tournament. And that all the success hadn’t gotten to his head.

After the game, I caught Calipari talking with Rose backstage. The photo is blurry but you get the idea:

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Unfortunately, it was not much of a game. In fact, the Celtics won the game 106 – 87. Ouch.

Ban the Chester!

Tuesday, April 21st, 2009

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The mere fact that a blog like Rogers Park Cheetos exist seems to prove, for no other reason, that there is a blog out there for anything and everything. If you don’t feel like clicking the above link, the blog is completely composed of photos of discarded bags of cheetos found in the Rogers Park neighborhood in Chicago. Unbelievably, the blog has been going strong since 2007. So what’s the deal? Could this all be the work of one trekking, littering fool? Or are cheetos just the preferred snack for punk juveniles who can’t be bothered with a trashcan.

Either way, I blame the bad influence of Chester Cheetah. Think about it, it was only two years ago that Chester turned from a sneaky yet clumsy hip cheetah (see above) to the extremely vindictive psychopath he is today.

If residents of Rogers Park want to be proactive in stopping the wasteful individual(s), I suggest they set up a series of up check points and catch the culprit(s) “orange”-handed. Just a thought…

Rained Out.

Sunday, April 19th, 2009

Apryl had some girlfriends over the house tonight, so I got tickets for the only game in town, the Cubs vs. Cardinals. Unfortunately, the game was rained out. Hopefully, I will be able to go when it’s made up in July.

More photos:

Sox vs. Twins – Attended Game #2 (4/12/09)

Monday, April 13th, 2009

White Sox 6, Twins 1

Yesterday on Easter Sunday, I spent the afternoon at the ballpark (along with a relatively small crowd of 25,571) watching the last game of the Sox/Twins series. The temperature was 37 degrees, yet in my seats in the sun, the weather was quite pleasant. As you can see from the photo above, I was a bit further from the action than last game. However, the view from the upper decks still gave me a nice vantage point of the action. And luckily for me (and the team, for that matter) the action was far superior to Thursday’s game against the Royals.

Mark Buehrle, the Sox starting pitcher, had a great day allowing only two hits and striking out five batters. Unfortunately, one of those hits given up by Buehrle was a home run from Delmon Young in the second. But thankfully, the Sox offense came alive in the the fifth inning, and the Sox scored in every inning afterward. Along with the pitching, highlights included a productive day from Dewayne Wise who went 2 for 3, home runs form Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye, and a diving catch in the outfield from Carlos Quentin.

In the 9th, Clayton Richard came on as the Sox closer, and immediately loaded the bases giving the next batter the chance for a home run to cut the lead by 1. And guess who was that next batter? Right, Mr. Joe Crede. There was quite a bit of nervous laughter around me at the thought of Crede hitting that grand slam and being a Twins’ hero. Now, one of the main reasons I wanted to attend the first series against the Twins was to see how Sox fans would react to their once Sox hero taking sides with a rival. As I mentioned in a previous post, the first game back for Crede resulted in a standing ovation from the Sox fans. On Saturday’s game, there wasn’t any standing but still a healthy dose of applause. On Sunday, as Crede was making his way up to the plate for the first time in the second inning, he was once again pleasantly greeted by the fans. The second time up to bat Crede was still applauded but far less enthusiastically. His third time, with the bases loaded, he was applauded by only me and a handful of Twins fans.

Crede didn’t face Richard. After loading the bases, Sox manager Ozzie Guillen took Richard out to put in regular closer, Bobby Jenks. Something about seeing Jenks facing against Crede seemed so odd and wrong. Below, Crede at the plate:

Instead of being the hero for the day for Minnesota, Crede struck out. I never thought I would be pleased to see Crede strike out but there I was cheering for that first out of the inning. Next up, Young (who was responsible for the Twins’ only run) hit into a double play, and the Sox had won!

As for Crede, I think Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski said it best, “I love Joe. I’ll never say a bad word about Joe. I wish him all the best. I wish everything for him and his family, but obviously when we’re playing him, we’re trying to get him out. And when I’m up to bat, he’s trying to get me out.”

Below, Sox organist Nancy Faust (who also entertained the fans with her renditions of “I Walk the Line” and Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”) leads everyone into “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” for the 7th inning stretch:


Easter.

Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Crede Report: 4/10/09

Saturday, April 11th, 2009

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Last night, the Sox organization proved that they were a class act with a special video tribute for Mr. Joe Crede, which played before the starting pitch and included Sox’s announcer Hawk Harrelson’s famous line “You can put it on the board… YES!” changed to “Crede, YES!”. The Sox fans also showed a classy move when they gave Crede a standing ovation as he stepped up to the plate for his first time back the Cell (to the tune of Air Supply’s “All Out of Love,” courtesy of a practical joke designed by Brian Anderson). After such love, Crede preceded by thanking his old family with a homer right off of Jose Contreras. Too perfect! Even the Sox fan message board, South Side Sox, a board whose members never hold back their harsh opinions, were surprisingly loving with comments like ” I have never enjoyed an opponents HR more than I did with Crede’s. Atta boy Joe!” and “I think I will surrender 1 run on the season for Mr.Crede.” Welcome back, Joe.

As for the game, the Twins clobbered the Sox 12 – 5.

To read more about Crede’s return, take your pick: Sox version or Twins version.

Comic strip from Carl Skanberg.

WEVL Spring Pledge Drive `09

Friday, April 10th, 2009

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It’s that time of year again to pull out your pocket book and show your support for the greatest radio station around, WEVL 89.9FM. Pledge securely online here.

Spring Pledge Drive goes from April 10 – 18.

Sox vs. Royals – Attended Game #1 (4/9/09)

Friday, April 10th, 2009

White Sox 1, Royals 2

Yesterday, I attended my first Sox game of the season. I had an early corporate job that morning that lasted until about 11:30am, but I was still able to make it over to the South Side right before the first pitch at 1:05pm. I had already had a ticket but while I was making my way over to the park, I purchased a premium lower box ticket for ten bucks! As you can see from the photo above, these were amazing seats! (Also, it’s hard to tell from the picture above, but because of the corporate gig, I was dressed up in a white button down, black pants, and dress shoes. Just like the ole days at the ball park!) Unfortunately, the game itself was far from amazing.

The Sox have a lot of work ahead of them if they want to be competitive in the AL Central Division. On the plus side, the six innings of pitching from John Danks were great. And as relief pitchers, Dotel and Thornton were also impressive. MacDougal was MacDougal. Which means he almost cost us a few runs before being saved by Thornton. The most exciting moments of the game were the Sox getting in trouble, and watching the pitching get us out of the inning.

In the 9th, closer Bobby Jenks gave up two doubles and a winning home run from ex-Red Sox, Coco Crisp. Someone around me was annoyed because as soon as Crisp swung the bat, a person in the crowd yelled, “Lucky Charms!” Baseball fans (and players) are very superstitious. So, of course, it was because someone yelled out something stupid that gave Crisp the power to crank one over the right field wall. Or, more logically, it could be because Big Bobby has a tendency to give up hits and, at times, runs in his attempts for a save. No, it was definitely that pesky leprechaun. Who knew Sir Charms was a Royals fan?

Coming into the bottom of the 9th with only three hits (and I have no idea how we even got those), the Sox actually put up a little rally. And with a fielding error on the Royals, Sox fans were given a glimmer of hope that the game might be tied up or won by Wilson Betemit. The Sox had obtained Betemit from the Yankees during the off season through the Nick Swisher trade. My only problem with Betemit was that he was pitch hitting for Brian Anderson. Anderson had only been brought into the game in the 7th, and had only once at bat. Sure, he struck out, but Anderson has been a hero in clutch time before. For some reason, Anderson is never given much of a chance. So, out goes Anderson and in comes Betemit. What happens? Betemit strikes out. Oh well, if he had hit a game winning double, I wouldn’t have anything to complain about, and Ozzie would have looked like a genius. Baseball is weird.

Though the crowd wasn’t large, it was loud during the critical moments which was nice to see. Next to me were two Cubs fan who said that they were attending the game “undercover”. Which didn’t mean that they were spying but rather not in any Cubs garb, so that they could enjoy watching the game without being harassed. When I told them I was debating wearing my Sox cap to a game at Wrigley next month, they warned me, “I wouldn’t recommend it.”

So, my first game was a bust. Still, I had amazing seats!

And, I had one of these…

Baseball taste good!

Crede Report: 4/7/09

Wednesday, April 8th, 2009

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Don’t expect my love for Joe Crede to disappear overnight because he’s wearing a Twin’s uniform. Last night, Crede went 1 for 4 with a double and two strike outs. However, the big news for the Twinkies was their dramatic win over Seattle with a 9th inning hit from Alexi Casilla (with two outs, I might add) that brought home the two runs to seal their victory. Because of games like this, baseball is exciting all season long. No really, go back and click on the link. You’ll see what I mean. And, if you look very closely, you will see Crede (No. 24) run out for the celebration. In a Twin’s jersey… sniff sniff.