PDA

View Full Version : Thoughts from a reporter who was at today's game...


hsnterprize
06-26-2004, 10:48 PM
All I can say is...WOW!!!!!!!!! A packed house, homers galore, a guy looking like Bartman in the press box, Shingomania, and a White Sox Winner...who could ask for anything more?

Once I got to the ballpark and got my pass, I immedately went on the field. By the time I got there, the Cubs were taking batting practice. Sammy was in the cage, and admittedly, he, along with Todd Hollandsworth, Derrek Lee, Moises Alou, and a couple of other north siders were smacking the ball like heavyweights. I talked to Dusty Baker, and told him I remember talking to him when he went to Wrigley as the Giants' manager. I recalled a conversation we had when he said all the bars and stuff close at 2 AM in SF, and there was nothing to do. Needless to say, even though he's the manager of the "enemy", he likes it here. He also likes the rivalry between the Cubs and Sox, and said our rivalry here makes the Oakland/San Francisco rivalry look like absolutely nothing. He sees fights in the stands, people approaching him saying the Cubs must beat the Sox, and the players getting a little more jacked up than for other games. Make no mistake about it, folks. Even though he did say he's treating this like "another game", he, his team, and his organization KNOW there's something more to these weekend series than he's letting on.

Funny thing happened on the way to my chair. There's a small cafe' behind the press tables, and I saw a guy who looked a lot like fellow reporter, Rory Spears (no relation to Britney...thank goodness). Anyway, when I said, "How are ya' Rory?", I looked closer to him, and realized I made a big gaff. The guy was actually Cubs' president Andy MacPhail. Once I apologized for the mistake, he was cordial. He said Jim Hendry is always looking to improve his ballclub, and his team is concerned about getting everyone healthy. In regards to the rowdiness in and around Wrigley Field, he says even though there are more people going there day after day, the crowds have been relatively under control. Now...those are HIS words, not mine.

Also before the game, I talked briefly with coach Kevin Hickey and GM Kenny Williams. I told Hickey about how I enjoyed watching him play back in '83. When I talked to KW, I told him I appreciated his passion to bring a winner to the south side, and I asked about reports about him talking to the Braves. He told me he's talking to anyone and everyone about making deals, and that he "likes to be under the radar" when negotiating. He didn't like the reports about him talking to the Braves getting out. I also tried to ask him about the comparisons to the Cubs' moves before the season started, but I couldn't get my question out right. He said after I clarified myself, "maybe we didn't need those guys"...considering the team's in contention without all the hype the Cubs got. He has a strong handshake, and he's got good taste in clothing. Hopefully, he'll keep circling the wagons and do something to make our team that much better.

As you would expect, families were at the ballpark with divided loyalties. I saw a couple that's been married for 27 years...he's a Cub fan, she's a SOx fan. I asked them how to they survive. She said, "We argue a lot." Obviously, when you've been married for 27 years, you've done something right. I just told the husband that I can relate to his standing up for himself in arguments, but when it comes to baseball, "listen to the wife." Also, there was one group I saw with all but 2 people wearing Sox gear. The dad was holding a sign saying "We felt your pain, and we liked it." or something like that. On the other side, were newspaper clippings of the Cubs choke vs. Florida last year. The 2 Cubs fans were young boys...one a teenager, the other slightly younger. Believe it or not, the older child was a rare Cubs fan...he actually likes the TEAM rather than being in love with the park. The younger guy started to talk smack about Sox park, but I put him in his place. I asked the both of them it Wrigley were to be torn down today, would they still love the Cubs? The older one said "Without question...yes."...the younger said something would be missing from his experience at Wrigley Field. However, he did admit he like the Cell. I then shook his hand, and told him to wash it since I shook Alou's.

Once the game got started, it was an interesting time in the box. Just about every A-list Chicago sports reporter was there...and Mariotti too. I even talked to him...mostly small talk. I didn't get into the "why'd you say this" of "why'd you write that" stuff like I wanted to...he always looks like he has an attitude about something, and I didn't want to set him off. We worked together at One on One Sports (now Sporting News Radio), and he said that network was "minor league" compared to ESPN Radio on a national level. He also said Chicagoans were too "regionalized" when it comes to national sports. He cited ratings numbers from the Masters when Phil Mickleson won. Out of 35 markets that showed the tournament, Chicago rated "dead last". Simple put...great effort by Phil, but not too many people in Chicagoland cared.

Who else was there? Bruce Levine, a couple of SPorting News Radio reporters, Les Grobstein, Len Ackerman of Satellite Radio News, some print beat writers I know, Moronotti, Megan Mawicke of CBS 2, Peggy Kuzinski of NBC 5, Brad Palmer of ABC 7, ESPN Radio's Chris Boden (he told me he wants to get back in TV), a reporter for WBBM Radio (don't know his name), and a whole lot more. The box was filled overflowing today, and I'm glad I got there when I did, or else I wouldn't have gotten a seat. There was one guy sitting in a corner of the box that looked so much like Steve Bartman, that I went near his area and told Len, "Tell Bartman to keep his hands off the ball". That got a laught, but it may have made Grobstein mad. Oh well...didn't get a chance to talk to him. I did, however, talk to one of the Sporting News Radio reporters who has a pretty interesting perspective on U.S. Cellular Field. He did say that the ballpark got an undeserved bad rap mainly because "it's not Wrigley." I told him about the whole Cubs/Sox feud thing, and he agreed with me that the Cell is a lot better than people make it out to be and give it credit for. And guess what...he's from Milwaukee, home to Miller Park. He said the "honeymoon" period for that place was about a year and a half. Even though the Brewers and playing good baseball now, the park, in his words, looks like a "spaceship."

The game was pretty neat to see, and the homers were also fun to watch. I didn't see any fights in the stands, although I did see some schlep in a Greg Maddux jersey try to rile up the crowd in the left field bleachers. The only violence I saw was after the game. As I was walking to the press room, security officers stopped me and others walking down some stairs to see other officers walking some Cubs fans to the security room. The man and the woman were handcuffed, and were being escorted to the room. I didn't stay to find out if there were any Sox fans going along with them, but according to other officers, the fights in the seats were minimal.

I like the "Thunderstruck" intros the Sox use to get the players on teh field. My only beef...when Gene Honda tells Sox fans to get "on your feet." I think that's tacky because I don't like being told when to cheer...kinda like the fan-o-meter. But, it was fun to hear the place getting louder and louder as the players took their positions. "Shingomania'' is also in full swing. When he took the mound in the top of the 8th, the place went completely nuts. Shingo said in the post-game press conference he was too focused on "getting the batter out" than hearing the super-loud crowd and seeing his "entrance video" featuring gongs, "Mr Zero" in Japanese on the screen, countless highlights, and loud Japanese-style techno music. But what was really more enjoyable was watching Shingo make Sammy Sosa look completely stupid. I really wanted Shingo to strike him out...that would've made the place erupt.

After the game, everyone who talked to the press had something to say about Shingo. Sandy Alomar said hitters said "What the heck was that" when they saw his speed drop dramatically pitch after pitch. Ozzie said he's the closer "unless you can bring in Mariano Rivera." Even Dusty Baker couldn't believe how Shingo was throwing. And Shingo said himself that despite critics who say the league will eventually figure him out, the throwing style you see is what you get. He isn't the all-time saves leader in Japan for nothing, you know.

Overall, it was fun to be at the ballpark today. Hope for the same tomorrow even though I won't be there. It's amazing how the Cubbie lovers who were there are all quiet, and the Cubbie lovers in the press aren't crowing so much right now.

hsnterprize
06-26-2004, 11:08 PM
1. I told Rich King I read his article on WSI, and he asked if it came out alright. I said it did. I also talked with a CLTV reporter (don't recall his name, but he's the guy with the glasses) and told him I rooted for the Marlins in last year's NLCS. He says he's a Sox fan, but he "likes both teams:angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: ." We agreed that while you can't be a cheerleader professionally while you're on the air, it's pretty much common place now for a reporter to admit who he/she cheers for as long as he/she is fair and unbiased in reporting. The Cubbie cheerleading in last year's NLCS was nothing short of a journalistic falacy that deserved the fate it received.

2. Jay Mariotti is as much a nutcase in person as he is in print and on TV. Although I didn't give him a series of "why'd you write this" or "why'd you say that" questions, he said Chicagoans are very regionalized when it comes to national sports. For example, out of 35 major TV markets covering Phil Mickelson's win at the Masters, Chicago's ratings were "deal last" on the list. We briefly worked together while at One on One Sports (now Sporting News Radio) a couple of years ago.

3. Gail Fischer of Fox Sports Net officially denied any rumors of she being with Corey Patterson. Although she was pretty friendly with Sandy Alomar, Jr after the game. :redface:


4. Bill Jauss says he wouldn't mind working on another version of "The Sports Writers on TV" like he did back in the 80's. No word on in another version is in the works, but he's one of the good ones.

Lip Man 1
06-26-2004, 11:17 PM
Interesting that Rich didn't even bother to read his own story at WSI. I called to let him know it was there and sent him an e-mail as well.

His loss...

Lip

cheeses_h_rice
06-26-2004, 11:26 PM
Once the game got started, it was an interesting time in the box. Just about every A-list Chicago sports reporter was there...and Mariotti too. I even talked to him...mostly small talk. I didn't get into the "why'd you say this" of "why'd you write that" stuff like I wanted to...he always looks like he has an attitude about something, and I didn't want to set him off. We worked together at One on One Sports (now Sporting News Radio), and he said that network was "minor league" compared to ESPN Radio on a national level. He also said Chicagoans were too "regionalized" when it comes to national sports. He cited ratings numbers from the Masters when Phil Mickleson won. Out of 35 markets that showed the tournament, Chicago rated "dead last". Simple put...great effort by Phil, but not too many people in Chicagoland cared.
OK, someone help me out here: how exactly does Chicago tuning out the finals of a golf tournament equate to Chicago sports fans being "too regionalized"? To me, it seems to indicate that Chicago sports fans don't care all that much about golf, or at least golf that doesn't involve Tiger Woods.

:whatever:

CWSGuy406
06-26-2004, 11:29 PM
prize, may I ask what or who you work for that gets you a press-pass?

Thanks for the info, too. That's the stuff I hope to be doing (writing - I already do some at chicagosportsreview.com and whitesoxcentral.com) soon, so thanks for that.

doublem23
06-26-2004, 11:45 PM
OK, someone help me out here: how exactly does Chicago tuning out the finals of a golf tournament equate to Chicago sports fans being "too regionalized"? To me, it seems to indicate that Chicago sports fans don't care all that much about golf, or at least golf that doesn't involve Tiger Woods.

:whatever:
Maybe it just means golf sucks. :?:

cheeses_h_rice
06-26-2004, 11:51 PM
Maybe it just means golf sucks. :?:
:moron

But MM, wouldn't that make me "less cool" of a "reporter" than I already am? I'm running out of sports and athletes whose jocks I can ride!

:whiner::whiner::whiner:

Iguana775
06-27-2004, 12:39 AM
awesome info, hsnterprize!!!! :dtroll: :supernana: :gulp:

ChiWhiteSox1337
06-27-2004, 12:41 AM
That sounded like a fun way to work for a day. Great read!

Deadguy
06-27-2004, 12:50 AM
4. Bill Jauss says he wouldn't mind working on another version of "The Sports Writers on TV" like he did back in the 80's. No word on in another version is in the works, but he's one of the good ones.

I loved that show! I used to watch it religiously weekly on Sportschannel. I remember when it went off the air 5 or 6 years ago, and they mentioned that it would only be for a brief hiatus. I was disappointed to see that it never returned.

I always thought Jauss was pretty insightful and intelligent, but then I'd see in the Tribune that all he was doing was covering HS softball. It seems like nice guys like him lose out in the game of journalism to scum bags like Mariotti and Skip Bayless.

I also enjoyed Gleason and Munson, although Gleason must be pushing 90 by now.

The weak link was always Rick Telendar, however. That guy just comes off as a smug jerk. He went to the same high school in Peoria that I did, and he even came to a banquet to generate enough money to get lights for our baseball field, but the guy just never seemed to enjoy talking about baseball and knew next to nothing about the MLB.

owensmouth
06-27-2004, 02:28 AM
OK, someone help me out here: how exactly does Chicago tuning out the finals of a golf tournament equate to Chicago sports fans being "too regionalized"? To me, it seems to indicate that Chicago sports fans don't care all that much about golf, or at least golf that doesn't involve Tiger Woods.

:whatever:
Perhaps it means that the Moron should go work somewhere else, somewhere less "regionalized" where his insites would be appreciated. I suggest: hell.

TheBull19
06-27-2004, 02:29 AM
Maybe it just means golf sucks. :?:
Yeah, but how's Chicago's PBA ratings?

StillMissOzzie
06-27-2004, 02:42 AM
Yeah, but how's Chicago's PBA ratings?
LOL!!! Yep, I'll bet a lot more Chicagoans would recognize Pete Weber than Phil Mickelson.

SMO
:gulp:
I didn't lose beer frame!

hose
06-27-2004, 08:18 AM
Excellent report hsnterprize.

I seen Moronotti in a booth at last years All-Star Fest at McCormick Place and you could just feel his fear. He looked like a deer in the head lights and was very apprehensive.

I would like to know how many Sox games the Moron actually attends a season.

My guess is somewhere between 3 and 7 games.

hsnterprize
06-27-2004, 08:33 AM
prize, may I ask what or who you work for that gets you a press-pass?

Thanks for the info, too. That's the stuff I hope to be doing (writing - I already do some at chicagosportsreview.com and whitesoxcentral.com) soon, so thanks for that.I work for WMBI Radio here in Chicago. I'll also be able to get credentials from the Illinois Radio Network. Here's something for those who are interested...Julie Sweica (sp?) works for IRN, so even though she's going to cooking school right now, she's still connected to the sports world. She wasn't there yesterday, but I'd seen her in the box earlier this year.

hsnterprize
06-27-2004, 08:52 AM
I did not know this, but in a sense, I shouldn't be surprised. Gene Honda smokes like a chimney. This is the 3rd on-air radio person I've met who lights up...and you'd think he'd stay away from the stuff since he's a broadcaster. Nope. He was lighting up in the box before the game, and it was a shock to see. Incidentally, the other smoking voices I've met in the past were Pittsburgh Penguins play-by-play man Mike Lange, and Philadephia broadcasting legend Harry Kalas.

Nancy Faust made a quick run up to the box to grab some popcorn. I've met her many times...she's a very sweet lady.

During the 7th inning stretch, it was obvious the crowd would yell to "root, root, root for the WHIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITE SOX!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!". Many of the fans were facing the press box area, as if Hawk was leading them in the song. He wasn't singing like someone at Wrigley would, but I wouldn't be surprised if he or someone was egging the crowd on. Also, someone held up a sign that was classic..."Urine in good hands with Alou."

Ed Farmer's a native south sider as many of you already know, but did you know he played some of his little league baseball at Pasteur Park near 55th street and Koster Avenue (near Midway Airport)? He also doesn't have that strong of a handshake grip, and his right hand looks alittle deformed. Nothing wrong, though...he's a nice and down-to-earth kinda guy.

Even though he's pretty much considered to be satan on this website, Sammy Sosa is a nice guy when you talk to him. He got some pretty good rips in BP, and he swings a light bat (34 inches, 32 ounces). His arms are about as big around as my thighs...he's stocky.

The post-game press conferences take place in the much-ballyhooed conference center at the ballpark...a WAY MUCH better place than the alleged "media room" at Wrigley, which probably is an old storage room re-made to accomodate members of the media. My living room in my apartment is bigger than that closet. Anyway, Both Shingo Takatsu and Felix Diaz had translators (Diaz' speaker was Sandy Alomar, Jr.). It was funny when many people, including Bruce Levine and myself, tried to ask a question after the player answered the question before the translator could interpret the response. Also, the conference lasted longer than normal...Sox P.R. guy Scott Reifert said, "Anyone needing overnight accomodations...please let us know" to a chuckle.

Told both Reifert and Manager of Corporate Communications Katie Kirby the "Sox Pride" marketing campaign was awesome. They appreciated the support, and said the responses they got to the ads were "overwhelming". Hey...even ESPN said the "Them vs. Us" commercial was "outstanding". I'm not kidding...some SportsCenter anchor played the spot before the Sox vs. Cubs highlights, and commented on the piece last night.

hsnterprize
06-27-2004, 08:58 AM
There were PLENTY of "Sox Pride" t-shirts in the crowd. The 3 Bulls' draft picks who simultaneously threw out the first pitch wore them, Shingo Takatsu wore it in the post-game press conference, and there will be a lot of them available today if you're going to the game. They're black with the "Sox Pride" logo on the front, and on the back, it says, "It's all about us." or something like that.

Get 'em while they're hot!!!!!

Jerry_Manuel
06-27-2004, 01:14 PM
3. Gail Fischer of Fox Sports Net officially denied any rumors of she being with Corey Patterson. Although she was pretty friendly with Sandy Alomar, Jr after the game. :redface:



Never heard that rumor, but glad we got that all squared away.:D: