25th Annual Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards to be televised LIVE on CSN Thursday, Jan. 24

25th Annual Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards to be televised LIVE on CSN Thursday, Jan. 24

25th Annual Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards to be Televised Live
on Comcast SportsNet on Thursday, January 24th at 7:30 PM CT (Pre-Show Special airs at 7 PM)

(Chicago December 17, 2012) -- Many of Chicago's most popular past and present professional athletes will take center stage to receive honors at the 25th Annual Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards to benefit the March of Dimes. The silver anniversary reception, dinner & ceremony will be held on Thursday, January 24th, 2013 from 5:00-9:00 PM CT at the Hilton Chicago & Towers, 720 S. Michigan Avenue. Over the past 24 years, the Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards has raised close to 9 million for the March of Dimes.

The honorees chosen are top athletes from Chicago's professional teams who have made considerable contributions to their teams, as well as the Chicago community. Special to the 25th anniversary of this event: both a current player and a legend from each professional Chicago sports team will be honored. This year's Player of the Year and Team Legend honorees include RICHARD RIP HAMILTON (Bull of the Year), BOB LOVE (Bulls Legend) -- EDDIE OLCZYK (Blackhawks Legend) -- DARWIN BARNEY (Cub of the Year), ERNIE BANKS (Cubs Legend) -- CHRIS SALE (White Sox of the Year), FRANK THOMAS (White Sox Legend) -- PATRICK NYARKO (Fire of the Year), FRANK KLOPAS (Fire Legend). Honorees from the Chicago Bears will be announced shortly. For the pinnacle moment of the evening, this years March of Dimes Inspirational Athlete award winner is 13-year-old CONNOR McHUGH from St. Michael Parish School in Wheaton, IL. Connor has persevered as both a standout athlete, coach and student, despite being born with a birth defect.

The 1000 expected attendees for the 25th Annual Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards will also be able to participate in a silent auction featuring Chicago sports packages and Dream Day tickets, vacation packages including airfare, autographed jerseys of star athletes, tickets for Chicago sports events, golf outings, spa packages, dinner packages, hotel stays and much more. For more information, fans are urged to visit CSNChicago.comsportsawards25.

William T. Barry, Senior Vice President of Draper & Kramer is the events Chairman and James J. Corno is the President of Comcast SportsNet Chicago. The Honorary Chairmen are Cary D. McMillan, CEO, True Partners Consulting, LLC and Ron Boire, President, Sears and Kmart Formats, Sears Holdings Corporation.

Event sponsors include Comcast SportsNet, True Partners, Quaker, Draper & Kramer, Equity Residential, KPMG, Newmark Grubb Knight Frank and PricewaterHouse Coopers.

The event will begin with a reception at 5:00 PM, followed by dinner at 6:30 PM. The awards ceremony, which will be carried live on Comcast SportsNet in HD, starts at 7:30 PM with a special half-hour preview show set to air at 7:00 PM. Tickets are 400 per person and sponsorships are available. To purchase tickets or to make a donation to the 25th Annual Comcast SportsNet Sports Awards, please contact Shannon McCahill at 312-596-4716 (smccahill@marchofdimes.com) or visit CSNChicago.comsportsawards25.

Former Bears DE Corey Wootton announces retirement

Former Bears DE Corey Wootton announces retirement

Former Bears defensive end Corey Wootton announced his retirement on Tuesday after a six-year NFL career.

The 28-year-old released this statement on his Twitter page:

[SHOP: Gear up Bears fans!]

Wootton spent his first four seasons in Chicago before going to the Minnesota Vikings and Detroit Lions for one-year stints in 2014 and 2015.

Wootton had the best years of his career in 2012 and 2013, his final two seasons with the Bears. He played in all 16 games both seasons and combined for 10 sacks, 48 tackles and three forced fumbles.

Wootton was selected by the Bears in the fourth round of the 2010 NFL Draft.

David Rundblad, Blackhawks mutually part ways

David Rundblad, Blackhawks mutually part ways

The Blackhawks and David Rundblad have mutually agreed to terminate the defenseman’s contract, as generalfanager.com reported on Monday night.

With the contract terminated, the Blackhawks will not carry any type of Rundblad-related cap hit. If the Blackhawks had bought out Rundblad, they would have carried a $133,333 cap hit this season and a $183,333 the next season.

Per generalfanager.com, the Blackhawks now have approximately $2.3 million in cap space.

Rundblad was placed on waivers on July 1. The defenseman spent part of the 2015-16 season playing in Switzerland. He returned to the Blackhawks last spring and played in three of the team’s seven playoff games against the St. Louis Blues.

But Rundblad could never find a consistent place in the Blackhawks’ lineup. General manager Stan Bowman talked in July of Rundblad wanting a fresh start.

“He’s still a young guy, wants to get back to playing a lot of hockey and that’s why he wanted to go to Europe mid-season. We were willing to honor that request. We’ll let him find a spot where he knows he’ll be a regular player every day,” Bowman said in July. “He has a bright future. We wish him well. But it’s hard as a guy trying to establish yourself in the NHL if you don’t play a lot of minutes. But I think we’ll see David back in the NHL in a few years. I think he wants to find a better fit where he’ll play a lot.”

White Sox bullpen taking pride in slogging through heavy, high-stress workload

White Sox bullpen taking pride in slogging through heavy, high-stress workload

It might be figuratively held together with chicken wire and duct tape at this point, and it hasn’t been entirely effective recently. But the White Sox bullpen can’t be criticized for a lack of effort. 

Over the last four days, White Sox relievers have had to throw 19 1/3 innings. To recap: Starter Jacob Turner only lasted 3 1/3 innings Friday against the Detroit Tigers, then Chris Sale was scratched from his start Saturday after blowing up over the team’s uniforms and earning a five-game suspension. The White Sox bullpen shouldered Johnny Wholestaff duties and threw eight innings on Saturday — right-hander Matt Albers started and pitched two of those innings despite throwing an inning in the team’s last two games — in lieu of the team’s All-Star ace. 

David Robertson, who pitched a third of an inning in relief Saturday, pitched twice on Sunday (he allowed three solo home runs to the Tigers to blow the save in his second game). Nate Jones appeared in the first three games of the Tigers series, too, totaling 2 1/3 innings. 

On Monday, both Jones and Robertson were given a much-needed rest day. So Zach Duke, Albers and Dan Jennings were called upon by manager Robin Ventura to cover seven outs against the powerful Cubs lineup. Albers blew the save, but Jennings’ strikeout of Jason Heyward with the go-ahead run on second set up Tyler Saladino’s walk-off single to net the White Sox a 5-4 win. 

“We’ve picked up a lot of innings lately,” Robertson said. “Everybody’s just giving it everything they got right now. It’s obviously, we would’ve loved to have nothing but zeros go up, but that’s not the way baseball works. We’re facing a lot of good lineups. And we’ve just hung tough and tried to at least give us a chance to win. Thankfully, we’ve been very fortunate to walk off these last three games.” 

It’s not just the volume of innings that’s taxing the bullpen, though. With three consecutive walk-off wins — the first time the White Sox have done that since Aug. 4-6, 1962 — have come plenty of high-stress pitches. Over the last week, the White Sox bullpen has the highest average leverage index in baseball, and that’s with this group shouldering the generally low-leverage early innings of Saturday’s game in place of Sale. 

“The more we work, the more proud we are of what we do,” Jennings said. 

Still, this group could probably use a breather. Without an off day until Aug. 1, though, the only way to get one is to be ruled out for a game, as Robertson and Jones were on Monday. 

“Hopefully we can rotate, I know there’s some other guys that I know might need a day so maybe hopefully Nate and Robertson are really fresh tomorrow and we can build off that,” Jennings said. “(Or) maybe we can get that eight, nine, 10-run win where we can kind of sit back and relax a little bit, hopefully.”

Manager Robin Ventura said he went with seniority in choosing who to cover Jones and Robertson’s innings Monday, which helps explain why he didn’t use 2015 first-round pick Carson Fulmer against the Cubs. Fulmer’s recent control issues — he only threw 12 of 30 pitches for strikes in blowing a lead against the Tigers on Friday — could’ve played a factor, too. 

“You’re trusting the guys who have been here,” Ventura said. “You’ve got some new faces that are out there, it would’ve been asking a lot to bring them in and put them in that.”

White Sox relievers have squandered leads in each of the team’s last four games, though: Fulmer on Friday, Jones on Saturday, Robertson on Sunday and Albers/Jennings on Monday. In addition to a short outing from Turner and no outing from Sale, the White Sox are missing right-handers Jake Petricka and Zach Putnam from a group that looked to be fairly deep earlier in the season. 

The White Sox relief corps could certainly use a day off or at the least, as Jennings said, a blowout win where some of those young arms — Fulmer, Michael Ynoa and Tommy Kahnle — could polish off some low-pressure innings. But those easy wins have been few and far between this season: The White Sox only have three wins by more than three runs since May 14. 

So if that trend continues, this group is going to have to continue to cover plenty of high-stress innings without a break, at least for the next week. 

“Obviously the bullpen the last few days had to pick up the team, and we take pride in that,” Albers said. “Especially Nate and D-Rob were down today, shoot, they’ve been pitching every day too. Everybody else started to try to pick them up. That’s what we’re here for.”