CSN, CSNChicago.com to deliver comprehensive White Sox & Cubs 2012 'Opening Week' coverage

CSN, CSNChicago.com to deliver comprehensive White Sox & Cubs 2012 'Opening Week' coverage

COMCAST SPORTSNET & CSNCHICAGO.COM TO DELIVER COMPREHENSIVE COVERAGE FOR ITS 2012 WHITE SOX & CUBS OPENING WEEK TELECASTS

Expanded Coverage for White Sox SeasonRoad Opener on Apr. 6 & Home Opener on Apr. 13;
Expanded Coverage for Comcast SportsNets first Cubs telecast at Home on Apr. 7;

CSNChicago.com coverage highlighted by Opening Day prepost-game video reports, exclusive behind-the-scenes video, Plus - feature stories, talent blogs, in-game Twitter messages from Insiders & on-air talent and much more!

Chicago, IL (April 3, 2012) Comcast SportsNet, the television home for the most games and most comprehensive coverage of the Chicago White Sox and Chicago Cubs, will deliver expanded coverage for the 2012 White Sox seasonroad opener on Friday, April 6 featuring an expanded, one-hour, Opening Day edition of White Sox Pre-Game Live, an expanded edition of White Sox Post Game Live, along with complete coverage of MLBs Opening Day on Chicago Tribune Live & SportsNet Central! Comcast SportsNet will also have expanded coverage for its first Cubs game of the season on Saturday, April 7 and the White Sox Home Opener on Friday, April 13. Plus, Comcast SportsNets website, CSNChicago.com, will provide fans with even more extensive Opening Week coverage, including exclusive behind-the-scenes Opening Week video from U.S. Cellular Field and Wrigley Field, along with feature stories, talent blogs, videos, game previewsrecaps and much more. Also, every White Sox and Cubs home and road telecast on Comcast SportsNet will once again presented in high-definition (HD) all season long.

For the White Sox seasonroad opener on Friday, April 6, Comcast SportsNet will begin its marathon White Sox coverage beginning at 11:30 AM with an encore edition of its popular one-on-one interview series, Inside Look, featuring White Sox and Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf. Following Inside Look, Comcast SportsNet will air a special one-hour Opening Day remote edition of White Sox Pre-Game Live from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, TX, beginning at 12 NOON. Then at 1:00 PM, the White Sox face the two-time defending AL champion Texas Rangers in the season opener featuring Ken Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone with the call. The game will be immediately followed by an expanded edition of White Sox Post Game Live, also live from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. Note the following highlights from Comcast SportsNets White Sox Opening Day coverage on April 6:

FRIDAY, APRIL 6 on COMCAST SPORTSNET WHITE SOX OPENING DAY!

11:30 AM Inside Look: Jerry Reinsdorf Encore edition featuring the White Sox & Bulls Chairman
12:00 PM White Sox Pre-Game Live Expanded one-hour, pre-game coverage featuring Comcast SportsNets Chuck Garfien and Bill Melton LIVE from Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, TX. Special Opening Day pre-game features include a scheduled live interview with White Sox GM Kenny Williams and new manager Robin Ventura, numerous interviews with White Sox players and coaches, a complete 2012 season preview focusing on the teams line-up and overall offensive roster, the pitching staff, team defense and much more.
1:00 PM WHITE SOX at TEXAS (L) Featuring Ken Hawk Harrelson & Steve Stone on the call
4:00 PM White Sox Post Game Live (time approx.) Hosted by Chuck Garfien and Bill Melton featuring the LIVE post-game press conference featuring new White Sox manager Robin Ventura, along with player interviews and complete post-game analysis.
4:30 PM Inside Look: Jerry Reinsdorf Encore edition featuring the White Sox & Bulls Chairman
5:30 PM Chicago Tribune Live presented by Captain Morgan Hosted by David Kaplan; program will feature a thorough recap and analysis of the White Sox season opener
6:30 PM SportsNet Central presented by AT&T U-Verse Complete game recap, highlights, interviews and more
7:00 PM White Sox at Texas (game replay)
10:00 PM & 10:30 PM GMC SportsNet Central Comprehensive White Sox Opening Day local recap and national Opening Day recaps from around Major League Baseball

On Saturday, April 7, Comcast SportsNet will provide fans with extensive coverage of its first Chicago Cubs telecast of the 2012 season. Live coverage begins at 11:00 AM with an expanded, one-hour edition of Subaru Cubs Pre-Game Live, which will take place remotely from Wrigley Field. At 12 NOON, the Cubs face the Washington Nationals with the game being immediately followed by an expanded edition of Cubs Post Game Live, presented by Horseshoe Casino. Note the following highlights from Comcast SportsNets first Cubs telecast of the 2012 season on April 7:

SATURDAY, APRIL 7 on COMCAST SPORTSNET CUBS vs. NATIONALS!

11:00 AM Subaru Cubs Pre-Game Live Expanded pre-game coverage featuring Comcast SportsNets David Kaplan, Todd Hollandsworth and Gail Fischer LIVE from Wrigley Field. Special pre-game features include interviews with Cubs players and coaches on the upcoming season, along with Cubs front office exec interviews discussing their expectations for the season, plus - a special Whats New at Wrigley Field? segment with focus on the teams new bleacher set-up in right field, a complete offensivepitchingdefensive preview of the 2012 season and much more.
12:00 PM CUBS vs. WASHINGTON (L) Featuring Len Kasper & Bob Brenly on the call
3:00 PM Cubs Post Game Live, presented by Horseshoe Casino (time approx.) Hosted by David Kaplan and Todd Hollandsworth from the Comcast SportsNet studios featuring the LIVE post-game press conference featuring new Cubs manager Dale Sveum, player interviews and complete game analysis.
6:30 PM SportsNet Central presented by AT&T U-Verse Comprehensive Cubs game recap, along with a complete recap of the day in sports.
7:00 PM Cubs vs. Washington (game replay)
10:00 PM & 10:30 PM GMC SportsNet Central Comprehensive Cubs and White Sox game recaps, along with a complete recap of the day in sports.

Finally, viewers can also look forward to extensive coverage of the 2012 White Sox HOME OPENER on Friday, April 13. Comcast SportsNet will begin its Opening Day festivities coverage live from U.S. Cellular Field beginning at 12 NOON with a special, one-hour Home Opener edition of White Sox Pre-Game Live. Then at 1:00 PM, the White Sox face the defending AL Central champion Detroit Tigers featuring Ken Hawk Harrelson and Steve Stone with the call. The game will be immediately followed by an expanded edition of White Sox Post Game Live. Note the following highlights from Comcast SportsNets White Sox Home Opener coverage on April 13:

FRIDAY, APRIL 13 on COMCAST SPORTSNET WHITE SOX HOME OPENER!

12:00 PM White Sox Pre-Game Live Expanded one-hour, pre-game coverage featuring Comcast SportsNets Chuck Garfien, Bill Melton and Sarah Kustok LIVE from U.S. Cellular Field. Coverage to include special Opening Day pre-game interviews with coaches, players and VIPs in attendance, a Whats New at U.S. Cellular Field? segment featuring the latest in-stadium highlights and offerings for Sox fans this season, plus Comcast SportsNet will carry the player and coaches introductions LIVE prior to the start of the game and much more.
1:00 PM WHITE SOX vs. DETROIT (L) Featuring Ken Hawk Harrelson & Steve Stone on the call
4:00 PM White Sox Post Game Live (time approx.) Hosted by Chuck Garfien and Bill Melton from the Comcast SportsNet studios highlighted by the LIVE post-game press conference featuring White Sox manager Robin Ventura, along with player interviews and complete post-game analysis.
5:30 PM Chicago Tribune Live presented by Captain Morgan Hosted by David Kaplan; program will feature a thorough recap and analysis of the White Sox home opener
6:30 PM SportsNet Central presented by AT&T U-Verse Complete game recap, highlights, interviews and more
7:00 PM White Sox vs. Detroit (game replay)
10:00 PM & 10:30 PM GMC SportsNet Central Comprehensive White Sox Opening Day recap and more!

From an online perspective, Comcast SportsNets website, CSNChicago.com, will deliver extensive Opening Week coverage and comprehensive 247 White Sox and Cubs coverage throughout the season, including the following highlights:

Live stream of Robin Ventura & Dale Sveums post-game press conferences from U.S. Cellular Field and Wrigley Field
New-look White Sox & Cubs team pages offer the latest news, enhanced articles, player interviews, video, stats and more around the clock.
Cubs Insider Patrick Mooney (@CSNMooney) will filing daily stories and video from Wrigley Field, as well as provide up-to-the-minute news via Twitter to bring fans closer to the game.
Cubs Talk blog will offer news, views and analysis from Cubs blogger Tony Andracki, Mooney, Cubs PrePost Game Live host David Kaplan (@thekapman) and Cubs analyst Todd Hollandsworth. Cubs fans can also follow key Twitter accounts, including @TonyAndracki23 and @CubsTalkCSN for news and updates.
White Sox Talk blog will offer news, analysis and features from White Sox blogger J.J. Stankevitz, Garfien and Bill Melton. White Sox fans can also follow key Twitter accounts, including @ChuckGarfien, @JJStankevitz and @WhiteSoxTalkCSN for news and updates.
Chuck Garfien will offer reports and insight via his wildly-popular Sox Drawer blog.
CSNChicago.coms White Sox & Cubs content will be featured on NBCSports.com and Hardball Talk throughout the week and throughout the 2012 MLB season.

Joe Maddon vents frustrations with tensions already rising in Cubs vs. Pirates

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Joe Maddon vents frustrations with tensions already rising in Cubs vs. Pirates

PITTSBURGH — “Still smells like champagne,” said one wise guy walking through the visiting clubhouse at PNC Park late Monday night.

The Cubs had just beaten the Pittsburgh Pirates, with some of the same raw emotions from last year’s wild-card win resurfacing during a 7-2 win in early May. There’s that much at stake in the National League Central that maybe we shouldn’t spend so much time fixating on the St. Louis Cardinals.

The eye-for-an-eye moment came in the seventh inning, with Pittsburgh reliever Kyle Lobstein drilling Ben Zobrist with his first pitch. Home plate umpire Laz Diaz had already watched Cubs starter Jason Hammel hit Starling Marte with a pitch in the sixth inning and issued a warning to both benches.

Manager Joe Maddon yelled at Lobstein and Pirates catcher Francisco Cervelli screamed at the visiting dugout, and it felt like October all over again.

“I was able to vent a little bit,” Maddon said. “It’s always fun to vent, isn’t it? I mean, we’ve all been there. You have to vent on occasion. That’s the worst thing you could possibly do for your health long-term — to hold that stuff in. I want to get it out.”

Maddon spent part of his pregame media session talking up Cervelli, calling him a “good dude” who worked out at his wife’s boxing gym in Tampa, Fla., during the offseason: “He came to my Gasparilla party, dressed as a pirate of all things.”

“It’s just a matter of judging intentions,” said Zobrist, who’s new to this emerging rivalry after earning a World Series ring with the Kansas City Royals last year. “As a team, you’re trying to think: ‘Well, was that intentional? Was it not?’ But I think in that situation it was pretty clear.

“Our whole team’s going to stick up for each other. Obviously, Joe took exception to it. I think a lot of other guys did, too. I’ve been around long enough — I’ve been hit before. I took my base and scored a run. That’s the way I look at it.”

Maddon had even more fun with the Pirates and the replay system in the seventh inning after Pittsburgh manager Clint Hurdle erased a double play with a successful challenge at first base. Maddon responded by using Major League Baseball’s new takeout rule to challenge Jordy Mercer’s slide into second base.

“I had no clue what I was doing,” Maddon said. “I just knew I could challenge. At that particular juncture, why not? Give it a roll. Bottom of the seventh inning, who knows what they’re going to think?”

Maddon kept rolling and filibustering during his postgame news conference, saying how much he loved the Pirates’ uniforms as a kid growing up in Pennsylvania and comparing this rivalry to his high-school quarterback days and Hazleton vs. West Hazleton.

“People in Pittsburgh can enjoy that,” Maddon said. “They can identify with ‘Friday Night Lights,’ ‘All the Right Moves,’ all of the above. I’m being this way specifically so I don’t comment on the hit by batter.”

Cubs top Pirates to stay baseball's best, but Theo Epstein won't stop making moves

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Cubs top Pirates to stay baseball's best, but Theo Epstein won't stop making moves

PITTSBURGH — Relentless is the word the Cubs keep using to describe a lineup that knocked out Gerrit Cole on Monday night with the bases loaded and two outs in the fifth inning and the Pittsburgh Pirates already trailing by two runs at PNC Park.

Relentless could also be a label for Theo Epstein’s front office, even after spending almost $290 million on free agents and even with an 18-6 record that’s the best in baseball following a 7-2 win over the Pirates.

The Cubs want nothing to do with the randomness of another elimination game and can’t take anything for granted with 85 percent of the schedule still remaining. They’ve already lost playoff hero Kyle Schwarber for the season, and the outfield picture is clouded with Jason Heyward dealing with a sore right wrist since early April and Matt Szczur scheduled to get an MRI on his right hamstring on Tuesday morning.

Not that Epstein needed a reminder, but the president of baseball operations flashed back to last year’s National League wild-card game when he flew into Pittsburgh, checked into the team’s downtown hotel across the Roberto Clemente Bridge and went running along the Allegheny River.

From his hotel room, Epstein could sort of see where Schwarber’s two-run homer off Cole flew out of PNC Park last October, giving this franchise a runaway sense of momentum.

“We’ve played really well,” Epstein said, “but I don’t think we’ve completely locked in yet or clicked in all facets of the game. Our pitching staff’s really been carrying us. It’s been the most consistent part of our team yet. As it warms up here, I think the bats will get going and they’ll probably carry us for a while.

“But as far as needs that we might have, or ways that we can get better, we’re always assessing that. I think there’s lots of different ways we could potentially improve the club before the end of the season.”

The Cubs will watch Tim Lincecum’s upcoming showcase in Arizona because they always check in on potential impact players at that level. Lincecum — a two-time Cy Young Award winner who helped the San Francisco Giants win three World Series titles — is making a comeback after hip surgery.

While the Cubs should have big-picture concerns about their rotation and a farm system that hasn’t developed the arms yet, Jason Hammel (4-0, 1.24 ERA) is making his own comeback.

Even if manager Joe Maddon doesn’t seem to completely trust Hammel, who gave up two runs across five innings and got pulled after throwing 89 pitches and accidentally hitting Starling Marte to lead off the sixth. Four different relievers combined to shut down the Pirates (15-11) the rest of the night.

Epstein — who is in the fifth and final year of his contract and used “status quo” to describe his extension talks with chairman Tom Ricketts — will have the position-player prospects to bundle if the Cubs do need a frontline pitcher this summer. A franchise-record payroll in the neighborhood of $150 million was also projected to have some room for in-season additions.

After beating up on the division’s have-nots and going 8-1 against the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers, the Cubs should have a better idea of where they stand after Maddon’s “Minimalist Zany” road trip to Pittsburgh and a four-game showdown against the Washington Nationals at Wrigley Field.

“There’s always the threat of somehow playing to the level of your competition in a negative way,” Maddon said. “I’m not denigrating any team that we’ve played to this point. That is not my point. But if you play teams with less-than (.500) records and maybe they’re not playing as well, you don’t turn that dimmer switch up to the full velocity. But when you’re playing really good teams, I think that naturally brings out the best in you.”

Preview: White Sox, Red Sox duel Tuesday night on CSN

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Preview: White Sox, Red Sox duel Tuesday night on CSN

The White Sox take on the Red Sox on Tuesday night, and you can catch all the action on Comcast SportsNet. Coverage begins live from the South Side at 7 p.m. Be sure to stick around after the final out to get analysis and player reaction on White Sox Postgame Live.

Tuesday's starting pitching matchup: Jose Quintana (3-1, 1.47 ERA) vs. Steven Wright (2-2, 1.37 ERA)

Click here for a game preview to make sure you're ready for the action.

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